View Poll Results: Is your main jazz guitar amp a solid state or a tube amp?

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  • Tube

    76 49.03%
  • Solid State

    79 50.97%
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  1. #1

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    Is your main jazz guitar amp a solid state or a tube amp?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Solid state for me. Don't even really own a tube amp anymore...even my princeton is living with a friend who will eventually buy it.

    My "nice" amp is a Henriksen head with a redstone speaker cab.

    I might ditch a bunch of stuff in the next year though and nab one of those Fender tonemasters...

  4. #3

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    tubes for the win



    used many a ge el84!! haha

    cheers

  5. #4

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    I’ll go with these...

    Poll - Solid State vs Tube Amps for Jazz Guitar-8a874263-ff3d-4d29-93db-87e8bdaf03a4-jpeg

    1943 RCA Black plates 6V6GT

  6. #5

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    Somewhat old Henriksen/Sound Island original prototype 12" open back Alfresco with the heavier Weber Black Shuck speaker.

  7. #6

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    c'mon....you know which one is better....



    haha

    cheers

  8. #7

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    Beware of gaseous state amps.

  9. #8

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    It uses a nutube in the preamp and has a 12 inch Celestion speaker, open back. A reverb, tone control and reasonable weight make sense. Can't find one. They ae out of stock. Just sold my beautiful, mint, heavy Fender Deluxe Reverb with new tubes, amp cover and amp stand. And my 2010 Mustang GT and miss them both, terribly. But I now need lighter toys and need an amp with less weight. The Vox Cambridge 50 looks good. Help respectfully most welcome. Alan

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by RationalAlan
    A reverb, tone control and reasonable weight make sense.
    Just sold my beautiful, mint, heavy Fender Deluxe Reverb
    What about trying a Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb (23 pounds!!) and ~$1039.00 CDN + Tax?
    Just a thought.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greco
    What about trying a Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb (23 pounds!!) and ~$1039.00 CDN + Tax?
    Just a thought.
    Now that is interesting. I found some comparison videos and I was able to quickly and consistently pick out the SS from the tube version in the blind tests, but I still thought the SS sounds really good and I highly doubt I could pick it out in a band situation. I love everything about my Alfresco except that it's a bit heavy with the heavier Weber speaker.

  12. #11

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    NO solid state amp that I am aware of has the equivalent of tube amp sag. If there is one out there that can replicate the effect of a rectifier tube, please tell me about it. That might not be the first quality sought after in a jazz amp, but it is definitely something I want, since I don't always play jazz. That tiny bit of amp squishy-ness or on the edge of distortion tone has existed since tube amps were created, and some of our favorite jazz guitar recordings have it.

    Solid state amps have many benefits over tube amps, such as reliability, lighter weight, and smaller size. But sag? I say, bring it!

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    c'mon....you know which one is better....



    haha

    cheers
    Neither. Todays solid state / digital have very few, if any, transistors of that style.

  14. #13

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    One thing to consider is using a booster or low gain pedal in front of a solid state amp. I use either a T.C.Jauernig Luxury Drive pedal or more recently an Xotic Sweet Boost pedal.
    These tend to warm up the tone in a Tube like way. I believe the Xotic has some chip that is similar to a Tube Screamer? Any way it's been working for me on All of various guitars and gigs!

  15. #14

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  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    NO solid state amp that I am aware of has the equivalent of tube amp sag. If there is one out there that can replicate the effect of a rectifier tube, please tell me about it. That might not be the first quality sought after in a jazz amp, but it is definitely something I want, since I don't always play jazz. That tiny bit of amp squishy-ness or on the edge of distortion tone has existed since tube amps were created, and some of our favorite jazz guitar recordings have it.

    Solid state amps have many benefits over tube amps, such as reliability, lighter weight, and smaller size. But sag? I say, bring it!
    Agreed, and if your need for sag is so strong, then by all means go the tube route. However, judicious use of compression, eq and very mild distortion (Hermida Lovepedal Zendrive, or the more reasonably priced Wampler Tumnus) will pretty well take you there - or at least to my ageing ears! On the other hand, say goodbye to that same tone at home levels.....
    Life is full of choices!

