Which Amp for specifically the best "Gretsch Sound"???

Flyer91

Gretschie
I currently have a fender Mustang V (version 2) half stack.

And getting a tube amp has recently been a constant subject on my mind .... especially now that I have the Gretsch WF-LTV I just received ..... :)

But ... I would ask you guys to listen to these YouTube viddys, and hopefully tell me why they shouldn't be causing me pause (as they do) when I'm considering pushing the "complete checkout" button on a tube amp?






And






There are more Youtubes like this.
And in them, as well as both the above viddys ... I couldn't guess which amp was which.
But in all cases I found that blind, I ended up liking the sound of the Mustang best.
And it's also curious that the statistics for the coments changed ... 'after' ... the reveals. ;)

BUT ..... these guys are playing solid body guitars, and if I didn't have my Gretsch guitars, I'd not be asking if there is a better amp for the "Gretsch sound" that possibly 'only' a tube amp can provide?
If so, then I'm hoping to understand the whys/hows of that.

I had bought a used custom '65 Twin Reverb 'head' (which in itself is a bit unusual) from GC, that went back because the reverb was pitifully weak, and (as I found out) was just really 'way' too much for home use .... even with a set of the final's tubes pulled!
I didn't find a lot of difference between that '65 Twin on my Mustang's 412 cab, and the Mustang modeling a '65 Twin ... with any of my solid bodys or a 5422 Elecrtromatic .... but admittedly the weak reverb may have made it a tainted comparison, even though I backed the Mustang down to apx. match the weak Twin.

Also, I read a lot of comments that the difference between a solid state spring reverb and a tube 'send and recovery' spring reverb can be heard by a discerning player, but is not something that an audience would notice.
I also read similar comments regarding a solid state rectifier and a tube rectifier ... and to complicate that further ... a single tube or twin tube rectifier.

I understand the electronic difference between a half and full wave rectifier, but am having trouble coming to terms with the apparent conception that a half wave single tube rectifier in an instrument amplifier will "sound better than a full wave SS rectifier".
I'm possibly missing something there ..... (???)

Assuming I 'should' get a tube amp specifically for my Gretsch hollow body and acoustic/electric guitars, does anyone have suggestions of an amp for home use, and/or what wattage should I target, what type of rectifier it should have, and if the 'all tube reverb' is an advantage for achieving the optimum "Gretsch sound"?

I'm hoping to have some suggestions before I drive down off this mountain to the closest GC, so I can call ahead to see if they have them available for me to try.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,971
Petaluma
I can only tell you that a good tube amp will translate, expose, reveal your WF best. It helps capture the twang and growl. Everyone has a favorite. Unless you need more for gigging, I don't recommend much more than 30 watts. There are many affordable and bedroom able, if you need it, options like blackstar, orange, egnater.

For you, how loud do you need, what types of music, what are you looking for, etc.?
 

speedicut

Friend of Fred
Jun 5, 2012
6,217
Alabama
Ditto what Henry said...
A tube amp with a reverb spring/tank would be what I'd look for...if there's not one built in you can always get a reverb tank separate..
 

drmilktruck

I Bleed Orange
May 17, 2009
19,761
Plymouth, MN
I think there are three possible answers.

For the British Invasion sound of George and the Animals, the Vox AC15 or AC30 are the ticket.

For more American tones Fender Princeton Reverb or Deluxe Reverb are the best bet.

Vintage Gretsch amps made by Valco are great as well. Great tremolo, sometimes reverb too.
 

Gretschtim1

Country Gent
Dec 4, 2012
3,629
Dundalk, Md
I think there are three possible answers.

For the British Invasion sound of George and the Animals, the Vox AC15 or AC30 are the ticket.

For more American tones Fender Princeton Reverb or Deluxe Reverb are the best bet.

Vintage Gretsch amps made by Valco are great as well. Great tremolo, sometimes reverb too.

