Popular Jazz Guitar Amps

Tone is an important aspect of any jazz guitarist’s voice and musical output. Whether you are jamming in the woodshed, or out on a gig, your tone is what stands you apart from other players, and gives your playing a distinct voice all it’s own.

One of the most important aspects of developing a solid tone, is finding the right amp for you and your musical tastes. To help you find that perfect amp, and personal tone, we’ve asked the jazzguitar.be readership to let us know what amp they prefer when playing in a jazz guitar context.

After receiving more than 5000 responses from jazzguitar.be readers, we’ve taken those results and graphed them out so that you can see what amps your fellow jazz guitarists are playing in their home studios and out on the bandstand.

Not surprisingly, Fender amps made up the bulk of the responses, with perennial favourites Roland, Vox and Peavey coming in third through fifth place in the survey. Not all amps chosen in the poll were big name brands, as you can see Polytone, Henricksen, Acoustic Image and other smaller, boutique brands on the list as well.

 

Infographic of the most popular jazz guitar amps infographic

 
What do you think of this list? Any surprises? Join the discussion at the jazz guitar forum: Click here to follow the conversation on our forum…

Related Content: The Most Popular Jazz Guitars




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  1. FrancoisMar 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Thank Dirk, I will be reading this and the comments with intent.

    I have had a deposit on a Fender HRDL George Benson for a few months now, and was waiting for the survey results and user comments to help me with the final decision. The other option for me is a Henriksen.

    Cheers

    • SilverfoxxMar 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Hi Francois,
      i suggest the Fender GB is a good choice, but depending on ability to tote an amp
      weighing approximately 43lbs against a Henriksen Jazz amp at on 32lbs. The
      reasonI disposed of my Fender Hot Rod was purely lack of portability, many of our
      older players defer to Smaller lighter amps for this reason ( eg Mambo. AER, &
      Henriksen)
      let us hear of your decision !

      • Alastair Longley-CookMar 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

        Yes, the Hot Rod is heavy (54lbs!) but worth the muscle strain. I use a baggage trolley with good sized wheels to tote mine around. Once it’s on there no sweat.

        • SilverfoxxMar 30, 2014 at 10:40 pm

          Alastair,
          You must appreciate that a number of older players can no longer tote heavy
          amps due to ailments like arthritis, and sciatica, so rather than reclining in our
          bathchairs we choose lighter portable amps,Can you hear me over your HRDL ?
          regrettably I had to dispose of mine for those reasons. Yes we can recall those
          days of 4×12 or 2×15 cabs.or Fender 18″ Cv cabs,
          BTW the Hot rod deluxe weighs 45lbs not 54lbs unless you have an EV speaker.

          • Alastair Longley-CookMar 31, 2014 at 5:09 pm

            I hear ya, Silverfoxx! My days of toting the Hot Rod around May be numbered as well, but I just love the warm rich sound.
            BTW, 3 (out of 12) is the highest I’ve ever had the volume.
            My only problem is getting it in and out of the trunk of the car. Maybe I’ll get one with an hydraulic lift!
            My church won’t spring for a roadie.
            Cheers!

          • JIm KennedyApr 29, 2014 at 3:32 am

            I had a Hot Rod Deville (2-12) and a Hot Rod Deluxe at the same time. Sold them both. I can still lift them, but I choose not to. I now use a Blackstar HT HR5.

        • SilverfoxxApr 1, 2014 at 10:08 am

          Hi Alastair,
          Thanks for your reply, i must say I would dearly love to have a George Benson
          HRDL , you are perfectly right in that they are hard to beat in terms of value
          for money and superb tone quality plus volume a plenty. If only Fender could
          produce it 20lbs lighter !

          Kind regards
          Silverfoxx

          • Jerome EngelbertsJul 30, 2014 at 8:00 pm

            actually, you could lighten a HotRod Deluxe quite a bit biy simply mounting one of those new Celestion speakers with the neodymium magnet, whichs weighs roughly 1/3d of the original spoeaker. And yes, they sound fine.

          • 290EastDec 10, 2014 at 5:48 am

            Guys, man up! these amp are not that heavy. I have a number of the Fender HRDL and sometime I use two for a stereo effect. I have carried other amp that were much heavier than this. I like the tone of the Gibson super goldtone amps and Mesa boogie which are way heavier that any of the Fender hotrod series.

          • Nick PantloniJun 2, 2015 at 2:47 am

            Anyone else using Black Star ? How is the volume on the HD5? Is it gig-able, or would one need the HD 20….

    • Dirk LaukensMar 27, 2014 at 10:14 am

      I bought myself a Fender HRDL George Benson a few weeks ago and I absolutely love it! I’ll post a review soon…

      • John LuskMar 27, 2014 at 3:38 pm

        I got the Geo B a few months ago and love it. Only complaint is there is a huge tonal difference when switching channels. It is bass heavy compared to my Super Reverb, but I’m learning to deal with that. But I love it, I play in a small jazz group and it has been great. Looking forward to using in other styles cause I think it will be just as good for roots rock, country etc.

      • Erwin MApr 14, 2014 at 3:52 pm

        Yes please, Dirk. I’m anxiously waiting for your review on the Fender HRDL George Benson!

        Bij voorbaat dank 😉

      • CarlJan 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm

        I recently had the chance to play a HRD George Benson brand new out of the box. The clean sound is really great. However, this amp had terrible tube rattle. When I played certain notes or even when I touched the bright or more gain switch there was a clearly audible rattle. Is this just a regular behavior of this amp or did I pick a bad one?

    • CraigFeb 26, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      I just purchased a Soldano Astroverb…what an incredible amp…it produces wonderful Fender Twin Reverb sounds with a beautiful tube-driven reverb…and it can also produce incredible hot rodded Marshall sounds…for the price, quality, and variety of tones…I choose Soldano over any other amp.

  2. MarjoMar 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Leuk om te lezen: ik heb een polytone en ben er helemaal blij mee. Trouwens ook met al jouw super mails! veel dank.

    • Dirk LaukensMar 27, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Hey Marjo, waar heb je je Polytone gekocht?

  3. PeterMar 26, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    I use a nice old Fender Champ Amp which is a tube amp; those amps sound great clean.

  4. RhoderickMar 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I have had my Vox AC30 since 1964, I have it checked regularly and it still sounds as good today as the day I bought it. I also have a Vox AD15 and a Vox DA5. Moreover, I would never consider another brand.

    However, I am really surprised that Vox came third in the in the survey result:
    I did not expect such a high rating. There must be more old guitar players left than I thought.

    Well Done Vox keep ’em coming

  5. TimMar 26, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Both the guitar & amp surveys were off the chain; very helpful. Thanks Dirk!

  6. Luc BMar 26, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Hallo Dirk,

    Ik bezit beroepsmatig (herstellingen) over vele amps, de Roland jazzchorus 60 en de cube 60 (2 stuks) gaan toch mijn voorkeur uit om zelf te spelen. Daarnaast de Fender princeton chorus ea zijn zeker ook goede versterkers.
    Dank u voor deze website!

