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  1. #1

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    which amp would generally be best suited for jazz.. tube amps or solid state amps?

    Im leaning more towards a tube amp because it seems to deliver a warmer tone.

    let me know what you think!
    Last edited by jason30; 11-23-2008 at 06:54 PM. Reason: spelling

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  3. #2

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    hey jason...

    i responded to your PM as well--here's my take on jazz tone.

    "warm" is sort of a tough thing to define. for some, it seems to be a tone that's firmer in the bass and mids, and loses some of the "icy" highs. for others, "warm" is that touch sensitivity you get with a tube amp--where you set it so that the hardest notes you hit have just a touch of grit to them...

    to me, "warm" jazz sounds can be gotten thru a tube or solid state amp (think early pat martino on the tube side, late pat on the solid state side.) solid state jazz sounds tend to be a bit drier, and maybe lack some of the inherent character of tube amps, but there are great solid state jazz tones out there.

    for me, it depends on the gig. for the solo gigs i do around town, it's always solid state--they're lighter, have less to worry about failing, and the dry, dark signal really suits the solo atmosphere.

    when i play with groups, i'll often consider a tube amp. i also like tube amps in other traditional settings, like working with a big band (gotta be careful though, nobody wants a distorted guitar in a big band playing the hits of the 40's!) it really depends on how i'm feeling at the moment.

    i say there's nothing wrong with having both in the stable.

  4. #3

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    I have used both and I find both will do a very adequate job. The size and the quality of the amps have a bit to do with getting the tone you want. There's even a lot of variability in that "warm" tone from tube amp to tube amp and SS amp to SS amp. The trick is to take your axe to the store when you're going to buy one and try as many of the different types as you can. Your ears will tell you what you'll need to choose. Believe it or not, on several occasions I've even used my bass amp, an Ampeg B100 Rocket something or other solid state amp and got a beautiful sound. You add a reverb or delay to it and you've got a winner.

  5. #4
    I guess theres a lot of variables to be considered when choosing between a SS or tube amp. And just as you said, having both would definitely solve that problem. The only problem is, that there are sooo many good amps out there to chose from and with money being an issue, i cant afford to make the wrong choice. Thanks again guys for the help. I'll let you know what happens in my selection.

    jason30
    Last edited by jason30; 11-23-2008 at 06:54 PM. Reason: spelling

  6. #5

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    I won't reiterate save to say that the advice already given is sound.

    Regarding not being able to "afford to make the wrong choice": A quality tube amp will always cost more than a comparable quality SS amp.

    Avoid the "bargain-priced" amps in either category. While they might sound OK when brand new, they tend to develop rattles and other defects rather quickly.

    Do you have a specific budgetary figure in mind?

  7. #6

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    Gigs without drums I use Solid State

    Gigs with drums I use Tubs.

    Default, I use Tubes.

    Reason being is that while SS amps are more then capable to cover any band there is a certain projection that they don't get over Tube amps, they lack presence in many instances, especially in larger rooms. I almost always gig on a tube amp and only rarely do I bring my SS to a gig and only will if I don't know what the situation is going to be but know the room is small... many stairs... no drummer to fight with and or just sitting in.

    Full blown gigage isthe Tube amp all the way. I can't really get "my sound" on the SS amps, it's close but not really it. The Tube amp is like home.
    Jake Hanlon - Jazz Guitarist, Composer and Educator
    Website - Buy Music - Youtube - STFXU

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by TieDyedDevil View Post
    I won't reiterate save to say that the advice already given is sound.

    Regarding not being able to "afford to make the wrong choice": A quality tube amp will always cost more than a comparable quality SS amp.

    Avoid the "bargain-priced" amps in either category. While they might sound OK when brand new, they tend to develop rattles and other defects rather quickly.

    Do you have a specific budgetary figure in mind?

    To TieDyedDevil,

    I would like to keep my budget ubder $800 if possible, being that i spend a little more for a Twin about 8 months ago. I just cant seem to make this amp sound the way i want it to sound. If you'll check out my other post on Choosing a Pro Spaker.. Im in the process of trying to put some new speakers in my Twin.. which made me wonder which would make more sense, buting new speakers or going on another amp search, whether it be SS or tube..

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Hanlon View Post
    Gigs without drums I use Solid State

    Gigs with drums I use Tubs.

    Default, I use Tubes.

    Reason being is that while SS amps are more then capable to cover any band there is a certain projection that they don't get over Tube amps, they lack presence in many instances, especially in larger rooms. I almost always gig on a tube amp and only rarely do I bring my SS to a gig and only will if I don't know what the situation is going to be but know the room is small... many stairs... no drummer to fight with and or just sitting in.

