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> Amp
post Aug 16 2007, 10:44 AM
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Hey i was wondering what kind of amp you have. I'm in the market for one and I want one that can cover a broad variety of styles. So if yours is pretty versatile please share. Plus great lessons, keep up the good work! smile.gif


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Kristofer Dahl
post Aug 16 2007, 10:46 PM
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I know David is moving to Ireland - his answer might therefore be delayed. I'll notify him though! smile.gif

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David OToole
post Aug 28 2007, 08:28 PM
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Hi Swingline

Sorry for the delay in answering your query, as Kris mentioned I've just moved to Ireland from Switzerland so things are a bit topsy-turvey at the moment smile.gif.

Btw, I mention the term 'Valves' below, but just to mention that these are called 'Tubes' in the States and elsewhere I'm sure. Same component, different name. Also the term 'Trannies/Tranny' refers to 'Transistors'.

There are different types of amps and they are broken up into 3 main categories:

1/ Valve/Tube Amps
2/ Transistors Amps
3/ Hybrid Amps.

A good guidance rule to use is to make your decision on what type of music you want to play regarding choosing a Valve or Tranny amp. This is the main criteria you should use when choosing.

My take on it in general would be this. With a valve amp you can get all of the transistor amp sounds available more or less. With a tranny amp, it's a difficult if not impossible job to to get the same warm 'valve lead tone'. This is a very heated and contentious point causing lots of debates amongst guitar players over the years.

I think the upshot of it all is, as mentioned but worth repeating is, make the decision on what type of music you want to play. Apart from the obvious expenses and what you can afford of course. Now this may sound a bit obvious but it's quite common for players to choose the wrong type of amp for the wrong styles of music. It's a bit of a learning curve I guess.

I would first suggest to you that if you are playing Rocky/Blues lead guitar along with heavy rhythm I would strongly suggest that you invest in a Valve amp. They give a much warmer tone in the lead department than the transistor amps due to their inherent nature and the way the signal is processed.

The clean tranny sounds are excellent in particular and there ARE great lead sounds to be had from a tranny amp, but getting that 'warm' lead/overdrive tone is difficult. But with some styles of music this 'warm' lead tone is not required. Sometimes a searing and cutting lead tone is what is required, so a Tranny amp is perfect here.

On the down side to valve amps, they are expensive compared to the trannies and you need to replace the valves every half year to a year depending on how much you gig the amp. Saying that, some players just leave the valves in for years and it suits them fine. It's not a clear black and white situation. Also they tend to weigh a ton - ask my aching back smile.gif.

But for myself I think these compromises are worth it in the tone that is given.

There are so many amps out there these days that another type has come into the mix and these are called Hybrid amps. They are a mixture of both technologies, both Valve and Tranny. Then you have the likes of the mighty 'Pod' which simulates many amps at the touch of a button. But these, as the makers themselves have termed are 'simulations' and not the real thing - although some seriously excellent sounds are to be had from these units without doubt. Many pros in the game use this type of gear.

So a clearcut answer is not really possible to give here as every player has his own personal tastes on what music sounds are needed and sound best.

So to give a basic guideline I would suggest a Peavey Classic 50w (Valve Amp) which is what I use myself as my main amp. It's got 2 channels, clean and dirty, a reverb unit built in and footswitchable channels (which is a must for live work). It's pretty versatile and will cover most sounds you would need. You can add an extra speaker to it if necessary.

For Rock or heavier stuff I would suggest looking into the Marshall DSL 100 (as used by Gary Moore among others).

Also I would suggest to you the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe valve amp - great sounds out of it.

Line 6 do some pretty good stuff too of course, but I think they lean towards more ' modern' sounds as opposed to 'Vintage' ones. And also I would recommend the Vox 'Valvetronics' range.

Once you have a good amp sorted, you will need a good effects units to give you many different sounds especially if you are doing covers or need more that just a clean/overdrive/distorted sound. This too is a world in itself regarding choices available.

My off the top of my head suggestion here would be most Boss stuff. Or the Line 6 Pod is a great unit, but whatever effects unit that you might go for, get the basic guitar/amp setup right first and THEN get an excellent effects pedal.

Another unit I would recommend is the Vox Tonelab and similar Vox units. They have a new electronics setup in these units that does an excellent job at getting a valve 'warm' tone.

So I hope this helps you make the right decision and has helped out. I will keep an eye on this post and try to help out with it if you have any more q's on it.


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