  7. billMar 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    recently bought a fender super champ XD off a friend. only 4yrs old. he had trouble 6mths ago capacitor replaced. i have just had a new set of valves???? not good for a top rated amp!!!
    ive had a WEM clubman for over 30yrs (15watts), had it checked a cupla times and NEVER LET ME DOWN. likewise a roland cube 60.
    bought the XD for a bit more ooomph in a big band. i’ll give it a bit more time, but watch this space………..

  8. steve harropMar 27, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Not surprised that fender came top. I started playing in 62, used every amp on the market until i got my first fender amp in 72. Not used anything else since. I have 15 fender amps, can’t beat them

  9. JesseMar 27, 2014 at 1:10 am

    I just got a Quilter amp (solid state, 8″ 200 W combo + their 12″ cab). I’ve used every major amp you can name, including most of Fender’s line up. This Quilter has surpassed them all to my ears, and weighs nothing. It can do other music idioms brilliantly too, you can tweak the dials for blues, fusion, rock, etc. The jazz cleans are pure sweetness, they have a clarity, definition, and roundness that I have been looking for for years. Try one if you can find a dealer near you, you won’t regret it. Not that expensive either, relatively.

    • ADDIEMar 27, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      I also use Quilter for jazz.. have the Aviator 1 12.. it’s light for the size and I can get any tone from it.. really stellar new amps.

    • DonnFeb 27, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      I have the same and agree with you. A must-hear-to-believe scenario. Sweetness, absolute sweetness.

    • willMar 14, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Ive had a quilter 101 mini head for a couple of months. I use a 1×12 cab wigh an eminence speaker. The sound is amazing ill probably never buy another tube amp when i can get ghe same tone from a 2lv pavkage.

    • willMar 14, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Ive had a quilter 101 mini head for a couple of months. I use a 1×12 cab wigh an eminence speaker. The sound is amazing ill probably never buy another tube amp when i can get ghe same tone from a 2lb package.

  10. RussMar 27, 2014 at 1:11 am

    I love my George Benson Fender amp.

    • Dirk LaukensMar 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Hey Russ, just bought one myself, great amp!

  11. Dave LincolnMar 27, 2014 at 1:57 am

    I use a Henriksen Jazz Amp head with a Raezer’s Edge NY8 speaker.

  12. peter ugrichMar 27, 2014 at 2:03 am

    I tried a Fender , didn’t like it at all . Musicians Friend took it back and I bought a Cube 20—Love it!

  13. Tommy BMar 27, 2014 at 2:11 am

    Rivera Jazz Suprema…the best!

    • Bill SMar 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      yup!

    • SteveApr 3, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Yep, I have one too – beautiful tones.

  14. DannyMar 27, 2014 at 2:42 am

    I’m not surprised by the Fender domination. Nor that Fender Twins were popular (I run a Frontman 212). Very good stuff here, Dirk. It would be cool if we could get one of the top guitars and one of the top amps donated or acquired otherwise as a prize in some sort of lottery with the participants. I’d love a 1 in 5000 chance at a dream rig like that!

    • Dirk LaukensMar 27, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Good idea Danny.

  15. owenMar 27, 2014 at 2:43 am

    I play through a Gibson Gold Chorus . . . beautiful beautiful.

  16. RonDMar 27, 2014 at 3:18 am

    Thanks Dirk,

    I’d love to see the actual numbers, instead of percentages.

  17. Magic BiddieMar 27, 2014 at 3:44 am

    If you ever play a Fender Super Reverb, and if you are able to lift it, you can never play anything else. Unbelievably rich, complex tonality.

  18. DonnoMar 27, 2014 at 3:51 am

    hmmm… I didn’t see my amp of choice listed within the “other brands” section… I was/am disgruntled. Does not a Standel 25L15 make the cut??? gimme an option, and I’d LOVE to send a pic ar two or three or four…

  19. Don HartmanMar 27, 2014 at 3:59 am

    ok, I don’t think my first post made it. So, here goes… Are you trying to tell me that a Standel 25L15 doesn’t make the cut for “other brands”? I’d be GLAD to send you some pics if that’s what it takes…

    • Dirk LaukensMar 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Hi Don, only 3 Standels in about 5000 results. Never played on a Standel, but heard good things about them…

      • Don HartmanMar 27, 2014 at 10:56 pm

        Dirk thanks. By the way, I think this survey is outstanding! And, the rest of your content is great too! Thanks, I know it’s got to be a labor of love… Kudos!

  20. DanielMar 27, 2014 at 4:02 am

    My blackfaced 72 fender deluxe reverb works wonders with my es 339. I prefer the controlled low end of a closed back cab like a vox ac15 with a jazz box guitar. I know Marshalls really aren’t jazz amps, but I would like to try a 20 watt handwired head or a bluesbreaker……

    • Paddy O'StratDec 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Hey Daniel-nice-I like your choice of gear. I have an ES-339 myself, and love it. I only dabble in jazz, being more of a rock, blues and a bit of traditional country/folk/ Irish music on my acoustics( three flat-tops, and one nice old arch). I also have had a large number of Fender tube amps over my career-incl. a sweet SF DR like yours (which I stupidly traded in the 80’s for a Laney AOR with all kinds of knobs, bells and whistles). Now I have a couple of Twins left in the Fender side of my arsenal-but an awful lot of other vintage tube amps. As far as Marshalls go- I love them-for rock, metal and blues they are the #1 go-to for most guys. But the typical marshall topology of EL34 output tube isn’t a particularly great choice for clean, mellow and warm full-range hi-fi tone. But the one you mention, the BluesBreaker combo-which originally came with the now ultra-rare KT66 is a somewhat different Marshall beast. The re-issues are outfitted with 6L6 GC’s -same tube as the Twin and Super Reverbs-and probably the #1 tube for jazzy sounds. Although the 12″ Greenback Celestion RI speakers are more noted for a slight break-up more useable with rock and blues distorted tones-they can be found with an upgrade to the 12″ Celestion alnico “Blue”-the highly-regarded speaker that had a lot to do with the legend of the 60’s Vox and Marshall sounds. One amp not listed here, and one that is quite common and reasonably priced here in Canada-is Traynor (both vintage and contemporary versions). with their Baxandall tone stack they make an excellent clean and warm-sounding amp. The only issue being that the original ones came fitted with Marsland speakers-a cheap unit made close to Toronto-and not liked by anyone I ever talked to. Stick a good speaker in them and they can sound awesome. IMHO, they are a really decent alternative to many of the more famous brands.
      Another great amp, known for nice warm cleans-and an excellent reverb and tremolo, if that is your thing-are the old Ampegs. One caveat,though-some of them use oddball tube types-kind of like Gibson did back in that era as well. (Btw-I’m sorry, you’ll please excuse me for the excess verbiage of this little amp novella.)

