What are the essential amps?

Bertotti

Gretschified
Jul 20, 2017
10,168
South Dakota
What makes an amp essential?
peavey triple xxx half stack and super forty in my bedroom great amp but is it essential? JSX mini colossal, baby Blondeshell, Typhoon, Dust Devil and various hybrids, what are essential? I can cover clean edge of break up metal and harder so what is essential? I’m happy with what I have so perhaps they are all essential.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,697
Tucson
What makes an amp essential?
peavey triple xxx half stack and super forty in my bedroom great amp but is it essential? JSX mini colossal, baby Blondeshell, Typhoon, Dust Devil and various hybrids, what are essential? I can cover clean edge of break up metal and harder so what is essential? I’m happy with what I have so perhaps they are all essential.
I think it depends, entirely, upon what you want to do. A lot of guitarists have had simple amps, and little else. If you were going to play Classic Country, a clean, bright amp, with good reverb would be pretty much essential. OTOH, if you are playing Metal, it wouldn’t necessarily be even a good choice.

Your collection covers a lot of ground. Unless you needed great volume capability, such as playing outdoor gigs, you are probably ok.
 

Bertotti

Gretschified
Jul 20, 2017
10,168
South Dakota
I think it depends, entirely, upon what you want to do. A lot of guitarists have had simple amps, and little else. If you were going to play Classic Country, a clean, bright amp, with good reverb would be pretty much essential. OTOH, if you are playing Metal, it wouldn’t necessarily be even a good choice.

Your collection covers a lot of ground. Unless you needed great volume capability, such as playing outdoor gigs, you are probably ok.
Exactly it is all subjectove to the tone and goals you have. I go from 5 watts to that 120 watt half stack triple rectifier beast! It all depends on your needs and or wants and the places you play.
 

malc

Electromatic
Jun 10, 2020
24
Lincoln
There is a thread on Gretsch Talk right now about essential guitars. So it gave me the idea of starting a thread on what would be the essential amps to get the sounds we want in the studio and on stage. Depending on how this one goes, I may do a thread on essential pedals later. I'll start:
Fender Blackface DRRI, Princeton or clone
Fender Tweed Deluxe or Bassman or clone
Fender early Silverface with tremelo or clone
Marshall JCM or DSL
Vox AC-15, AC-30 or clone
Hi Watt DR or clone
some type of Ampeg (don't know the models)
Sampson era Matchless DC-30 or DC-15
some kind of Peavey
a real rotating speaker Leslie cab or clone

and a couple that are out of reach
Trainwreck
Dumble Overdrive Special 50 combo (saw one for $140k 😆)

I'm sure I forgot some big ones that should be on here.

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I'm surprised you put a Sound City amongst such a lovely collection of amps.
 

BuddyHollywood

Synchromatic
Sep 11, 2009
575
Venice, CA
When I was shopping for an amp about 15 years ago I tried or borrowed a Mesa Boogie Mark III which I loved, a Fender Deluxe Reverb, a Vox AC30 and many other various Fenders, Crates and I think even a Marshall or two.

The Mesa Boogie Mark III was my favorite out of all of those but it was really heavy and my friend didn't want to sell it even though he had two. I don't know what it is but I am unable to get a good sound out of a Vox. I love the sound of them when other people play them but whatever chemistry thing there is with my specific DNA through my fingers I am unable to make them work for me. I had to admit defeat and move on. Marshalls are awesome but I want more Fender out of them. Fenders are awesome but I want more Marshall out of them.

At the time I was shopping around the Carvin store was still open on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA. I plugged into a 50 watt, 2 X 12 Bel Air Combo and was instantly sold on it. It has the midrange of a Mesa Boogie and the top and bottom end of a Fender. It has the perfect hybrid sound of those two giants. I ended up finding a used one from the 1990s I think on eBay or Craigslist. I know I'm in a huge minority but it's become my own personal essential amp.
 

Bertotti

Gretschified
Jul 20, 2017
10,168
South Dakota
When I was shopping for an amp about 15 years ago I tried or borrowed a Mesa Boogie Mark III which I loved, a Fender Deluxe Reverb, a Vox AC30 and many other various Fenders, Crates and I think even a Marshall or two.

The Mesa Boogie Mark III was my favorite out of all of those but it was really heavy and my friend didn't want to sell it even though he had two. I don't know what it is but I am unable to get a good sound out of a Vox. I love the sound of them when other people play them but whatever chemistry thing there is with my specific DNA through my fingers I am unable to make them work for me. I had to admit defeat and move on. Marshalls are awesome but I want more Fender out of them. Fenders are awesome but I want more Marshall out of them.

