Looking for my first tube amp


Junior Member
Jul 21, 2011
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To clarify:

I use pedals very infrequently, as in, I only use them when I have to.

I wasn't really looking at the marshall, but if there was a model that would have great cleans (I will be playing about 60-70% clean), then I might get it.


Senior Member
Feb 5, 2009
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One of the things I think we all fall for now and then is the
effect of newness, and spent money.. we hate to disappoint ourselves after laying out cash, and we tend to hear what we want to hear after we do.

The stores like GC have a great thing going there.. 30 day return and such.
If you live near one, and if they have what you want to try.

The opposite of that is how we can be influenced by opinion.. which is largely personal taste and then a big dollop of what other gear you use with whatever you're buying.

I built a Tweed deluxe, because though it's rated at about 15W, there simply is no getting around the tone, it's there, it's what I expected (after I tweaked a lot) and it's very fender. That led me to the louder version with the 6L6 tubes, and more versatility.

so it would be pretty phony of me not to point to manufacturers too.

Ah hell, we all know I'm addicted to all of them.


Senior Member
Dec 30, 2010
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I like it because it's a Fender amp at a budget price. I'm keen on saving money, as I don't have a lot of it on tap.
You would like the Hot Rod Deluxe, not the HR Deluxe III, but the HR Deluxe with the Bright, Drive and More Drive switches. I have played this amp several times at GC, where the clean is very nice and this thing can get loud and has a lot of headroom. I was not keen on the Drive, wanting something more Marshall sounding, but for Clean, Blues and Jazz, it would suite you well I'm sure. You might need a OD pedal to get a good Classic Rock 70's tone, but I'm partial to British 70's rock crunch tone more so than the Fender American crunch tone. This amp does take pedals well, so you can remedy that with a pedal if you think you would need to. This amp would save you $200 or so dollars, and I think you would be very happy with it. Go try them out side by side and see what you like, because the HR Deluxe has a Master volume which allows you to hit some sweet tones at lower volumes than the Deluxe Reverb, which get's a lot nicer as the volume goes up a bit.


Senior Member
Jan 25, 2011
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I like it because it's a Fender amp at a budget price. I'm keen on saving money, as I don't have a lot of it on tap.

I'm a big support of the HRD. You can usually find one used for ~$350-400. Couple things about it 1.) it's loud as hell, even at 40W. I swapped out the pre-tubes with 12AT7's and it tamed it quite a bit. 2.) Switching from the clean channel to the dirty channel is not as "clean" as some would like it to be. Most people note a "pop" noise switching between these channels.

Also, here is a very good reference about the HRD's:

The Unofficial Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Owner's Guide!


Senior Member
Jun 5, 2008
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Yeah, the JTM-45 has some great cleans, but to get to that wonderful OD it's got to be LOUD if it isn't modified (such as with a MV kit.) At least that was my experience with the used one I tried about a week ago. A nice attenuator set to load and another amp to reamp the tone to a usable level and it could work great, but that adds significantly to the cost.

Instead I went for the Mesa TA-15 and am pleased with it so far, but I've been too busy to plug it in at home - I've only played at the store and a friend's house so I don't know how it does with my cabs.

I was impressed with what I heard out of the HRD recently, but dang that thing is loud! Our guitarist at church used one the other day and it was barely off idle. We don't crank it there, but it was difficult to tame the beast. With no MV, I'm not sure how usable it would be at home. Great for when you can crank it though. That's a listening experience, not actual playing experience on my part though.



Senior Member
Apr 21, 2012
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Hello all,

I'm looking for my first tube amp, having come from solid states. I filled out the questionnaire.

How much would you like to spend?

about $800

What's the absolutely most you will spend?

about $1200

How many years have you played guitar?

about 5 or so

Do you seek tone quality or versatility?

An even mix of both

What is your primary guitar (include pup type and configuration)?

A Les Paul with 2 Burstbuckers, possibly a bass if high enough wattage.

What style(s) of music do you primarily play?

Jazz, Blues, Rock, everything but metal. Great clean tones are a must.

What one guitarist do you wish to emulate?

Nobody. I play my own style.

Do you prefer to plug straight in, or will you be using effects?

Prefer to plug straight in, but I might use chorus, reverb, or delay once in a while, if reverb isn't built in.

What will be the primary use of the amp?

Primarily bedroom playing, but in the future, as in 7-8 months, I'd like to start playing solo gigs.

Do you prefer a combo or head/cabinet (and why)?

Combo, but I'd take a head and cab if they aren't too big.

What amplifier(s) do you have/had and why do you want a change?

Only Solid State bass amps, as I'm a frequent bass player. I want a dedicated guitar amp, and one with tubes.

I've been looking at a few amps.

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue

Vox AC15C1

Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue

A Marshall of some sort, I'm not sure what my wattage needs would be, no model idea.

Clean tones are a must, so I'm looking more towards the first four than the Marshall.
The only thing I did'nt mentipn was Mesa,s customer service.I bought an amp in 2001 at their Hollywood store.Recentlf I loaned it to a friend to tour.and when he bought it home,we set it up,voltage,etc/Je'd been in the UK last.When we took it off standby it sounded like it was gonna blow up.We checked everything(I thought)Pots,jacks,spkr wiring,etc.I called the Hwood store just to get a direction to head in.He did a 3 way call and not only got tech support,he got the guy who built the amp.He only made em one year but very few in this config.He asked me if I used the overdrive boost pot on the back.He said to pull it clean it and put it back,It was cured.Perfect.It'd been in the same position for ten years.He even offered to send me a new pot.Did'nt need it.Ubbelievable service.I don't know if thats how they treat everybody,bue ehey did me.


Senior Member
Jul 15, 2009
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earlier somebody mentioned a marshall major. i think we all agree that's your best option.


Senior Member
Jun 4, 2012
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Get a 1961 Gibson Falcon GA-19RVT for between $900 and $1300. It has a monitor output that turns any amp into tweed amp. These amps are similar to Fender tweed deluxe amps and are about 1/3 to 1/2 the price of a beat up one. It has great reverb and trem. It also has BEAUTIFUL, natural break up low/med volumes; you won't need a pedal to overdrive this amp. One other point, the Falcon really really likes my R8 Les Paul more so than my other amps. This amp makes it sound like a late '50s PAF LP.

I would also suggest getting a Leslie cabinet for unbelievably cool sound. Pics are attached. Total would be in the $1.5k to $1.8k range and you will be HAPPY!

PS Danny Gatton created the above for sound coolness! He used both of these amps for years.

PPS I have a '68 Silverface Princeton reverb that I drive the Leslie out of as well but I output the Falcon to a 65 Deluxe. Believe it or not the Deluxe's sound changes from a blackface to a tweed when driven from the Falcon.


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