The Canadian Guitar Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,039 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When I quit playing in '75, You had about as many choices as there were TV stations (about 18-20 with UHF). When I started playing last year, I noticed it hadn't changed (About 500+ channels though)

In Canada you still have Traynor as a large producer and high quality small builders like Peters, Edwards, Stephenson and Trinity ( my apologies for leaving anyone out). But in the U.S. (to a degree - Britain) there are more builders than lies told by Bush. It's mind boggling.

The guys I used to play with way back are now chartered accountans, quality control Engineers, born again carpenters, or dead, etc. And not livng where I am living, except the sax player. So I'm partly resigned to playing on my own in the basement with backing tracks, or recording for fun stuff and emailing it friends. Besides, I've also discovered how much I sucked back in '75 when I started, so I've still got a long ways to go.

I've also discovered real tone. Something I didn't pay much attention too back then (maybe it was the tweed tremolux and I didn't have to). I currently have a Marshall SS practice amp. I've changed the speaker which improved it 300%, but the tone still, um, I won't get into four letter words now. Even the Epi Valve combo I tried a few weeks ago was leagues ahead (even with that annoying hum with the volume set only at 10:30)

Now I know that Marshall knows tubes, but their small SS amps suck. It appears than Roland and Tech21 make the best SS, but still...

Where's all this going? Well, a tube amp, one that can be used in the basement without having the family revolt. I was thinking a Fender Pro Junior with pedals, but I've heard that it is very picky about pedals, especially at low volume.

I find I'm a fan of dirty tweed and marshall sounds. The guitars will be an Epi Riviera, MIJ, circa 1978 with Gibson '57s and a G&L Legacy Tribute (coming in June).

Problem One: I'll be limited to around $500 or so.

Problem Two: I'm not aware of Cdn builders who make low watt (ten or under), except Stephenson ( a nice 10 watter with power scaling , over$1200 with a 2 year lead time).

Problem Three: Fender Black Face tone is not a favourite, unless I find a good set of pedals to emulate dirty tweed or marshall sounds.

Has anyone any other ideas that get me cranked tweed or marhall tones at basement volume and doesn't involves getting something from the USA?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,665 Posts
I can help...

Robert, I'm in Stoney Creek. If that's not too far away for you I can build you something your style (my style too!) in that price range.

I can give you my phone number in a private email, if you like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Even the Epi Valve combo I tried a few weeks ago was leagues ahead
Why do you say EVEN epi valve combo. Its an amazing amp. 5W and its all tube. If you want you can hook up an overdrive pedal to it and you dont have to turn the volume all the way up on the amp to get distortion. OR you can get like a fender blues junior and hook up an attuenuator(sp?) to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Robert1950 said:
When I quit playing in '75, You had about as many choices as there were TV stations (about 18-20 with UHF). When I started playing last year, I noticed it hadn't changed (About 500+ channels though)

In Canada you still have Traynor as a large producer and high quality small builders like Peters, Edwards, Stephenson and Trinity ( my apologies for leaving anyone out). But in the U.S. (to a degree - Britain) there are more builders than lies told by Bush. It's mind boggling.

The guys I used to play with way back are now chartered accountans, quality control Engineers, born again carpenters, or dead, etc. And not livng where I am living, except the sax player. So I'm partly resigned to playing on my own in the basement with backing tracks, or recording for fun stuff and emailing it friends. Besides, I've also discovered how much I sucked back in '75 when I started, so I've still got a long ways to go.

I've also discovered real tone. Something I didn't pay much attention too back then (maybe it was the tweed tremolux and I didn't have to). I currently have a Marshall SS practice amp. I've changed the speaker which improved it 300%, but the tone still, um, I won't get into four letter words now. Even the Epi Valve combo I tried a few weeks ago was leagues ahead (even with that annoying hum with the volume set only at 10:30)

Now I know that Marshall knows tubes, but their small SS amps suck. It appears than Roland and Tech21 make the best SS, but still...

Where's all this going? Well, a tube amp, one that can be used in the basement without having the family revolt. I was thinking a Fender Pro Junior with pedals, but I've heard that it is very picky about pedals, especially at low volume.

I find I'm a fan of dirty tweed and marshall sounds. The guitars will be an Epi Riviera, MIJ, circa 1978 with Gibson '57s and a G&L Legacy Tribute (coming in June).

Problem One: I'll be limited to around $500 or so.

