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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I want a new amp and I need some help. I am sick of buying and selling amps. I am looking a great amp and to stick with it.

All suggestions are welcome.....

I want an amp that will take to pedals well, but does not need them to have a great tone. I want something that can give me something like an early van halen/zz top tone, but also with a good clean and is good for blues. I also play mostly at home and with friends.

I am trying out a Roccaforte HG 100 next week and love the sound of those amps. My only concern so far is that using an attenuator will void the warranty. I want to be able to take advantage of the great tone without losing my hearing.

Of course there are marshall plexi heads or jcm 800.....what are your opinions?

I would also consider a combo. Dr Z? Top Hat? (I hear the Emplexador does a good marshall vibe) Marshall?

Thanks for your help!
 

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pickslide said:
Ok, I want a new amp and I need some help. I am sick of buying and selling amps. I am looking a great amp and to stick with it.

All suggestions are welcome.....

I want an amp that will take to pedals well, but does not need them to have a great tone. I want something that can give me something like an early van halen/zz top tone, but also with a good clean and is good for blues. I also play mostly at home and with friends.

I am trying out a Roccaforte HG 100 next week and love the sound of those amps. My only concern so far is that using an attenuator will void the warranty. I want to be able to take advantage of the great tone without losing my hearing.

Of course there are marshall plexi heads or jcm 800.....what are your opinions?

I would also consider a combo. Dr Z? Top Hat? (I hear the Emplexador does a good marshall vibe) Marshall?

Thanks for your help!
Are you playing the saddle dome? Just wondering why you need a 100 watt.

If I was you I'd run as fast as I can and go get BrownIDs Komet 60 in the classifieds. It's such a stellar sounding amp but just too much power for me at 60 watts. It will do exactly what you want.
 

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Dr.Z SRZ 65. With an airbrake for sure. Really, really great amp. The Mojave Scorpion is great for that sound, too. Or an Aiken 50 watter, he makes a high gain marshall-style and a plexi style amp that are both excellent. All have good warranties, and are Ok with attenuators (the mojave has it built in).
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
No, I certainly don't need a 100watt amp. Its just there is one locally, which is not very common. I just checked out the Komet and it is more money than I want to spend. Ideally I was looking around $2K, but I am open. My other question is where would I get a Mojave in calgary?
 

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According to the THD site, here's the dealer closest to you:

The Guitar Connection
1715-17th Ave. SW
S. W. Calgary, AB
T2T OE6

phone: 403.233.2058
 

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$2K or under, early Van Halen, good clean, blues, lower volume playing.

Budda Superdrive 30 or 18. EXCELLENT master volume, playable at home. Does the early VH stuff very well. Great clean channel.

Top Hat Emplexador -- Not as flexible as the Budda as it's one channel, but does have all those sounds in there. Also has an excellent MV.

I have owned both and for what you described I'd buy the Budda, you can usually pickup them up cheap $1K-$1200 used for a combo.

If you are going to buy new, contact Fat Sound Guitars. They are a dealer for both. I have bought lots of stuff from there as well as a few others here in Calgary. Great store.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Never heard of Fat Sound guitars....they are in Calgary?

I have just been checking out the Mojave website and man those amps sound awesome!
 

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Well, I'll weigh in with my opinion for what it's worth...

I've been really happy with my Stephenson amp so I highly recommend talking to him. His new 30 watt heads and combos look really sweet (and they come with built in power scaling)

http://www.stephensonamps.com/

There are several other Canadian amp makers that frequent this board as well and offer some interesting choices.
 

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The Soldanos are great but very high gain, more than what you're asking for (I think), and big bucks for a PCB amp. I really like the Hot Rod 50, and I played a 50 watt avenger that was very nice (not on the site, but I have a friend who has one) and I'd have one if they were a little cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The stephenson amps look very cool, but you have to wait 6 months to 2 yrs for one and they are crazy expensive.
 

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pickslide said:
What about Soldanos?
I've owned an Avenger and an Astroverb. Really liked both, not great clean or blues amps. Amazing high gain amps.

