Which amp to chose?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by jakjar123, Feb 14, 2021.

  1. jakjar123

    jakjar123 Electromatic

    Feb 14, 2021
    This question has probably popped up a few times but I can't find too many relevant answers.
    I play fingerstyle, Chet Atkins etc.
    I used to only play acoustic but bought a Gretsch G5420T and I love it. But I'm not sure about the amp I should pick with it. I only plan on playing clean so distortions etc. are of no interest to me. With the Gretsch I got a Roland JC-22. I like the sound I get out of it, but I'm wondering if there are better amps out there for this kind of playing? I don't want to find myself in a couple of months, thinking I should have got a different amp.
    Of course best idea is to try them all, but the country I live in is locked down for at least another 6 weeks so that's not an option. My budget isn't small, but I don't really want to pay for a twin reverb reissue. I will mostly play at home, and very occasionally in a small place for now. I'm not really bothered whether it's transistor or tube as long as it sounds great for fingerstyle playing. Any suggestions from people who play a similar style? I looked at the blues junior, tone master and so on, but I'm not sure if they will be that much better than the JC so I'm asking while I can still exchange it!
  2. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    If you are happy with the sound of the Roland then I would keep it. If you are not sure then you need to try other amps out before the exchange policy runs out.
    The Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb amps are nice clean amps - 22 watts. (I think my 5420 as well as my other Gretsch guitars sound really good through my Deluxe.) Not as powerful as a Twin Reverb but it sounds like that amp would be over kill for your playing situation. The Twin is also ungodly heavy. To my ears the 65 Deluxe amp is a bit sweeter than the Tone Master version and I think the reverb sounds better too. (Not looking to start any debate wars - "real 65 Deluxe vs Tone Master version") just my opinion...:).
  3. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Keep the Roland. For your style, they're great.
    I'll also second a Deluxe Reverb. A Twin would as be clean, but massive overkill.
    Try as many amps as you can, but for home use and small gigs, 15-20 watts or so is more thn enough. If you need more, just mike it,
    Scott, pilgrim and MotorCentaur like this.
  4. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    These days you should take a little while to investigate the modeling amps. The advantage is that they sound fantastic and have many different sound profiles built in. For example, Fender is known for their clean tones and my Fender LT-25 has a whole list of fender amps pre-programmed in. You're not stuck with a one-trick pony, you have your choice of many, even if you pick one favorite and never change it.
    They also program in a bunch (probably 50+) of pedals. Even if you never use them they don't add to the price and actually you will want to try all the delays and choruses and tremolos even if you only play clean.

    Most of the amp companies have modeling versions and Fender is known for some of the best. About a year ago I bought my Mustang LT-25 for $150US and absolutely love it. Way more capabilities than I will ever use.
    A few months ago, in hopes of playing some open-mic nights in the future I bought the Mustang GTX100. A steal at $499US, it has 100 watts of power and a 12 inch speaker with balanced outputs for PA and USB for recording so it is all the amp I will ever need, period. Tons of amps pre-programmed and representatives of most types of pedals you can name, many more than the LT-25.

    An advantage I really appreciate is that the modelers do have so many pedals built in. You will see that individual pedals can cost a fortune, and many players have a thousand $$$ (or more) on the floor in front of them. For convenience I will buy a couple of pedals that I'll use all the time but otherwise I'll save a fortune.

    You can search YouTube for any amp you might be considering. Plug some good speakers into your computer and have a listen.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2021
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  5. cosmicCowboy

    cosmicCowboy Electromatic

    Feb 11, 2021
    Texas hill country
    Jc120 is the pinnacle of a clean tone
    j.s.c and Tony65x55 like this.
  6. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Well, that really starts a conversation. There are so many great amps to choose from for the kind of sound you want. If you aren't doing any gigging then the gents have steered you right, the Fenders are much loved for their great cleans and wonderful reverbs.

    You can stay with the classic small Fenders, the Princeton Reverb and the Deluxe Reverb. Check out the ones with tubes and the superb new Fender Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb and the Twin Reverb. Vox amps can sound immense but so's their weight. Mesa's can have some pretty nice cleans and if you can lay your hands on a Traynor YGL-2 you can be in heaven.

    Lots of great choices and you will have many suggestions - and most will be solid. This site is full of knowledgeable tone freaks.

    Welcome to Gretsch Talk, friend.
  7. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Synchromatic

    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    I got a tonemaster twin a while back and it became the only amp I use pretty quickly. It sounds phenomenal and has a wattage selector in the back so you can make it as quiet or as lout as you want and not sacrifice the tone. It has a bright switch so you can add or take away a little high end at the flip of a switch. Couldn’t recommend it enough.

    also don’t rule out the peavey classic. I used one for years. It’s an amazing amp.
  8. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Personally I’d be perfectly happy with the JC22 for Chet cleans, and I have several tube amps.

    On the other hand we all understand the grass being greener somewhere else, and I don’t have the illusion we can keep you from spending your money on something different. :)