    • AdamFeb 12, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      I’ve got a ’68 ES-330 strung with flat wounds that sounds splendid through a Marshall SL-5-the clean channel really surprised me.

  21. ScottMar 27, 2014 at 4:12 am

    I’ve played Fender amps since 1974. Currently play an L5 through a Deluxe Reverb reissue and I love it.

    • GeraldMar 28, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      My exact gear! Love the tone and feel. Also use a Blackface Bandmaster head through a 15″ Closed back cabinet

  22. louMar 27, 2014 at 5:34 am

    I have several amps. I like an amp that projects the sound of the guitar I am playing and I prefer my Fenders. I have a Vox 120 that sounds best to me when I use a clean amp model. But I always come back to my Fenders. I just wish I had bought a twin instead of the ampeg. It’d be worth a ton by now.

  23. charles quekMar 27, 2014 at 5:34 am

    Hey thanks for the survey, really appreciate the hard work in compiling this. it open my eyes to see the cross section of the people who uses ‘what’ amp and this helps to consider for future purchase

  24. patMar 27, 2014 at 5:35 am

    I have listened to sound clips of Quilter and Pritchard solid state jazz amps..curious if anyone here has tried either or both for jazz?

    My favorite amps were my 61 Concert and 65-67 Super /Reverb and 62 Pro but the Pro needs an external speaker I think to make sound better..
    but those old tube amps are too expensive and heavy to carry around and very limited in vol output

  25. BillMar 27, 2014 at 6:17 am

    I’m a newbie and I only play in one room in my home so I didn’t need to go nuts on my Amp so I got a Roland Cube20XL. It has most if not all the bells and whistles so I’m very satisfied with it. I play my entry level Ibanez semi-solid w/double humbuckers and I’m happy with that too. Great participation on this survey!

  26. matthewMar 27, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Nice article but I don’t think it is truly representative. Are the results of what we play right now or what we would play given the choice. If the results are of what we play right now for many that isn’t a preference due to circumstances. It might be the amp ‘at the moment’ cos that’s all I got right now sort thing. One graph is not 100% accurate of this nor representative of peoples gear or choices of, or what is their desired gear.

    • CarlNov 18, 2014 at 3:27 am

      Reply to Matthew’s post:

      This was my favorite post because it addressed the exact question I was asking myself while I was reviewing the survey results. I too think that the survey question might have been more valuable if it had asked, “If you had the choice of any amp, which would you choose”.

      I felt that the results may have been skewed by two factors, one being what many players were locked into (from the ‘old days’) and the second being price, always a mitigating factor. Sometimes, a normal reaction is for people to defend their decisions.

      I think that a lot of new solid state amps provide tone equal to the old tube amps. And I think that many of your favorite artists seem to agree with this.

      I am fortunate enough to have several original Fender tube amps (50’s to 60’s), but also a Henriksen 110, Quilter Micro Pro 10″ and a Fishman Loudbox Mini (the last two not even making the list). Not that I pretend to be anything close to an expert, nor do I think I have a wonderfully discerning ear, but for me, I chose to move away from the hassles of tube amp ownership: maintenance issues, questionable reliability, and weight issues, in favor of this new breed of solid state amps that are a pleasure to carry, almost unquestionably reliable, and absolutely maintenance free. In addition, they produce wonderful tone. Imagine 100w with a 10″ speaker in a 21 lb package…

      Perhaps one of the most underrated and under-discussed amp, of course imho, is the Fishman series of Loudboxes. They are virtually unbeatable in function and sound and definitely in price.

      I explored the Henriksen and the Quilter because amongst jazz players that I know, they were talked about a lot, and I needed more power and volume than the Mini I have could provide. Of course, they are a lot more expensive.

      Don’t ask me to choose between the Quilter and the Henriksen though. They are both great as jazz amps with beautiful clean tones. If you like the bells and whistles provided for no extra charge (compared to the Henriksen), go for the Quilter. If you want the one trick pony (sans flashy lights and myriad of effects) that does its trick very well, look into the Henriksen.

      That said, while I don’t have direct experience with them, a lot of guys speak very highly of the Roland Cubes, especially at the price point they’re at.

      Anyway, just trying to add to the conversation…

  27. DrGMar 27, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Unfortunately nothing else than “Infographic of the most popular jazz guitar amps” shows up on my iPad. Too bad…

    • Dirk LaukensMar 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Have a look on a PC, the image is too big for iPad…

    • RudyWuertzMar 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      You’ re not the only one …

  28. J-DuBMar 27, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Years ago, sold “my baby”… Mesa Boogie Studio Caliber with a 12” Avatar extended cab. Great set-up, honest.

    Very pleased though with my mid-50’s Maganatone Varsity. Pretty much an A Class 8w Champ that I managed to grab for CHEAP off eBay. No regrets in holding on to. I really don’t “play out” on gigs and this lil’ amp is perfect for apartment/ home playing… But the Mesa Boggie Studio Caliber was a BEAST when you wanted it to be.

    Can still find them for reasonable and I DO recommend the extended cab for being a “mini-stack” with a tilt-back stand for the amp. Clean jazz/ blues to PUSHED rock and straight up METAL… Very flexible rig. At home, can’t wind it beyond 2, it really gets LOUD fast.

    Unfortunately, the market picked up on these “off brand” Champ types and Magnatone got reissued. Out there though, there are some low-watt PA units or brands like this Magnatone that just need a bit of love and are worth diming in. It’s a straight ahead 5A Champ with the addition of a tone control that works. Very sweet and clean with very roomy and open drive when pushed. Ideal for apartments/ practice but records well, because you can naturally PUSH the tubes at lower volume.

    I stack a Marshall Bluesbreaker clone pedal with an authentic Guv’nor in the signal chain for dirty/ pushed blues sound. Crank the Guv’nor for harder rock, but can wind back the guitar for sweeter tones.

  29. JorisMar 27, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Nice job, Dirk!
    The usual suspects, I would say but a nice read.
    One thing I can’t understand: the Fender Princeton Reverb. I tried it a few times but no clean sound after 4, maybe 5. No headroom, it broke on half the dial. Just curious; how do you guys use it for jazz?
    Found a nice ’84 Princeton Reverb II that keeps clean all the way up to ten.
    Cheers.

  30. maxoumax71Mar 27, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Le meilleur et le moins cher pour moi c’est le nouveau FENDER MUSTANG (57 Deluxe,59 Bassman, 65 Twin Reverb, British 60 et 80,American 70,Super Sonic, Metal 2000) avec son logiciel FUSE et sa connexion USB au monde entier! Il n’a pas de concurrent.

  31. patMar 27, 2014 at 7:48 am

    my Mesa Maverick sounds good with external speaker cab I sold a ‘rivera 12/50 because no low end punch. Traded an early Mesa Studio..great for rock..much nicer distortion than the Maverick but no low end punch. I have founr nothing that works as well as Fender 62 Concert or black face super Reverb for quick snap and punch..I play mostly a super 400…so like the multiple 10″ speaker punch..

