Questions and Answers
I am buying my first tube amp to go with the 1984 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony i just bought. I want to play all styles of music, and I mean all. I have tried the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 3 at guitar center and really like it. I have heard the orange dark terror on youtube and stuff and it sounds killer! Please tell me if I should buy the dark terror, and what cab, or the fender hot rod and which model. I am completely open to other suggestions, but the final price(cab and all) has to be under 1200. I have a spider jam right now and I absolutely hate how it sounds.
The Spider Jam is a great practice and simple recording tool, but you're right, they don't sound all that good. I have owned all 3 of the amps you're looking at and my suggestion is to buy none of them. The Terror series, Dark Terror, Tiny Terror and Dual Terror are very much one trick ponies. They are not even close to being a versatile amp.
I just sold my Hot Rod DeVille and had a Hot Rod Deluxe about 3 years ago. Worst gain channel ever. I only had them because I got them on a trade with the intention of selling. They sound fine clean but the drive channels are total crap. But if you like them that's all that matters. Personally I don't see any Fender amp as being very versatile. Doesn't matter what pedal you put in front of them, it still sounds like a Fender amp with a distortion pedal.
If you are hell bent on a Fender, the Deluxe Reverb is a far superior amp to anything in the Hot Rod series. If I were you I'd check out the Egnator Renegade, Line 6 DT 25 (extremely versatile)
and the Blackstar HT-60. The Fender Super Sonic may be worth a look also.
Questions and Answers
What tube amplifier heads do you recomend for starters. Im buying one next summer when im old enough to get a job. My budget is under 1000 dollars. I dont want something too big or too small. Something like a 50 watt would be perfect for me. I want an orange amp bad but their so damn expensive. Right now im playing on a fender frontman which i love but its not strong enough for small gigs. I can practically play all of the red hot chili peppers hits and im at a decent level of playing. Im a huge fan of frusciantes work but i dont wanna be a tone chaser and get a marshall stack just cus he uses them.
I also hate solid state amps
and im buying/building the cab when i get the head
this amps a 15 watt but i just fell in love with the tone. Would an orange tiny terror or a dual terror(30 watt) be good for a small gig.
If you are being mic'd, you don't need something that's very loud. If you aren't being mic'd, then yeah, you need something that will push some air.
I do own an Epiphone Valve Jr. It is a 5w all-tube amp. Yes, if it is plugged into a decent 4×12 or 2×12 cab it can put out quite a bit of volume, but there is a point where it starts to saturate and once you get past 1 o'clock or so on the volume knob you won't be able to get any clean tones out of it. Not a bad amp, and if my buddy is playing his 100w Marshall MG head through his 4×12 and doesn't turn up *too* loud, it can hold its own! But for live, non-mic'd performances… Nah, I'd want more wattage. Yes, it is a great amp for modifying, etc, and if you did the octal mod to it, so that it could use a 6L6 or EL34 instead of the EL86 (EL84? Whatever), it will be a lot louder, but that's a mod that even I am not ready to do, and I'm not willing to spend the money for it either. The biggest criticism I have of the amp is that its loudness is based so much on its treble and upper mid response – once you try to get some decent low end out of it it runs out of headroom very fast and you just can't get as much volume out of it.
Crate has the V series, and I've been very interested in the V33, either the 2×12 combo or head. Decent price, 33 watts, which is more than enough to be loud enough for what I need. For the price I could then spend some time upgrading the speakers (for the combo), tubes, components, whatever. 33 tube watts is plenty loud, as I'm sure you're aware, but should be enough to sound good at low volumes as well, so it should work just fine with or without a mic.
So much depends on your cab… More speakers = pushing more air, and this is crucial in terms of your volume. There's a reason why 4×12's are so popular – not only the low-end resonance from the bigger speaker box, but more speakers = more sound dispersal, and that means that more people can hear you!
I would actually encourage you to try the Marshall MG series. I know you've said you don't like solid state, but honestly, I'm a bit of a tube snob myself, and I've been very impressed with the MG ***when coupled with a decent cab!***
So I actually would encourage you to couple the 100w MG head with a decent 2×12, or even try the 50w 1×12 combo. It's still quite loud, and has a decent size box, so it actually has quite a solid low end chunk – I went with my buddy to Guitar Center at what point and compared the two side by side, the Marshall MG with stock half-stack, and the 1×12 50w combo A/B next to each other. It was kinda funny, the 50w had more low end chunk….
I suggest looking up Avatar speakers… Higher quality than the brand name stuff, ie the Marshall 2×12, and you get to pick your speakers. I love the Celestion G12T-75's, I think they're one of the best speakers out there for anything even vaguely rock-ish. Plenty of wattage, so they don't break up easily (you keep your low end, even at high volumes!) and enough high end to cut through but not enough to get all hissy or whatnot.
Personally, I'm running a Crate Powerblock at the moment. It's a solid state power amp, true, but I'm coupling it with a Tubeworks tube preamp, and that really gives it a good tube feel. I've got a Tubeworks power amp (solid state power amp with built-in tube preamps) on layaway, though, and the Powerblock may end up as my backup. =)
Don't be too quick to knock solid-state, I guess is what I'm saying – many great players have used solid-state amps, and they sounded great (BB King and Dimebag Darrell are two who come to mind!).
Anyhoo…. Good luck. It *is* important to play before you buy, or at least make sure the store has a good return policy! =)
Questions and Answers
I'm planning on trading in my Vox VT15 Combo in at Guitar Center for an Orange PiX CR35LDX 35W. Will this be loud enough to play with a drummer and bassist? The drummer I play with is a very hard hitter, and I really don't know what would be loud enough.
It's probably fine. If it seems too quiet, then turn down the "low" knob and turn up the "mid" knob. That will help cut through the noise of the drums.