Beginner guitarists asking for amp advice

Discussion in 'Amp Modeling' started by Rocco Crocco, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. Rocco Crocco

    Rocco Crocco Senior Member

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    The number of threads started by newbs seeking tips on buying their first amp is staggering. Many seem to believe they need a tube amp.

    Well meaning (and VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE) fellow members buy into this and recommend amps that MAY have 2 good sounds... a clean and a drive.

    He MAY be able to make it sound good without getting the police called for violating local sound ordinances.

    And he may end up hating the amp.


    Wouldn't be better to have a single amp that lets you experience the drive sounds of a Vox, Mesa or JCM800? The cleans of a Twin, JTM or a Mark IV? Usually for much less money?? With dirt boxes, delays, chorus, reverbs, etc. already built in?

    Sh!t, get the modelling amp to determine which tube amp you want is even a good strategy. Not the other way around.
     
  2. Matt_Krush

    Matt_Krush Senior Member

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    The best advice is to buy the best amp you can afford (typically for new players especially young ones with no money) is to wait until they can afford a good amp.

    What's a good amp?
    While tone is subjective, typically you want close to pro products.
    A cheap guitar through a great amp will still sound like a guitar should.
    Playing a Gibson Custom through a 10 watt Gorilla with an 8" speaker will not sound good no matter whose hands its in.

    As to the modeling* advice...I have mixed feelings on this for beginners.
    Pro's:
    Sure they can experience a wide palette of tones on the cheap.
    Pretty affordable in most cases.
    May get them in the ball park of what they like.
    Plug and play...scroll till you find a patch you like and jam away..
    Great low volume tones.

    Cons:
    A modeller is just that...a simulation of the real deal. How close is it? Maybe the user will hate (insert any brand) because the modeler makes them sound crappy and now the user is turned away from that brand.

    Because it's plug and play, the user really doesn't learn how to dial in tones, or what settings do what on the effects...(I see this with POD people all the time... No clue on what the adjustments mean on individual effects).

    All the modelling amps I heard at stage volume are muddy as hell.

    Granted they aren't out a lot of money...when it dies, they typically aren't worth the repair cost.
    99% of the time affordability and reliability are in direct proportion of one another.

    * I am not referring to the Kemp/Fractal stuff, more the beginner/budget stuff.


    ETA: Besides if they buy an all in one box...How can we spend their money on starting a massive collection of other things? (kidding of course)

    If they are just starting out (no experience at all and are feeling the waters of do I want to be a guitarist), sure a modeller is a good start.
    If they are seriously wanting to play...then it better be a real good modeller and not this entry crap.
     
  3. Frogfur

    Frogfur Senior Member

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    They don't need a tube amp. Where is Frank ?
     
  4. TheX

    TheX Voice of Reason

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    Amplifire


    /thread
     
  5. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Yawn...
    Rubbing eyes..

    Yeah well. Rocco is correct. If a player asks which amp in the other room they will ALWAYS get the same old tube amp recommendations.. It is never the right recommendation because tube amps and the need for them ended way back in the 80s. It's amazing how guys just won't let go..*Mod Edit*

    Anyway.. in all honestly.. the best amp for a new player is......... ready........

    A Mustang
     
  6. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Not too many really crap modellers lately. But as I say.. Its impossible to be unhappy with one of the many versions of Fenders Mustangs. Really all anyone needs to consider. After that you are into the high end stuff and that will be the end of that.
     
  7. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    GREAT THREAD TOPIC..

    Ya know... and what I am about to say has been proven time and time again by this forums top members...

    There is only one reason a tube head is so devoted to tubes... it is only because he has not played a properly setup high end modeler. Cause if he did.. well, the results will be very predictable...Just like it was for me and many many others who were not brain washed into thinking the only way to make music is with 1940s technology.

    Now let me add. Tube amps..at least some of them.. sound great. But they are too limited. Not flexible enough and are very fickle to all sorts of things like variations in power and humidity Not to mention by their very design limits require LOUD volume in order for them to give up the goods.
     
  8. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    I'd add the Vox AV hybrids, or the Blackstar ID series as well (even easier to use than Mustangs).
     
  9. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    I have not had those.. So I will yield to you sir.. :thumb:
     
  10. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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  11. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    And what do they practice and play=on in the mean time? Learning unplugged, lets lot of technique issues into your play.

    For the price of a crappy SS amp, you can get a Mustang, or BS ID, etc.

    Software options IS modeling.

    most beginners aren't going to know.

    Had to address this one, because it is a passive aggressive denigration of modelers. It presupposes that it will sound bad and make the player sound crappy. I'm going to posit, that @Matt_Krush doesn't have a lot of experience with CURRENT low-end to medium level modelers. He mentions 'seeing it with POD people' below, which supports this thesis.

    It also presupposes that a tube amp will automatically 'work' for the newbie, and make them sound good. Not sure how that is the case. GIGO. Additionally, IF that limited in tone tube amp does NOT match that tone in their head, doesn't that leave to frustration, quitting, or additional expense in amp hopping?