At the time I was shopping around the Carvin store was still open on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA. I plugged into a 50 watt, 2 X 12 Bel Air Combo and was instantly sold on it. It has the midrange of a Mesa Boogie and the top and bottom end of a Fender. It has the perfect hybrid sound of those two giants. I ended up finding a used one from the 1990s I think on eBay or Craigslist. I know I'm in a huge minority but it's become my own personal essential amp.
I’ve had it where no matter what amp I pick or which guitar I pick I can’t get a tone I want out of it. I put it down and grab an acoustic. I have never figured out why it happens.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,697
Tucson
I’ve had it where no matter what amp I pick or which guitar I pick I can’t get a tone I want out of it. I put it down and grab an acoustic. I have never figured out why it happens.
I’ve had days when nothing sounded right to me, but these are rare. Perhaps there are times that our senses are just a bit out of order.
 

Bertotti

Gretschified
Jul 20, 2017
10,168
South Dakota
I’ve had days when nothing sounded right to me, but these are rare. Perhaps there are times that our senses are just a bit out of order.
Could be I am in loud industrial environments a lot and that darn million locust choir lives in my skull. But my mandolin and acoustic guitars always sound good. Just weird.
 
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Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,697
Tucson
Could he I am in loud industrial environment a lot and that darn million locust chiro lives in my skull. But my mandolin and acoustic guitars always sound good. Just weird.
In my case, I’ve never found a reason. It would happen, occasionally, at band rehearsals, where I would change guitars several times, and never get my sound. The guitars hadn’t changed, the amps hadn’t changed, but for some reason, it just sounded a bit off, to my ear. A day later, everything would be back to normal.

This is in contrast to my normal situation, where I plug in, and instantly have my sound. Half the time, I choose which guitar to play based upon which color most suits my mood. When I’m boisterous, I’ll pick the red G6119 or the orange G6122. If I’m more subdued, I’ll pick the burgundy G6119 and if I’m really serious, I pick the black G6120 DC.
 

Maguchi

Gretschie
Aug 11, 2022
173
Lalaland
Hi Watt DR or clone

I'm surprised you put a Sound City amongst such a lovely collection of amps.
You would also be surprised at how good it sounds.

Sound City falls under the category of a Hiwatt DR or clone. This 2018 Sound City reissue is a clone of the early Sound Cities, not the later '70s and '80s models which don't have the best rep. The early Sound Cities were made by Dave Reeves before he went independant with Hiwatt and are a similar circuit to the Hiwatts. The late '60s Sound Cities are predecessors of the Hiwatt amps.

 
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malc

Electromatic
Jun 10, 2020
24
Lincoln
You would also be surprised at how good it sounds.

Sound City falls under the category of a Hiwatt DR or clone. This 2018 Sound City reissue is a clone of the early Sound Cities, not the later '70s and '80s models which don't have the best rep. The early Sound Cities were made by Dave Reeves before he went independant with Hiwatt and are a similar circuit to the Hiwatts. The late '60s Sound Cities are predecessors of the Hiwatt amps.

I know Dave produced the first batch of Sound City amps which were really well made (he only supplied one batch), but after that Arbiter were mounting EL34's on to really insubstantial circuit boards and the amps were really badly made. I have never seen that model before, but it obviously must bear no resemblance to the stuff that Ivor was pushing out.
 

malc

Electromatic
Jun 10, 2020
24
Lincoln
I know that lots of younger players like distortion or breakup, but when I started playing distortion came free with every amp purchased, so I have always disliked that sound. When, after the war, we were eventually allowed to buy from the US, I bought a Supro and then, after a couple of years, changed it for a Fender Showman. I played that for quite a while and then ended up with this. I must say that Fender amps have been always been so reliable that I have never really looked towards British amps, although the 4 x 12 cabs and 100w heads of Marshall, Laney, Hiwatt and more lately Blackstar have sounded nice in their clean channels. I do think that young players are lucky with the choice they have today, where you have to deliberately choose if you want distortion.

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Maguchi

Gretschie
Aug 11, 2022
173
Lalaland
I know Dave produced the first batch of Sound City amps which were really well made (he only supplied one batch), but after that Arbiter were mounting EL34's on to really insubstantial circuit boards and the amps were really badly made. I have never seen that model before, but it obviously must bear no resemblance to the stuff that Ivor was pushing out.
Yeah don't know the later history of Sound City. The one I have is a 2018 SC-30. It's a reissue of the late '60s amps Dave Reeves was building while at Sound City. It sounds quite good and I use it a lot.
 

hogrider16

Gretschie
Oct 18, 2017
407
charles town wv
I've gigged almost 100% with a Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue since I bought it in 1994. I did use a Marshall half-stack for a very loud classic rock band, but other than that, I got everything I needed out of the DRRI. Unless your a studio musician trying to exactly emulate a ton of different sounds, I think you should be able to make one or two amps work for you.
 

IPLAYLOUD

Electromatic
Aug 2, 2011
77
Long Island
For me it's (don't laugh) my Fender Mustang III. (2009 Gretsch Roundup Knotty Pine Top)
I'm DONE carrying anything heavy. No pedalboard needed. I have the sounds I like programmed in a row and scroll up and down when I need them.
I'm 62 and I don't even have time for something to warm up...SO GET OFF MY LAWN!
;-)
 

GAMBLER1234

Gretschie
Jan 18, 2018
406
Henderson Nevada
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