  32. DavidMar 27, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Very interesting results, thank you.

    I use a Vox VR30R that has a solid state pre-amp but a valve power amp; a great compromise if you’re on a budget, and has genuine spring reverb.

  33. Scorpion~Mar 27, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I’m surprised that the amp I’ve favored for the majority of the past 50 years isn’t shown, by model. Fender Concert 4×10 for live sessions, nothing better. For smaller venues Mesa Boogie .22 (miked) for smaller rooms, however, I prefer a Fender Blues Junior III with an EV12″ speaker … clean, loud, proud … and a bit more portable than my Fender Concert. I wish I could have my old Fender Bassman back – all around it’s the best one I’ve ever owned. Playing either my L4CES, my Byrdland, or my custom built ‘telecaster’ style with recovered Gibson pickups from a destroyed 25/50 LP Custom.

  34. JohnnyMar 27, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I use a Quilter Micro Pro 200 solid state amp. Aprox. $900.00
    Uses next generation technology to produce a tube amp sound without the hassels of “tube care”. This is not a modeling amp but can produce the sound of many botique amps by just adjusting the control knobs. Mine has a 10″ speaker,pushing 200 watts (100 watts/channel) but weights only 21 lbs. 8″ and 12″ speaker also available. Made by Quilter Labs, Costa Masa, CA. I play clean most of the time, but I have power and all those other weired sounds without modeling when I need it.

  35. Paul GerardsMar 27, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Duidelijk!En te verwachten … maar ik mis de Rivera Suprema Jazz Amp!! Met name voor
    het versterken van archtop gitaren!! SUPERB!!!! Waouw!!!!

  36. AntonMar 27, 2014 at 9:00 am

    The ususal suspects, indeed. That provides ample opportunity for players looking for low-budget but high-quality amps: start looking from the bottom of the list upward. Apart from several exotic boutique brands, here you can find the ugly ducklings that nobody wants, because they don’t carry a Fender or Vox decal. I use a Hughes & Kettner Club Reverb solid state amp for jazz. It can be had for 80 euros or less and rivals the jazz guitar sound of many better known amps costing ten times more.

  37. GitterbugMar 27, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Hi all and thanks again to Dirk!

    Somewhat less Fender dominance and definitely less variety in the mainstream than I had anticipated – but a lot of variety at the tail end, behind Henriksen’s tiny share which would barely count in a political election.

    My trustwothy allies have been a Henriksen Convertible for pure jazz, Fender Super Champ XD for allround gigs and quick change settings (e.g. jam sessions with alternating bands), and the Cube 60 for the practice room, where it’s shared by many fellow players. Built like a tank and entirely carefree.

    A Koch Studiotone 20 sits idle, mainly due to its weight. As well, I think it’s much easier to keep the bottom-end blur from humbuckers at bay with a 10″ speaker or two. In larger venues, a small amp will probably be miked through the PA system anyway.

    Someone was wondering about the Fender Super Champ XD. It became a serious tool after upgrading the tubes and changing the flimsy speaker element into an Eminence Ragin’ Cajun, as suggested on many dedicated fora. Another alternative would be from Eminence’s Professional Audio Beta series, which you will find inside the Henriksen and Raezer’s edge cabinets instead of dedicated (= branded, more pricey and more sound-colored) guitar speakers, which often are judged by how easily they break up and how they handle heavy distortion. It’s like rating camera lenses solely by how they reproduce the out-of-focus area.

    As an aging, brokeback amateur musician I have for years experimented with homebuilt speaker cabinets that weigh less. This has taken me into the realm of Neodymium speaker elements, which begin to sound quite ok. Jensen’s Jet Tornado gets praise from the Koch people, and I’m happy with my Eminence Lil’ Texas, both 12″. Eminenc’s Basslites, both 10″ and 12″, do basic jazz guitar quite well, without too much brightness.

    Our bassist bros and sis’s have for years been using neodymiums. They are also happy with their extremely light yet powerful Class D amps à la Markbass and Gallien-Krueger. Fender’s new Rumble 200 weighs 2 kg and delivers very good sounds, with 4-channel eq and three filters, with the “vintage” button adding just a small amount of reverb. I’m in the early days of testing, and after decades of noisy aeromodelling and noisy music, my ears aren’t the sovereign judge anymore.

    It’s too bad that guitarists are such a conservative lot. Pity that Crate’s Soundblock was a flop. In a world that worships “vintage”, we could take some steps forward for a change. I’d like to see a Class D guitar head with a decent reverb, or a Lunchbox Acoustic head,which you could hook up to a serious speaker cabinet of your preference.

    I have so far managed to build a 1×12 weighing 4,5 kg, a 2×12 of 8 kg (both with neodymiums) and others in the 6 kg range with ordinary 12″ speakers. My heavy metal guitarist son says they lack bottom, but for clean jazz they’re ok.

    Unless I go brokebank before breakthrough, I will post images and data on “final” versions, as soon as I’m happy with the tone and have some degree of model/patent protection in place. These babies won’t be your ordinary squares.

    • Rudy WuertzMar 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you, it.’s a pleasure to read your comment because it’s so much ” off the track” as my own opinion about “amps”, “sound” and , most of all, the wood used for guitars by the 3 big US companies and Asians. Too much Voodoo and no, use to write about that here.

      I myself play 2 simple wrecks from the early 80s , worth 125$ or 125€ on ebay, named Studio Lead and Stage Lead. Pure transistors, a quiet useless 2nd destortion channel , abandonned by Fender after 3 years as a complete failure . Last week and a week before I played Jazz in front of 100 people… Among other guitarists with much more extensive equipment and less applause. Can I be that much wrong? :))

  38. Marty LennonMar 27, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Hi, I bought a Roland Cube 60 based on reviews on the forum about 4 years ago and not regretted it. Great amp with good range of sounds plus built in effects aren’t bad and plenty loud enough for live work. I play mostly Blues based music with a little funk and it works for me. Oh yeah and it’s so light too

  39. PaulMar 27, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Hi
    Interesting if predictable survey. Coincidentally, I got an email last night from an online supplier, promoting the new Line 6 ‘Amplifi’ amp. I think if you conduct this survey again in a year’s time you may get a surprise. It looks like the future for amps is to become creative sound centres, programmed using apps from Bluetooth devices, iPads and so on, and with the ability to sample, model, create and store thousands of tones, effects and backings. It even promises that if you download your favourite Pat Metheny riff to it, it will reset itself automatically so your guitar sounds just like his…. I almost bought one on impulse, until I realised I wouldn’t even understand the instructions. It’s not my world anymore!

  40. OllieMar 27, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Thank you Dirk

    I do have a hand wired Super Reverb copy (Tube Amp Doctor), but because I only play at home, I built a small 5 watt single ended tube amp, with Fender style tone stack. Only 3 tubes and it is super silent. A very nice tone with a 1×12 cab.

