Who’s Into Small Amps?

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by Dilver, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Dilver

    Dilver Senior Member

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    Well, it started with this: my 1960 Supro 1616T. I’ve had this thing forever and I kind of rediscovered it recently and found it pairs so perfectly with my R8, it’s ridiculous. This made me want to find other small, low watt amps...

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    About 3 weeks ago my GAS set in for a Custom ‘57 Champ. It’s pricey (even used) but man, it’s just awesome all around and so much damn fun to play with. Exceeded ALL my expectations.
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    And then last week in a “I didn’t mean to win it on eBay” moment, I picked this up:

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    Fender Champ II from 1982. Rivera-era, last of the hardwired, non-Custom Shop, Fender amps. The Super Champ gets way more attention, but after replacing the fender blue label speaker with an original Reverend All-tone 1030, there’s something to be said for the Champ II and it’s simple circuit. It seems to sound best with the vol around 4, master cranked to about 8 - and then back off the volume at the guitar until it just cleans up. Really surprising tone for such a small amp.

    Now I’ve got my eye on an old Gibson GA5 (my wife will flip if I buy another amp).

    Who else is rockin’ small, low wattage amps?
     
  2. cherrysunburst00

    cherrysunburst00 Senior Member

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    Carr Mercury (KT66, 8/2/.5/.1 watts)
    Marshall SL5 (EL34, 5/1 watt)
    Reeves Custom 10 HG (EL 34, 10 watts w/powerscaling)

    Would like to require Dr Z Mini Z (EL 84, 5 watts w/attenuator)

    FOR SHAME: I forgot my Marshall JCM 1 50th Anni head :slap:
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
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  3. wildhawk1

    wildhawk1 Senior Member

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    Not small tube amps but solidstate yes.
    If tube I'd go the similiar route you are.

    Age made me wise up.

    My day of fighting fifty pound+ combos are over.
     
  4. XpensiveWino

    XpensiveWino Senior Member

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    I love 'em!

    A champ clone that I built and a 1950's Silvertone are my two gems right now. At the SC Guitar Show last weekend I played an old 1950 National (Valco Chicago) amp that was AMAZING. Of course I wanted to see what else was there, when I circled back around it was gone. Didn't buy anything at all that day... I've got my eye out for one now like a hawk.

    My gigging stage amp is my Fender SuperSonic 22 and my back up is a Crate V18.

    I particularly enjoy guitars straight into small tube amps. The response and variation of tones one can achieve are what gets me going.
     
  5. XpensiveWino

    XpensiveWino Senior Member

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    Killer looking R8 BTW!
     
  6. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Senior Member

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    Nice!! I built my 5f2-a as a 2x10, does that still count?
     
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  7. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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    OP: Those amps pictured are all tone machines. The fact that you can get them up to levels where they are really working and hear the tone they give up, is rewarding. With the higher wattage jobs these days (even 15 and 20 watt models) it's just not as easy to get those tones without pedals or some type of attenuation involved. I also believe that the smaller amps like yours' "mature" over time until the sound becomes almost burnished so that every cap and resistor inside is working in your favor. How's that for a tone description? :cheers::cheers:


    Classicplayer
     
  8. Tobaccoburst83

    Tobaccoburst83 Senior Member

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  9. Dilver

    Dilver Senior Member

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    That's exactly right, Classicplayer. I've been playing through a DRRI for years, with overdrive pedals in front of it, because there are very few places I can crank it up to get a natural overdrive. With these smaller amps, I just go direct: guitar, cord, amp. So simple.

    And I agree that tube amps "mature" - I'm afraid to change anything in that old Supro out of fear that the tone will change. I'm already starting to hear the speaker in the 57 Champ break in - a little smoother than when it started.
     
  10. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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    In an unusual way, I learned about the value of smaller amp designs by changing the way I use my trusty Micro Cube GT. In no way a tube job, but it gets a slight drive and bouncy tone when turned up.....all at about 2 watts.
    It's done by using the gain knob at 3/4 to almost full on.

    I used the same approach with my Orange Dark Terror which a tube amp. Of course when doing so, I do get a bit louder, so some discretion is necessary around the house. The Dark Terror is 15 watts and a setting for half that wattage. Anything more powerful is not going to work for me.


    Classicplayer
     
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  11. dsmcl77

    dsmcl77 Senior Member

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    First I went low wattage tube amps but even 5W class A tube amp (Laney Lionheart) was far too loud for "in house" practice.
    Then bought a VHT "special 6 ultra" head but sold it after a while, maybe a combo I would have kept:dunno:.

    So I went for a Vox VT20+ toward the world of modelling sounds.
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    Then went full modelling with the Line 6 HD 500X (but that's no small amp... away from this thread subject)
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    But, I also have a solid state Fender SK chorus 20 that stays in my living room for fun play and pratice away from the music room.
    Not invasive for the lady to agree to keep in this "common" room.
    Very small, light, a kind of a mini JC-120.
    2x 8" speakers, 2x 10W... stereo, and a very usable chorus.
    Clean is Fender good, dirty not that good... chemical fuzz factory :doh:.
    Better used on the clean chanel with pedals for good crunch or distorded sound.
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    Overall a great little toy amp.
     
  12. Lungo

    Lungo Senior Member

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    I have one of these. Awesome little amp.


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  13. needlespauls

    needlespauls V.I.P. Member

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    Alllllllways wanted one ugh!!!! The Plexi as well!!!
     
  14. Lungo

    Lungo Senior Member

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    I see them come up used from time to time for very reasonable prices. I wouldn't mind having a 1/4 watt myself, since I never turn the volume up past a whisper on my 3350LT.
     
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  15. Duane_the_tub

    Duane_the_tub Senior Member

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    No idea what you're talking about :rolleyes:

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    The Champ is my favorite amp of all time. Just magical. The Lead 12 is currently out of action since my 2-year-old twins jumpered everything and fried something, and I miss it terribly. Even the Mad King qualifies as a small amp: 12 watts with power scaling, through a 1x12, lets me get as nasty as I want at conversation-level volumes.

    For someone like me who only plays at home, these lil' giants are where it's at, man! :dude:
     
  16. Tobaccoburst83

    Tobaccoburst83 Senior Member

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    Niiiicceeeee amps!
     
  17. D'tar

    D'tar Senior Member

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    Love love love this thing!!! 1960 GA-5


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  18. Soul Tramp

    Soul Tramp Speaker Snob V.I.P. Member

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    I've had a lot of fun with the 5F1 circuit. It's just about the best amp for a raw voicing.

    My biggest complaint with the original factory amps is the undersize cabs and poor quality speakers. I'm not one that considers a crappy speaker to be part of the "vintage mojo" of old amps.

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    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  19. Dilver

    Dilver Senior Member

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    How’s that GA5 sound? I have my eye on one but when I saw it in person for the first time I was surprised at how shallow that cabinet is. There’s hardly anything to it!
     
  20. D'tar

    D'tar Senior Member

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    These things are awesome. This is not mine but you get the idea

     
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