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  1. #1

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    Up to date the smallest amp I use for gigs is a Fender blues jr. I have for like 10 years now – my bandmates prefer the tone of my vibrolux (2x10, 40 w). Before that I had a polytone, but we "scientifically" proved that the fenders sound better during a recording session. I also had an AER but it never had enough headroom for the second set (after the drummer had a beer during the break).
    We are an organ trio playing classic soul jazz & rare grooves (think Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, George Benson) and more recent stuff like Scofield & Medesky, Martin & Wood, The New Mastersounds and Soulive (I'm still using a classic clean tone to play these). After experimenting with Ibanez and Gibson 335-Style guitars I settled on a Gibson ES 330 strung with flatwounds – that somehow allows me to live my Grant Green obsession.
    Our volume differs a lot: Very quiet if we play coffee shops or private functions, more juicy if we play real live music venues.

    I don't drive so I rely on public transportation for local gigs and on our organ player VW-bus for jobs outside the city. So the last gig (private function, very quiet – I got there dragging the Blues jr. through the subway on a foldable cart) made me thinking I want a new amp – smaller and lighter and with a clean tone. I#m not getting any younger. As the blues jr. seems to need some care (repairs) anyway I'm thinking of getting one of the small amps that came up in recent years – one of these little combos.

    I have found these options:
    • DV Mark little jazz – probably the best availabilty here in germany and the cheapest.
    • Mambo Amp – a bit more pricy but maybe worth it – I think I can order from the UK with no problems before the brexit?
    • Henriksen Amps – Bud, Blu or Jazzamp 10?


    My problem: I looked at Youtube-Videos but none I found show these in a live band setting – there is always some nerdy and lonely guy noodling in his basement. Made me wonder how these little amps would keep up in a gigging situation.

    Any experiences? Video or audio-recordings?
    Last edited by guavajelly; 06-15-2019 at 10:49 AM.

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  3. #2

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    TOOB + micro power amp + preamp pedal

  4. #3

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    Quilter combo?
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  5. #4

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    First of all, what are "rare grooves?!"

    Plenty of posts and support here for the Blu/Bud with bands, as well as the various DVs. I would not want to haul around a large amp on the subway, either!

  6. #5

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    Quilter Micropro200, this little monster gets loud. I've got the 8" speaker, full sound and very light.

    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy View Post
    First of all, what are "rare grooves?!"
    Rare groove - Wikipedia

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly View Post
    there is always some nerdy and lonely guy noodling in his basement.
    Was this really necessary?

  9. #8

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    PC Jazz recommended TOOB. I make them. Quite a few are in use by N.Y. jazz guitarists and bassists. Per their request, a "Baby Toob" was born about a month ago. This is a 6.5" cab loaded with a Jensen P6V, 20W (6.5G -guitar model, 3.5 lbs) or Eminence Alphalite 6A, 100W (6.5BG - Bass and guitar model, 4.5 lbs). The photo below shows a 6.5G Custom together with a Quilter Interblock 45 amp. For organ trio, I'd recommend the BG powered by an MB 200, TC Electronic Bam200 or a floor amp such as BluGuitar Amp1 or HotOne Mojo Attack. No experience of preamps, as I only play cleans on moderate volumes.
    Attached Images Attached Images Gigable (!) public transportation suited size amp – is it feasible?-toob-6-5-interblock-jpg 

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Quilter Micropro200, this little monster gets loud. I've got the 8" speaker, full sound and very light.

    Sounds good. What do all these knobs do?

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by customxke View Post
    Was this really necessary?
    I resemble that remark !

