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  1. #1

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    Whenever a complete newbie or novice asks me advice about buying an amp, I tell them to think of a triangle with 3 points, or 3 sides. Cost, Power, and Weight/Size. You can't have all 3 corners of the triangle being positive. Meaning low cost, high clean power, and light weight/size. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I can't think of any. If one of those 3 corners is in the negative, anther corner suffers.

    Most low cost and lightweight amps have no real loud professional headroom.
    Most high power and small lightweight amps are expensive.
    Most small light amps are are either expensive or low power.

    Now I am talking mainly about full combos here, not micro heads, because you still have to take into account a cab.

    Anyone disagree?

    WS

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I agree, but you sure can have the opposite: a heavy, expensive, high-power amp.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    I agree, but you sure can have the opposite: a heavy, expensive, high-power amp.
    No actually that's the same rule, Big and heavy is a negative, so the cost goes up.

  5. #4

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    .......That reminded me of a description of any manufacturing enterprise, from both the owners and customer's perspective - -

    " You'll usually be able to choose from three criteria - - Price, design, and delivery - -

    Pick two. "

  6. #5

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    I do disagree, if I may. First, a complete newbie rarely needs "professional loud headroom" - wherever you set the standard. Probably the audience, too, would prefer being exposed to the novice in a more subdued setting. Second, the new Class D combos from Fender and Quilter, for example, are praised for their tone, while weighing and costing significantly less than similar tube amps. Even older solid-state Fenders excel especially in the clean zone. I once tested just about every combo in one of Scandinavia's largest music stores, and the best traditional jazz sound came from a lowly Frontman. Don't forget Roland's Cubes, the 60 in particular. And we now interrupt this sermon for a short commercial break: A micro head such as TC Electronic BAM200 weighs well under two pounds, costs 133 euros at Thomann, pumps tons of clean headroom and can be paired with different cabs for different occasions. Tonally, it's sheer Polytone replacement therapy. The lack of on-board reverb is its only drawback, but aren' players crowding the floor with stomp boxes anyway? By contrast, a classy reverb can be found on Quilter's Superblock, which offers same tonal versatility as Quilter's Aviator cub. Lots of reports on successful gigging on Quilter's sect FB pages. My SuperBlock US will attend a jazz band camp all next week, including a restaurant gig. And of course, I could elaborate on matching ultra-light speaker cabs but won't. Have shipped so many to the U.S. lately that some spontaneous feedback is likely to trickle in.
    Last edited by Gitterbug; 07-21-2021 at 06:22 AM.

  7. #6

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    A lot of people post some variation of the question, what amp should I buy? I think the answer depends on how the player wants to use the amp.

    • Where will you use the amp? Strictly at home? In small quiet venues? In large noisy venues? All three?
    • How will you use the amp? Solo guitar? Small subtle rhythm section? Big band? Full rhythm section with an aggressive drummer?
    • What kind of music will you play and what sound are you going after? Traditional clean jazz? Edgy fusion? Pop/rock? A variety of musical styles?
    • If you play out, how much weight are you willing and able to schlep around?


    The answers to those questions narrow down the choices considerably. You don't need a 100 watt amp to play at home by yourself. You probably won't be happy with a 10 watt amp in a rhythm section setting. Maybe one amp can do everything you need. Maybe you need more than one. Choosing an amp is like choosing a guitar, a personal vehicle or a new house. The first question is how you want to use it. In my view there is no "one size fits all."

  8. #7

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    Has anyone tried a Sessionette 75 from the 80s/90s?

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D
    .......That reminded me of a description of any manufacturing enterprise, from both the owners and customer's perspective - -

    " You'll usually be able to choose from three criteria - - Price, design, and delivery - -

    Pick two. "
    I’ve heard it as quick good and cheap.

    The other one I’ve heard is the rules of the internet.

    Free, useful and accurate. Though with some fora (like this one) the rule gets bent.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #9

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    Quilter Aviator combos or TB 202 head and small 1x12 cab

  11. #10

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    Actually, I've become partial to the Fender Tonemaster Series amps. Maybe it's because I have a Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb. I got tired of schlepping heavy amps, and it's neodymium speaker makes it oh so light. It also has plenty of power, with decent headroom IMO.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    Whenever a complete newbie or novice asks me advice about buying an amp, I tell them to think of a triangle with 3 points, or 3 sides. Cost, Power, and Weight/Size. You can't have all 3 corners of the triangle being positive. Meaning low cost, high clean power, and light weight/size. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I can't think of any. If one of those 3 corners is in the negative, anther corner suffers.

