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  1. #1
    CC323 Guest
    Higher quality jazz amplifiers that I've used are Henriksen Jazz Amp 12R's, Polytone's, and older (80's) JC-120's, and I've also enjoyed using Cube 60's although they aren't quite perfect, they are very versatile, and even the high gain patches are good to me. I'm wondering if AER's are that much better than the other's that I've used, as well as if anyone has some suggestions for a really nice jazz amplifier. I really enjoyed the Henriksen's PA like qualities, particularly the Graphic EQ. Thanks for any help you guys can offer.

    Also, if this has been a particularly covered or argued over subject, I apologize in advance for any ensuing flame war.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I'm not really sure why you would think you have to own an expensive jazz amp like a Henriksen, Polytone, AER, etc. to get a good jazz tone? There are plenty of other amplifiers available that sound just as good. Have you checked out the Fender Pro Junior? This 15-watt amp will blow you out of here and it's all tube and has two knobs: volume and tone. Beautiful, warm tone. Great for jazz.

    .:: Fender®.com ::.


  4. #3

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    Also, the Fender Jazzmaster Ultralight is a great amplifier. You may want to look into those as well.


  5. #4
    CC323 Guest
    Well the thing is I'm not a tube guy at all for cleans. I came from a prog. rock background, and one of the first real clean tones that I 'had' to have was the Dream Theater Images And Words era Jazz Chorus clean tone. I really love the pure amplification provide by SS amps. I've heard people say that henriksen's are the best of the best, and I've heard other's preach AER, Jazzcat etc. Thanks for all of your help so far.

  6. #5

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    I really dig those:

  7. #6

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    Imo, the Blues Jr is not the best for a jazz amp, as it doen't have much headroom, and is built to break up early. Acoustic Image is the "best" jazz amp maker out there. They make heads and combos. The AI Clarus coupled with a Raezor's Edge cab is one of the premier set ups in the jazz world.

  8. #7

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    my take on the AER's is that they're really voiced for Acoustic Archtop guitars, and they really do that well. for giggles, i tried my tele thry one at a local store, and was thoroughly unimpressed. so it depends on what kind of guitar you're playing.

    i'm hooked on my cube right now, because it gives me what i need and it's cheap enough where it's one less think i have to worry about. I had a polytone that i sold because it was giving me problems (full disclosure to the buyer, mind you) that i really liked as well, and i find the clean tone i can coax out of the cube to be similar...the cube doesn't sound like a JC to me--but that was also an amp i enjoyed before it became apparent that it was bigger than i was ever going to need for the gigs i get.

    i'll add too that i have a blues junior, and it's a great small gig jazz amp...i use it when i play with an organ group occasionally, and it's great for that classic jazz sound. no problems with clean headroom whatsoever, but i'm using single coil pickups-which drive the amp a lot less. the pro junior is very cool too, but i'd say i you're looking for modern pristine cleans, these fenders aren't where that's at.

    so what am i getting at here? the "best" amp depends on the best match for the guitar you're playing. sorry for being long winded, but i've had a few this evening

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by CC323 View Post
    Well the thing is I'm not a tube guy at all for cleans. I came from a prog. rock background, and one of the first real clean tones that I 'had' to have was the Dream Theater Images And Words era Jazz Chorus clean tone. I really love the pure amplification provide by SS amps. I've heard people say that henriksen's are the best of the best, and I've heard other's preach AER, Jazzcat etc. Thanks for all of your help so far.


    Again, I'm still not sure why you would fork over that kind of money for an expensive "jazz" amplifier when you can get a good jazz tone out of less expensive ones.

    I've played through a Polytone, AER, and few others and have found that I can get a good jazz tone with a simple Vox amp like the Vox Custom Classic AC15CC1 which is a 15-watt amp that sounds fantastic. I think, honestly, you would be a fool to just throw your money at something without doing research first.

    Tube amps are the best sounding amps in my opinion. Yes, you will have to replace the tubes at some point in time. Yes, you have to be careful and handle it with care. I'm sure you're one that takes care of their stuff.

    I will also say that you can't beat the sound of Fender Deluxe Reverbs or Fender Princeton Reverbs either. Beautiful sound.

    To honest with you, I think you've already made up your mind before you asked your question, because you just said you think solid-states are the best, which is kind of a half-cocked viewpoint, because how do you really know unless you've played extensively through different tube amplifiers?

