Gretsch Amp Recs

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Duo Slinger, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Electromatic

    71
    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    So, I'm currently looking at amps, and I've been looking at the Fender Vaporizer, Ramparte and Excelsior. Does anyone here have any experience/advice about any of these?
     
  2. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Those are from Fender's Pawn Shop Series. You'll find that each one seems to be "missing" something. They're not bad, per se, but a tone knob instead of a switch would be nice. They don't have a lot of extras on them, but are basic, serviceable amps. There are a lot of fans of these out there.

    They are sized nicely, not too powerful for home use, but with enough oomph for small gigs, or larger if miked. All of them have interesting styling. The Ramparte looks like an old Gibson GA-40, and the Excelsior has a nice wrap around grille, and a 15" speaker.

    All of them are priced decently, so for a beginner or someone on a budget they're a good value. That, and they've got tubes which are a prime requirement for many players. I don't think the line is actively being made, so there'll be only used examples on the market. Shop around and you'll find some great deals. Like with anything else, try 'em out first. Caveat Emptor!
     
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  3. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Electromatic

    71
    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA

    I found some nice 200-300 dollar ones on GC, but, uh, none of em are any that are at my local GC, thusly I'm rendered unable to try them. The most I can do is listen to them online...
     
  4. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    I have an Excelsior and think its great, in a cheezy department store amp kinda way:D, i like it like that and have not changed the speaker out like most, though it did take a bit to break in. I don't really miss a tone pot when i play it, the switch and three different inputs seem to be enough options for me, it's far from being my only amp anyway. If i had to compare it to something it would be a Harmony 420 which is Valco made and basically a diode rectified Supro Thunderbolt, so not a bad thing.
    Haven't seen @Eman in a bit but he has a Vaporizer.
     
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  5. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Electromatic

    71
    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    I'm a total pleb, so I understood about half of what you said... Can it rock?
     
  6. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Might be a bad idea as an only amp. Speaker upgrade and a couple pedals and it could do anything.
     
  7. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Electromatic

    71
    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    Oh... well that bites. Do you know any affordable ones that I could use as an only amp?
     
  8. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Something that rocks in that price bracket is a Blackstar HT 40 or Marshall DSL 40.
    More 400ish used though but real versatile.
     
    Waxhead likes this.
  9. KuKuKu

    KuKuKu Gretschie

    426
    Aug 28, 2016
    Germany
    I have a second generation Excelsior, which already has an upgraded speaker. I like it a lot. To my ears it sounds better than the Fender Mustang modeler I had before and I like it better than my Gretsch G5222, which I run with a 1x12" cab. I don't have much experience with amps. The only other amp I tried was Blues Junior, which was okay, but not great.
     
  10. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I've had everything from a 3 watt amp-in-case Silvertone to a solid state Vox Super Beatle. IMHO I'd recommend a Vox AC10 ($450 new) or an Ampeg Jet 12R or Fender Princeton. All tube amps, small enough for home use or small gigs unmiked. There are plenty of SS modeling amps as well. Even a Gretsch G5222/Fender Champ 600 reissue (both one knob basic 5 watt tube amps) or one of the 5 watt Epiphone Valve Juniors are possibilities as well. Mono[price has a 12" 15 watt reverb amp for $200, or a 5 watt 8" amp for $100. Myself, I'd prefer a good basic simple amp to one with lots of bells and whistles.
     
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  11. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Electromatic

    71
    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    Ditto to that. I'm also thinking about a Vox AC4C1. I'm looking at used Princetons, the variety is... well, it's all over the place. The ones that I can afford are all solid state, so I think that's an out.
     
  12. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I can easily understand price issues as I'm retired and on a fixed income. The AC4 is a nice little amp. Also look at the Epi Calve Jr series as they're a similar size, and available used, also at a good price. There are quite a few of those bare bones 5 watt tube amps on the market at good prices. I got my Fender Champ 600 for $80 at a local pawn shop.
     
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  13. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Electromatic

    71
    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    My local GC has one of the Valve Jr. heads for 100 bucks, but no cab. I might settle for an Orange micro terror/dark and a small 1X8 cab. But I dunno 'bout those Orange heads, they're hybrids. Might sound funky.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
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  14. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I had an Excelsior and loved it. Some time back, I made a gift of it to a great-nephew. However, I played several Excelsiors which were not so great. For me, it would be try before you buy.

    My favorite small amp is a Winfield Typhoon, which is somewhat Voxish. It is small, perhaps 5 watts, but they sound great, mic’ up nicely through a PA and the price is about as reasonable as can be.
     
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  15. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    A Fender Champ 20 is about a$130 at GC. They’re common and most GCs carry them, so you can try one out. It was my first amp when I got my first Gretsch in 2016. It’s got a lot of modeling options to play with and works well for a beginning amp experience. I eventually upgraded to a VoxAC10, but I still noodle around on the Champ once in a while to try out different sounds.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
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  16. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Electromatic

    71
    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    I have been thinking about those, but I like the sound of tube amps. The Champs are cool though.
     
  17. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    If i was value shopping i wouldn't be too hung up on tubes, there are some absolute badass SS amps out there for cheap.
     
  18. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Electromatic

    71
    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    I guess I can give it a shot. I am a little smitten with the Vox's now though.
     
  19. Floo

    Floo Country Gent

    Dec 16, 2012
    Elmshorn, Germany
    If I were looking at amps right now, I'd definitaly try a Princeton Reverb. It has a very nice clean Fender tone at a reasonable volume-level, it takes pedals very well and it's possible to mic it for stage use. Cranked, they have a bit of a nasty but useable overdrive tone. I wouldn't want to miss Reverb and Vibrato.
     
  20. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    I’ve had the Excelsior for awhile. When I bought it it was already upgraded to a Weber Michigan and I made the tone switch/tone knob mode (I bought the kit on EBay). To be honest, it didn’t really changed much as my standard setups were all treble if I was playing with neck pickup or all bass if I was playing the bridge pickup. Apart from that, I think is the best bang for the buck Fender has ever made. Never let me down and I’ve always great feedback of my tones (I played electrified delta blues, mostly bottleneck). If I have to find a weak spot, the power tubes are way too close to the speaker that means they’re over exposed to vibrations. I’ve had it for almost 3 years and I had to changed them because of a vibrating noise. When I sold it, the same noise was (although very very slightly) surfacing again.
     
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