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  1. #1
    Hello guys,

    I would like to know what’s your preferences about most dynamic jazz amplifiers:


    1. Small portable combo
    2. Solid state
    3. Tubes


    Three preferences for each type.


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  3. #2

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    Before this gets too noisy, define “dynamic”.

  4. #3

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    big tubes, big speakers...nothing else sounds like it

    it breathes as much as you do while playin

    you can play thru all the lightweight ss amps with 8" speakers you like..and sound good..and get used to it..but play thru a prime fender twin..with 4 big bottle 6L6 tubes thru two nice quality 12" alnico speakers...and its a different experience

    the caveat being- luggin it around is a different experience too!!! hah

    cheers

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    Before this gets too noisy, define “dynamic”.
    Wide Dynamic Range


  6. #5

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    I'd put my Acoustic Image Corus III up against most anything else. Twenty-two pounds, 300 watts, effects loop, Aleisis reverb, 8" forward firing speaker, 10" downfiring woofer, defeatable tweeter, adjustable shelving, other goodies. Clean, clean, clean. Also world's best warranty.
    Were I forty years younger, I would say Twin Reverb, or Mesa Boogie series IV. That train left the station long, long ago.

    That being said, I've played a lot of jazz (and a certain amount of jive) with my Deluxe Reverb Reissue with good results, failing to deliver the goods only once, on an outdoor gig lacking proper PA support.

    And I'm still kicking myself over letting my Silverface Princeton Reverb slip away....
    Best regards, k

  7. #6

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    I recently heard a particularly fine archtop played by a good player through a Twin and it sounded awesome.

    Then, the band came in. The archtop still sounded good, but not as striking in the context of a full band.

    For my own playing the last thing I want is feedback. That's why I don't play an archtop.
    I want more sustain -- archtops aren't designed for that.

    With my pedalboard, I can get close to my sound from a lot of different amps.

    So, now, not so young, I think about weight - a lot.

    Mostly, I use a 15lb Little Jazz. I play a JC55 (26lbs or so) when I need more volume. If I need more volume than that, there has to be a PA. I don't want to play louder than a JC55 can go.

    If I had a Twin, it would sit at home and I'm not sure I'd bother to use it.

    As far as dynamic response ... if I understand what that is ... I never think about it. I do recall that a Twin with JBLs I had decades a go seemed to have a very sharp attack. I recall thinking that I preferred the amp with the Eminence speakers it had when I first bought it. The attack was softer. But, since then, I can't recall using an amp which bothered me in that way.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 11-20-2019 at 11:03 PM.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopdream63 View Post
    Wide Dynamic Range
    The definition of Dynamic Range is the ratio of maximum undistorted signal to the noise floor (or the difference between them in dB). I doubt that’s really what you mean by “dynamic” amplifier. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but there must be a better way to describe what you’re looking for.

    My favorite amp is my 1974 Fender Twin Reverb. The reasons are tone and the amazing amount of muscle. Even played at relatively low volumes (with the MV rolled back) it feels good. Unfortunately, it’s in a corner waiting for me to find time fix a component. But I’m not sure how often I’d drag it anywhere.
    Last edited by KirkP; 11-20-2019 at 10:51 PM.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    The definition of Dynamic Range is the ratio of maximum undistorted signal to the noise floor (or the difference between them in dB). I doubt that’s really what you mean by “dynamic” amplifier. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but there must be a better way to describe what you’re looking for.

    My favorite amp is my 1974 Fender Twin Reverb. Unfortunately, it’s in a corner waiting for me to find time fix a component. But I’m not sure how often I’d drag it anywhere.

    hi
    I mean the dynamic response, an amp that gives you back dynamically what your finger do...not linear, not hi-fi...

  10. #9

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    Playing my Barker with a floating dearmond 1100 through my friends Fender Twin from the early 70’s is an assume sound. Nothing quite like it but at any volume it feeds back faster than speed if light.