  17. #16

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    Wintermoon,

    Those 7581a tubes can be run to dissipate more than a pair of 6L6GC tubes. BAM!

  18. #17

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    I've been doing almost everything with the DV Mark Little Jazz.

    That's octet, 19 piece big band, trio without drums and quartet/quintet with drums.

    I've heard better sounds from tube amps, but not by a wide enough margin to lug the extra weight.

  19. #18

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    I asked Herb Ellis about amps once. He said that nothing sounded better to him than a Fender Twin Reverb. However, he didn't want to lug one around. In fact, when I asked, he wasn't lugging any amp around--just a custom-made preamplifier that he plugged into whatever amp was provided at the gig. I think his rider specified a Polytone or a Fender, at that point...but it might be Roland Jazz Chorus, in which case he'd sweeten it up with his preamp.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    Wintermoon,

    Those 7581a tubes can be run to dissipate more than a pair of 6L6GC tubes. BAM!
    yeah GT, I used to use black plate RCA 6L6GC's but they break up a little early for my taste.
    but for the last 10 yrs or so I'm using 7581A's in blackface Twins, also like the STR387 and 415's double halo getter military spec
    love 'em!

  21. #20

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    Durn, neither... My main amp is a MusicMan 112 RD Fifty, which is a hybrid amp (SS pre-amp and and a pair of 6L6 power tubes). It has an EVM-12L speaker and I like to pair it with an extension cab with another EVM-12L.



    Last edited by BigDaddyLoveHandles; 02-20-2020 at 08:15 PM.

  22. #21

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    I voted "SS" as that's what I actually gig with... in a perfect world I'd be using a nice Fender Twin, but something as large as a Twin would not physically fit in a lot of the venues I play in. Mostly I'm using a Quilter Aviator Twin Ten or a DV Mark Little Jazz.

    The Quilter is a great amp - is has more power and headroom than I'd ever need for even the biggest gigs. I really like the 2x10 configuration. The DV mark is perfect for small venues, surprisingly loud for its size.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    Durn, neither... My main amp is a MusicMan 112 RD Fifty, which is a hybrid amp (SS pre-amp and and a pair of 6L6 power tubes). It has an EVM-12L speaker and I like to pair it with an extension cab with another EVM-12L.



    Lucky man! I had a similar rig, though the MM had a JBL and the cab was one I built with a 15" JBL. Bit of a lug, but the sound! In a lifetime of dumb moves and egregious mistakes, letting that rig go really stands in a class by itself. What could I have been thinking?

  24. #23

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    I don't know why but I find myself rooting for the tubes. Maybe because I now see them as underdogs.
    Also not known is exactly what has gone wrong in my life that resulted in me writing such things.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I don't know why but I find myself rooting for the tubes. Maybe because I now see them as underdogs.
    Also not known is exactly what has gone wrong in my life that resulted in me writing such things.
    Maybe not here but on a lot of guitar forums, like the Telecaster forum, tube snobbery rules. SS amps are the redheaded stepchildren. I don't believe that, but you see comments like, "once, in the 1970s, I played a cheap SS amp and it sucked. No point trying to change my opinion on SS amps, 40 years on...

    I've come to realize that some guitar players are the most conservative people you'll meet.

  26. #25

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    I think, but am not entirely sure, that I might be able to identify tube vs solid state in a listening room. Maybe. Basically, I'd pick the tone I liked better and assume it's the tube amp. Might be easier for an overdriven sound, but I'm not sure about that either.

    I seriously doubt that I could sit in the audience listening to a quintet or bigger band and be able to tell tubes vs solid state.

    On second thought, I don't think I could really tell no matter what the situation. When I tried it at home, Little Jazz vs Vintage Reverberocket, the EQ setting made much more difference than which amp I was using.'

    In fact, out of all the gear choices, I think the one I might be mostly likely to identify by sound would be single coil vs humbucker. But, clearly not always. Some players get a darker jazz sound (the one I associate with humbuckers) out of single coils. But, if the guitarist is playing with a certain kind of brightness, I might get that right. I don't think I could do it for amps. I know for a fact I can't reliably do it with archtop vs solid (175 vs. solid), but I do think I can sometimes tell the difference. So much is EQ and touch.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 02-21-2020 at 11:23 PM.