  12. #11

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    I have a Blu and an AER Compact 60. Both are suitable for public transport and both will play a real world gig. If a loud drummer is on board, the Blu with an extension cabinet will do the job (by bringing down the ohms, the headroom and power, not to mention sound dispersion increases) better than the AER. I have a Raezer's Edge NY-8 for just that purpose, but many other suitable (and perhaps lighter if a Neodymium speaker is part of the equation) extension cabinets exist.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly View Post
    Sounds good. What do all these knobs do?
    If you don't need different sounds/switching (I do, for pit work), look for an Aviator instead of the MicroPro. More of a Fender Deluxe/Vibro emulation than the MicroPro.
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 06-15-2019 at 03:57 PM.
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  14. #13
    I play in the exact same situation, organ trio going after Grant green sounds, with a 335. Amp is either a Princeton reverb, an Aer, a Henriksen 110 or a zt lunchbox.I think the henriksen can handle higher volumes than the rest, but they all need help if we get really loud. Sometimes I take the Princeton and the zt lunchbox since it's so light.
    Some videos
    Zt Lunchbox


    Princeton


    Henriksen

  15. #14

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    I have been using my DV Mark Little Jazz exclusively for several months (except when there's already an amp at the venue).

    It is plenty loud for a four horn band and I've played some large rooms with it.

    It is marginal, but it worked, for a 19 pc big band in medium size rooms (for that size band).

    I haven't played with a funk or rock band with it, but I'm guessing it might fall short in that context.

    It's worth considering. Pretty good for 15 lbs.

    I've looked for head-to-head comparisons with the other popular small amps. Opinions vary, but most don't seem to feel that the LJ is significantly worse than the others. Some have rated it higher. Most find it comparable, even to more expensive amps. I've compared mine to a 1966 Ampeg Reverberocket -- and they didn't sound that much different. I thought the LJ was better for tone than a Roland 40XL, although the Roland has additional features - which I don't use.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 06-16-2019 at 02:27 PM.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    I play in the exact same situation, organ trio going after Grant green sounds, with a 335. Amp is either a Princeton reverb, an Aer, a Henriksen 110 or a zt lunchbox.I think the henriksen can handle higher volumes than the rest, but they all need help if we get really loud. Sometimes I take the Princeton and the zt lunchbox since it's so light.
    "Alter," great stuff! Excellent examples of how a good player will simply sound good, regardless of the gear! Thanks for posting!

    [You may, however, want to get your guitar checked: it's pointing the wrong way!]

  17. #16

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    As the OP is in Germany, probably the new mambo 200/ 400w 10" models ( 400 w with ext cab) will give the highest headroom for louder gigs at an acceptable price. With ext cab., the acoustic output is multiplied x 4. I recently used one in 2 x 8" format with ext cab., and it cut through everything in a high-volume situation. The Bud/ Blu, although no doubt very good amps, are considerably more expensive in Europe. It's been debated in these forums many times, but worth repeating that SS amps do need much more wattage than tube amps to sustain power on peaks without distortion.

  18. #17

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    "rare grooves" are some kind of medical skin thing.

  19. #18

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    I've been lugging a Fender Champion 50XL since the beginning of 2019, and I mainly got it because it weighs only 19 lbs, but has a 12" Celestion speaker in it. What a dream to cart around. Clean Fender blackface tone, and volume that holds it's own in a rhythm section vs 15 horns. The price is stupid low.

  20. #19

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    A couple of years ago I went through a lot of amps and cabs at XL Music in Helsinki, just to update myself on the traditional offering and how my TOOBs stack up. The big surprise: Fender Champion 50 offered easily the most pleasant clean jazz tone, while weighing and costing a fraction of the rest. However, this thread is about public transit compatible gear, which means that not only weight but physical dimensions matter. Jam-packed coaches, rude cab drivers, stairs, more stairs, small stages in small venues - it's a jungle out there. On the other hand, guitarists and blowers are lucky compared to percussionists, bassists & the rest.

  21. #20

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    I have gigged for years in settings from solo jazz to funk, loud country and UK pub bands with a Music Man RD 50 112 hybrid. Small, a little heavier than a champion but sweet, loud, clean for trio gigs and warm break up in a rock setting, plus channel switching for tube distortion. Think Fender Super reverb in an easy package with more headroom. Can't say enough good about this amp. Used $500-1000. There's also a 110 version, rarer but even smaller. Definitely bussable. DO NOT get the 100 W version...Totally different amp. There is now a reissue but price is way higher.

