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I thought I would give you a quick tour and guide to my amps . Firstly I would like to say that I am addicted to valves , I have tried solid state amps and amps with valve emulation or a valve put in the circuit ( e.g. vox valvetronix ) , but for me the sound with a valve is just right . I would say that my guitars tend to be humbuckers and I do think that humbuckers sound better through valves , whereas with single coils there are benefits to both.

As a side issue, many are concerned that valve amps by their nature are less reliable and robust , I have never found that to be the case , I always take a back up amp to gigs in any case , but have never had to use one. Valves were often designed for military purposes e.g. 5881 in jet fighters , and are designed to sustain extreme forces. Always ensure though that you use the standby switch to ensure warm up and warm down of the amp and do not move it until it has cooled.

Valves last a long time , I tend to swap mine out every two years or so , and check that they are properly seated every three months - valve amps need a little more care but are worth the effort

Marshall JTM 30 2X10 - the amp is 25 years old now but has never given me any trouble other than a jack socket needing replacing. It has a great clean sound but has a real Marshall crunch then growl when pushed. I chose the 2X10 , I like the compression that a 10" speaker gives over the 12" , and I would recommend listening to the differences before going for the standard 12" . Its a nice portable amp and is available second hand at a reasonable price (£200 ish) , I stopped using it for gigs because I needed a louder clean sound and a bit more flexibility.

Mesa Boogie Mark IV 1X12 - this amp is 20 years old and is incredibly robust and reliable. Many are put off by the complexity of the controls of this amp , but I just went through the suggested settings in the manual and from online forums and tweaked from there. I have to say the the sound engineers love it for its DI output , both for recording and gigs , they and i were really impressed. I have to say that whilst capable of Bedroom level clean sounds , it is designed to be played loud and can get very loud. I do find the weight staggering though at 80lbs , plus it lives in a flightcase. For that reason it became a second amp as  backup and for outside gigs.

Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 1X10 - this amp is 10 years old and is my most used amp, not as flexible as the Mark IV , but covers most of the same bases with a more lush reverb and is less than half the weight. I can use it on all genres from Blues, Jazz , pop covers , rock . It is a lot easier to dial in the sound you want with this amp and again I chose the 10" speaker.

AER compact 60 , after trying a whole range of acoustic amps , this is the one i settled on , despite its small size , it sounds great and projects well. I use it both for may acoustics but also for Jazz when I want a particularly crystal clear sound. 

Getting back to to my first point re my love for valves , whilst my valve amps do a great clean , in fact for jazz a little bit of valve warmth sound great , but for true clean I have not found anything as good as solid state.


Best wishes 



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I love Mesa Boogie amps and have searched on YouTube for review clips of the 5:25.  It's supposed to be pretty versatile. 

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I remember when the 5:25 first came out, the reviewers were all raving about it, it sounded ace in demos as I recall. Hang onto to that bad boy, now Gibson have their claws into Mesa, there’s a good chance it’ll be like a pre CBS Fender.

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Nice choices. I love Mesa amps. Had a Studio.22 (which was my main gigging amp for a number of years) and a MkIV. I swapped out the Eminence original speaker on the IV for a Celestion jobbie. Can't remember the details but I do recall it having quite a dramatic effect on the sound. Not better or worse as such, but definitely different.

Had a few Marshalls over the years too, including an original 1968 top. Sold it for a song IIRC; now worth a small fortune no doubt!

I don't gig any more so my current amps are for personal use only:

Fender Blues Junior IV. Actually a bit more power than I needed for home use, but the clean sound with my AmSt Strat (picture on the nearby 'Strat' forum if you want to have a look) is to die for.


AER compact 60 with the relatively rare solid oak cabinet. I bought it after a visit to my local PMT, who let me test it alongside about half a dozen other candidates. Although the test showed up some interesting results, in the end it was no contest: nothing else came close. Better still, the oak cab is normally an extra cost item (£100+ IIRC), but they didn't have any standard tolex ones in the shop so I got it at the regular price.


DV Little Mark. I used to do the odd cocktail jazz gig, and this little thing was the perfect choice: small, light and portable. Made by the same people that make MarkBass bass amps (and almost exactly the same size as their Micromark).



Phil Jones Bass BG110 for bass duties. Mine is an earlier version than the stock photo example, with the PJB logo on the top panel and nothing on the front. Not really a gigging amp (unless you DI it of course...), but ideal for my needs. I've had a few PJBs over the years, so it's a known quantity for me, and given its size it really wasn't a hard choice to make.


Edited by leftybassman392

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