    I would never drag that amp around. It weighs a ton and is only something for the house.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  11. #10

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    I had a older Fender Twin Reverb for many years. Really a great amp and capable of a wide range of sounds. I just got tired of moving it. I am using a VHT 12/20 12” hand wired combo now. I got a good deal on it and it is practically new. I could drive it with 6L6s instead of 6V6s, but it gets hot with the 6L6s and I am a living room player now. It definitely benefitted from a speaker change. I went with a Weber hemp alnico. I don’t know how to respond about the question of dynamics, but I have noticed that the VHT lets my guitars sound like themselves. I have some guitars with varitone switches and the VHT picks up every nuance of those settings. Same with other tone circuits. I sold a Fender Pro Jr. that didn’t pick up those types of variations much at all.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopdream63 View Post
    hi
    I mean the dynamic response, an amp that gives you back dynamically what your finger do...not linear, not hi-fi...
    do you mean
    A when you play loud , it goes loud
    OR
    B when you play loud it gets thick and bluesy ....

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    do you mean
    A when you play loud , it goes loud
    OR
    B when you play loud it gets thick and bluesy ....
    Yeah. At first I was following you (OP) but it seems you think dynamic range means the opposite of what it actually meanzz bro

    I would listen to Kirk here he knows what he is saying.

  14. #13

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  15. #14

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    I find all six of my currently owned amps are quite "dynamic" in that they sound different in different rooms and with different guitars.

    Just like guitars, women and a host of other things in life, one size fits all does not apply.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  16. #15

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    In audio, dynamic range is the difference between the signal's peak highest level and its average level, in dB. This assumes a clean signal. With a musical instrument tube amp, if the signal's peak level exceeds the highest clean level the amp can produce, the tone eases into a warm slightly glassy and somewhat compressed sound with a little more sustain, then an over driven sound, then a rather distorted sound... not everyone seeks the most dynamic range; many guitarists like the warm slightly glassy sound for its natural compression, to smooth out chord playing or beautify the tone of soloing. A lot of amps historically and today provide this tone due to their design.

    Big Fender tube amps' power specifications in watts are indicating when the distortion reaches 5%, which is still extremely clean (among the cleanest of all musical instrument amplifiers). Many of us who perform with Twins use various means to warm their tone. I use the lower level input No. 2, a lower gain preamp tube for first two gain stages (tube V2), and use the 1 10 1 tone setting (max midrange, minimum treble and bass). Makes my old Strat sound like an L-5.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  17. #16

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    For me, the answer is any good, simple, non master volume tube amp. The simpler the better, meaning preferably one channel, no effects loop, etc.

  18. #17

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    Twins are nice. There's a bit of romance there. Still. Too heavy. Too expensive. Not very applicable in the real world of stairs and stages. And not so sure they are, for me, still the amp that's best when applying the vague metric of 'dynamic' even when we're being picky about it.

    Seems advances in tech have finally matched them and is quickly overtaking them. Some believe they are matched in the form of the new Fender Tonemaster's. Haven't played one yet but lots of trusted sources around here are happy with them. Still.. I think that is taking a narrow view of what tech is capable of. IMHO, next gen emulation with an FRFR (Full Range Flat Response) speaker is going to be the best gear ever available for jazz guitar. Yes.. we've done emulation and so far it appears it's not quite 100% there when side by side in the same room with a great amp. But it's just a matter of time. Thinking my next rig will look like a Strymon Iridium -> RCF NX 12-SMA.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  19. #18

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    Easily my old workhorse '67 Twin w/ brown and gold Jensens.
    Use it on 99% of my gigs, hell I even use my '66 w/ the same speakers @ home!

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    big tubes, big speakers...nothing else sounds like it

    it breathes as much as you do while playin

    you can play thru all the lightweight ss amps with 8" speakers you like..and sound good..and get used to it..but play thru a prime fender twin..with 4 big bottle 6L6 tubes thru two nice quality 12" alnico speakers...and its a different experience

    the caveat being- luggin it around is a different experience too!!! hah

    cheers
    funny, I always hated how it felt to play through those behemoths.