  41. nolimoreMar 27, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I got a roland microcube. It is ultra-light weight and v. compact, I bought it because i use public transport and wanted something to hand-carry or put in a backpack carry-rig and it satisfies all that. At around 4w It’s loud enough for a bar/restaurant, busking, or practice, etc. It is digital not analogue, does very well as an all rounder. It has several channels; acoustic, JC-120 jazz chorus, black panel, and a overdrive and stack. I tend to use JC-120 (nice clean chorus) and black panel for jazz playing. Also a mic channel, a line in (playback a backing track MP3 player). Onboard effects (delay/reverb on one dial, chorus/flanger/phaser/tremolo on the other dial) Also A440 tuner. Powered through mains or x6 AA batteries. If you want something to practice on or do small gigs and you walk/public transport, this is a good option, otherwise it is not an analogue amp will give you the real harmonics/enharmonics or that jazz guitar tone, you might want to explore.

    • JAZZCATFREDMar 28, 2014 at 1:33 am

      Hi Nolimore,

      You really should consider upgrading that little Roland Micro Cube. You can’t be getting worthwhile tone and volume. You can get a very serviceable solid state amp for under $200. In my opinion, it would represent a significant improvement in tone.

    • kempiniMar 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      I agree, this is a great little amp which covers nearly all tones you could ever wish for!

  42. RobinMar 27, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I play an Ipad thro a PA amp. I can now read the newspaper whilst the drummer sets up!

  43. joeMar 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I’d be very interested to hear what people think of the valve vs. transistor debate; I switched from a Marshall Valvestate20 to a Laney VC15 (with the Jensen speaker option) – and haven’t looked back since!

  44. Mat ConboyMar 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Schertler + GT2.

    • PaulMar 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      I too use a Schertler, a ‘David’, mainly because of the 48v phantom power mic channel I couldn’t get with the Henriksen or AER baby amps and because as an acoustic-type it produces a very clean if rather bass-heavy tone from my D’Aquisto archtop. Also it has lots of outputs I never use! But I found it disappointingly quiet for £800.

  45. CemilMar 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks for the great survey.

    I’ve got an old Fender Pro Reverb (lower powered version of the twin), a Henriksen Jazzamp, and AER Classic 60, but my current favorite for an arch top is the AER Cheeky d vintage 12. Not cheap, but gives a gorgeous tone. The tube input stage gives a warmer sound than the henriksen.

  46. Chris CartledgeMar 27, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Due to severe G.A.S. issues, I have owned just about every amp there is and others you’ve never heard of… My favorite Blues fusion amp was the Two Rock Custom Signature amps. They inspire the soul. As I have gotten older, my gear has gotten lighter and I like to run stereo. I either use the 1985 Polytone mini brute II with a Henriksen 10″ or a Vox AC 15 handwired or Badcat Classic Cat with 6v6’s. They were originally combo amps but I removed the amp and put them into a head config for easier handling. The solid state amp running stereo with a tube amp is very nice, especially with stereo effects. I’ll prolly try a Quilter next… I hear they are light to carry :o) I would like to mention, I have a Pritchard Golden sabre amp that sounds very nice as well for you Solid State lovers.

  47. JohnMar 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Interesting results. No surprise there regarding Fender amps. Just goes to show you that there are many options out there. One piece I would ultimately like to see is the breakdown of the amount of each amp model for each brand. Maybe that is coming up in the future. I am currently trying to figure out my next amp purchase and would love to see this type of info. Shopping for amplifies and not having access to a good variety to test out is difficult. Right now I am leaning toward the Twin Reverb Reissue but you never know. I would love an old vintage blackface but just cannot afford one of those and will likely never even get to try one out. Thanks Dirk for the info.

  48. Ade HollandMar 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Probably the best amp. I ever had was a 1970’s Fender Twin Reverb silver front, sadly I had to sell it although it was on castors I still have a perminant click in my left elbow with lifting it in and out of the car and on and off the stage !!!
    I now use either a Sessionette 75 or a Peterson with Electrovoice speakers……both great amps even tho they are over 30 years old. Best W.

  49. RaymondMar 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I use the Fender hot rod tube amp and love it.But I also play a Fender Strat and Telecaster so what do I know??

  50. Ray NAYLORMar 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Some interesting remarks and points made here. For 25+ years I have been using a Laney Linebacker 50 Reverb Combo which I have appreciated for its extremely clean tone and full middle and bass response (but a bit muddy in the upper register)- no surprise for a solid state amp. About 4 years ago a bought a Fender Princeton Recording Model and appreciate three aspects on which it outperforms the Laney.

    Firstly the pristine clear trebles are available when you want them (I rediscovered the ultra clean sounds of the Carlsboro Super Stingray I used in the early 1970s before it was stolen).

    Secondly, the treatment that any natural harmonics receive when the tubes are pushed to their sweet-spot (just starting to break up, and no more). Obviously subjective for everyone, I know, but for me there is a responsiveness to pick attack that is exceptional.

    Thirdly the volume attenuator allows me to achieve the sweet-spot at acceptable volumes when playing at home – much appreciated by the neighbours.

    The first downside is the price – it was very expensive. The second one is the ten inch speaker, which although great for 99% of what I want, can sometimes lack punch in the lower register. In those instances I go back to the Laney.

    I use three guitars currently – a 1961 ES 175D, a Peavey Omniac JD and a very recently acquired Ibanez AR420 (an impulse buy, but in my view worth at least 3x its price). The 175 switches between the Princeton and the Laney depending on what I play, but I only plug the others into the Princeton. The single coils on the Peavey are well accomodated by the Fender, and the Super 58 pups on the Ibanez have a harmonic sensitivity that I have rarely come accross – when the Princeton is pushed just a little bit harder then the expressiveness from the Ibanez/Fender combination is very satisfying.

    I guess we are all seeking our own particular sounds and that’s part of the richness of what we do.

  51. Vernon FullerMar 27, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I love my older style Polytone. I used to use a Roland JC 120 when I was a lot younger but it was and is a back breaker for me now. My Polytone which I got from guitar legend Adrian Ingram in exchange for my smaller Polytone, gives me just the great sound that I want to go with my archtop. Thanks so much Dirk for putting this survey together, Vernon Twitter @FretJazz

  52. JAZZCATFREDMar 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Hi,

    I have been playing chord melody solos through a Roland Cube 40XL for about three years and really think it’s a great little amp. Loud enough to play out with a small combo but with the ability to reduce the output from 40 watts to 2 watts makes it a great practice amp as well. Beautiful clean tone ala’ JC120 at a ridiculously low price.

    I also recently bought an AMPEG GVT15-112 on closeout. The 15 watt setting is great for straight ahead blues play and like the Roland, it switches to 7.5 watts output in triode mode. Very nice little tube amp for jazz.

