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I have played them. Not a bad little amp. It would do you well. Seem to be built well, and they respond well to how you play it. They are on the brighter, and harsher side in the break up due to the nature of the design, but that is not a bad thing. Just a difference in tone like the difference in a Tweed Deluxe and a Blackface Deluxe Reverb. It will put you more into that Kid Ramos “West Coast House Party” type tone. The Vox will not give the more squishy/midrangey type of break up like you hear with Charlie Christian, and Tweed Fender amps and early Gibson amp (like and EH-185) kind of stuff. The Vox is going to be more Hi-Fi like a Blackface. Just got to ask yourself what kind of vibe it is that you really want to hear. I feel that it is definitely a better option than a Blues Jr or Pro Junior. That is just me, but I would definitely fork out the little bit of extra cash for it over the other 2 Fenders. I feel you get more back for your buck, and versatility out of the Vox. For me, while the Blues Jr and Pro Juniors are nice amps for what they are, they are a little boxy sounding for me. Not a lively as the Vox, or the Ampeg that has been mentioned. I hope this helps.
Another amp in this same price range ball park that is a good sounding amp is the Peavey Classic 30 and their Delta Blues amps. The Delta Blues is the same amp as the Classic 30 but comes with the addition of a pretty cool tremolo, and either a 15″ speaker or 2X10″. These are EL-84 amps like the Vox, Pro and Blues Jr, and the Ampeg J-12. A down side to the Delta Blues is size and weight. The Classic 30 is in a small package (Blues Jr size), but is surprisingly heavy for it’s size. Though still not very heavy. Just kind of catches you off guard. One thing of note is that even though the Peavey’s are 30 watts, compared to the 15 watts of the others, it is not a huge difference in volume. It just changes the breakup point slightly on them, but this is easily navigated with the Master volume design on the Peavey.
One nerdy fact for you on sound reproduction that a lot of people do not realize, and may help you in choosing an amp (the reason I say this is a lot of people think they have to have this kind of wattage amp for this kind of situation.). People tend to think that double the wattage makes the amp twice as loud, or just louder in general. This is not true. The reality is that it takes double the wattage to raise the overall output Db’s of the amp 1 decibel in the same circuit with the same speakers. Speaker efficiency will affect overall volume also. A 100 watt Marshall Plexi is not twice as loud as a 50 watt Plexi. The perceived volume is the same. What you gain in the added power is better bass frequency reproduction(bass takes more power to be reproduce), and more headroom. So the myth that if you are playing a small club you have to have a 15 watt amp is not necessarily true. It depends on what it is you are wanting. If you are playing a small club and want full out, natural amp distortion then yes you would want a 15 vs a 30 watt. If you are a Jazzer, a quasi clean player that has just a little edge, or someone that likes pedals for your hair, then 15 vs 30 watts will not affect you very much. If the amp has a good Master Volume design then this makes the wattage even more nullified. For example, there is no room or situation you can’t play with the same relative effect with a Peavey Classic 30 that you can with a Blues Jr. Unless the amp is miced this not the same case for a Blues Jr.
Speaking of chrstian-esque sounds, was modern amp would you recommend for that kind of tone? I know there are some (costly) eh185 clones out there (without the appropiatew field coil speaker ).I am looking for something a little more of the shelf. Any recs? Anybody tried the epiphone amp yet? Looks like a very different circuit, but maybe it sounds alright?!
Thanks for the info. I see the vox does one with a greenback speaker or a alnico blue speaker. Really sorry for my ignorance regarding technical stuff but have you any idea what difference would that make
The Greenback speakers are more midrange focused and break up earlier than an AlNiCo Blue. The AlNiCo is also a little brighter across the spectrum, but more mellow in it’s overall sound. The Greenback is a more aggressive sounding speaker. If that makes any sense. What I mean is the Greenback is a little more in your face with the way it drives, where the Blue is a little more subtle with its sound driven.
I came across this Youtube video of someone comparing the two speakers in the AC15. Not playing our particular style of music, and just strumming chords, but it will give you an idea in the difference in sound.