  21. #20

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    I have a Princeton Reverb Reissue and a Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb side by side, and I love them both. They are responsive and really seem to move with the music somehow, even the TMTR. In fact, it's surprising how alive and responsive the Tone Master is. I can see why people who have the originals have been willing to drag those heavy beasts to gigs. Their tone and feel is totally worth it. Fortunately now, 33 pounds will get you there.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kleinhaut View Post
    funny, I always hated how it felt to play through those behemoths.
    yeah, but you play guitars with weird holes cut into the top too!!!

    haha

    cheers

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410 View Post
    Twins are nice. There's a bit of romance there. Still. Too heavy. Too expensive. Not very applicable in the real world of stairs and stages. And not so sure they are, for me, still the amp that's best when applying the vague metric of 'dynamic' even when we're being picky about it.

    Seems advances in tech have finally matched them and is quickly overtaking them. Some believe they are matched in the form of the new Fender Tonemaster's. Haven't played one yet but lots of trusted sources around here are happy with them. Still.. I think that is taking a narrow view of what tech is capable of. IMHO, next gen emulation with an FRFR (Full Range Flat Response) speaker is going to be the best gear ever available for jazz guitar. Yes.. we've done emulation and so far it appears it's not quite 100% there when side by side in the same room with a great amp. But it's just a matter of time. Thinking my next rig will look like a Strymon Iridium -> RCF NX 12-SMA.
    I’m curious to compare both twin version...
    I’m a bit reluctant to try digital stuff, but, If TM sound the same, I will throw my heavy twin!

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopdream63 View Post
    I’m curious to compare both twin version...
    I’m a bit reluctant to try digital stuff, but, If TM sound the same, I will throw my heavy twin!
    the caveat being that even a 50's twin can still be fixed and restored to perfect working condition!...these new ss fenders are meant to be disposable merch...ss state fenders are nothing new..they had'em decades ago..with all the same- sounds just like tube!- proclamations...tho you don't see any around these days!!!

    like ss standels (that wes used) and thomas organ vox amps..which were great sounding amps, while they lasted

    even everyones beloved polytones (which were simple in compare to these new ss amps) are becoming more difficult to have repaired




    cheers

  25. #24

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    I had a Redplate that was like a cannon attached to your picking hand.

  26. #25

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    huge dynamic?

    - Komet 60 used in clean territory. ( not exacly a jazz amp BTW).
    - All the properly built Dumble stuff ( original or not , but with a correct set up)
    - Custom audio Electronics od100. (clean channel)
    - Old Marshalls.
    - Trainwreck style stuff.

    Aside from the Dumble, not a single one of the above mentioned is properly voiced to sound as a "traditional jazz amp".
    But in terms of dynamic, these are top notch

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    In audio, dynamic range is the difference between the signal's peak highest level and its average level, in dB.
    sorry Paul ... thats not the case

    from Wiki

    "Audio engineers use dynamic range to describe the ratio of the amplitude of the loudest possible undistorted signal to the noise floor"

  28. #27
    regarding tone master models, what’s will gonna happen if some components burn?

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopdream63 View Post
    hello guys
    Just would like to know what’s your preferences about most dynamic jazz amplifiers. 1) Small portable combo, 2) solid state, 3) tubes..
    three preference each.

    I am going to assume that what you mean is musical dynamics rather than technical dynamics. In my case, my most musically dynamic amp is also a tube amp, my 5E3. It is easy to feel very expressive while playing through that amp. I have other amps that sound great and are fun to play through, such as my Polytone Baby Taurus, but there is something about the 5E3 circuit that is very fun.
    Last edited by Cunamara; 11-24-2019 at 02:02 AM.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    I am going to assume that what you mean is musical dynamics rather than technical dynamics. In my case, my most musically dynamic amp is also a tube amp, my 5E3. It is easy to feel very expressive while playing through that app. I have other amps that sound great and are fun to play through, such as my Polytone Baby Taurus, but there is something about the 5E3 circuit that is very fun.
    is your baby taurus 8” enough dynamic?
    Last edited by archtopdream63; 11-22-2019 at 03:16 PM.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    For me, the answer is any good, simple, non master volume tube amp. The simpler the better, meaning preferably one channel, no effects loop, etc.
    That would be my answer as well.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  32. #31
    anyway about “tone masters”model I will wait some more player reviews.
    My fear is if something goes breaking with its components, you’ll throw it like a modern digital dishwasher.. lol

