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> Total Beginner Needs A Little Guidance, Chosing an amp for my SA160
xChrisx
post Feb 10 2008, 05:16 PM
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First off, hi there I'm Chris and I just joined the site recently.

This website was a great find. I orignally tried to start on the guitar when I was 14 with some totally naff Encore guitar and an even worse amp. Took a few lessons from a local guitar teacher who was more interested in getting me to play national anthems and nursery rhymes on the guitar rather than music I actually wanted to play. Needless to say with crap lessons and a guitar that sounded like a weak fart most of the time I gave up.

Anyway, I am 23 now and eager to learn, properly. However I am stumped at chosing a decent amplifier to get started with.

The guitar I own is an Ibanez SA 160. I bought it off a friend for a good price and he threw in a really useless Squier Sp-10. I'd probably get a better sound with a karaoke box taping the microphone to my guitar to be honest. Overdrive is a button for chrissakes. It's a real drag because when I am trying to follow the lessons on the site the sound coming from my guitar sounds nothing like the sounds in the videos, so I can't tell if I'm even playing basic chords correctly. The sound from the speaker is just one big garbled mess.

As you may have guessed I am interested in playing or learning to play heavy music mostly. Metal and hardcore punk. Though I would like an amp that will give me a bit more versatility besides metal, because I would also like to play some mellower stuff from time to time such as rock, indie, blues or pop punk.

I am more interested in an amplifier that gives a nice tone rather than massive volume. I don't plan to play in any bands for a while until I have learnt to play fairly well. When I do feel ready to join or start a band I will splash out on an amp that is decent enough for gigs.

My budget is around £100-150 ($200-$300 for the yanks!), don't mind stretching that a bit for an amp that would good for practising as well as early gigging. Buying a used amp is no problem for me, probably a better option infact.

I had been looking at the Line6 Spider 3 amps, but I hear a lot of conflicting opinions on these amps. Some say they are good for beginners because the sound emulation provides a good sound for the amount you pay and can make cheaper guitars sound better. Others say transistor amps are worthless and I should stick to a 15w Marshall tube amp for a "warmer" sound.

Well being a novice with a budget guitar I'm not sure I'd notice this warmer sound, especially if I'm more interested in playing heavy music.

So to some that up I'm after a decent beginner amp that isn't too expensive, sound is more important than volume, and I want to play mostly metal/punk but still be able to get a reasonable sound when playing softer styles.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!






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kahall
post Feb 10 2008, 05:25 PM
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If you are set on purchasing an amp I am of no help. But if great tones are what you are looking for I would suggest one of the following which will allow you to get most any tone right from your PC speakers and it sounds great. Guitar Port, Tone Port, or Korg Pandora and there are many more options available I am sure. Get the amp later when you need it.


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JVM
post Feb 10 2008, 05:35 PM
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Kahall has a good suggestion. Muris uses a pandora. I use a toneport myself (along with a nice amp, but the TP for practicing). This is a good way to go if you're not playing with anyone.

I'm sure the line 6 amp would be fine also for practicing, can't say if it's good for early gigging or not. What people say about tube amps sounding better is, in my experience, true. You get more harmonics on top of the note you're playing (not like harmonics at the 12th fret kind of thing, but its something you get on every note. Hard to explain. Kind of like layers on top of your sound).

If I were you I'd get a fairly cheap solid state amp, maybe a vox valvetronix as they have a nicer sound than the line 6 in my opinion. If within your budget you can get one loud enough for gigging (and I think you can) you can use it for practice and early gigging. Get a tube amp later.


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JVM
post Feb 10 2008, 05:40 PM
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One of these two maybe:

AD30VT

or

AD30vt-XL

I think the XL is geared more toward metal and hard rock, while retaining clean sounds and stuff. I haven't tried it, only the ad30vt. There's a review of it in the gear section.


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Maximus
post Feb 10 2008, 06:02 PM
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For the price you mentioned I would go a couple of ways. If you want an amp you can't go wrong with the Spider. For a beginner it will give you a wide range of tones that will certainly suit your purpose. Most people who knock the Spider are comparing them to much more expensive or specialized amps. They are not perfect but they are pretty diverse. Another low cost alternative is to get a Pocket Pod/Toneport etc (60-130 USDollars) These little things give you awesome tone through a set of headphones/computer and both have the ability to tweak tones and grab free additional tones from the web. The Toneport is more diverse as recording rig and the PP is geared more toward straight forward guitar playing although they both have some crossover functions. I do alot of traveling so I chose the PP which I take with me everywhere and it allows me to record also. Ivan did a great review of the Toneport in the gear review section. Today's guitar gear market makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. You will be amazed with the options you have. You are inevitably going to get 100 conflicting opinions any time you ask a question like this to a bunch of guitar junkies. We are a very diverse and often opinionated bunch so good luck. I'm sure you will find the perfect setup for you. The most important part is that you found GMC. The rest is gravy.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 10 2008, 06:37 PM
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I would recommend an audio interface, if you wanna amp get some Randall, or Peavye, you can find cheaper solid state ones with 12" speaker.


