I want an 70's/80's metal amp that does it all for the price of a Happy Meal. Help.

crashprime

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How much would you like to spend? $300

What's the absolutely most you will spend? $500 (pushing it!)

How many years have you played guitar? 3 years ... but I haven't played in over 5.

Do you seek tone quality or versatility? Tone with versatility of volume.

What is your primary guitar (include pup type and configuration)? SG G400 with alnico v humbuckers.

What style(s) of music do you primarily play? Classic Metal. Tones ranging from Tony Iommi's early Sabbath work, to Zakk Wylde's work with Ozzy in the 90's.

What one guitarist do you wish to emulate? Randy Rhoads :dude:

Do you prefer to plug straight in, or will you be using effects? Using my spending limits, I honestly don't care either way. I can't max out my amp budget and require further pedals.

What will be the primary use of the amp? bedroom/living room, but future ambitions to jam with old friends once I get my chops back to an acceptable level.

Do you prefer a combo or head/cabinet (and why)? Head/Cabinet. Heads look cooler, offer more versatility with speaker/cabinet choice. That being said, I'm not opposed to combos at all.

What amplifier(s) do you have/had and why do you want a change? I originally got as a gift, a solid state Marshall that I hated. Awful synthetic sounds. Then I upgraded, after mowing lawns until my shoes turned green, to a Peavey "Classic Tube Series" Duel 2x12 2ch combo amp with some decent effects on board (tremelo, reverb) and an FX loop. It was an all tube 120w combo. AWESOMELY LOUD. I loved this amp, but I never got the tone I wanted. I think it's cleans were amazing, but the distortion just never got me where I wanted to go, and I never got to the point of owning tons of pedals because I was in high school and didn't have a job. I think a lot of people compare/compared this amp to a Fender Twin Reverb, so that's a sound profile I think I've moved away from. I'm fairly convinced my tone profile leans a lot more over towards the "British" sound of Marshall's.

Please list five amps (minimum) that you have researched. Marshall Class 5, Blackstar HT-5(R), BlackHeart Little Giant, VHT Special 6 (Ultra).

What did you like about them? Can't say for sure as I haven't had a hands on with them individually, but the sounds I've heard on youtube all have their plus sides. There isn't a music store within 200 miles of me other than a strip mall Schmitt Music that has none of these amps. I'm convinced It's only function is to supply the local high schools with marching band instruments.

What did you not like about them? The value of these products are just not apparent to me. I owned a 2x12 120w all tube combo amp that I had dimed in my room more than a few times, and while it was totally over the top loud, I never felt like I was going to have the cops called or break an ear drum. The onboard effects were great (awesome reverb), it was built like a tank, and you could find them under $400 all day long. I look at these little 5w gems and I just see price tags that don't seem to match the feature set and power. Also, the lack of Master Volume on some of the heads has me concerned about tweaking to acceptable levels. I understand MV sacrifices tone, but the lack of which also sacrifices my sanity when getting yelled at by the wife.

Basically, I put down guitar to focus on school/job and now I found myself with a bunch of free time, and the itch to play has come roaring back. I want to be a bedroom guitar hero and I want to jam with some friends. I am not gigging (probably ever), but I can appreciate a loud as balls amp as much as the next guy. I just want to be able to choose if/when it is loud as balls.

HELP!
 

crashprime

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at your budget forget new
go used and save a ton.
Already there brother. I should've said in my OP that I am 100% looking for USED at this point. eBay, Craigslist, and the "used" section of popular internet stores are going to be my friend for this purchase.
 

Beerdog80

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The Jet City mentioned above a terrific amp for your needs. Toss a used SD-1 in front of it and thats all you need for high gain bliss.
 

rjwilson37

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Used Tweaker?
+1 You could also get a new Tweaker head around $300 with the discount and a cheap cabinet for around $100 to $120 and again your at around $425 with a bit more versatility and some geat "Tweakability".
 

Syn

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Marshall DSL. A used Jet City JCA22h may also suit your needs.
 

logen99999

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forget these big name production amps.

for that budget you have to look at the sleeper amps, the lesser known gems. check out the Peavey VTM60. it's a marshall 2204 knockoff, and a damn good one. and you can gig with it since it's got balls. way mroe then any of those low wattage lunchbox amps. if you're playing metal you cant gig with a 15 watter anyway.

most youtube videos of it suck but i saw a killer band play one live in a small club and it sounded amazing.