    I've been playing the guitar for almost 19 years and have played all kinds of amplifiers and I will tell you that sometimes the best amplifiers are the ones that you don't expect to be.

    I use solid-state amps too, but I also have several tube amplfiers that I love just as good if not more because of the warm sound they produce. I think to totally dismiss something without even trying it is not really the best way to go about buying anything.

    But hey it's your money, if you feel like you must spend that kind of money on something that you don't have to, then knock yourself out.
    Last edited by frisellfan19; 10-18-2008 at 03:29 AM.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by derek View Post
    Imo, the Blues Jr is not the best for a jazz amp, as it doen't have much headroom, and is built to break up early. Acoustic Image is the "best" jazz amp maker out there. They make heads and combos. The AI Clarus coupled with a Raezor's Edge cab is one of the premier set ups in the jazz world.
    Pure opinion. I can almost guarantee you, Derek, that I can get just as good as a tone, if not better, than you through a Fender Deluxe Reverb or a little 25-watt Vox.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by frisellfan19 View Post
    Also, the Fender Jazzmaster Ultralight is a great amplifier.
    Interesting! The head has the phones output; is it really usable for home practice with a nice pair of phones, or is it too loud?

  12. #11

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    how about a jazzkat

  13. #12

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    You've had some good advice here. I'll reinforce what mr. beaumont said about matching the amp to your particular guitar and playing style. That's really the only way to be sure that you're going to end up with something you like.

    I have an AER Compact 60/2 that I like very much. I bought it because I wanted a very small, very lightweight amp that sounds good. Is it worth the money? To me, yes. I'd recommend that you *consider* it as one of your candidates. You really have to make your decision based upon playing it for yourself.

    I totally understand where your're coming from w.r.t. SS cleans. I dig tube amps for what they do. But they're *not* universally superior, IMO. Over the past few years my playing has increasingly pushed my gear in a direction where *any* amount of distortion becomes unacceptable. I'll play straight into a PA (through a DI, of course) or into a full-range amp like the AER. (BTW, I also like the Acoustic Image amps. The AER won out on the basis of cost, size, weight and availability.)

    Tube amps are great because they add "warmth" to your guitar tone. But that warmth is caused by distortion. All tube amps have low levels of distortion, even when played clean. That's what makes them sound so good for many styles of guitar playing. But if your really do want SS cleans, you need a SS amp.

    This again gets back to the main point: you must hear an amp *in person* in order to make an informed decision. Every amp is going to impart its own character to your sound. What works for *me* may not be the best choice for *you*.

    I've played most of the amps mentioned on this thread. *None* of them are poor choices. I could certainly enjoy playing my guitar through any one of them if it was the only amp available to me. Even so, my advice remains: play the amp before you spend your money.

  14. #13

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    Scolohofo, that AAD Cub looks really interesting. Would you tell us about your experience with it?

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by TieDyedDevil View Post
    Scolohofo, that AAD Cub looks really interesting. Would you tell us about your experience with it?
    Wel,the cub isn't expensive,i've payed some 340 euro for a new one.
    The best part is the sound,those little woofers 5" brigs a nice deep basses,nice midrange en the highs are good too.The controls are just perfect when you want to colour your sound,it works realy,you can hear it!
    To me it's not muddy cause you can make this amp singing,just need a little beat of twikkening.
    The cub looks very strong en wel made,no plastics on this one.
    So,hoop it's helps.
    There are more review on HC

  16. #15

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    Thanks, Scolohofo. It looks like they sell for about US$600. I sent an email to AAD to find out how I can try one out here in Portland, OR where they have no dealers.

  17. #16

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    It's too bad that Ampeg discontinued their recent reissue line of Diamond Blue amps. They look exactly like the ones from the late 50's and early 60's. The Jet which is the small one was a little too small for a decent gig but the Reverberocket series had a pretty nice tone for jazz gigs. Now they make mostly rock bass amps. The amp that really was the ultimate for jazz on the east coast (Fender was the one for the west coast) was Ampeg's Gemini II amp with the sweetest sound you could get. It had a big old 15" speaker. There's an interesting story about those amps.

    It was some time in the early 60's and a number of guitarists in NYC formed the "New York Guitar Club". So that they didn't have to lug around those extremely heavy amps, the club members chipped in and bought a number of Gemini II's and put them into a number of restaurants, jazz clubs and catering halls. Then they took out the on and off toggle switch, put a lock in it's place and made a bunch of keys. That way, wherever a guitarist played in one of those places, all they had to bring was they're axe and the key. The rest was all there. The dues payed for amp repairs and new amps. As an aside, the New York Bass Club had B-15's.