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    the caveat being that even a 50's twin can still be fixed and restored to perfect working condition!...these new ss fenders are meant to be disposable merch...ss state fenders are nothing new..they had'em decades ago..with all the same- sounds just like tube!- proclamations...tho you don't see any around these days!!!

    like ss standels (that wes used) and thomas organ vox amps..which were great sounding amps, while they lasted

    even everyones beloved polytones (which were simple in compare to these new ss amps) are becoming more difficult to have repaired
    Having the required digital processing capabilities at a consumer price point is new and when you talk about something like the Strymon Iridium, kind of startling in how much processing power is available in that small box. The world has changed and will continue to do so. As has my willingness to deal with heavy amps (like my 65lb Fender Concert) any longer.

    As for durability, that depends on manufacturing. Strymon pedals, for instance, have a stellar reputation for durability. We'll see how the Fender Twin Tone Master does. And you can repair modern electronics. Just a matter of what fails and how much a replacement runs. Still, once these go for 15% off, they'll be 1/2 the price of a 65 Reissue Twin (which also has circuit boards). And yes, you can get a point to point wired twin and replace parts. But the cost of doing so can be steep and special skills are required which may, or may not, be available. If I were really concerned I would just buy two Tone Masters for the price of the tube Twin.
    Last edited by Spook410; 11-22-2019 at 05:50 PM.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  34. #33

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    It's not that modern digital equipment can't be repaired. It can be. The issue is the time required to do it, and thus the salary that has to be paid to the person doing the repairs. With the cost of components being so low, it's therefore cheaper to buy new than to pay for the time required for repairs. Just as it's cheaper to buy a new bottom-of-the-line inkjet printer than to buy replacement ink cartridges. And cheaper to buy two Tonemasters than one Twin with obsolete components. And tubes are unquestionably obsolete. But guitarists are so bound by tradition that they have great difficulty accepting anything new.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    ... And tubes are unquestionably obsolete...
    Obsolete in terms of what?

  36. #35

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    In terms of everything. They're inefficient, expensive, unreliable, and their production harms the planet. Tube amps sound no better than solid state, except in the minds of their devotees, and it is, IMO, entirely in their minds. It's long past time to let them die in peace. But fanatics being fanatics, tubes live on.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    In terms of everything. They're inefficient, expensive, unreliable, and their production harms the planet. Tube amps sound no better than solid state, except in the minds of their devotees, and it is, IMO, entirely in their minds. It's long past time to let them die in peace. But fanatics being fanatics, tubes live on.

    Yea.. but.. I'm an old guy, I like my old stuff, and I'm not getting rid of my tube gear. Just leaving it at home.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    In terms of everything. They're inefficient, expensive, unreliable, and their production harms the planet. Tube amps sound no better than solid state, except in the minds of their devotees, and it is, IMO, entirely in their minds. It's long past time to let them die in peace. But fanatics being fanatics, tubes live on.
    Don't think I've ever met a single musician that shares this opinion in 30+ years of gigging.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    Don't think I've ever met a single musician that shares this opinion in 30+ years of gigging.
    Yeah, thems fighting words. And as if semi conductor production (and disposal) grows daisies?

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopdream63 View Post
    regarding tone master models, what’s will gonna happen if some components burn?
    You grab a bag of marshmallows, quick!!


  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    In terms of everything. They're inefficient, expensive, unreliable, and their production harms the planet. Tube amps sound no better than solid state, except in the minds of their devotees, and it is, IMO, entirely in their minds. It's long past time to let them die in peace. But fanatics being fanatics, tubes live on.

    Ever consider the possibility that tube amps sound better than solid state, except in your mind, and it is entirely in your mind?
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    sorry Paul ... thats not the case

    from Wiki

    "Audio engineers use dynamic range to describe the ratio of the amplitude of the loudest possible undistorted signal to the noise floor"
    In the music recording industry it's peak over average.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  43. #42

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    delete. It's already been said. Go tube amps!