Problem Two: I'm not aware of Cdn builders who make low watt (ten or under), except Stephenson ( a nice 10 watter with power scaling , over$1200 with a 2 year lead time).

Problem Three: Fender Black Face tone is not a favourite, unless I find a good set of pedals to emulate dirty tweed or marshall sounds.

Has anyone any other ideas that get me cranked tweed or marhall tones at basement volume and doesn't involves getting something from the USA?
Hi Robert,
I just joined the forum, so my response is belated. Anyway, have you considered the Traynor Custom Valve 20 (YCV20WR - the WR is for wine red)? I've got a YCV40WR and love it. I've tried the 20, and it sounds great. They sell for about $650 in Montreal, and I imagine the same in TO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Oh, forgot to mention the important points: the YCV20 is 15 watts, which will give you legal volumes without compromising tone at home. It's also got a separate gain control on each of the two channels. I think Traynor amps are one of Canada's best kept secrets. That and Godin guitars.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,167 Posts
15 watts is still a pretty loud tube amp for home use. 5 watts is easily enough. I have a 12 watt Princeton and to hit it's sweet spot, you have to have the amp pretty loud.

Another good option if you have any electrical skills is to order a tweed Champ kit online. You can get them for well under your price range. I recently ordered a handbuilt tweed Champ clone for $399 US plus shipping. I'd personally take something handbuilt and hand-wired over something like the Epi Valve, but for $99 it would likely fill you needs. I am sure there are Canadian options around, since tweed Champs are a fairly simple circuit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Yes, I guess 15 watts may still be a bit loud for home use. I didn't mention that I also have a 5 watt Tweed Champ reproduction made by Ludovic Pierson (www.pierson-amps.com). It is beautiful sounding, at least to this novice's ears, but at about $900 US, it wasn't cheap. Ludovic does excellent work, asked me for a description of my music and playing preferences to voice the amp, and even threw in an extra set of tubes. But I would also suggest looking for Canadian Champ builders if only to avoid customs duties and customs brokerage fees because those can add nastily to the cost. Clara Amps (www.claramps.com) and Classic Amps (www.classicamps.com) are two to check out, and there may be others. Long and McQuade carry Victoria amps, an American company that reproduces all kinds of Tweeds. Their Champ reproduction is model 518 (www.victoriaamp.com/model518.htm). The sound files sound very nice. L & M quoted me $1,095 (Cdn. of course) plus taxes and shipping, again, not cheap but good stuff. Lately, I've been intrigued by the Gibson GA 20RVT, which has received excellent reviews, but it is in the 15 to 18 watt range.

A couple of little things being new to the list: How do I upload images? It seems that I cannot browse for files on my hard drive but must supply an URL. Also, the word "student" appears under my user name in my posts. Why is that?

Regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
585 Posts
Amps amps amps. Which are good, which are bad. Amps amps amps, ask your mom or ask your dad. A thousand points to whoever finds me the video with Dont Put It In Your Mouth.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,167 Posts
Just to clear up a couple of things, there is no duty on US built amps (NAFTA). With the way the $ is right now, you don't have much to be afraid of buying from the US. But, obviously support local builders if you can.

My Champ clone arrives sometime this month. I ordered it from a builder recommended at 2 different Fender forums. I know people on both forums who have bought his amps and have been very happy. He also makes Tweed Bassman, Deluxe and Princeton clones and head versions of each style (A Tweed Deluxe or Princeton would also suit the original posters needs). The builder is http://www.littledawgamps.com . I got the "Champster Special', which is a modified Champ the runs at 14 watts, has an extension speaker out, a line out, and a tone knob. $399 US. He will basically mod the amps any way you want them too.

I looked around for Canadian builders, but that price was pretty hard to beat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
I used to have a peavey classic 30 and it was a nice sounding amp.The problem is the tube sockets are attached directly to a PC board and after a couple of tube changes and a few gigs the sockets were wobbly and needed to be changed.Now thats' another story.The peavey consists of three separate PC boards joined by hard connector wires and there is very little room to get inside even when the amp is totally disassembled.It requires a soft steady touch and some excellent tools and skills to change one tube socket,let alone all of them.The controls and inputs are feeble and cause trouble after repeated use.Not to mention a complicated and unnessessary DC heater system,it makes for one very poor amp to service.Ask any tech how much they like to service a classic 30.
The reverb is good,the speakers fail on a regular basis,the boost control is rarely used and the cabinet rattles,not to mention the tubes are unprotected in the rear.This is not an amp for someone who likes to tinker.I really like them for sound quality after the speaker is changed and all of the above mods are done,but they are not robust at all.Much like a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.That's why many people are going to hand wired amps these days.You pay a little more and get an amp that's serviceable and in many cases sounds better than mass-production amps.Simple is better in my book.