  18. #17

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    those ampegs were excellent. i kick myself for not picking one up, because they're hard to come by now...folks hang on to 'em--cuz they're good.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by hot ford coupe View Post
    It was some time in the early 60's and a number of guitarists in NYC formed the "New York Guitar Club". So that they didn't have to lug around those extremely heavy amps, the club members chipped in and bought a number of Gemini II's and put them into a number of restaurants, jazz clubs and catering halls. Then they took out the on and off toggle switch, put a lock in it's place and made a bunch of keys. That way, wherever a guitarist played in one of those places, all they had to bring was they're axe and the key. The rest was all there. The dues payed for amp repairs and new amps. As an aside, the New York Bass Club had B-15's.
    What a cool story! Thanks for sharing that.

    Can you imagine that happening today, though? I'm not sure whether the program would be at greater risk from shifty club owners or from contentious guitarists...

  20. #19

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    It definitely would be a dilemma for me. I'd hate to show up to a gig and find the amp was stolen. Heck, if you can put in a lock for an on and off switch, you can just as easily reverst the procedure. The amps would have to be marked somehow so the average guy wouldn't know where to look. I wonder if they ever thought of bolting them to the floor. It would sure beat dragging an extra 70 pounds around the city.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by frisellfan19 View Post
    Pure opinion. I can almost guarantee you, Derek, that I can get just as good as a tone, if not better, than you through a Fender Deluxe Reverb or a little 25-watt Vox.
    Of course it is. My opinion is different than yours, as is Jim Hall, John & Bucky Pizzarelli, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Jimmy Bruno, Tony DeCaprio, John Pisano, Nate Najar, Jimmy Wyble, & Frank Vignola, just to name a few. In fact the only two jazz players I have seen in the past 5 years playing tube amps are Steve Cardness (old Fender Twin) and John Scofield (Vox AC 30), though Sco has anything but a traditional jazz sound.

    With the price of travel, and the hassle of transporting heavy tube amps, I know that many players have gone to a AI/RE type set up for MUCH cleaner headroom, and greatly increased portability. However, it is not to say you can't get a great jazz sound from a tube amp, because you can.

    Evans would be an example of a company who mainly caters to jazzers (and steel players) who make tube amps. Rivera also makes a tube jazz amp. My opinion is you are going to have to spend WAY more $ to get enough headroom in a tube amp to play clean compared to a ss amp.

    I play thru a 6L6 Dumble clone and a 6V6 Fender Tweed clone for rock/pop, but a ss JazzKat for jazz. To each his own.

  22. #21
    CC323 Guest
    Well I think that the simplest way to state my preferences is that I like the cleanliness provide by SS, and I also like as little tonal colouration as possible. I really enjoyed the Henriksen because it's volume, Graphic EQ, and reverb, and the Graphic EQ seems to be a lot less colouring than a regular 3 band setup. I've just been looking for a cheaper alternative to the Henriksen for that kind of amp. The cube 60 is the closest I've found, but I'd really enjoy something a bit cleaner sounding ( I think the aspect I care for least is that the Cube uses a 'rock'-ish guitar speaker. The PA or Bass voiced speaker in the Henriksen's is much better in my opinion. )

    By the way, thanks for all the help so far.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by CC323 View Post
    Well I think that the simplest way to state my preferences is that I like the cleanliness provide by SS, and I also like as little tonal colouration as possible. I really enjoyed the Henriksen because it's volume, Graphic EQ, and reverb, and the Graphic EQ seems to be a lot less colouring than a regular 3 band setup. I've just been looking for a cheaper alternative to the Henriksen for that kind of amp. The cube 60 is the closest I've found, but I'd really enjoy something a bit cleaner sounding ( I think the aspect I care for least is that the Cube uses a 'rock'-ish guitar speaker. The PA or Bass voiced speaker in the Henriksen's is much better in my opinion. )

    By the way, thanks for all the help so far.

    Have you tried a Jay Turser Classic 25RC? Here's a link:

    Jay Turser Guitars and Basses

    It's only 25-watts, but it's sound is superb for such an inexpensive amplfier. It sounds fantastic and is really an ideal jazz amp. It also is solid-state and has reverb and chorus. A beautiful sounding amp that I'm incredibly happy with. You will be surprised how great this amplifier sounds.

