just wondering if anybody can suggest a cheap low watt ( 15watts) valve amp
out there. i play through a 40 watt amp the now but its too loud for my gigs.
the most i haved it at is 2.
Ampeg j12t, reverb and tremolo
Fender Pro Junior, volume and tone
Both 15watts, both can be had reasonably used.
I agree with what Marc said with the Ampeg and Pro Junior. Especially the Ampeg J-12 reissues because they rival most anything out there. Nice reverb on the Ampeg and a killer tremolo, and all guitars sound good through them. One thing to watch looking at the Ampeg J-12 is the different versions that were made. Some are reverb and trem, some are just reverb, and some are just tremolo. No added features on the Pro Junior if that is something you look for. Both amps mentioned can be found used under $400. I got my Ampeg for $250, but typically you see them in the $300ish range. The Ampegs were discontinued several years ago and can be hard to find sometimes. Not many that own them give them up, and those that have heard the mojo first hand (like myself) hunt them down. A huge advantage with the Ampeg for me is that is pretty much do any gig type of amp, where for me I find the Pro Junior a little more limited. But if you are just going to do blues and roots rock then that wouldn’t be a problem.
To add to the list of $400 or less used the Blues Jr, and the Fender Excelsior also make a nice amp at a cheap price. The Excelsior is easily had for $250 or less used. Guitar Center has a few used ones on-line right now. I personally really like playing through the Excelsior and if I could not find the Ampeg I would get the Excelsior, out of what has been mentioned thus far. Down side to the Excelsior is no tone control on the amp, just a dark switch. I have never had an issue with this though because it is easily controlled with the guitar’s tone control.
One last one, if by cheap you mean anything new under a $1000, is the new 68′ Custom Princeton Reverbs that Fender has just put out. $850 new. This one really impresses me. I talked a friend into getting one and it smokes on a gig. Very nice tremolo, very touch sensitive, takes any type of pedal well, and what I like is it has a tweed style tone stack vs. the Blackface style. So you get that sweeter midrangey kind of drive out of it like a Tweed amp, and get breakup a little earlier on the amp vs the Blackface Princeton reissues. Really not a gig situation that couldn’t be pulled off with this amp. I hope some of these help.
Gretsch, (not to derail the topic) while I am not really familiar with the ’68 custom fender line up (only read about them), I thought that it was only the two-channel amps (i.e. deluxe and up) that had the tweed-style tone stack, which is on the normal channel. Since the princeton is a single channel amp, are you sure it has the tweed-style tone stack? Or maybe it just has more mids, either with the resistor values and/or with the celestion speaker?
Back to topic:
Define a little more what is cheap for you. Everyone’s definition of cheap is a little different. And 15 watts can annoy neighbors and family members, but 5 watts doesn’t do much more than home practicing. When I go to Tommy’s house for lessons we play through his bandmaster (tweed). We don’t have to turn it up and it still sounds great–and that seems to be the cool thing about tweed amps, they sound great through their whole volume range.
Kevin Nelson makes a killer tweed circuit and a is VERY affordable for what you get–probably the best build quality around. If you’re interested, Tommy can get you in touch with him.
Off the rack, well I can’t provide much personal experience, but the pro jr seems to be well received. Good luck with find that ampeg j12–I’m still pissed at myself I missed those when they were being blown out and have had a very hard time tracking one down since (though I don’t really need it so I haven’t gone Sherlock Holmes yet on my hunt).
I’m looking for something about £300 max no sure what that is in dollars. The ampeg sounds good but think id struggle to get one over here (Scotland) I like fender amps I think the pro jr sounds like a good choice.
I’m rescinding my comment about finding the j12–I was thinking about the elusive J20 ampeg. The j12’s are around, but the those J20’s are hard to find.
On the topic of the 68 Princeton, to answer Craner’s question about the tone stack. All of the 68′ series amps have the modified tone stack. The difference between the 2 channel ones (ex. the Deluxe Reverb, and the Twin Reverb) is that the two channels one side is the modified tone stack while the second channel is a reproduction of the original Blackface circuit. So for example, the Deluxe Reverb channel 1 is the modified tone stack, while channel 2 is the same circuit as the 65 reissue for people wanting the sound of the normal Deluxe reverb. On these amps the tremolo and reverb is shared by both channels, compared to the 65 reissue where you only had reverb and tremolo on the second channel. The Princeton being a single channel amp will have just the modified tone stack. Now while the tone stack is a tweed style tone stack, none them will sound exactly like their tweed counter parts. This is because it is a tweed style tone stack going into a non-tweed style circuit, vs the tweed tone stack going into the tweed style circuits. So if you definitely want that very compressed and saggy tone, ala guys from the 30’s-50’s like Christian (or Holmstrom on his Gonna Get Wild CD), this will get you close but not quite there. If you want that sound but with a little more definition, tighter low end, and not as much sag then something like this would pique your interest.
IF I am not mistaken 300 euro’s is equal to 375 us dollars. So we would be looking for amps $400 or less. If you are including overseas shipping if bought in the US that would drop it to amps under $300 if bought in the US.
Listing for the Ampeg J-12, or sometimes referred to as the Jet II reissue
I’ve been using a Victoria 35115 at home at low volumes and it sounds great and I’d say the tone on these is very similar for a much cheaper cost.
If you decide on a Fender Pro Jr keep us posted. They can be very wooly sounding and hum alot. I’ve dinked around with them quite a bit to get the tone right. You can do alot with these with just a few resistor value changes. No need to buy mod kits.
Heads up; I just saw an Ampeg j reissue on ebay a few days ago for $300+ with reverb and trem. Don’t know if it’s still there. Good luck in your search Marc.
The listing on ebay I was referring to in the above post was posted by Gretschman in the previous post. It’s always hard to decide without playing first but not a huge investment either.
Thanks lads for the info. Would the pro jnr definitely be loud enough for small pub gigs un- miked? Plus if I had the volume set high wouldn it be really distorted sounding. I like a slightly broke up sound.
Hi Tommyboy67. The pro junior is a great choice for home practise & small pub gigs. I’ve seen it used many times in a small pub setting. Amp sounds great & gives enough. You’ll also find plenty on good ole ebay (uk that is!)
If you are in the EU I can recommend old Echolette Junior. 17 Watts of PtP power, 12″ Speaker, just loud enough to play with a quiet drummer. lightweight and nice breakup tones. Can be had for as low as 300 Euros and looks like this:
No love for the Blues JR around here? I suspect the Pro JR might come out ahead slightly in tone possibly based on the less parts/simpler circuit is better thought. But, the 3 band tone stack, master volume and built in reverb is awful handy. I will say that the verb isn’t the best but a cheap and better tank can be dropped in making it better and Google “BillM mods” and you will find all sorts of tweaks documented for the amp. I can attest to the fact that the amp when over driven lightly really benefits from the added power supply caps.
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