Thinking of going for the vox ac 15 c1 with the blue alnico speaker
Blue_lu. Sorry for the late response on your question about the modern amps in the Gibson EH-185 vein. I had to think about what I was going to suggest for amps becasue I do not really play like Christian enough to get that sound of his. So for me no matter what I am going to do I will not really sound like that. So I had to pick some brains of my friends that can pull of that sound, and then compare that to what I already knew. For the clones of the amp there are not a lot of cheap reproductions being made. I just know of the Nocturne Moonshine, the Elecktra brand copies, and the ones that Vega is making. Vintage 47, while not making a clone of the Gibson, is making amps in that vein along with the Electo-King by Victoria Amps. That is not an amp circuit that you will find off the shelf. The reason being is it is just not an amp that is going to cater to the mass public right now. Outside the small crowd of people like us, guitar players are looking for drive and gain. So the cheaper amps that are easily had,it will be hard to find this with out some slight tweaking. I have heard some people, and friends get very close to the Charlie Christian sound with all kinds of different gear, and modern stuff. Amps like a Blues Jr, or various Tweed Deluxe (5E3 circuit clones) with good results. One trick that I learned from all of these guys, and I have had wonderful results with myself, is to replace the first 12AX7 tube in the amp with something lower in gain like a 12AY7, or 12AU7. I personally prefer the 12AY7. This really starts to get you in the ball park with a tweed era type circuit amplifier. The reason is the lower preamp stage gain cleans the signal up, gives it more touch sensitivity, and makes the Output side work harder because you have to wind up the volume on the amp more to get the same over all output volume. The old amps like these Gibson amps of the 40’s used octal preamp tubes like the 6J7, instead of the modern 9 pin tubes we have today like the 12AX7 family, and outside of the tubes a lot of the circuits were very similar to each other. The octal tubes are very low in gain compared to the 12AX7, so by changing the first 12AX- tube in these modern amps to a lower gain, this starts to achieve some of the same effects that the octal tubes had on an amp circuit. The octal tubes do have some tonal differences, so the effect is not exact. I think with this trick in a lot of these amps though, and learning to play like Christian, the results are close enough to not matter. I have seen this trick work to great effect on a Blues Jr, Fender Excelsior, and plenty of Tweed type circuit based amps. One of my friends owns the new Silverface 68′ Custom Princeton Reverbs that Fender is making now, and he really nails that tone with that and a P-90 hollow body. To his credit though, I think a lot of it is just him as a player.
I found this of Paul Pigat playing the Elektra clone of the Gibson EH-185. Later in the video he drives the amp harder, and it sounds pretty badass. I think it kind of illustrates the fact that a lot of that tone is from Christians playing more so than the amp type. Paul, to me still sounds like Paul, and not Paul with a Christian-esque tone. That amp does sound badass with him playing though. I sure a miced tennis racket would too if he was playing it. LOL.
This is the amp I opted for. Sorry gretschman59 I know you warned me about them. I tried one out and really liked it
The Blues Jr. is a nice amp. You will enjoy it. I owned one for a few years, and just recently played the newer version circuit that is out now. They sound good. I hope you didn’t take what I said about them in the previous post, as a warning on it not being a good amp. That was not the case. It was just my personal preference in sound to it compared to the others. It will be a good amp for you. Enjoy.
On a side note. I didn’t know you were from the UK. I like the Youtube videos that Andertons puts out. I think the 2 guys are funny.
Yep I’m from Scotland the Mecca for jump blues haha. Appreciate all the advice
You are very welcome. It is nice to share all of this useless knowledge every now and then. Ha Ha. Scotland and Ireland are two places I have always wanted to see. I have always enjoyed playing Celtic Reels and Jigs.
My family are originally from Ireland county Cavan and Donegal came over here at the time of the famine. GalwAy is a great music county. I was over at a friends a few weeks ago it was great. Top class players every where. Some top notch Celtic guitarist too. Jim Murray plays with Sharon Shannon. Paul mc sherry , john Doyle , seamie o’dowd.
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