    I played one at a guitar shop in New Orleans last May and I could not believe the clarity, depth, and volume this amp produced. They are also really cheap. Around $150, which is a good price considering this amp is pure beauty. I'll never go back to an amplifier that's over 35-watts unless I have no other alternative.
    Last edited by frisellfan19; 10-19-2008 at 03:30 AM.

  24. #23
    Ray C. Guest
    And what is a "good jazz tone?" Is it like pornography-you know it when you hear it? (the tone, not the porno ) I find this debate a bit circular and unconstructive.

    Not to pick on you frisellfan, but I can't relate to "I can get just as good as a tone, if not better, than you through a Fender Deluxe Reverb or a little 25-watt Vox." It's too subjective.

    However, I do share some of frisellfan's feelings about tubes-there's even the 15watt Champ that's pretty affordable and would be nice compliment to a solid state rig. I was listening to "George Benson's Cookbook" last night, and for that type of blue-based, organ group stuff, tubes is the way to go IMO-you need some grease and solid state doesn't quite do it for me. And because of my own like and affinity for the blues, I do find myself swinging harder with tubes-but that's my own hang up.

    In a lot of rooms, (considering the size and cost of these amps) bringing a small tube amp with your solid state can be done and really add something to the your sound and the gig. I know we live in a "smart phone" world where everybody wants everything in one box, but for jazzers the I think the cost and size is right for a very simple, two amp set-up. When it comes to amps...I'm "bi."

    And that's my rant...
    Last edited by Ray C.; 10-19-2008 at 09:00 AM.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray C. View Post
    And what is a "good jazz tone?" Is it like pornography-you know it when you hear it? (the tone, not the porno ) I find this debate a bit circular and unconstructive.

    Not to pick on you frisellfan, but I can't relate to "I can get just as good as a tone, if not better, than you through a Fender Deluxe Reverb or a little 25-watt Vox." It's too subjective.


    I was just making a point, Ray C. I was merely making the implication that this guy doesn't need to go throw a wad of money at something to get a good jazz tone. It can be done in a very affordable way. That's all I was saying. It wasn't circular nor was it unconstructive...it was honest.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray C. View Post
    And what is a "good jazz tone?" Is it like pornography-you know it when you hear it? (the tone, not the porno ) I find this debate a bit circular and unconstructive.

    Not to pick on you frisellfan, but I can't relate to "I can get just as good as a tone, if not better, than you through a Fender Deluxe Reverb or a little 25-watt Vox." It's too subjective.

    However, I do share some of frisellfan's feelings about tubes-there's even the 15watt Champ that's pretty affordable and would be nice compliment to a solid state rig. I was listening to "George Benson's Cookbook" last night, and for that type of blue-based, organ group stuff, tubes is the way to go IMO-you need some grease and solid state doesn't quite do it for me. And because of my own like and affinity for the blues, I do find myself swinging harder with tubes-but that's my own hang up.

    In a lot of rooms, (considering the size and cost of these amps) bringing a small tube amp with your solid state can be done and really add something to the your sound and the gig. I know we live in a "smart phone" world where everybody wants everything in one box, but for jazzers the I think the cost and size is right for a very simple, two amp set-up. When it comes to amps...I'm "bi."

    And that's my rant...
    Good question. On one end of the spectrum you have guys like Wes and Martino who have very dark, rolled off sound. On the other end, you get guys like Sco or Frissell who use lots of effects like delay or distortion, for a more modern sound. Then in between lie Joe Pass (fairly bright), Kenny Burrell (darker, but not as dark as Wes), etc.

    I guess it could be said that a good jazz tone is where you find it.*


    *Please note the author has no idea what he is talking about with this statement, but wanted to come across philisophical.

  27. #26

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    You should take your guitar to a music store and try it thru several different amps, then decide. the guitar makes a significant difference.

    peace

  28. #27

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    OR you can look for a used Polytone amp. I just scored one, a 1982 Mini Brute IV for $215.00 CDN!! It's close to mint except for the foam grille and even has the manual, schematics and original documentation for it. I got it from a guy who plays bass and was actually surprised to know I was looking to use it for guitar. This is the second time I've seen one sold by a bass player in the last 2 months. I just couldn't pass on this one for the money I paid for.

  29. #28

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    Hi anybody ,

    is here anyone who plays these amps and tells about his experiences with them , especially about these speakers?

    Stay tuned

    Frank