Yes I Agree - Vox AC 30 or Fender Deluxe
 

Rodney Gene

Synchromatic
Mar 30, 2014
538
Austin Texas
There is so much in the way of 'sonics and presence' that is not translated in comparison vids like these: Since we cannot hear where one amp has 'in the room' advantages nor can we hear where it has no advantage, we must take it at face value. And there is no face value. The 6 minimum types of conversion and compression involved to get audio onto YT and into your listening environment is a reality.

That aside, if all things were equal, a 'tube' amp might sound worse. It might. It depends on the amp and the other gear or technology it is being compared with. In general a 'tube' amp is not better than Solid State or some of today's digital technology unless and except...when it is. And... when it is... it is very integral to a musical pleasing harmonically rich sound. It has a quality that agrees on a heart level with our ears and body and has a way of interacting with the whole chain that is very musical. (BTW, MY Digital Fractal AXE FX II has this pleasing musical quality for direct recorded tone)

Personally I find the 'rest of the amp' outside of the tubes to be the factor in whether or not the 'tube' amp is special or not. From transformer to caps to speaker choice. The better the tube amp, the better the tube amp, the better the tube amp. You just won't know if it's worth it to you until you play them against each other but IMO, a Fender Mustang today has a chance to hold its own to many mid-level PCB brethren and even surpass a few in some aspects. But that speaks to the quality of many PCB amps (not modded), not to their digital counterparts. They fall considerable short for me against the amps I am used to and the quality of presence those amps emit.

Its a big conversation without any finite answers. Just use your ears and have fun and you'll win even if it's just temporary.

Cheers, RG
 

Country Member

Electromatic
Aug 20, 2014
48
Australia
I bought a Fender Blues Jnr III for home and rehearsals, use a 99 Hot Rod 6120 with TVJ classics and play mostly rockabilly. When I used the BJr the first time at rehearsals, the drummer stopped and pointed to the amp and said "that's the sound, keep using that amp!" and the rest of the band agreed. So I use the BJr live with or without it miked up, and the Twin Reverb is sitting quietly in the corner now.:rolleyes:
 

Uncle Daddy

Friend of Fred
Jan 19, 2012
5,921
Maldon UK
I quite like my blues junior iii, but found the sound a bit tight and boxy, likely due to the small cabinet. I had a presence controllable added which really opens up the sound, along with a tone stack mod. It's a great little all rounder, but I think I'm more a 6L6 guy. I feel that all amps compromise in some way, so finding "the one" may take a little time.
 

somebodyelseuk

Country Gent
Jan 22, 2013
1,128
Birmingham, UK
THE right amp is the one that YOU like the sound of most. The ONLY way to find that out is to trawl round the stores with your guitar and plug it through them.

Youtube clips are a waste of time. The sound is at the mercy of whoever edits the clip. I could easily do a demo clip for the cheapest piece of crap available and the sound track could well be a £5000 guitar through a £5000 amp or vice versa...
... and that's before youtube compresses the life out of the clip and your narrow band computer speakers 'remove' the bottom end.
 

LarsPluto

Gretschie
Dec 2, 2013
165
London UK
I think a big factor in choosing the right amp for you is the environment you intend to use it in. Is this for playing at home by yourself? Will you be gigging regularly? What size venue?

If you are going to be playing alone at home I wouldn't suggest a tube amp. For most of them you really need to push the volume to get the best tone and even with the 15watt Blue Junior or 15watt Vox AC15 I think you will find that at bedroom levels they won't sound as good as when you can push those tunes into saturation a bit.

If a tube amp is a must for you and you aren't planning on gigging then I wouldn't recommend anything over 4-5 watts.

The digital modellers though sound much better at bedroom volumes and a good one will see you through basic pub gigs and rehearsals with a drummer with no problems.

That said, I don't think any modeller can stand up to a great Gretsch through a fender twin in the right environment.
 

wilblee

Country Gent
May 23, 2013
1,000
TX Hill Country
The biggest difference, IMO, between tubes and solid state is how they break up when overdriven. Tubes distort in a way that is MUCH more pleasing to the ear. That's why we haul these heavy, cantankerous and distressingly fragile beasts to gigs and jams - for that musical distortion. Whether you like to ride that fine line between pristine and just starting to break up or crank it to the point you turn your tubes into search lights, tube distortion remains listenable.