  27. #26

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    Since I've gotten my Boss Katana 50 the Fender Blues Deville stays home.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    I don't believe that, but you see comments like, "once, in the 1970s, I played a cheap SS amp and it sucked.
    That was me, and it was all tubeness up until a couple years ago I decided to try Quilter. So that's like... 50 years of tube amps. Not a huge number of them, but some plenty good ones. And that early '70 Kustom twin sized amp was a very nasty bit of business indeed.

    There's a lot of these type threads at the moment. Somebody was talking about sag. I think that Pat Quilter has it pretty much nailed. Especially for the 'edge of breakup' thing. That's where I live mostly. Great thing is though, if you don't want sag you can easily dial it out by tweaking gain & master.

    How saggy is a Twin? I haven't played one for so long I can't remember it. If I'm not mistaken they're SS rectified?

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    How saggy is a Twin? I haven't played one for so long I can't remember it. If I'm not mistaken they're SS rectified?
    You're right if you think a Twin Reverb isn't saggy. Big output transformer and SS rectified. Folks who are into sag go from tweeds and smaller amps.

    This is why I think it was a good idea to create the Tone Master Twin Reverb.

  30. #29

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    Princeton is pretty saggy.

  31. #30

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    How noticeable is sag at gain levels below break-up?

  32. #31

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    Princeton's when loud enough to get punchy but still clean (volume around 4-5) feel saggy to me. That's if you compare with a solid state amp. I've never A/B Princeton and Twin for sag though.
    That saggy feeling is also a function of the speakers. Alnico's generally more saggy feeling to me than ceramics which feel more immediate.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 02-24-2020 at 01:46 PM.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    How noticeable is sag at gain levels below break-up?
    Recently, I had a plug-in solid state rectifier in place of the rectifier tube in my PR briefly (temporary replacement loaned to me by a tech while waiting for a new rectifier tube to be delivered). The difference between the two was noticeable well before break-up level volumes. There's a sharper, more trebly sound to the attack at every volume with the ss than with the tube, and more clean headroom. In contrast, there's more compression at any volume with tube, and a touch more harmonic richness and sustain (a product of compression, I assume) just short of actual break-up that kicks in earlier than with the ss. Not a huge difference, but enough of one that that I was happy to go back to the tube rectifier.

    John

  34. #33

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    The Twin Reverb and the Showman aren't saggy amps--for the reasons stated above. Great amps.

    IIRC, the Showman has a linear taper volume pot, too. (Maybe the TR, also, but I don't think so.) This means that the volume doesn't go from zero to full on by 4-5. It's a great amp for all sorts of applications. Bi#@h to re-tube, though.

  35. #34

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    Apparently the phase inverter of Princeton's contribute to their saggy feeling. I don't really know much about that though.

  36. #35

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    The whole "sag" feel is a specific "dynamic" feel present in tube amplifiers, a certain reaction to the notes. It actually comes from power supply voltage dropping when there is a strong signal through the amp. It is generally not found in solid state amps, unless a specific circuit tries to emulate or create it.

    More or less three things contribute to it. Firstly the rectifier tube, second the transformers, and third the filter capacitors. That's why whether a tube amp has a tube rectifier or not is such a big deal feel-wise. Not all players (or music styles) enjoy saggy amps!

    And the second big difference between tube and solid state is compression and clipping, done differently on each type. I would put digital and modelling amps on a third category, because the moment sound becomes digital, a whole new array of problems, challenges and possibilities arises. I have played a lot of analog solid state amps i liked a lot, but i never liked anything digital, although i also use digital often (not even the Kemper or Axe fx which i have never owned, but have borrowed for gigs.) But that's just me and my aesthetic, other players greatly enjoy them.

    My main amps are tubes, but i play a lot with solid state amps too, mainly for the convenience.
    Last edited by Alter; 02-24-2020 at 07:09 PM.