  53. Mark RhodesMar 27, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Interesting list. I have a Polytone Mini-Brute that I like, though if I got a new amp, I might want one that offers more tonal variety. (I don’t always play jazz…)

  54. DennisMar 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I used to play country music – pedal steel guitar. I have an Evans FET LV500 (because that’s what this guy played http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES6dOxN3mEo ). It has a 15″ speaker and clean power to spare. To my ears this amp sounds fantastic with my Fender D’Aquisto, and the next time I need to take it out of the house I invite all you guys over to help me carry it.

    (Bonus points: The late Herby Wallace on “Almost Like Being In Love” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5EWyj8bIIY )

  55. Allen WeberMar 27, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Dirk,

    For my recent jazz-rock/fusion release: Allen Weber Hot Shock I used a Mesa Boogie Mark I. It can get a very clean warm undistorted tone (which I did not use) or a nice crunch.

    For my jazz duo, I have done something no one will believe, but the tone is gorgeous! I have been using a Godin Freeway Classic (looks like a super strat), into a Marshall 30 FX. I am getting a very rich, warm undistorted tone that sounds like the tone Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, and Howard Roberts were getting from fat hollow body jazz guitars.

    The Marshall is 100% transistor.
    My Mesa Boogie is of course tube.

  56. Jesse BoggsMar 27, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Recently replaced Acoustic Image/Raezer’s Edge setup with a Rivera Chubster. Love the tube thing, really makes my guitars sing. Lots of tone range, plenty power. Built to last, too. The Acoustic Image was a great amp, but the tube sound is better to my ear.

  57. Dave FMar 27, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Thanks Dirk. Interesting that “Other brands” represents 25% of votes, which is the 2nd biggest category after Fender. If those brands are getting less than 0.5% of the vote each (your threshold for displaying the brand name), then there must be at least another 50 brands voted for, in addition to the 25 shown. It just shows how personal our choice of amp is!

    I’m currently using an AER Bingo with my Eastman archtop, and awaiting delivery of a Mambo wedge 10″.

  58. PaulMar 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    The warmest sounding amp I have is my old Ampeg Gemini 1 (1965) but my gigging amp is a JazzKat. Can’t beat the sound,volume, tone and versitility in such a small light weight amp. Put my guitar through one ch and my female vocalist through the other. I put a slave speaker on the other side of the stage and we have a guitar amp and PA in one simple set up.

  59. Peter M NollMar 27, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I have 2 Kendrick amps (a 2×10 and a 4×10) which are built like the old Fenders and sound great. They are heavy. I also have a Tech21 Trademark 10 for practice. They don’t sell the 10 anymore but it’s a nice little practice amp.

  60. TrevorMar 27, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Interesting survey Dirk. I replaced my Roland Cube 20 with a Fender Blues Junior at Christmas. The Blues Junior is a wonderful upgrade with warmth and far greater clarity to my ear, making my instruments sound alive.

  61. losaltosjoeMar 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for the survey/info Dirk! I’m curious how many other members use Brunetti or Headstrong amps.

    Thanks,
    Joe

    • Dirk LaukensMar 27, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      Hey Joe, there are 10 Brunetti and 7 Headstrong users.

      • losaltosjoeMar 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm

        Thanks Dirk! So I’m not alone.

  62. RotrisMar 28, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Love the survey! Although I’m now play not a Acoustic Image Clarus/Razor’s Edge 10-ER, I am surprised the Fender ’63/64′ Vibroverb with the 15″ didn’t make the hot list. I am also surprised that the Rivera Suprema 15″ didn’t make the list either. All good set-ups.

  63. hottentotMar 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Hi everybody, when we talk about fender amps and jazz we all know that they work very well together, but in my experience the fender twin is the only one that makes the difference, i mean, the hot rod deluxe it’s a nice amp but the drive channel sucks, i use to have it but when i tried a roland jc 77 i sold it immediately for different reasons, the jc clean channel it’s almost unbeatable, it takes pedals like no others, i have a wampler ecstasy ovedrive and it’s far better than hot rod drive channel and for other reasons, i always wanted to play with a stereo set up so i sold the jc 77 (but i still think that it’s one of the best amp for clean sound) and i bought two small amps by Eko, Italian brand, pure solid state amp, i compare it to a fender mustang and no way, the Eko won, i never liked digital amps, these little amps sounds just amazing and they are very cheap, 109 euro each, yesterday a played in a small theatre and i didn’t even mic them, i don’t know if you can find them in Usa but they are great, also playing with two amps it’s a dream for effects like delay, rotary, tremolo etc.
    Ps. I’m sorry if i made some writing errors but i’m not english
    Cheers

  64. ZackMar 29, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Pretty solid list, although I wouldn’t think much of someone who primarily uses any Mesa-Boogie for jazz. I know their clean channels have mids that cut through well, but it’s just not pleasing to my ears. I use a Henriksen Jazz Amp 112 or a Fender HRD if there’s a need for distortion as I’ve never found a great mix of pedals with the Henriksen that works for me.

  65. SLEEPWALKERMar 29, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Dirk,Thanks for the input from you and and the players around the world.I actually have a Blues Jr but have rarely used it for jazz playing due to a lack of head room.My main Jazz amps,a Crema Wheat and an XITS X10,give me the tonal variety and head room needed.I also use a SWR Blonde which allows me to put an upright bass and my guitar in when playing a small club.I also always try to match guitars to different amps to get the tone desired.Reading the comment today gives me chance to rethink my approach to what other players have tried and had success with.
    Keep Jazz Alive.

  66. Rob HarvyMar 31, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Hi all, have had Marshall’s for rock, a Fender 30, and currently a Mesa Boogie Road King, Express 25, Nomad and Mk2c.
    The Mesa RK is the best I’ve had but is heavy and cumbersome. The Boogies take some fiddling with tone controls to get the best from them and be pleasantly surprised at the range of sounds available, but are expensive. For me a friends Fender twin sounds fabulous for “jazz” with a beautiful sparkling clean valve tone – the GB Fender amp is a fantastic amp for jazz too, but it’s always a case of differing tastes based on experience (or lack of!) and being able to sample the large range of amps out there.
    Fender being first on the list for jazz really isn’t a surprise for most of us I would think. Great warm/clean/valve sound straight out of the box and affordable.

  67. AadMar 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for the survey Dirk, great Job!
    As expected the usual amps are the most used. But my favorite amp is in the ‘Other Brands’ category, it is a ‘Jazz & Blues 50’ Tube amp, build by Matamp. Jazzguitarist Adrian Ingram was involved by designing this amp. This combo is the result of several years of Adrian’s involvement in designing, testing and tuning MATAMP prototypes for Jazz and Blues guitarists. Very straight forward to use “set and forget” amp. Designed with no compromise for the professional Jazz and Blues player who wants pure tone and who isn’t afraid to use the guitars on board volume and tone. Sounds great with single coil and humbucking pu’s. Depending on the gig I also use older Polytones, Mini Brute II and III and a Baby Brute. Or a Gallien Krueger Backline 100, the older model, also a very nice amp. Thanks Dirk for your efforts and your absolutely great and very informative website!

