After all the guitar store extravaganzas, the question still remains: what do I want in an amp?
- All tube
- 15 to 20 watts
- Effects loop
- Two channels (clean/dirty) with footswitch
- Reverb with footswitch
- 12 inch speaker or 2×12 cab
- Line out for recording on my computer
- Headphone out for playing quietly at home
- Enough volume to play with a band in my living room or garage
- Extension cab output for when I do want to get louder
- Attenuator for playing quieter at home
Oh ya, and it has to sound good! I like a really smooth clean sound for blues. Something like the Fender Deluxe Reverb I didn’t buy. And I also like an AC/DC or ZZ Top classic rock sound. So I guess a Marshall sound. Switching between those two would be nice. But I also like a buzzsaw punk rock sound. And don’t forget the fuzz of the 90’s alternative scene.
The reality is I don’t know how to articulate what I want. Actually, I don’t really know what I want. I have vague ideas of what a good sound is, but I don’t really know what makes those sounds. I consider myself fairly well studied (i.e. book learnin’), but no actual experience. I know I have heard good tone from a silver face deluxe reverb, an Old School Amp, and on lots of records, cd’s, mp3’s, dvd’s, and tv shows, as well as at live shows.
Right now I have a Vox AD50VT that I got after a lot of research and a little testing. My goal was to get a modeling amp that would give me exposure to a lot of different amp sounds so I could figure out what I really like. That way I would have a clue where to start when looking for a tube amp. The Vox is nice because it is loud at 50 solid state watts so I can play with drums, but has an attenuator for taming the volume at home. It has a line out and head phone out for really quiet playing and recording. It doesn’t have an effects loop, but I’ve seen instructions for adding one thanks to the internet. It also has a lot of built in effects, which gave me a basic introduction to a lot of effects I was not very familiar with.
I should be satisfied with what I have since I don’t get to play it as much as I should. I still haven’t used the Vox to its full potential to explore the different modeled amp sounds. That’s one reason I haven’t been able to articulate what I do want. So any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Did I mention the limited budget, time, and ability to actually play? Those pretty much eliminate my deserving a truly quality piece of equipment. But I can dream!