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Skybone

The Valve Amp Thread

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Who loves the sound of some outdated electronic glass bottles with killer voltages running through them?

I've been lucky enough to own a few good ones, a few dodgy ones, and I still own a great one.

Worst was a Marshall TSL122. The clean channel was alright, the other 2 channels were dreadful. It was too powerful an amp for the house, even with the Power Reduction switch engaged. Hey ho, you live & learn.

Had a JCM800 2x12 combo for a while. One of the single channel ones. Sounded great, but it had been revalved many moons previously for 5881's, they sounded good, but they didn't last very well, so it had to be revalved regularly at great expense. After I got it, a speaker failed, so I had to get a replacement (Celestion V30), then the other failed, so I stupidly put another V30 in it. Completely ruined it. Sounded awful with 2 V30's, couldn't get it to sound right after that.

The best one, is a Matamp 1224. Hand built in Yorkshire, pure valvey goodness, and with a really nice vinyl finish that they managed to source specifically for me. Got a matching 4x12 cab and a 1x12 cab for home use, both finished in the same vinyl. Had the faceplate replaced after a year with the "block" 70's Matamp logo. The amp has valve switching features where you can choose 4 different power valve combinations, 1 valve in Class A, 2 valves in Class A, 2 valves in Class AB1 & 4 valves in Class AB1. There's also a half power switch and a Pentode/Triode switch on the back.

 

What have you got???

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I have a nice range of valve amps

In order of playing preference

1972 Marshall Artiste combo

Vox AC10

Peavey Delta Blues

Two Rock Exo 15

Laney VC15

Fender Excelsior

Marshall Class 5

H&K Tubemeister5

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Valve amps all the way for me:

  • Matchless Lightning 15 Reverb
  • 5E3 '57 Deluxe clone (Modulus kit build)
  • Swart Space Tone Reverb
  • 5E3 Micro (DIY)

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Had a Wem Dominator mk3, bloody marvellous!

Also Wem Westminster, 10 watts, lovely too, before the trend for low wattage valve amps by about 40 years.

Wish I hadn't sold either.

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I love the latest generation of modellers - an ax8 is used for not of my gigs but I love my valves as well.    There doesn’t seem to be much in between - solid state amps that do anything for me.  

Currently using a 74 Marshall superbass and 86 Jubilee heads, a fender twin reverb or a little Bogner 1x12 mojado - often run an modeller into the power amp on that and it’s ace but doesn’t move air like the big old stacks.  

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I'm a Diezel fanboi. Currently have a D-Moll and a VH4. I have an Orange Rockerverb MKIII 100-watter too, but it's not being used much lately.

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I've had a fair few over the years:

Marshall JCM800 2210 (Twin channel 100 Watter) and '87 Silver Jubilee 2555 heads , Studio 15 and Jubilee 1x12 combos,

Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier & Hiwatt Hi Gain 50 heads.

Various cabs but stuck with a Marshall 1936 2x12 for years.

 

Currently got a Rivera Chubster 55 1x12 combo.

 

Would love to hear a Diezel VH4 in person though!

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Just an AC10 for me. I only play in the house so it's a bit overkill. Not so much as my Fender Twin used to be though.

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I had an eighties Fender Twin.  Great sound, weighed a ton.  Now I have a Fender Blues Deluxe, still heavy but sounds great especially when paired with an attenuator and a good guitar!  😁😁😁😁😍😍😍

I also have a sixties Gibson GA100, all original.  Also sounds amazing with an original fifties P90 equipped ES5 or a Les Paul (any age, but a good one) not so good with a strat.

I have a Line6 POD XT Live.  Great for recording, doesn’t work for me live. 

0027A933-50FD-4A2B-880D-CA5F50D739BD.thumb.jpeg.030aff777f6d5a72a8e4329f3cab1a7b.jpeg

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IIRC I’ve had:

Traynor 2x12 (a Fender Twin clone that weighed a ton).

Marshall Country & Club

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (I replaced the speaker with a Jensen 12”, which improved it no end).

A self build Stinger amp, designed by Denis Cornell, 1x10, 11w.

Fender Super Champ X2 (my current amp, albeit with some digital FX gubbins in it).

But the best valve amp I ever owned was Fender ‘59 Bassman reissue. 4x10, 2x6L6 and loud as hell! I modded it so it be a master volume amp, with preamp gain control. What a tone.

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22 hours ago, Witters said:

I had an eighties Fender Twin.  Great sound, weighed a ton.  Now I have a Fender Blues Deluxe, still heavy but sounds great especially when paired with an attenuator and a good guitar!  😁😁😁😁😍😍😍

I also have a sixties Gibson GA100, all original.  Also sounds amazing with an original fifties P90 equipped ES5 or a Les Paul (any age, but a good one) not so good with a strat.

I have a Line6 POD XT Live.  Great for recording, doesn’t work for me live. 

0027A933-50FD-4A2B-880D-CA5F50D739BD.thumb.jpeg.030aff777f6d5a72a8e4329f3cab1a7b.jpeg

Wow, I love that Gibson amp, been looking for one of those for yonks, just fabulous!

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I've not looked back since getting a Divided by 13 JRT 9/15. It's a single channel amp, predominantly clean, but you can crank it into a nice break up.

It's got 2 sides to it - 6V6 at 9 watts side and EL84s at 15 watts which makes it ideal for both home playing and gigs, but don't be fooled by the wattage. It's loud enough for live and has enough clean headroom plus it's an excellent pedal platform and so I get all my drives from pedals.

You don't see many of them over here and the main users I know of are Rob Harris of Jamiroquai, Shawn Tubbs (Carrie Underwood and numerous product vids), The Eagles, Pete Thorn and McCartney's guitarists.