    Recently bought a Thomas Blug Amp1. 100W, fits in the pouch of my guitar bag. Their Nano Cab single 12 is amazingly light. Lots of channel switching capable, but for jazz, the good news is that the clean channel is very warm and you can control clean gain to dial in Grant Green or Wes clipping. I am shocked at how organic this thing sounds. Nano tube driven. A great design. In my study, master set to 2.5. But with a raucous pub band, it keeps up with a 100W Marshall and 4x12 bottom. Great Swiss army knife amp. No regrets since I bought 6 months ago. Would love in an organ trio setting.

    The Quilters are great. Aviator with 8" speaker is tiny, loud and sounds good for organ trio. Almost as good sounding as a boutique gender style.

  22. #21

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    That's my situation, I live in NYC and I don't have a car.

    I have two main amps: Vintage 47 VA-185, 12 inch speaker, octal tube, 22lbs.
    AER Alpha, smaller version of Compact 60, I think around 16lbs?

    I also have a good quality wheel cart to transport an amp. It's been good so far, it sure keeps me in a good shape!

    V47 is my fav amp, but AER is more versatile. I don't understand how OP said it can't keep up with a drummer? Sure you have a PA when you play with a full band? My AER can keep up in any situation, but usually I go XLR or Line Out to the board.

    With V47 I do the same putting SM57 mic in front. Common practice. If there is a gig that require a full band with no PA then it better pay good enough so someone from a band can bring it in their car.

    So in my observation AER Compact 60 is THE most used amp in NYC for most gigging jazz guitarists.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    If you don't need different sounds/switching (I do, for pit work), look for an Aviator instead of the MicroPro. More of a Fender Deluxe/Vibro emulation than the MicroPro.
    ps - Here's a nice one on reverb, the 8" version.

    Quilter Aviator Gold 1x8 Combo Amp | Reverb
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  24. #23

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    Mambo 8 (I like the wedge version). No problem having it delivered from Germany before Brexit. After Brexit - who knows, it might be a mess. Be sure that Jon can deliver before the Brexit deadline.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    I play in the exact same situation, organ trio going after Grant green sounds, with a 335. Amp is either a Princeton reverb, an Aer, a Henriksen 110 or a zt lunchbox.I think the henriksen can handle higher volumes than the rest, but they all need help if we get really loud. Sometimes I take the Princeton and the zt lunchbox since it's so light.
    Some videos
    Thanks. You sound great on all of these!

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    V47 is my fav amp, but AER is more versatile. I don't understand how OP said it can't keep up with a drummer? Sure you have a PA when you play with a full band? My AER can keep up in any situation, but usually I go XLR or Line Out to the board.
    That has been in a trio (bass, drums, guitar) very small gig, no PA – like 15 years ago. The room was also noisy so we had to get over people talking to hear ourselves. We were really not a "loud band", but not shy either. The AER did fine in the first set (and I loved the tone with my eastman archtop), drummer had a beer in the break and played just a bit louder. The limiter in the AER kicked in and the tone was a compressed mess. It was loud enough, but the feel and articulation was gone. I just didn't wanna get stuck in a situation like this – just like a car with a weak motor just barely manages to go up a hill. I want the headroom if I need it even if I probably never have to use it.
    After 3-4 gigs like that I sold it and got a polytone with a 12 inch speaker– that could handle everything. Later in the studio I found out that I liked our bass player's little fender blues jr. even more. It did hold up well with only 15 watts – I think that I experienced some light overdrive only once in years of use. I used the bass player's amp for years until I got my own.

    Maybe speaker size is more important than watts? I contacted Jon Shaw of Mambo and he seems to be a pleasure to deal with. I think I get his 10 inch combo and see how that works on it's own.