    Most low cost and lightweight amps have no real loud professional headroom.
    Most high power and small lightweight amps are expensive.
    Most small light amps are are either expensive or low power.

    Now I am talking mainly about full combos here, not micro heads, because you still have to take into account a cab.

    Anyone disagree?

    WS
    I disagree. There are a lot of loud, light/small, inexpensive amps on the market these days.

  13. #12

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    "Polytone replacement therapy "

    I like that.

  14. #13

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    Acoustic Image clarus/focus SII/SI are amazing amps. Lots of power, beautiful cleans and super lightweight. They run for only $400-$500 off Reverb. All corners covered.

    Acoustic Image Clarus 1 Black Acoustic Image Clarus 1 Black | Gear | Reverb

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    I disagree. There are a lot of loud, light/small, inexpensive amps on the market these days.
    I have to agree, even in tube amps there are tons of 5 to 25 watt amps everywhere, when there there use to be mainly 50s and 100s

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug View Post
    I do, disagree, if I may. First, a complete newbie rarely needs "professional loud headroom" - wherever you set the standard. Probably the audience, too, would prefer being exposed to the novice in a more subdued setting. Second, the new Class D combos from Fender and Quilter, for example, are praised for their tone, while weighing and costing significantly less than similar tube amps. Even older solid-state Fenders excel especially in the clean zone. I once tested just about every combo in one of Scandinavia's largest music stores, and the best traditional jazz sound came from a lowly Frontman. Don't forget Roland's Cubes, the 60 in particular. And we now interrupt this sermon for a short commercial break: A micro head such as TC Electronic BAM200 weighs well under two pounds, costs 133 euros at Thomann, pumps tons of clean headroom and can be paired with different cabs for different occasions. Tonally, it's sheer Polytone replacement therapy. The lack on on-board reverb is its only drawback, but aren' players crowding the floor with stomp boxes anyway? Instead, a classy reverb can be found on Quilter's Superblock, which offers similar tonal versatility as Quilter's Aviator cub. I could elaborate on matching ultra-light speaker cabs but won't. Have shipped so many to the U.S. lately that some spontaneous feedback is likely to trickle in.
    You are correct my original post was explaining that you can't have everything. If a newbie doesn't *need* more power, then that's fine. I had a guy who wanted a light, powerful, portable acoustic amp but did not understand why they cost a lot of money. (A lot to *him*, anyway.)

  17. #16

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  18. #17

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    Make it a square and put sound in the other corner

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker View Post
    Make it a square and put sound in the other corner



  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    You are correct my original post was explaining that you can't have everything. If a newbie doesn't *need* more power, then that's fine. I had a guy who wanted a light, powerful, portable acoustic amp but did not understand why they cost a lot of money. (A lot to *him*, anyway.)
    I think some people have a, um, distorted view of how much clean headroom they really need. And newbies who (nowadays) get their info online rather than in person wind up down a bit of a rabbit hole. "Oh, no, you can't play jazz with less than 100 watts! A Deluxe Reverb is just a bedroom amp!" Not.

    That, plus class D (with or without a modelling front end) has completely reset the trade-off among size, loudness and cost. I gig (including with drums and horns) with a 20 watt modelling/class-D amp that weighs 10 lbs and costs less than $100. My "big" amp is a Princeton Reverb (nominally, less powerful, but appreciably louder). I can't see needing more amp than this. Most guys I know use similar sized/powered gear.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim777 View Post
    I have to agree, even in tube amps there are tons of 5 to 25 watt amps everywhere, when there there use to be mainly 50s and 100s
    What many have either forgotten or never knew is that decent live sound reinforcement is a fairly recent phenomenon. When I started gigging in 8th grade, you were lucky if there was a PA system anywhere and thrilled if it had more than one input. Even theaters with huge Altec VoTs drove them with what seem like model T electronics today. It wasn't until companies like Community opened up the world of serious equipment made for live sound reinforcement that we could even think about yielding the power to the sound guys.

