"Backline 2B Provided" --- small tube amp recommendation?

970harris

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A little "project" band we've gotten together at work has been successful in making it to the "regionals" round of the 2013 Corporate Battle of the Bands (sponsored by Fortune magazine and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), in Los Angeles this August.

The deal is that the entire backline is going to be provided / set up for us. So one of the things we need to specify is what amplifiers we want to play through.

My standard gigging rig includes two amps (we mic all our amps through our PA, and that is going to be the set up for this competition as well). I use the first, a 60W Fender Super-Sonic, exclusively for cleans. And I don't think arranging for something in that ballpark is going be a problem.

I have more concerns, though, about what to request to get close to the second amp in my rig, a modded (per most of Lyle Caldwell's recommendations) Marshall Class 5 that I play through a 2x12 cab .

Was wondering if anyone's got an idea about something I could request as an alternate to my own in the small tube amp (5 - 7 watts or thereabouts) category? Here are my responses to the MLP standard amp spec questionnaire, by way of clarifying more about what I am looking for:


How much would you like to spend? N/A, as explained above.

What's the absolutely most you will spend? Also N/A.

How many years have you played guitar? Off and on, probably 20 years.

Do you seek tone quality or versatility? Tone quality --- seeking the closest I can get to a slightly distorted blues / blues rock tone with as much of a Marshall crunch flavor as I can get. With my Class 5, that comes down to setting my volume at just slightly past 12 o'clock. As indicated above, cleans will be handled through a second amp.

What is your primary guitar (include pup type and configuration)? 2008 LPR8, 50's wiring, Manlius "Chicago Blues" + .015 PIO cap in neck, Manlius "Fat Diane" + .022 PIO cap in bridge.

What style(s) of music do you primarily play? Blues / blues rock.

What one guitarist do you wish to emulate?
Duane on the ragged edge.


Do you prefer to plug straight in, or will you be using effects? I'll be using my pedal board.

* If you plug straight in, you will likely require 2 or more channels
* If you use effects, you may prefer an effects loop

Note: They are going to be running 7 bands through this competition in very rapid succession. The schedule as drawn up shows 10 minutes between when one band finishes and the next band begins. (That sounds completely unrealistic to me but it sounds like that's what we have to plan for.) I am assuming they are going to have "roadies" who will rearrange the backline as necessary for the next band but, even so, it still leaves very little time to connect cables, eq the amp (there won't be any soundcheck), etc. So this really puts a premium on SIMPLICITY. Ideally, what I'm looking for is something with one channel where I can plug my guitar in, do a quick volume set, dial in the tone options, and play.

What will be the primary use of the amp?

gig, small - medium venue (although anyone familiar with the Whiskey A-Go-Go please comment) with amps mic'd

Do you prefer a combo or head/cabinet (and why)? I'd prefer a head and 2 x 12 combo with a closed back. I'd like to stick to a low watt tube amp, but would prefer to run it through a 2 x 12 because the sound seems to open up a lot more.

What amplifier(s) do you have/had and why do you want a change? N/A, although see below.

Please list five amps (minimum) that you have researched (if you can't do this, you're not serious) (these are amps I've actually played):

Marshall Class 5 - I am not as excited about the tone without the Lyle Caldwell mods; it's a great fit for what I need with the mods.

Vox AC4TV - I love the chime, but it's mids don't seem as fat as on the small Marshall.

Fender Blues Junior - I know a lot of folks are really happy with this amp, but I've never gotten either a sparkly clean spank out of mine, or a distorted tone that I really like. Just sounds kind of dull in either case to me.

Blackheart Little Giant (head) - Probably a good starter amp for someone, but even with a tube swap, and played through a decent speaker, I think there are better options if you have a little more money.

*****

After perusing the Low Wattage Amp Sticky as well, these look like some potential options:

H&K 5 watt Tubemeister
Blackstar HT-5 head
Orange AD-5

A few other thoughts. I am a little worried about climbing into the 15 - 18W range and getting too loud. If we weren't being mic'd, I'd probably need at least that but I'm thinking I'll get the tone I want, then leave it up to the sound person to dial in the right overall mix for us.

Also (and although who knows?), I probably need to concentrate on options that are pretty commercially available, which probably takes some other alternatives (e.g., Phaez Daisycutter 7W, which sounds like a great little amp) off the table.

Last, as should have been implied by my comments on the Class 5, I really need something where "stock" (including stock tubes) is pretty good right out of the chute...

Any and all recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

b-squared

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Carol-Ann Trip-R....you won't find anything better out of the box, IMHO.

Low wattage, yet loud enough for a band situation.