  27. #26

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    My vote goes to a Quilter head with the BlockDock 10" cab. The tilt function in the cab makes you wonder why it isn't a standard feature in all guitar cabinets. I use the 50W Quilter 101 Reverb amp - more than loud enough for my needs. Weighs 16 lbs and does the blackface sound, but with adjustable mids. I believe guys like Bruce Forman and Tim Lerch are gigging with them.

    The guys at Quilter are actually announcing a 100/200W version of the Reverb head tomorrow(!). Hoping for an XLR out on that one

  28. #27

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    I pretty much made up my mind on purchasing the Mambo 10. Listening to videos available I liked it's tone best. And I think that the wedge design is a great idea – I use the tilt legs in my fender all the time. And with 250 (+ 250 watts with an additional cab) rating I'll probably never run out of headroom. And it's small, light and cute.

    I think I prefer a combo for convenience. Ease of use ("plug and play") is also important to me – I'd rather want an amp with one good tone than one with 20 so-so sounds.

    On the quilter (the only combos available here are the mach 2) the sheer amount of knobs intimidate me.

  29. #28

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    FYI this announcement just appeared today on the Lark Street website (I have not seen it elsewhere):

    "The updated version of The Bud, featuring Bluetooth and a lower weight Class D power stage, will begin shipping in July, at $1299, thus we are having a sale ..."

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly View Post
    That has been in a trio (bass, drums, guitar) very small gig, no PA – like 15 years ago. The room was also noisy so we had to get over people talking to hear ourselves. We were really not a "loud band", but not shy either. The AER did fine in the first set (and I loved the tone with my eastman archtop), drummer had a beer in the break and played just a bit louder. The limiter in the AER kicked in and the tone was a compressed mess. It was loud enough, but the feel and articulation was gone. I just didn't wanna get stuck in a situation like this – just like a car with a weak motor just barely manages to go up a hill. I want the headroom if I need it even if I probably never have to use it.
    After 3-4 gigs like that I sold it and got a polytone with a 12 inch speaker– that could handle everything. Later in the studio I found out that I liked our bass player's little fender blues jr. even more. It did hold up well with only 15 watts – I think that I experienced some light overdrive only once in years of use. I used the bass player's amp for years until I got my own.

    Maybe speaker size is more important than watts? I contacted Jon Shaw of Mambo and he seems to be a pleasure to deal with. I think I get his 10 inch combo and see how that works on it's own.
    Maybe it could be cheaper to get a new drummer?


  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Maybe it could be cheaper to get a new drummer?

    If I had a penny for every time I heard that ...

    No seriously, you don't want to be stuck in a situation when you're amp's headroom is just about enough – until it isn't. It's good to have a little reserve.

  32. #31

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    Award Session BluesBaby 45.

    Doesn't get more fender and tubey than that. I have the 22, but when the drummer gets louder it will have some hair on the tone (which sounds very Grant Green btw ;-), so for more clean headroom the 45 should be better.

    Award-Session website, BluesBaby 22, BluesBaby 45, Guitar Amp, Session

    Mine has a neo-speaker and DIY pine-cabinet and weighs under 10 kgs. I take it in the bus, tram and even on my bike. It's my urban gig amp!

    Here it is in live action (miced up for the PA, but no monitoring):




    I also found an old (and not very well played, oh well....) recording of the BluesBaby 22 in action with my ES-333 and fairly loud drums:



    You could even buy the chassis only and fit it into your Blues Jr cabinet, preferably with a NEO-speaker........
    Last edited by Little Jay; 06-21-2019 at 07:55 AM.

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  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by ikusan View Post
    The guys at Quilter are actually announcing a 100/200W version of the Reverb head tomorrow(!). Hoping for an XLR out on that one
    Looks like you get your wish!

    Tone Block 202 Quilter Labs

    Gigable (!) public transportation suited size amp – is it feasible?-quilter-200series-jpg
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?