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rnpk-pKbC3g[/ame]
 

Cygnus X1

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logen stole my "thunder".
I was going to suggest about the same.

Bulletproof as well...for the most part.
 

rjwilson37

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I had not played in years as well about 2 years ago. I started playing again, just using an Digitech RP155 and some headphones and I heard all this hype about a tube amp and wanted to get one. I did for around $350, it was the Bugera V22 and the clean sounded totally sweet, but the gain did not do well with me after a few weeks on having it and it also rattled using higer gain and hitting some notes. Overall, I just did not like it because of the gain and me playing mostly stuff with gain and my RP155 just did not sounds good in front of it. I traded it in for a Mustang III, which I heard was a great Solid State amp with a bunch of effects and such. I used the Mustang III for almost a year and it really inspired me to play and I was able to get all kinds of great clean and gain tones after messing around with it for a bit. Anyway, it helped me find the tones I like which in turn helped me find my first good tube amp that I love to play through.

You may really like getting a Mustang III, the modeling is really good, it has 100w with a Celestion speaker and an open back nice sized cabinet, which this amp sounds very nice and has a nice full tone that fills the room. It has a lot of really good effects built in and you can save up to 100 of your own presets that you setup for what every purpose doing covers or just some nice base tones that you like. The presets that come aleady setup on them are mediocre at best, except the ones from like 88-99, which are some just base amp models without a bunch of effects and a good starting point for a lot of the amp models.

Good Luck, and congrats for picking up the guitar again. I have been going 2 years strong now this X-Mas which is the longest I have played again since High School and there is not an end in sight, since I just want to play all the time. :dude:
 

rjwilson37

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Please list five amps (minimum) that you have researched. Marshall Class 5, Blackstar HT-5(R), BlackHeart Little Giant, VHT Special 6 (Ultra).

Basically, I put down guitar to focus on school/job and now I found myself with a bunch of free time, and the itch to play has come roaring back. I want to be a bedroom guitar hero and I want to jam with some friends. I am not gigging (probably ever), but I can appreciate a loud as balls amp as much as the next guy. I just want to be able to choose if/when it is loud as balls.

HELP!
I have the Blackheart Handsome Devil 7/15w switchable, a great sounding amp with a wonderful base tone to it and good gain for classic rock. (The Blackheart Little Giant sounds great as well and the stock speaker is perfect for a 5w amp, it does really well and sounds great.) I just ordered a Blackstar HT-5RH head to play with headphones/recording and occasionally through my 1x12 or 2x12 which should be sweet once I get it this Thursday. I liked the Jet City, but my Blackheart Handsome Devil has more clean headroom and a warmer nice overall tone, but the Jet City has a bit more gain which I think would fit your bill. The Blackstar HT-5R would fit your 80's metal and then some, the clean is a bit more stale than on the Jet City or Blackheart, but is still very clean none the less. Yes, the overall headroom for gigging is minimal, but you could mic and I think for at home and jamming with friends it would do great for you.

Your Choices are good ones and you are starting to play again at a great time with lot's of great low wattage amp choices for the bedroom player/home rockstar hero. (There are a lot of us.)
 

crashprime

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I had not played in years as well about 2 years ago. I started playing again, just using an Digitech RP155 and some headphones and I heard all this hype about a tube amp and wanted to get one. I did for around $350, it was the Bugera V22 and the clean sounded totally sweet, but the gain did not do well with me after a few weeks on having it and it also rattled using higer gain and hitting some notes. Overall, I just did not like it because of the gain and me playing mostly stuff with gain and my RP155 just did not sounds good in front of it. I traded it in for a Mustang III, which I heard was a great Solid State amp with a bunch of effects and such. I used the Mustang III for almost a year and it really inspired me to play and I was able to get all kinds of great clean and gain tones after messing around with it for a bit. Anyway, it helped me find the tones I like which in turn helped me find my first good tube amp that I love to play through.