The off white one is my one and the purple one is a mate's, which is up for sale if anyone's interested. The cab is a Tone Tubby 2x12 that has a mixture of ceramic and alnico Tone Tubby speakers (they call it their H Bomb Combo) and it's a fantastic marriage with the head. Now, if I could have the overdriven sounds of a 5150 in there as well, I'd be made up! :)

 

Bz3JURZ.jpg

 

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They're actually slightly shorter than Marshall heads and it's the angle.

For reference, that's a regular 2x12 cab so you can see they're not filling it across.

Their weight is ok-ish and obviously, for them to do what they do in the way that they do it there's some hefty transformers in there and the weights all at one end.

Edited by Kebabkid

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On 18/08/2018 at 21:50, Skybone said:

Who loves the sound of some outdated electronic glass bottles with killer voltages running through them?

I've been lucky enough to own a few good ones, a few dodgy ones, and I still own a great one.

Worst was a Marshall TSL122. The clean channel was alright, the other 2 channels were dreadful. It was too powerful an amp for the house, even with the Power Reduction switch engaged. Hey ho, you live & learn.

Had a JCM800 2x12 combo for a while. One of the single channel ones. Sounded great, but it had been revalved many moons previously for 5881's, they sounded good, but they didn't last very well, so it had to be revalved regularly at great expense. After I got it, a speaker failed, so I had to get a replacement (Celestion V30), then the other failed, so I stupidly put another V30 in it. Completely ruined it. Sounded awful with 2 V30's, couldn't get it to sound right after that.

The best one, is a Matamp 1224. Hand built in Yorkshire, pure valvey goodness, and with a really nice vinyl finish that they managed to source specifically for me. Got a matching 4x12 cab and a 1x12 cab for home use, both finished in the same vinyl. Had the faceplate replaced after a year with the "block" 70's Matamp logo. The amp has valve switching features where you can choose 4 different power valve combinations, 1 valve in Class A, 2 valves in Class A, 2 valves in Class AB1 & 4 valves in Class AB1. There's also a half power switch and a Pentode/Triode switch on the back.

 

What have you got???

Did someone  mention   MATAMP   ?

15362662413492013960430.jpg

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After a series of Marshalls, Mesas and Fenders the current weapon of choice is a Cornford Hurricane.

(I also have an AER for acoustic and a lovely little DV Little Mark for Jazz, but they're both solid state so don't really count here.)

I don't gig these days though so it hasn't even been switched on since it had a service and revalve last year. I did actually have it up for sale a while ago (and if I got a decent offer I'd probably still consider selling it), but keeping it certainly won't be a problem. I mean, you never know... :)

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Unfortunately I can't post updated images because it's all in storage.  However...I own a nicely worn Burman Pro501 combo which is ex-Lindisfarne, two surprisingly excellent Ibanez TSA5 combos and a Rivera era Fender Concert 1x12 which I have never seen let alone played.  Plus there's a Burman GX3 preamp which is nice for clean recording and 70's style fluffy distortion.

I'm seriously tempted by the Roland JC40 though.  Always loved the articulate sound of the JC120.

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Had a fair few in my time, although now just have my Marshall 1974 combo left. 18 watts of magic, made around 1968 I believe. Any guitar sounds brill through it. Owned it for over 40 years now, so will probably see me out too. Doesn’t stop me GAS ing for something else though, maybe a bit Fender style? Would love a Deluxe reissue after trying one a while ago, sounded lush.

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I've had quite a few. My current one is a Marshall DSL401 which suits fine for practice at home and the odd gig (for my main gig I use a Pod X3 into the PA)

Before that I had one and a half Marshall stacks - DSL50 head with 2 modern 4x12s, JCM800 100W superbass with a 1970s 4x12 plus 2 SE100 speaker emulators/power breaks to bring the volume down to listenable! I had it set up with the JCM800 for clean-ish tones and the DSL50 for classic distortion. Sold them when I got married and didn't have space for them 😪

Andy

 

stacks1.jpg.8b54bd77188648b10a6b2f8600d62c4e.jpg

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I’ve dipped my toe in the valve pond twice but only at the cheap end of things. First was an Epi Valve Junior which, once you stick an eq and an OD pedal through it, is great for home use and recording. A very loud 5 Watts. Next was a Blackheart Handsome Devil. 15 / 7 Watts controllable. 12 inch speaker. Single channel. I love this amp and I use it, again, mostly for recording. A lot of bang for the buck as they say.

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4260B786-71CC-46EF-B691-08B9B4D6206A.jpeg

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I've never owned a valve amp but am seriously considering  shifting my big Peavey Bandit (I never get to turn the volume past 2) and maybe the blackstar Fly 3 (my current practice amp) and getting a Marshall DSL1 or Blackstar HT1 for all my home use needs. At the minute though I don't know whether it will really be enough of an upgrade over the Fly 3 to justify the spend.

Edited by Harryburke14

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I made a simple but effective (and fairly obvious now I know) discovery this week.  My Blues Deluxe sounds great with a cheap attenuator in the fx loop.  I can crank the preamp (had it up to 75% of full volume), get a great tone, keep the volume down.  I do miss the moving air and sense of power, though.

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A decent Attenuator is possibly one of the most overlooked / underrated bits of kit ever.

Shouldn't you be putting it between the power amp & the speaker(s)?

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On 24/09/2018 at 14:42, Skybone said:

A decent Attenuator is possibly one of the most overlooked / underrated bits of kit ever.

Shouldn't you be putting it between the power amp & the speaker(s)?

I was told to put this one in the fx loop, works ok, but I’ll look into options, thanks.

i was looking into some for our harmonica player and they go between the power amp and speaker as you say.  Hmmmm....got me thinking.

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