  44. #43

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    It could be only in my mind, and I admit that I'm a legend in my mind. But I refuse to live in the past, tilting at the windmills of the march of time, to mix metaphors. I gave up my slide rule long ago, because there are better options now. Same with tubes. I actually own a Fender tube amp, but it just sits. Periodically I pull it out to see if somehow it magically sounds better today, and it never does. It's getting too heavy to even pull out of the closet. I bought it back before high quality solid state amps were readily available, at least that I knew of, and I got it used for a very attractive price at the time. Today, I would not even consider buying any tube amp. But I have no quarrel with those who do, I just laugh.

  45. #44

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    I have a couple of tube amps and I no longer use them.

    I A/B'ed my ancient Reverberocket with my new Little Jazz (I explained the procedure in an earlier post) and I didn't think they sounded all that different. EQ variations made a lot more difference than which amp I was playing through.

    Obviously, the LJ is a lot easier to move, but I now use it even in my own rehearsal room while the Ampeg sits in the closet.

    That said, almost every time I've heard a player with tone that made me want to buy the same gear, it was a tube amp. Wes, Jim Hall, Santana, Knopfler, Burrell. Early Metheny was an exception. I once had a guitarist come out of the audience and offer to buy my entire rig. I was using a Boogie Mark III - not known as a jazz amp, but fully capable of it.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    It's not that modern digital equipment can't be repaired. It can be. The issue is the time required to do it, and thus the salary that has to be paid to the person doing the repairs. With the cost of components being so low, it's therefore cheaper to buy new than to pay for the time required for repairs. Just as it's cheaper to buy a new bottom-of-the-line inkjet printer than to buy replacement ink cartridges. And cheaper to buy two Tonemasters than one Twin with obsolete components. And tubes are unquestionably obsolete. But guitarists are so bound by tradition that they have great difficulty accepting anything new.
    Exactly, so how does one worry that the manufacture of tube amps "harms the planet", while at the same time promoting products that will likely be replaced upon failure? Somehow placing digital junk in the dump and/or the recycling stream and ordering yet another to be manufactured and shipped half way around the world is better for the planet?

  47. #46

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    There is no magic solution. Everything is a compromise. But solid state components will be built whether or not they're used for guitar amps. Amps use off-the-shelf components. But tubes are still manufactured only for specific applications, and the Russian and Chinese plants produce tons of pollutants in their manufacture. Integrated circuits aren't going away, and their use continues to grow. Tubes could be replaced easily and rather painlessly. I just cannot find a reasonable excuse for continuing to use them.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    I just cannot find a reasonable excuse for continuing to use them.
    Aside from subjective personal preference issues, I have five tube amps at present. I am certain that each one with minor care and service will last the remainder of my lifetime, and probably that of the next owner.
    Also, I believe I can sell each and every one of them for more than I paid for it.
    How are these points unreasonable?
    Last edited by wengr; 11-23-2019 at 04:34 PM.

  49. #48

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    I have 2 tube amps among my 6 amps, a Fender and a Mesa. They rarely go on gigs as they are not as light and reliable as my other 4 amps. But they have a sound that I like and I have a sentimental fondness for them. So they stay. And I have a supply of American made tubes to keep them working as long as I am around. Any harm to the environment in their production has already happened. And I doubt that either of my 2 tube amps will ever need to be recycled as E-waste.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  50. #49
    this conversation is going off topic!
    Lol.
    Anyway.. regarding the dynamic range, an old walter woods head with 12” could satisfy a jazz guitarist ?
    how about fender jazz king?
    polytone mighty brute?
    Zt lunchbox ?
    Ibanez wholetone ?

  51. #50

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    If you have tube amps already, by all means keep them. I have one, acquired lo those many years ago. But buying a new tube amp makes little sense to me. The only reason for doing so, that I can think of, is "By god Kenny Burrell recorded with a tube amp 60 years ago, therefore my religion requires that I continue to use one for eternity!" This seems to lead to the belief that there will only be tube amps in heaven. Or hell, depending on one's perspective.

    Almost any amp could satisfy at least some jazz guitarists. It is entirely dependent on taste, and everyone's taste is different. Indeed individual tastes can change over time, and mine has, and continues to do so.