  37. #36

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    The front end of a plucked guitar string note is a hot mess. The initial attack is the strongest and most chaotic part of the note.The string has not yet settled into its stable, harmonically sorted period of vibration. I like a little sag for that reason. Coupled with soft-knee compression and judicious use of the plectrum, it allows me (on a good night) to shape the note into something I want to hear. The note is not just clean, it's cleaned up.

    The top of an archtop or flattop performs much the same function, as much of the initial energy of the stroke is used to set the top in motion, slightly delaying the fullness of the note and allowing the coherent harmonic vibration to dominate.

    At least, that's my thinking on it. YMMV.

  38. #37

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    I know lots here fear the maintenance of a tube amp and that and weight keep some from the best sounding amps out there. I often get tricked into buying the modelling or transistor amps every once in a while just to see if things are improving. I doubt I will ever buy another SS or modelling amp.
    To curb owner anxiety of these great tube amps: learn how to bias and change tubes. Buy a cathode bias class “a” and never worry about biasing again. I learned how to bias Marshall (class a/b) amps from tutorials and did it very successfully for many years now. Several of my friends bring their heads to me to be retubed and biased. It’s easy when you learn. Just remove the chassis, find the bias points and touch nothing and I mean nothing but the bias points and adjustment screw There will be a bias adjustment screw close by. You will need a multimeter.
    As far as weight goes I can’t really see 35 to 45lbs as being a dealbreaker. I’m 60. Get a cart if you have to walk far.
    So what if the tubes go down in the middle of a gig? Throw a spare in, it’ll get you home.

  39. #38

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    Spare tubes at a jazz gig? Are my roadies supposed to be responsible for those?

  40. #39

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    You do have roadies, don’t you?

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogaloo
    You do have roadies, don’t you?
    Buncha beer drinkers and hell raisers.

  42. #41

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    Makes for a crazy good time. I really miss them.

  43. #42

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    I've got an old orange cube 100 and a G50ii 1x12 and so far haven't felt like I'm missing much in the clean tone department. I'm not opposed to tubes, but I've never been super particular about amps cause I've always been able to get a usable tone from the gear I've got. It's the playing that I've needed to tweak.

  44. #43

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    Poll - Solid State vs Tube Amps for Jazz Guitar-e0f84da8-eeed-45da-b28a-5fb7c2692bd4-jpg
    Sorry for the twisted picture

  45. #44

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    SS all the way. I hate tubes.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mecena
    SS all the way. I hate tubes.
    I was hoping you could elaborate on that statement. How many tube amps have you owned? What are the circumstances around your “hatred of tubes”. There must be some circumstances where a tube amp has really let you down. Was it in the middle of a gig or practice. You definitely experienced tube trauma of some sort.
    Details?

  47. #46

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    Heavy as f**k. Like 75 pounds for head and 2x12 box. XD
    Retubing for 7 tubes costs 220$ .... I live on minimal paycheck.
    Since I live where I live, I needed to drive 35 miles for retubing also.

    I think this should do it for now. xD

  48. #47

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    Luckily I found a solution - I will buy DV Mark Little Jazz, that would make me perfectly happy.

  49. #48

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    I know someone who builds high end, hand wired, tube amps.

    He says to me, If someone is stupid enough to pay me stupid money to build one of these stone age beasts I will build it for them.

    He makes good money as a side line. Laughs all the way to the bank.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBGuitar
    I know someone who builds high end, hand wired, tube amps.

    He says to me, If someone is stupid enough to pay me stupid money to build one of these stone age beasts I will build it for them.

    He makes good money as a side line. Laughs all the way to the bank.
    It‘s always a shame if someone hates what he does.
    Last edited by Stefan Eff; 03-01-2020 at 12:51 PM.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mecena
    Heavy as f**k. Like 75 pounds for head and 2x12 box. XD
    Retubing for 7 tubes costs 220$ .... I live on minimal paycheck.
    Since I live where I live, I needed to drive 35 miles for retubing also.

    I think this should do it for now. xD
    There are MANY tube amps far lighter than the one you have described. Even combos that weigh as light as 35 lbs. Driving 35 miles is a very short distance. Sure tubes cost but how often do you need to change them? I happy you got a little jazz. Must be more amp than you need. Would you mind telling us which 75lb head and 2x12 cab you are/were using. Congrats on the lj.