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MickeM
post Feb 10 2008, 06:53 PM
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Hope you're a City fan since United failed a bit again. wink.gif

I'd go for a Laney if I were you. LV 65W has a preamp valve. Or the LX, solid state at 65 W.


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xChrisx
post Feb 10 2008, 08:56 PM
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Thanks for the advice guys. I think I'm gonna go for the Vox ADV30T - reviews I've read of it have all been very positive. From what I've read the XL version has an inferior tone overall to the standard version so I'll give that a miss. It costs way more and is quite hard to find anyway.

There's an ADV30T going on ebay for £60, this seems quite a bargain so I'm gonna go with that one.

With it being that cheap I think I'll get one of those interface ports for my PC too! They look pretty smart, and it will be handy to be able to record music from my guitar.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Feb 10 2008, 09:57 PM
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Laney amps are good to ..For gigs you will need at least 50wats solid state..Look out for marshal amps too they are great..Also Randall is very good value smile.gif

Happy bidding also !! wink.gif


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skennington
post Feb 10 2008, 11:38 PM
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Welcome to the site Chris. I was rite where your at a little more than 3mo ago (albeit no prior experience other than goofing around 20 years ago). I bought a solid state Marshall. Don't get me wrong, alot of bang for the money but if I had to start over, I would definitely by some sort of interface. As A beginner I'm certainly not planning a gig anytime soon. With the interface, you can experience alot of different amp combonations as well as a multitude of effects. This well help you make a more educated decision when buying an amp down the road.

Good example:


https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...mp;#entry135324

Scroll down and listen to Smells take. He plays through a (Pod XT I think ) and it sounds awsome. You can pick one up for around 300-350 US new.

Definitely my next investment, and I've got a half stack with onboard effects.
Good luck on your jouney and I'm sure I'll see you around the forum!

Steve


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xChrisx
post Feb 11 2008, 02:53 PM
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Well I lost the bid and the guy had a high reserve and the amp didn't sell anyway.

Anyway I'm leaning more towards an interface now after all the strong reccomendations.

I think I'll just go ahead and sell my Xbox 360 so I can afford a Pod XT haha.

This video on youtube REALLY makes me want a Pod XT now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHczaI8t7-4...feature=related

laugh.gif


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Bogdan Radovic
post Feb 11 2008, 02:57 PM
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Look into toneport if you are going to play beside computer (on its speakers) wink.gif It acts like a external soundcard and you plug speakers in it wink.gif

This post has been edited by Bogdan: Feb 11 2008, 02:58 PM


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xChrisx
post Feb 11 2008, 03:16 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan @ Feb 11 2008, 01:57 PM) *
Look into toneport if you are going to play beside computer (on its speakers) wink.gif It acts like a external soundcard and you plug speakers in it wink.gif


Won't an XT allow me to do that? Plus give me a lot of extra features? Or is the toneport more than enough? It's certainly a cheaper option.


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Chris Evans
post Feb 11 2008, 03:18 PM
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really does depend on what you want it for, the toneport gear thats been mentioned is fantastic if you just want it for home use.

I only went for the POD XT live because I wanted to use it "live" as well, it doesnt get good reviews for live work but I put it through a 150watt crate powerblock (a simple single channel job) into a 4x12" cab and it sounds just as good as when I run it through the PC so it killed two birds at the same time for me, I highly rate it! I managed to get mine off of ebay for £170, virtually new and boxed

This post has been edited by Smells: Feb 11 2008, 03:24 PM


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xChrisx
post Feb 11 2008, 03:32 PM
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Yeah it would just be for home use pretty much. Long as I can get a nice heavy sound with the interface (like modern metalcore - Atreyu/Killswitch etc. not that I actually like those bands) I'll be happy.

If I can achieve that with a tone port then cool.

When it comes to gigging I'd rather get an amp when I'm ready I think.


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xChrisx
post Feb 11 2008, 03:42 PM
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Quite liked Muris's review of the Korg Pandora PX4D too.

I think I've narrowed it down to a PX4D or a Toneport now then, time to check out ebay again.


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xChrisx
post Feb 12 2008, 07:48 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Feb 10 2008, 05:53 PM) *
Hope you're a City fan since United failed a bit again. wink.gif


Ironically I am five minutes walk from Old Trafford football ground, but not much of a football fan, but I always root for the under dog so I am glad City won. That said City aren't usually the under dogs when it comes to derbies ^^

My friends a big United fan so it's always fun to rub it in his face when they lose to a poor team like City hehehe.


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Goliath
post Feb 12 2008, 08:05 PM
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I have an XT Live and recommend it. I play through phones mostly, but hooking up to the CPU isn't a problem either. Plus, when/if I do want to play live, I'm going to pick up one of these jobs. You can get just about anything you want out of them.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 12 2008, 10:13 PM
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I think that the Toneport UX1 is the better solution than that Vox, especially if you have good PC speakers set. But, if you wanna amp sound and no interface, than the vox is the way to go.


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g-forcelover
post Feb 12 2008, 10:15 PM
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Whoo! go sp-10! i have one of those (play through a new marshall though) i acually like it! but marshalls are great amps


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