    Full blown gigage isthe Tube amp all the way. I can't really get "my sound" on the SS amps, it's close but not really it. The Tube amp is like home.

    Hi Jake,

    I agree with you when you say that there are instances when a SS will work perfectly and instances when they wont make the grade. I guess i got to the point to where i was questioning what i already new simply because im having a hard time making my Twin soind the way i like for it to sound

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason30 View Post
    To TieDyedDevil,

    I would like to keep my budget ubder $800 if possible, being that i spend a little more for a Twin about 8 months ago. I just cant seem to make this amp sound the way i want it to sound. If you'll check out my other post on Choosing a Pro Spaker.. Im in the process of trying to put some new speakers in my Twin.. which made me wonder which would make more sense, buting new speakers or going on another amp search, whether it be SS or tube..
    My own inclination would be to not put any more time or money into the Twin, since it's not working for you. That's not to say that it's not a nice amp. IME, though, it's difficult to make a Twin - especially one of the modern reissues - sound great at a reasonable volume.

    Here's an article I wrote about lightweight amps. These are all SS. Perhaps you'll find something worth your consideration: David Lamkins - Guitarist - A survey of lightweight rigs
    Last edited by TieDyedDevil; 12-03-2008 at 04:04 PM.

  11. #10

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    Get yourself a nice cheap little tube amp

  12. #11
    Last weekend I traded my Fender Blues Deluxe USA for a Roland Cube 60.
    I am happy about it.
    - Beautiful, clean, warm Tone
    - Lots of room before breaking up on the JC Channel
    - Switch to Blackface'ish with a button
    - No more back pain, carrying the tweed monster!

  13. #12

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    I am like Jake in that I have both ss and tube amps. The 110 watt JazzKat certainly fits nicely under your budget, is very light and portable, and gets a good jazz sound.

    I play tube amps pretty exclusively for rock/pop stuff. There I use a Dumble clone head, and a Fender Tweed (5E3) clone combo. There is head room in both to play jazz, but I like the sound I get from the JazzKat enough that I haven't gigged with either tube amp.

    When my JK finally craps out, I will probably buy one of their tube hybrids next. They look pretty cool, and I have been more than satisfied with their product and customer service.

    The Roland Cube 60, JazzKat and Henriksen are all well built, affordable ss amps that give you that warm, dark jazz tone in spades. More and more pros play ss, as they are more portable and reliable for travel compared to their tube brethren. Really, if you go with any of the suggestions on this thread, it will be tough to make a 'bad choice". Good luck

  14. #13

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    I have a Fender Blues Junior and a Roland Cube 60. The Cube 60 gives me a really nice jazz tone, full, round, warm (using the JC Clean channel), I really like it with my Ibanez Artcore AK85. The Blues Junior is a nice amp, and does deliver that great warm tube sound, but at higher volumes breaks up easily. (good for blues, not jazz). I like my Cube 60 a lot.

    I recently saw John Pizarelli in Cleveland at the Nightown, and was fortunate enough to have him sit down and talk to us after his show. We talked guitars and amps. He normally likes a Roland Jazz Chorus, (he also has a JazzKat) but at this gig was using the house amp, an Ampeg Jet. ($850). I was really impressed at the tone from that amp. John seemed to like it also. The thing I found interesting is that he mentioned that last year at the same venue they had a Fender Twin and he did not like the sound at all, for jazz at least.

    I read David Lamkins' article and didn't find it too helpful. He didn't seem to like any of the amps he discussed all that much.

    Tube/SS, ahh, the neverending quest for tone! It's a difficult decision. Each has it's own good/bad points, depending on what your looking for.

    If I were you, I might be inclined to sell the Twin, then pick up a decent SS amp and perhaps a smaller tube amp. Best of both worlds.

    Mike
    Washburn J600 Jazz
    D'Addario Flat Wounds

  15. #14

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    I really like my "spacetone" amp, five watts, hand made in North Carolina, by SWART. if you phone, you talk to the the guy that makes them. Very nice guy. It's about $800.00. More than loud enough for a large restaurant.

    I plug it in to a Peavey cabinet with two ten inch jensen speakers.

    It's warm, and a little gritty, a little overdriven, if, like me, you want that kind of sound. (For me a lot of jazz players are little too muffled, and bland, sleepy sounding, with too much bass, not enough treble).

    It's also great for practise without the extension cabinet.(8 speaker )

    another great amp, Mesa Boogie mark 1 reissue. very warm. 60 and 100 watt settings, tweed (dark) setting, lots of tonal possibilities.

    both are tube amps.