Solid state not so much.

Digital modeling will simulate tube distortion, but even the best ones can't entirely capture all the nuances that your playing will produce through a true analog tube circuit.

As for a good unit for home...

One thing to look for is a Master Volume control. With that you can drive your amp's preamp section into distortion while keeping the volume low enough to maintain warm relations with your neighbors. I have a 15W Marshall 1974X the tone of which I just adore, but its very lowest usable volume setting is LOUD. My 15W Fender Blues Jr., on the other hand, has a Master Volume control and is much more usable as a home amp.

My undisputed champ, though, for home and gigging, is the Mesa Lone Star Special. First of all, it's switchable between 5/15/35W, these settings are great for home/small clubs/larger clubs. Second it has enough controls to provide great versatility. It's robust enough to stand up to the rigors of gigging (an important consideration) and, finally, it sounds great.

There are so many great tube amps out there at so many price points that you'll never run out of models to explore. I envy you your search.
 

Robbie

Friend of Fred
Jun 17, 2013
5,838
Sarnia Ontario Canada
Its a big conversation without any finite answers. Just use your ears and have fun and you'll win even if it's just temporary.

This pretty much says it, try lots of amps and buy what sounds best to you. The process is fun.
 

Travst

Electromatic
Jan 5, 2015
13
Birmingham, AL
I have a number of tube amps and haven't been truly happy with any of them when paired with my old Tennessean. I have a Bassman build nearing completion and hope that amp will be the ticket. If not, I'll be hitting the stores and trying out amps as I think that is the only way to get the sound that I'm looking for. I've been disappointed too many times with listening to clips and buying amps online. Get out there and run the racks as has been suggested. That sounds like a lot of fun to me.

One amp I'd love to try is the reissue '68 Deluxe Reverb. Of course, I can't find one to play in this metro area of 1.2 million people....
 

National19

Country Gent
Jan 4, 2014
1,613
Ottawa Canada
I have the Fender Blues deluxe RI. I love the sound of that amp and would recommend it. But, make sure you try the fender amps first. Mine goes from no volume to insane crazy loud by the time the volume knob hits 3. I have never turned it up past 5, I have read that many fender amps are like that.

I also have the VOX ac15. That amp is great, and the tone is very nice. I would recommend this one as well.

I used to play through a Marshall Stack and Randall amps that were solid states, once I bought the fender tube amp, I sold the others since I knew I would never use them again.

But really, like everyone said, the best amp for you is the one that YOU think sounds right.
Good luck in the hunt.
 

Rodney Gene

Synchromatic
Mar 30, 2014
538
Austin Texas
I have the Fender Blues deluxe RI. I love the sound of that amp and would recommend it. But, make sure you try the fender amps first. Mine goes from no volume to insane crazy loud by the time the volume knob hits 3. I have never turned it up past 5, I have read that many fender amps are like that.
None are quite as extreme as the Blues Deluxe RI...LOL!

http://guitarless.com/2011/07/how-to-fender-blues-deluxe-volume-mod/

Helpful mod. Just a tad tedious.

Cheers!

RG
 

dinks

Country Gent
Dec 18, 2014
1,289
Kansas
I have a Vox AC15, and I absolutely love the sound of my old Streamliner coming through it. It's got a beautiful classic tone, and it's a fantastic amp anyway. It's clean tones are so pure and clear (much more to my liking than even the Fender tube amps that I tried), and it pairs well with the filtertron on my Streamliner. I typically use pedals for any distortion or overdrive, but the overdriven tone of the amp is pretty sweet as well. The built in spring reverb and tremolo are also very nice. I bought the two button pedal to turn them on and off, and I use both regularly. Wonderful amp.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,399
Tucson
There are as many answers as there are Gretsch players. My favorite amp is the Winfield Cyclone, a boutique amp roughly based on the old Vox AC-15 with an EF-86 pentode in the preamp. I also like the sound of a Fender Blackface.

My personal preference is against amps that have a strong midrange.
 


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