    The summer after my freshman year in high school, my band got a steady gig working for a local radio station as the opening act for the recording stars at concerts and "record hops". Our first big show was at the Ocean City (NJ) Convention Hall, which was the largest room by far that we'd ever played. It held far more people than we dreamed we'd ever play for, and they were a great, excited and noisy crowd. And there I was with my Ampeg Reverberocket ! It was that night that I blew the only speaker I've ever destroyed - I was cranked to 11, and it let go in the last chorus of the last song of our set. The next day, I bought a Magnatone with four 6L6s and four 12" speakers. Over the years, that was followed by a series of Twins, Boogies, twin 12 Bassmen, etc. And now, thankfully, they all belong to someone else!

    I've used a 300 watt Gigrack powered mixer for several years if I'm playing anywhere there's no sound reinforcement. And I'm currently selling it so I can get a class D unit that even an old man can carry. But even the smallest clubs (OK - dives) have decent sound systems, and you can buy your own for peanuts if you need it. Here's the house system at the 75 seat club in which I'm the house band leader. There are at least 30 mics of various kinds in the back room, 4 DIs on the stage floor, plus a large Leslie (with each rotor mic'ed in stereo) that you can't see behind the left house speaker columns and a new Hammond XK5 Pro. The Vibrolux I usually use for blues shows is in the back room, along with the CS PRRI we just bought, and you can see my DV. Every amp is mic'ed when in use, and there's a flying mic rig over the drums now. So nobody needs huge amps any more. Our tone is so much better with smaller amps, and our hearing is too!

    Golden Triangle Rule of guitar amps-house_sound_system-jpg

    Golden Triangle Rule of guitar amps-jamey_at_console-jpg

    PS: Ignore the bass rig at the right rear. The bass player in our blues band (also the club owner) was a tech and player for some serious rock and blues acts in the ‘60s & ‘70s. Sadly, he hasn’t yet entered the 21st century. Left to himself, he loves sounding like the 10 kW system in the low rider ‘57 Chevy with the windows closed that’s next to you at a stoplight. Needless to say, the bass player in my jazz group is a bit more sensitive.
    Last edited by nevershouldhavesoldit; 07-21-2021 at 12:30 PM.

  22. #21

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    I thought the Golden Triangle of amps was something more like this...

    Golden Triangle Rule of guitar amps-my-tweed-family-jpg

  23. #22

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    I've been using a DV Mark Little Jazz for almost everything. That includes 19 pc big band with un-mic'ed horns. Electricity only on guitar, keys and bass.

    It typically costs $350, but I've seen it on sale for $300. It's loud and clean enough for my applications. It weighs 15 lbs.

    I'd call it inexpensive and lightweight.

    Loud? Depends on your context. My feeling is that, if I need more volume, there ought to be a PA.

    I think the AER Compact 60 qualifies, among others I don't have personal experience with.

  24. #23

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    The Golden Triangle was the largest opium-producing region in the world until Afghanistan took over in the early 2000's. Currently it's thought to be the largest meth production area in the world.

    Never been there, but except for the criminality it sounds like an interesting place to visit.

    As far as amps, my Fishman Artist is kind of a Holy Grail, at least for me. Reasonably affordable (about $500), reasonably light (about 25#), LOOUD, very versatile and will amplify anything from a singer or a mandolin to an archtop or Tele. The only thing it won't do well is overdrive/distortion, though I think you could get a pedal for that if that's your bag.

    My Fender SCXD is also a pretty good deal which I've gigged with. Not too expensive or heavy as tubish amps go.

  25. #24

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    The Golden Triangle also applies to construction

    Price
    l \
    l \
    Quality__Time

    Want it fast and cheap? It will be crap
    Want it well made and cheap? You'll wait longer
    Want it well made and fast? You'll pay more

    As far as guitar amps, Class D power amps have challenged the Golden Triangle.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I've been using a DV Mark Little Jazz for almost everything. That includes 19 pc big band with un-mic'ed horns. Electricity only on guitar, keys and bass.

    It typically costs $350, but I've seen it on sale for $300. It's loud and clean enough for my applications. It weighs 15 lbs.

    I'd call it inexpensive and lightweight.

    Loud? Depends on your context. My feeling is that, if I need more volume, there ought to be a PA.

    I think the AER Compact 60 qualifies, among others I don't have personal experience with.
    I don't think the AER Compact 60 counts as cheap, but there's a Behringer/Bugera knock-off that's under $300 that's pretty much the same thing (though I imagine it won't hold up as well over the long haul).