  68. TonyMay 6, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I have a hotrod Deluxe and a ZT lunchbox and I’m real
    picky with the sound in both sometime you get a nice
    sound sometime not. One day last week i was at guitar
    center playing a peavy 30 watt tweed amp… and the
    customer were coming around me like i was grant green
    are something ,of course the attention felt good.
    That peavy my next amp the quest for tone continues.

  69. std testing ATLMay 18, 2014 at 2:29 am

    By no means be impolite or arrogant when it arrives to
    making adore. Kids may suffer from fever, runny nose, sneezing and cough for a 7 days or longer.
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  70. hans brinkerJul 12, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    for use at home with clean, warm sound, for use of a Fender strat and gretsch. What do you recommend to obtain the silverface sound as an alternative for fender 68 silverface amps ?

  71. JackSep 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks for the interesting Survey, the Fender domination did not surprise me at all.
    I recently bought a Mesa Boogie Mark IV A 1×12 Combo, i get exactly the tone out of it I always wanted, but that amp is very heavy (85 pounds) that’s the only downside.

    • JeromeSep 17, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Jack,

      The Boogie is fine for this kind of application (I’ve owned a few Mark IIB’s, and they were great)- but indeed, they weigh a ton. Another amp I’m not seeing here that’s worthwhile if you can find one is the Pearce amp. Also great: a Yamaha GA50 112. They’re both indestructible, and will not let you down tone-wise.

  72. Fishman LoudBox MiniNov 5, 2014 at 4:17 am

    I was shocked… sound quality amazing… it weighs under 20lbs.
    Fishman LoudBox Mini

    • CarlNov 18, 2014 at 6:03 am

      Couldn’t agree more. I just saw your post. See my post of November 17 which I put up here a few hours before I saw yours.

  73. BillDec 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I have a Gibson 335 and play through a 1972 Fender Twin Reverb……amazing clean tone….

  74. VicJan 24, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Another amp than has recently come on the scene is the Quilter, developed by Pat Quilter. I play an Eastman 805 through a Quilter Micropro 200. It’s very light to hand carry with only an 8″ speaker yet it delivers 200 watts, 100 per channel.

  75. MaxMar 1, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    I’m an older but new guitar player; learning how to play jazz. I have a Japanese made Washburn J6 (L5 CES copy) hollowbody with new Seymour Duncan Seth Lover PAF HBs. The amp is a Fender Super Champ x2 head into a custom made pine cab based on a Fender Deluxe Reverb cab with an Eminence Swamp Thang. I am striving for late 1950s early 1960s pure tone. It may be a practice set up but it is heaven to me. No, Wes was not an influence in any way….wink…..wink.

  76. HansMay 31, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Hi, any comment on Mambo 10 or 12 from the Uk?

  77. HansJun 8, 2015 at 11:25 am

    http://mambo-amp.co.uk

    Yhis is the link for these mambo amps.
    Hope to receive some feedback about this brand.
    Who knows about it?
    Hans

  78. DonnAug 11, 2015 at 6:13 am

    The article/survey/comments are simply wonderful and sorely needed for aspiring players. Is there any chance, with the survey results turning two years old, of a new survey. With the rapid technology developments in neodymium speakers, power amp design (smaller,lighter,cooler running), miniaturization of circuitry, and new product like Henriksen’s “The Bud” and Pat Quilter’s second generation of micropros, not to mention the recent revelation that the Eminence Cannabis Rex is a match made in jazz heaven for the star of the current survey… I rest my case.

  79. KaonaSep 21, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Just bought a Blues Junior III w/ factory Cannabis Rex speaker upgrade; sounds extremely fine for my style of play. BJs now typically sell for $529 new, but are still a great deal if you don’t require a lot of high volume clean headroom (my ’65 Twin had far more of that than I ever wanted, not to mention 63 pounds vs. the BJ’s 31.)

  80. David MilesSep 23, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Within each brand, are the amps listed in order of popularity per the survey?

    • Dirk LaukensSep 24, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Yes, correct.

  81. HansSep 24, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Hoi Dirk,

    Ik hen nu een Mark DV 12 jazz op proef, slechts 45 w, 12 ” speaker, weegt maar 8,6 kg en het en prachtig clean geluid, ook op hogere volumes.
    Kost de helft van een Henriksen!
    Ik bn er erg tevreden over.

    Groet, Hans

    • Dirk LaukensSep 24, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Hoi Hans, die heb ik nog nooit getest, zal ik eens doen als ik er één tegenkom. Grtjs!

  82. HansSep 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Hoi Dirk, je zal verbaasd staan.
    Ik heb Joost Zoeteman zaterdag op het Loosdrechts Jazzfestival er op horen spelen en dat was een flinke ruimte, wel over de PA natuurlijk, maar hij is er als professional zeer content mee, vindt hem zelfs prettiger klinken dan de Henriksen die hij hiervoor had.

    Groet,

    Hans

  83. N SmithNov 3, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Is anyone useing an EBS Drome classic combo?It sounds great to me using a Peerless Port Town through a Fishman ToneDeq!I can use the same amp for bass guitar too.

  84. MichaelDec 1, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Guitarists really need to disabuse themselves of the idea that a lack of portability is a justifiable cause for ditching an amp with superior tone. Someone made an argument for the Henriksen over the HR DLX. That, my friend, is an insane thing to say around people with opinions. Chiefly because it could not be more wrong. The argument was made that the Henriksen is far more portable and creates a tone just as good as the Twin. Sure, portability-wise, the Fender Twin is not a convenient grab by any means.

    But listen to that amp. The unadulterated tone you’re getting is gorgeous. I mean truly gorgeous. I wish I could say this is a subjective argument, but it is just factual which amp is better. It’s not about tubes (or lack thereof in the case of the Henriksen 110), it isn’t about a price tag, and it isn’t about speakers or speaker size. None of that tickles my bias bone — it’s simply the Fender Twin is the most versatile amp ever made and the applications for jazz alone are disgustingly high.

    I think Fender amps are the way to go for me personally. I’ve played all variants of the Roland Cube series and none have disappointed me, so look in to those as well. The George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe looks tasty but I hear a very blues-stricken response, which can be both good and bad depending on what you need.

  85. Ronnie RaygunJan 22, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Hi Ya’ll,

    I don’t play a lot of guitar much anymore. I switched to fiddle and I love it! But my many years with the guitar gave me an ear and prepared me for the fiddle. Now just to clarify for those who are wondering. The Violin and the Fiddle are one and the same, no difference. The actual difference is the style of playing. With Classical Violin, one is trained to play it. Very traditional course progression. With the Fiddle it’s basically Freestyle, doesn’t matter how you play as long as it sounds good. Violin basically only has one tuning scheme, Fiddle has 3 or 4.