You may really like getting a Mustang III, the modeling is really good, it has 100w with a Celestion speaker and an open back nice sized cabinet, which this amp sounds very nice and has a nice full tone that fills the room. It has a lot of really good effects built in and you can save up to 100 of your own presets that you setup for what every purpose doing covers or just some nice base tones that you like. The presets that come aleady setup on them are mediocre at best, except the ones from like 88-99, which are some just base amp models without a bunch of effects and a good starting point for a lot of the amp models.

Good Luck, and congrats for picking up the guitar again. I have been going 2 years strong now this X-Mas which is the longest I have played again since High School and there is not an end in sight, since I just want to play all the time. :dude:
Yeah, I have been just jamming on a tiny no name "start playing guitar kit" amp that my brother had in his closet, and I can already tell I'm going to be sticking with it for awhile. It's nice actually having a full time job and being able to somewhat fit this stuff into a family budget. Lot's different than like 10 years ago when I was in high school bringing quarters to the gas station to buy a pack of smokes.

Speaking of different times, I know the last time (like 8 years ago) I looked at the solid state modeling stuff it was all so generic and cheap sounding. After youtubing some Mustang III clips I see things have gotten better with time.

Some seriously solid advice so far from everyone. Thank you guys. I really wish I could go play around on that Jet City. Seems really sweet for the money. That Peavey VTM sounded wicked in that youtube clip posted as well. Pretty much what I wished that my old Duel would sound like.

I think I have a soft spot on my heart for Peaveys. Not sure why, because a lot of people like to think of them as cheap throw away stuff. Good friend of mine had (still has) a 5150 head that he played through some homemade pallet wood cabinet. Talk about ballsy sound. I guess I had a lot of memories tooling around on random Peaveys.

But yeah, thanks again for the advice so far.
 

Red Flametop

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Good luck finding a VTM...these things, in either 60 or 100-watt guise are harder than hell to get ahold of(and usually go for well over $500)...and with good reason.

From personal experience, the BlackStar HT Club 40 or Club 60 combo amps are ones to watch for, and also might consider the Peavey ValveKing series(the VK takes a few small mods to fine-tune, as well as ditching the stock speaker for a Celestion 70/80), and can get the job done with nothing more than a good set of tubes.
 

wwit

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Ill 2nd the Fender Mustang III. Tons of tone and efx for short money.

I recently put an Eminance Wizard speaker in my MIII and WOW OH FREKIN' WOW :thumb: Huge improvement in clarity, note articulation. Sounds so much more tube like now...and I was happy with it before.
 

Big John

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Find a used Jet City; just pick the wattage you need. 70's/80's/90's metal all day long. I had a JCA100H for a while and it crushed. I currently have two JCA22H's running in stereo into two 1x12 cabs. Happy camper.
 

crashprime

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Well, I got a chance to try out a nifty little amp earlier today, the Blackstar HT-1 combo into a Blackstar 4x8 cabinet extension and it was pretty damn sweet for the price ($300 for the used combo+extension cabinet which coincidentally is, like, nailing my budget). Apparently my crappy little music store does have a few interesting things hidden in the corners.

Weird what 1w of power can do. I was really actually quite shocked at the air this was moving. The thing had some killer crunch, and really nice cleans too. I'm thinking for the price they're asking, I might end up going this direction, and likely I can get my money back out of it if I outgrow it quickly. A quick interweb search tells me that's a pretty honest price for the combo+cab.

This guy is nailing a lot of tones I am interested in, using the amp in question.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gDGNRHAbtg&playnext=1&list=PL30C4E15E5F0E9C38&feature=results_video]Blackstar HT1 Demo Through 1x8 1x10 4x12 Speakers - YouTube[/ame]

I also had the chance to play around with a Mustang III at the same shop, and it was kinda complex to use at first, but I'm sure easy enough to learn. The problem I had was it had this awful buzzy sound on the clean channels which I guess is pretty common for them. It almost felt defective, but apparently after a little reading, it's just a common trait of the Mustang 3-5's. Also, it's processed sounds reminded me ever so slightly that MG Marshall that I hated. I can't see myself going that direction.
 

River

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I've never played a Jet City, nor heard true "metal" played on one, but I've seen some really hard Blues-Rock played through one in a small venue, and it kicked some serious ass.
 


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