  16. #15

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    I use an Acoustic Image Clarus 2 series 3 amp. I like it alot. Its about 4 pounds and smaller than a cigar box, and is 400 watts. Clean and warm. Some describe it as "tube like". It is absolutely silent- no hiss or hum. It has 2 channels that take either a guitar jack or mic (low-z) jack. It has 2 speaker outs and can handle speakers down to 2 ohms. It has 3 types of reverb, chorus, delay and flanger built in as well as an effects loop. It is very balanced- the low E is as loud and focused as the high D on the 22nd fret of the high E string. It does not distort at high volumes. It does NOT like distortion devices.

    For speakers I like Raezer's Edge and Redstone Audio. I use an RE Twin 8, 2 eight inch speakers in a ported cabinet and a RS RS12v (12 inch vented) Both are very nice, very focused, warm and clean.

    I have a Twin and a Deluxe reissue, both are nice but don't compare to the AI/RE or AI/RS combination for jazz-they sound like my guitar, just louder.

    Fritzjazz

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritzjazz View Post
    I use an Acoustic Image Clarus 2 series 3 amp. I like it alot. Its about 4 pounds and smaller than a cigar box, and is 400 watts. Clean and warm. Some describe it as "tube like". It is absolutely silent- no hiss or hum. It has 2 channels that take either a guitar jack or mic (low-z) jack. It has 2 speaker outs and can handle speakers down to 2 ohms. It has 3 types of reverb, chorus, delay and flanger built in as well as an effects loop. It is very balanced- the low E is as loud and focused as the high D on the 22nd fret of the high E string. It does not distort at high volumes. It does NOT like distortion devices.

    For speakers I like Raezer's Edge and Redstone Audio. I use an RE Twin 8, 2 eight inch speakers in a ported cabinet and a RS RS12v (12 inch vented) Both are very nice, very focused, warm and clean.

    I have a Twin and a Deluxe reissue, both are nice but don't compare to the AI/RE or AI/RS combination for jazz-they sound like my guitar, just louder.

    Fritzjazz
    I have mentioned the AI/RE combo as kind of the industry standard for jazz players. The AI is not for everyone because it is COMPLETELY transparent. If you have flaws in your technique, they get amplified rather than covered up some by other amps.

    Since I don't make much $ playing jazz, and am mainly playing solo, the JazzKat was a compromise for me.

  18. #17

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    You better be a body-builder if you plan to haul that Twin around! I have a Vibrolux that I don't even like to pick up.

    I've always been a pretty die-hard anti-solid state guy, but after reading so much positive hype about the Henrikson jazz amp, I finally tried one, and have to admit that it sounds wonderfully "warm", and is SO much lighter than a big Fender that I'm pretty sure I will give my herniated discs a break and buy one.

  19. #18
    Hey guys,

    thanks for all the replies to the thread that was postyed on tube versus solid state amps. I learned alot just from reading the different comments and experiences that you all have had. And basically what i gathered is that different ppl are going to prefer a different sounds from their amp.. some prefering solid state and others, tube amps.

    so for now what idecided to do was to change the speakers in my Twin and replace them with the Eminence Delta Pro speakers.. which is a versatile speaker that can be used for guitar, bass or PA applications.. These speakers gave me the bottom end that i was looking for, and a big fa. warm jazz tone to go along with it. And now the only left for me to do in relation to my jazz tone, is to lear how to play jazz! LOL! Ok, im joking.. but i still have a long way to go musically, but finding a sound that you like makes practicing a bit more exciting!!

    Thanks for everything guys. The information that you gave me helped me make ehat i thought was a good decision!

    jason30

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason30 View Post
    To TieDyedDevil,

    I would like to keep my budget ubder $800 if possible, being that i spend a little more for a Twin about 8 months ago. I just cant seem to make this amp sound the way i want it to sound. If you'll check out my other post on Choosing a Pro Spaker.. Im in the process of trying to put some new speakers in my Twin.. which made me wonder which would make more sense, buting new speakers or going on another amp search, whether it be SS or tube..
    jason30: I agree with all the advice you've gotten so far, and definitely relate to you about having a budget. Personally, I have 2 amps: a mesa boogie DC5 and a Roland JC-120 ... a tube amp and a ss.

    I loved my mesa, up until the time when it needed repair, and I just wasn't gigging enough to justify fixing it with my other financial responsibilities.

    Don't get me wrong: there's a reason some folks swear by tube amps. If I had more dough, I probably would too. There is no ss amp in the world that can ever fully duplicate tubes (I am 100% welcome to anyone on the forum proving me wrong)

    But alas ... there's reality, and one thing to keep in mind is that when you go tubes, you're not just committing to the sale price. You also have to spend money every so often to maintain/repair it. Tubes need replacement on a fairly regular basis, and can break.