www.claramps.com
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,167 Posts
Great post. That description sums up most of the newer amps from the bigger companies right now. It's like they are almost designed to be disposable or something. Use them till they are out of warranty, then get another.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
torndownunit said:
Great post. That description sums up most of the newer amps from the bigger companies right now. It's like they are almost designed to be disposable or something. Use them till they are out of warranty, then get another.
Yeah - there seems to be a general "Bic lighter" mentality with a lot of products these days. But when you start paying 2 grand for a product like that I have issues! You listening Marshall? :D

That said, the Classic 30 is a nice amp tonally. I have a friend who gigs with one locally and he's had no issues that I'm aware of. He's not a "tweaker" though. Just a plug & play kinda guy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,039 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
On the other hand....

Let's throw a wrench into this thread that I started. I was at Kaos music trying out the G&L Legacy Tribute once more, but this time through a Traynor YCV20WR. What a surprise.

The Gain and Volume controls are quite interactive. I had the volume set at two and the gain set at nine and I got a very nice overdriven crunch. I hit the boost button and got a surprising distorted lead - AT BEDROOM VOLUME. And this thing is a 15 watter. The clean channel produced a fair clean at low volume and started to get dirty at higher settings. If you are into fender clean - this is not the amp for you. But I like DIRT. The Greenback may have contributed a bit to that sound.

But I'd still have to try the semi hollowbody with Gibson '57s to see what I really feel about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Adicted to Tubes said:
I used to have a peavey classic 30 and it was a nice sounding amp.The problem is the tube sockets are attached directly to a PC board and after a couple of tube changes and a few gigs the sockets were wobbly and needed to be changed.Now thats' another story.The peavey consists of three separate PC boards joined by hard connector wires and there is very little room to get inside even when the amp is totally disassembled.It requires a soft steady touch and some excellent tools and skills to change one tube socket,let alone all of them.The controls and inputs are feeble and cause trouble after repeated use.Not to mention a complicated and unnessessary DC heater system,it makes for one very poor amp to service.Ask any tech how much they like to service a classic 30.
The reverb is good,the speakers fail on a regular basis,the boost control is rarely used and the cabinet rattles,not to mention the tubes are unprotected in the rear.This is not an amp for someone who likes to tinker.I really like them for sound quality after the speaker is changed and all of the above mods are done,but they are not robust at all.Much like a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.That's why many people are going to hand wired amps these days.You pay a little more and get an amp that's serviceable and in many cases sounds better than mass-production amps.Simple is better in my book.

www.claramps.com
Fair enough, but not everyone has that extra kind of money laying around for an amp. In addition, most would need to work directly with the amp tech to ensure you're getting something you really want...otherwise it'd be awefully hard, IMO, to go away from the major brands.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,167 Posts
I have posted this before but here is what it cost me to get away from newer amps.

I have a 1969 Fender Princeton Reverb that cost me $600 + 100 tech work. For $700, I would take it over any new 'brand name' amp in that price range out there right now. It's over 35 years old, and I bet it will be running in another 35 years. I have serious doubts any of the newer amps I have owned would last that long without needed major tech work.

I have 2 old Traynors, one from 1975 and one from 1970. I recently had to put $75 tech work (including new tubes) into the YBA-1, but that is the first work it has had on it since I have owned it (about 15 years). Both those amps combined (with any work) cost less than $600 and they are better made than anything else out there right now.

I am having a custum built Tweed Champ clone built for me right now for $399 USD.

I always used to believe vintage amps and handmade amps were out of my price, range but you just have to research. There are a lot of options out there. And that fact is, buying a better made amp will likely end up saving you a ton of money in the future because they are so easy to fix you can almost do it yourself. Techs dread working on a lot of newer amps because of the reasons Addicted To Tubes mentioned. You end up paying more in labour time.

The newer amps in the lower price range are built around trying to make the selling price as cheap as possible. This has obvious effects on the quality. Personally if I was buying a newer amp I'd likely just look at a Vox Valvetronix. They are cheap, sound good, and have a 5 year warranty. If you get 5 years out of an amp like that, at that price, you have done well.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top