    Ultimately, maybe that's an issue. But, again, talking beginners here. They should be learning to play, THEN tone shape down the line.

    User error. Plain and simple. Might be a little hyperbole on your part, and just a bit of bias against the tech leaking out.

    But, if your first hand experience of this is POD users, that do not know how to tweak their pods (see above quotes), then it is likely true, and it IS user error.

    Again, passive aggressive condemnation and assumption that modelers 'crap out' regularly, or at least more often than tube amps. I would love some kind of citation on that. I think you will find it hard to find.

    Doesn't even pass the logic test. What is the BIG difference, in the electronics between tube amps and SS (of which modelers would fall in)? Tube amps have tubes that get VERY hot and a big arse output transformers and generally run some higher voltages and/or currents. Now, logically, wouldn't that be MORE prone to failures? Wouldn't high heat conditions, running bigger voltages and currents make for a more volatile, electronic scenario?

    Nor are the modern crop of affordable, made overseas, tube amps, built any better than low-end Modelers. Open some up. I have. Modded some in fact. Just as much cheap Asian parts, MFDs etc. Just missing the big processing chips, in lieu of above heat, etc.

    Ever try to get one of those fixed AFTER warranty? Guess what, often, that Blackstar, Peavey, lower end Fender, or other $300-700 tube amp isn't going to be worth the repair either. They are 'throw away' amps. Not built to last either.

    Holds true for tube amps as well, perhaps more so.

    And I wasn't referring to the boutique, production hand-wired or tres expensive tube amps either, more the beginner/budget/affordable tube amps,

    Same argument would/should be applied to tube amps as well.

    BUT, again, statement above IMPLIES entry modelers can't sound good. It is a false premise. Sorry, just is. 5 Years ago, maybe. Just isn't true any more.
     
  12. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Slightly less versatile eventually than the Mustang, but easier to dial in initially. All sound good.
     
  13. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    That sounds a lot like one of my favorite jcm 800 profiles. Perhaps a LITTLE more compressed. Very nice clip. Yep, nice cranked 800 tone at low volume.
     
  14. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Thanks Tim.. Yeah man.. Best part about that preset is that it is absolutely STOCK Fractal with no tweaks of any kind.. That is right out of the box. AXE FX preset #010:thumb:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    There ya go. Awseome as is, and THEN you can still tailor in a whole lot of ways.
     
  16. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    As we have said a thousands times.. Tweaking is an option... :thumb:
     
  17. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    the 2nd poster's rebuttal was rank with the classic and obviously biased standard statements. It's amazing the crap that gets spread around on these forums by folks who take it as gospel and regurgitate it freely. Cheap guitars sound like sh*t, here if you spend less than $700 new (Canada) you're below Fender MIM, PRS SEs and the decent Epis.

    My advice would be buy the best GUITAR you can afford, it is what you play after all and a good one will last you a lifetime. Amps are a dime a dozen and thanks to the fact they get all their sound from mass produced components and are assembled identically, one amp of any given model is identical to another sample of the same model (provided their in working order of course). Wish I could say that about guitars but in my experience that simply isn't true hence the need to find a good one by trying many, even if the same make and model.
    Why anyone would spend hundreds of dollars on a low wattage tube amp that is utterly useless anywhere but home and get two decent tones from it when they can spend less on a modeller and get many tonal options and some basic effects at their fingertips is beyond me.
    By the same token mid range powered tube amps don't shine or sound their best at low volumes either as many of us who've owned multiple amps over the decades can attest to and again have 1-2 tones that they can produce.
    I'm not hung up on one band or player and get bored of hearing the same tones all the time, I can't imagine anyone really being satisfied with that either unless they're just starting out and just don't know any better.
     
  18. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    Modelling fools, all of you! There is only one amplification factor a beginner should be concerned about........

    [​IMG]

    :naughty::naughty::naughty:

    While I sort of stand by my above statement, I agree you you guys. :thumb: I get many parents who ask my opinion on amps for their kids and I recommend they research modelling amps. The only one I would advise them to steer clear of is the Line 6 Spider 75, which we use in my Rock program. At jamming levels, it really is a sh*tty sounding amp, no matter how it gets tweaked. FWIW, we get much, much better sound out of my old Bandit, used as a power amp with a Line 6 POD XT or XT Live.
     
  19. Mindfrigg

    Mindfrigg Senior Member

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    With a modeler ( to start) they'll get a good idea of which amp features what and then can decide later which "real" amp they might prefer. Instead of tone chasing for years buying the 'wrong' amp for their purposes.

    So to speak. :shock:
     
  20. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    My #1 suggestion is not a popular one, but I think it's a good one.
    Fender Champion 40.
    40 watts, 12" speaker, great fender clean, couple of different decent voices, couple of decent effects, no studying required to use, aux in for MP3, headphone out.

    $179.00
     

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