    I would recommend the JC-120, in deference to cost and criticisms about ss on this thread. It is well under $800, and it can be as loud as you want it to be. While it may very well be that tubes have more of a presence in a live situation, I've NEVER had that come up as a problem with this amp. It also has an open back, so the sound doesn't get compressed. It has a reasonably responsive parametric eq, and can be quite warm, if you take the time to play with the settings.

    Try it, and let me know what you think!

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason30 View Post
    To TieDyedDevil,

    I would like to keep my budget ubder $800 if possible, being that i spend a little more for a Twin about 8 months ago. I just cant seem to make this amp sound the way i want it to sound. If you'll check out my other post on Choosing a Pro Spaker.. Im in the process of trying to put some new speakers in my Twin.. which made me wonder which would make more sense, buting new speakers or going on another amp search, whether it be SS or tube..
    jason30: I agree with all the advice you've gotten so far, and definitely relate to you about having a budget. Personally, I have 2 amps: a mesa boogie DC5 and a Roland JC-120 ... a tube amp and a ss.

    I loved my mesa, up until the time when it needed repair, and I just wasn't gigging enough to justify fixing it with my other financial responsibilities.

    Don't get me wrong: there's a reason some folks swear by tube amps. If I had more dough, I probably would too. There is no ss amp in the world that can ever fully duplicate tubes (I am 100% welcome to anyone on the forum proving me wrong)

    But alas ... there's reality, and one thing to keep in mind is that when you go tubes, you're not just committing to the sale price. You also have to spend money every so often to maintain/repair it. Tubes need replacement on a fairly regular basis, and can break.

    I would recommend the JC-120, in deference to cost and criticisms about ss on this thread. It is well under $800, and it can be as loud as you want it to be. While it may very well be that tubes have more of a presence in a live situation, I've NEVER had that come up as a problem with this amp. It also has an open back, so the sound doesn't get compressed. It has a reasonably responsive parametric eq, and can be quite warm, if you take the time to play with the settings.

    Try it, and let me know what you think!

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by RebShira View Post
    Don't get me wrong: there's a reason some folks swear by tube amps. If I had more dough, I probably would too. There is no ss amp in the world that can ever fully duplicate tubes (I am 100% welcome to anyone on the forum proving me wrong)
    I don't think there's any such think as objective *proof* that tube amps are better than SS, or vice versa. It's really a matter of taste and objectives.

    SS amps tend to fill a different niche than tube amps. You'll have a difficult time getting a pristine clean sound from a tube amp.

    OTOH, tube amps are revered for their distortion characteristics. It comes naturally with the design. A lot of discussion surrounds the *character* of distortion one gets from tube amps; this varies from design to design and even from instance to instance of the same design. Even tube amps have their sub-niches, as no one design serves all sonic goals equally.

    Distortion has historically been an afterthought in SS amps, resulting in a lot of half-baked, awful-sounding circuits (e.g. the distortion mode on the JC-120). Recently some designers have put significant effort into emulating tube-amp distortion characteristics using SS circuitry. Consider the Peavy Transtube Series, the Tech21 amps, the ill-fated (now being closed out by the manufacturer at 20% of the original price) First-Act amps, and the boutique offerings from Pritchard (USA) and Bluetone (UK). I've played most of these (with the exception of the Pritchard and Bluetone). They're all different (as are tube amps of different origin) but all quite useable for a wide range of clean and distorted guitar tones.

    But alas ... there's reality, and one thing to keep in mind is that when you go tubes, you're not just committing to the sale price. You also have to spend money every so often to maintain/repair it. Tubes need replacement on a fairly regular basis, and can break.
    I'm glad you mentioned this. Maintenance is an ongoing obligation for owners of tube amps. The tubes themselves are the most common point of failure in a tube amp. They can degrade slowly with use. They can develop various undesirable noises. They can suddenly fail (much more common for power tubes than preamp tubes). As often as not, a failure will occur at a most inconvenient time (i.e. during a gig or session).

    If you're prepared (by having stocked tested spare tubes and fuses and knowing how to find and replace the bad tube) and working with an older amp (newer amps sold in the EU conform to regulations that make tube access very inconvenient), then you can be up and running again in a matter of minutes. Otherwise you'll find yourself on a first-name basis with an amp tech.

    When a SS amp fails, there's no way that you'll be able to repair it on stage. That's the bad news. The good news is that failures are extremely rare, especially if you're using a SS amp designed for professional use (as opposed to a "practice" or "beginner" amp built to a low price-point).

  23. #22

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    NO Glow???NO GO!!