The SLO would do blues to blues rock well ( Warren Haynes, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, probably a few others) but you are looking closer to $4K.
 

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pickslide said:
The stephenson amps look very cool, but you have to wait 6 months to 2 yrs for one and they are crazy expensive.
The wait is certainly the biggest downside. As far as price, they're pretty reasonable when you compare them to some of the other boutique guys.

You've mentioned Mojave and Roccaforte amps which are both in the same price range (or higher). A Mojave Sidewinder head (30 watts) lists for $2299.00 on their site, and a Roccaforte Custom 30 is $2100.00. The Stephenson 30 watt head is listed at $2000.00, so they are all pretty competitively priced.

I suggest that you check out the Peters amps too. I haven't personally played through one of these, but I've read a lot of rave reviews. There is also a contributor to this board (superleadfixer) who makes some sweet looking vintage Marshall copies.
 

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I've beem using a Tube Works Real Tube II that I have owned for 15 years or so. It is a tube pre amp with two channels (with a stacking feature for ~ Three) and its versatility is amazing.

The stacking feature sends your overdrive channel through your clean channel, which allows for some pretty smooth and creamy distortion tones at low volume. The clean channel itself is the weakest part of the amp in my opinion as it breaks up (nicely though) a little early with hotter pickups. The only thing this amp will not give you is the 'fender super' tone.

You can choose whatever power amp you want - I use a low power dual 40 watt transistor model that is only one rack space so the over all package is quite small and takes up only two rack spaces.

I use a pair of floor wedges instead of traditional speaker cabinets as when I played live I used a red box out of the amp to the FOH and the monitors give me a better I grasp on what the full range signal sounds like more so than just a 12" speaker would.

You can see the manual for it here:
http://www.genzbenz.com/img/manuals/tw/RealTubeIIUserManual.pdf

I have seen these go on ebay for $75.00 US. I often wonder why I don't see more players using these.

 

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Amp Suggestions

pickslide said:
The stephenson amps look very cool, but you have to wait 6 months to 2 yrs for one and they are crazy expensive.
Mark Stephenson is a friend of mine. Knew him when he was installing PA systems in churches and repairing amps years ago here in Regina. Mark is a brilliant amp guy. He rebuilt a '57 tweed Twin for me and brought my ailing '65 Pro Reverb back to life. I have one of Mark's first Stagehogs and it's an amazingly clever design (power scaling in a 1 watt amp... heh).

Another Canadian amp builder you should check out is Don Mackrill at Mack Amps. I picked up one of his first 18 watt heads (it was called the Thunderbolt TB-18 back then, now it's the Heatseeker HS-18... apparently for legal reasons). Great-sounding head. Clean, simple design that let's you get the organic feel and sustain of powertube distortion at a reasonable volume. Very responsive to pick attack and your guitar's volume knob. It's easy to go from chimey clean to ZZ Top without fiddling with multiple channels, master volumes, attenuators, etc. Check out the soundclips at www.mackamps.com to see what I mean.

This Thunderbolt/Heatseeker is a great match to the speaker cab that Don has designed. I also have a DR. Z Carmen Ghia that shares the responsiveness and superb tone of my Thunderbolt, but for some reason the Ghia is not as loud as the Thunderbolt thru the Mack Amps speaker cab. I have ample headroom to gig my Mack Amps set-up unmiked in small to medium rooms no problem.

The other thing to consider is that the Mack Amps head and speaker cab are sleepers. In my opinion Don's design and build quality are comparable to Mark Stephenson's, but so far Don is only charging a fraction of what Mark and most of the other boutique guys charge. The Heatseeker head and the 1x12 speaker cab are a steal at $899 and $299 respectively... without the one year wait. But I have a feeling once Mack Amps gets "discovered" we'll see the price and wait time increase.

Finally, like Mark Stephenson, Don Mackrill is a super nice guy. Knows his stuff and is happy to talk about buiding your dream amp. In the interests of full disclosure, you should know that Don is a friend of mine. Like Mark, Don also grew up here in Regina (the Land of Great Amp Buiders... apparently).

Hope this helps.

Rob
 
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