Crystal-clear cleans, and a Gain channel that'll go mild to MEAN.

Boost for jumping your volume for leads.

If they will get one of these for you, you will want to buy it after the gig. I dialed in my tone in less than 5 minutes for all channels.

trip_R_front.jpg


Here's me on it's big brother, the Triptik...the Trip-R is lower wattage, and breaks up just a tad earlier. I'm running this through a 4x12 Marshall cab, but you should get approximately the same thing from a closed-back 2x12.

Triptik gain channel on 'classic' mode

BB
 

mmd

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can't help you with amp suggestions - i still play 100 watt half stacks on stage....

having said that, i would recommend requesting something as mass produced as possible. having done gigs like this in the past, most of your tones will come from your pedal board.

i can, however, comment on the 10 minute change over between sets. it is VERY possible. my band exclusively opens national shows in theaters, and we have our tear-down time to 6 minutes. that includes the drum set.

guitar and bass rigs will most likely be back loaded - one rig in front of the other (or next to each other since they asked you about small amps). drummers will most likely be using a house kit + their snare and possibly cymbals. in our case, the drums are pre-set on the side of the stage and loaded on while the other kit is loaded off.

when clearing the stage, nothing gets packed, but you and your gear is off the stage. while you are getting your stuff off, the sound crew will be micing the next set of rigs for the next band. once you are off the stage THEN you roll your cables and safely pack things away. onstage, you pull the cables from the amp and guitar, drop them on your board and hoist it off the stage. your guitars get carried off stage and get cased up AFTER your whole band is off the stage.

it is stressful, i won't lie. it is one of the reasons i suggest a mass produced amp. if you can get it at GC you are better off. once you know what is being provided for you then you can rent one and work out your settings. write them down. when you get to the venue, as you are plugging in your pedal board you quickly twist the knobs where you want them.

realize that gigs like this are not about tone. they are about performance. judges do not care if you sound awesome. they care about your songs and your overall performance.

another possible suggestion - work out tones that can be achieved with JUST the super sonic 60 and your pedal board. you can do all your homework much easier that way....

anyway, hope these suggestions help.
 

PapaSquash

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Best tone advice?

Tip the guy on the board. Seriously. And, having opened for regionals, mmd is dead on.
Keep it simple.
 

970harris

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can't help you with amp suggestions - i still play 100 watt half stacks on stage....

having said that, i would recommend requesting something as mass produced as possible. having done gigs like this in the past, most of your tones will come from your pedal board.

i can, however, comment on the 10 minute change over between sets. it is VERY possible. my band exclusively opens national shows in theaters, and we have our tear-down time to 6 minutes. that includes the drum set.

guitar and bass rigs will most likely be back loaded - one rig in front of the other (or next to each other since they asked you about small amps). drummers will most likely be using a house kit + their snare and possibly cymbals. in our case, the drums are pre-set on the side of the stage and loaded on while the other kit is loaded off.

when clearing the stage, nothing gets packed, but you and your gear is off the stage. while you are getting your stuff off, the sound crew will be micing the next set of rigs for the next band. once you are off the stage THEN you roll your cables and safely pack things away. onstage, you pull the cables from the amp and guitar, drop them on your board and hoist it off the stage. your guitars get carried off stage and get cased up AFTER your whole band is off the stage.

it is stressful, i won't lie. it is one of the reasons i suggest a mass produced amp. if you can get it at GC you are better off. once you know what is being provided for you then you can rent one and work out your settings. write them down. when you get to the venue, as you are plugging in your pedal board you quickly twist the knobs where you want them.

realize that gigs like this are not about tone. they are about performance. judges do not care if you sound awesome. they care about your songs and your overall performance.

another possible suggestion - work out tones that can be achieved with JUST the super sonic 60 and your pedal board. you can do all your homework much easier that way....

anyway, hope these suggestions help.

Great info and advice, thanks a lot!
 

970harris

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Carol-Ann Trip-R....you won't find anything better out of the box, IMHO.

Low wattage, yet loud enough for a band situation.

Crystal-clear cleans, and a Gain channel that'll go mild to MEAN.

Boost for jumping your volume for leads.

If they will get one of these for you, you will want to buy it after the gig. I dialed in my tone in less than 5 minutes for all channels.

trip_R_front.jpg


Here's me on it's big brother, the Triptik...the Trip-R is lower wattage, and breaks up just a tad earlier. I'm running this through a 4x12 Marshall cab, but you should get approximately the same thing from a closed-back 2x12.

Triptik gain channel on 'classic' mode

BB

Thanks, BB. That Triptik sounds freaking awesome. I'll check out the Trip-R.
 

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