    Jazz, Blues, Rock, Rockabilly, Real Country music (old school), Bluegrass, Cajun, Celtic, Eastern European styles and my most favorite of all… Swing! Western Swing too! I love it all! No one can say that Swing doesn’t rock, it rocks and then some. I have a pretty nice traditional Viola (love the warm, rich tones, similar to Cello), and an old beater Violin that I bought for $30 at a flea market. At the time I could barely get any good sounds out of it, but I kept at it until I began to sound better and better. Of course, I wanted to be able play with other musicians, so I got online and began researching.

    I knew that Barcus-Berry had pioneered pick-ups for the violin and other acoustic instruments, so I immediately decided that would be the best choice for my needs. I went out and got the Barcus-Berry clamp-on type, (clamps onto the bridge via 2 small screws) violin pick-up and a preamp. Because the the pick-up is a piezoelectric type, it requires a preamp. There are violin, viola and cello bridges that have built-in piezo pick-ups. You wouldn’t believe what they cost! One cello bridge w/ built-in pick-up I looked at, cost over $750.

    A traditional violin, being essentially an acoustic instrument, requires a piezo type pick-up because an electromagnetic pick-up doesn’t really sense string vibrations as well as you might think. The primary reason being because violin strings generally do not contain ferro-magnetic material (i.e. steel). Steel strings are available and there very inexpensive, but there tone is not as desirable as that of higher quality strings. There are various kinds of strings with various compositions. The most widely used strings are silk, wound with silver. They’re slightly more expensive than steel strings and have a nice overall tone. I however, use the steel strings. After all, my fiddle’s just an old beater. It does the job. I’ve been thinking for a long time, about what it would take to design and build an electromagnetic, humbucking pick-up for my fiddle.

    Now because I’m playing fiddle, I wanted a good clean sound to begin with. So, intuitively I went to the Fender website to look for an amp. Almost as soon as I got online, I was very quickly introduced to the Fender Acoustasonic Junior. It’s designed specifically for use with acoustic guitars that employ a piezo pick-up (as opposed to electromagnetic) and has 2 channels, 40 watts per channel, a stereo effects loop in the back, another stereo input for keyboard, built-in Chorus and spring Reverb, a patented, adjustable String Dynamics circuit and a Notch Filter for feedback. The more I learned about it, it quickly became clear that it would be the ideal choice for my needs. So, I got one and don’t regret it all. Though i must say, having read some of the comments here, I agree that weight is an issue. Even though my amp is quite small physically and solid state, it’s still unbelieveably heavy. On the order of 45 lbs. or so. The weight is due mostly to the cabinet.

    Even though I wanted a good clean sound initially, I figured there would be times when I wanted to “dirty-up” the sound now and then. Of course, a tube amp would be ideal for that. But, I figured that Distortion and Overdrive pedals would work pretty nicely. So in addition to the amp and pick-up, I acquired a Boss BCB-60 pedal board, 7 Boss pedals and a used Morley Wah. I think I like the Cry Baby better. I was in 2 bands, but transportation is an issue now and the guitar player of one of these bands lives quite far away. We always practiced at his home. So just the one band now.

    I try to get out as often as possible to play open mic nights. Ok, this is where I put in a plug for Fender. Of all the guitar players I’ve encountered, the vast majority use Fender amps. This would verify your websites finding that Fenders are the most prominent amplifiers across the board. Clearly, they speak for themselves.

    Well, that’s my 2 cents. Sorry, I didn’t intend to be so long winded. i just thought I would share that bit. But, after reading most of the comments and looking over many of the pages on this website, ya got ma wantin’ to play guitar again. I’m thinkin either a Les Paul or a Fender Jaguar. Great website!

    Rock n’ Roll!

    Ronnie Raygun

  86. Jeroem EngelbertsMar 17, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    actually, I’m pretty curious about the DV mark jazz 12… anybody try one out?

  87. Mike FosterMar 18, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Hi all, I’m in the same boat as most it seems. We all had the big cabs 30yrs ago but now the trick is to find the right tone out of a light rig and low watts. I’m finding I can use a single 15 cab and any small power source (tube) and sounds fine to what’s left of my hearing. Actually, and to my surprise, I found a 15 watt Ibanez head sounds plenty good using 6V6s, like an early Fender. That got me to try another little 15 watt Fender champ that I use as a head driving a cab with 2x12s. The cab is about 35Lbs and that little Champ really powers it well. I don’t like not have tube reverb, but that’s not a deal breaker, the digital effects have a reverb. These little 15 watt heads are a blast now that there’s more to choose from. If you want real clean, that 15 cab really delivers low end and clean mids – perfect jazz tone.

  88. MarioMay 3, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I’ve been playing Gibson ES175 and Fender Strat on Tech 21 amp for the past few years. I like the clean tone options and in adition reverb is quite good as well. I also play sometimes through ADAM active speakers, but the sound is too clean that way. Tech 21 Trademark 30 is light and fits nicely below my home office desk, so it’s quickly out of the way when the space is needed.

    Last time I visited a great guitar shop, I’ve tried 65 Princeton Reverb and liked the sound a lot.
    Now I’m not sure whether to get another guitar for xmas, or a new amp. Probably amp.

  89. Opp3May 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    This survey is nice. should do every year

  90. PaoloJun 18, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I use Sonic Guitars Jazz Reverb 150, is the best I have ever tried, all tube preamp that drive a hi end 150 watt class D power amp. Accutronics digital reverb, Jensen 12″ speaker, very powerfull, very lightweight, warm tone and great headroom.

  91. TonyNov 14, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Wow No one uses Quilter I am suprised small package lots of super clean headroom

    • CarlDec 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Tony, I use both a Henriksen 110 and a Quilter MP200 10″ and I love them both. These amps both weigh in at around 20lbs give or take a couple. While I am admittedly moving on in age, I stay in very good shape and can physically deal with the tube amps, but that doesn’t mean I want to struggle with 40-50lb amps when I don’t believe the result is that superior (if it actually is at all) to these 20lb amps. At one time I owned 7 Fender amps, and while I certainly liked them, I grew tired of not only lugging them, but of having to worry about the state of their maintenance. I sold six of them but kept one ’67 Princeton Reverb for myself just in case I ever changed my mind. Even there, I opted for the most practical Fender in terms of size, weight, and power, foregoing the larger Fender amps for that one.

      So, you’re right- the Quilter at the time of the greatest activity of this thread (2014?) was relatively unrecognized. I hope that’s changed.

  92. PeteFeb 20, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    My amps of choice are a ’62 Fender Super with 2×10″ Jensens and a ’65 Fender TR with Oxfords. I also had a ’58 Magnatone 260A with Oxfords. Great amp! It is the quietest amp I have ever owned and its cleans outdid the TR. Check out the Marshall Astoria. It has tone for days!

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