    Chet recorded most of his records with a Standel 25L15.
  9. jakjar123

    jakjar123 Electromatic

    Feb 14, 2021
    Thanks for all the replies everyone, really appreciate it :)
    I live in the UK so trying out different amps right now costs me £30 every time I wanna send them back haha.
    The only issue I have with the JC22 is replicating the tone. I read somewhere that Chet had treble down to 2 and bass up to 7. With the JC that's not happening, the bass just gets overwhelming. I've been trying to find the right setting but it's either overly bass heavy or the lows become quacky. I can still get a good tone out of it, but it's not the "vintage Chet" tone I'm looking for. It might be cause I still need to experiment a bit more. I know, tone is in the hands haha, but I see other players who aren't Chet and they get a relative close tone and in the background it always seems to be a deluxe reverb or a twin :)
    The tone master is twice the price of the JC and the tube version is 3 or 4 so that's a bit too much. So I'm just wondering if people think the tonemaster will be close enough? I see the online comparisons, but they tend to just grab a strat or a tele and crank the volume at which point the tube wins clearly. Not that many people seem to play fingerstyle at a low-mid volume.
    Only reason why I'm so tentative is because I once tried a D'angelico through a blues cube and wasn't too happy so I decided to stick with acoustic. The Gretsch is a totally different story! Loved it straight away, now just looking for the right amp.
    Would love to get a Standel, but I can only find about 3 or 4 heads on reverb.
  10. michelb

    michelb Synchromatic

    Mar 27, 2020
    Every amp needs a different EQ, you can't just replicate settings from one amp to another. Listen to recordings of Chet and replicate the sound as you hear it. Starting out with everything at 5 helps. Then Evaluate what it lacks and what's in there too much. You should be able to get close with any amp. The hard thing to reproduce with an amp is edge break up and dynamics, cause that's amp flavour. But a pure clean tone should be reproducible on any amp.
    new6659, pmac11 and Londoner like this.
  11. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Hi @jakjar123 and welcome to the forum . I have a Roland JC-40 , really can't get a cleaner sound than a Roland IMO . But if you have the $$ , I would look into a good Fender or better yet , Gretsch Guitars go hand in hand with Victoria Amps .

    I'd keep the Roland even if you get another amp
  12. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Country Gent

    Nov 26, 2019
    Greybull, WY
    Hello @jakjar123 welcome to the forum. Good advice above, I don't play Chet style so can't add anything to the mix.
    Good luck on your quest, and enjoy that Gretsch.
  13. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Keep it and buy a Mystery Brain, then if you want a different tone flavor a JRBarnyard/ElPescadoro. So who here uses a Mystery Brain witht the JC? Mind adding any comments on how the two interact with each other. I think the OP might be pleased.
    jakjar123 likes this.
  14. Mark W

    Mark W Country Gent

    Jun 6, 2008
    Central Florida
    If you want a nice clean try a Quilter. Solid state but it's cleans are nice. Heck I used to get great cleans out of a Fender Frontman FM 25r and a Deluxe 90 DSP. My preference is for lower wattage and lighter weight these days. A Twin is HUGE sounding. You could hurt your hearing!
    jakjar123 likes this.
  15. Bob Perrone

    Bob Perrone Electromatic

    Mar 7, 2017
    allentown, pa
    I agree with Thunder58, whatever you do keep the Roland. I have one and they are great little amps.
    I just tried the new Marshall Code 50 and holy cow, this is one hell of an amp. Terrific modelling set as well as recording interface. If you can't get Chet's tone out of this then ...well...you just can't.
    jakjar123 and pmac11 like this.
  16. T-Bawler

    T-Bawler Electromatic

    Aug 23, 2020
    I too chose the Fender Mustang LT25 for my first amp and have been very happy with its performance. It is relatively inexpensive and the perfect size for a small practice area. The clean tones tend to be among my favorites, including "Fender Clean," "Super Dry Clean" and "Dark and Clean."
    jakjar123 and Randy99CL like this.
  17. AllenK

    AllenK Gretschie

    I like the tones I get from a Roland Blues Cube Hot. Small enough for home practice but loud enough to gig with.

    That said, I haven't tried explicitly getting Chet tones, more Brian and George! I did once try treble down to 2 and base to 7, or thereabouts. I think I read something like that for a Scotty Moore type tone with a Gretsch on another thread. Amp was fine with it but not what I was after. Base 6, Middle 5 and treble 7.5 (out of 12) are my settings on the Cube.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2021
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  18. MotorCentaur

    MotorCentaur Gretschie

    May 11, 2016
    Fender Fender Fender

    I had a JC-120 for a while, but I quickly fatigued of it's solid state sterility. Sure it was "clean", but also lifeless.

    There's just something "magical" about the Fender blackface "clean" tone with a little reverb.

    To stay "clean" at volume, you need enough headroom, so consider that in equation.

    A Deluxe Reverb would probably suit you, for size and volume. The don't have a mid tone knob though. Something that can be dealt with, with a quality graphic eq though.

    Good luck!
    jakjar123 likes this.
  19. jakjar123

    jakjar123 Electromatic

    Feb 14, 2021
    Thanks for all the friendly messages and the input. I saw on other websites people getting very defensive and fighting each other over this kind of thing but it seems that Gretsch not only has amazing tones it also has a great community! After reading through all the comments and doing more research on youtube, I decided to dish out some money and also ordered a Deluxe Reverb TM. I will compare the 2 amps tomorrow when it arrives and keep the one I like the best :) My experience so far is that the Gretsch I got, played acoustically has a tone I absolutely love. The JC keeps that tone on the highs but not so much on the mids and lows, it seems to be either boxy or overwhelming. I wonder if it's just that I chose the smaller version instead of the bigger one. It's still good but I am curious to see if the Fender will get these sounding how I would like them to. It might just be a case of getting all the settings right so I will play around some more. I will let you guys know the results! Again, thank you for the comments, proud to be a part of this community!

    P.S. Everyone seems to have different ideas and I noticed that one video will say the exact opposite about the same amp. It's funny and frustrating at the same time lol. 1 person will say about the TM version that it's brighter and the next one will say that it's too muddy and another that it's all about getting the EQ right and the amps are almost impossible to tell apart haha. I guess that it's just bias and different people like different things. But it's nice to see that overall, the JC and Fender are the way to go for clean tones :) From the research the TM is on par with the tubes as long as it's clean or slightly broken up which is exactly what I'm going for so distortions don't interest me anyway.
    T-Bawler likes this.
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