"Lunchboxes" and tube amp appreciation

Kamen_Kaiju

smiling politely as they dream of savage things
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
86,722
Reaction score
265,814
I've learned so much from Don/Soul Tramp in the past 6 months it's really crazy. He's changed the whole way I think about amplifiers. They're almost sexy to me now the way a guitar is.

I'd always thought tube amps sounded good but were so stupid expensive and fragile I avoided them. But now after seeing how easy it was to build a really good cabinet I wonder why I never thought of that sooner.

For less then the cost of buying a cab, you can build a 1x12, 2x12, 4x12 and put in really good speakers. Then you have a cab for any tube amp you want to use.

And I was poking around Musiciansfriend and Sweetwater, and there's a ton of 5w-20w tube amps that sound good,...and they're like only a couple/few hundred bucks.

That's so 'do'able I don't know how I missed it before. I think part of it was the Headbanger/Metal mentality that you have to have a 4x12 with a 100w amp. Which is a little ridiculous and overpowering considering the size of the clubs most of us play in, .. plus they mic the cab and run it through the PA most of the time anway.

So 20w of tube amp is actually pretty loud. Louder then I ever gave it credit for.

Just digging through the web last night look at all these great options....

Marshall Class5 5 W
Marshall Class5 5 Watt Tube Head (5 Watt Head) | Sweetwater.com

Blackstar HT5
Blackstar HT-5RH 5 Watt 2 Channel Tube Head (Black) | Sweetwater.com

Egnater Tweaker
Egnater Tweaker 15 Watt Tube Amp Head | Sweetwater.com

Hughes and Kettner 5w (this looks really cool)
Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 5 Tube Amp Head | Sweetwater.com

Orange Microterror 20w
Orange Amplifiers Micro Terror MT20 20W Hybrid Guitar Amp Head | Musician's Friend

Jet City picovalve 5w
Jet City Amplification PicoValve 5W Tube Guitar Amp Head | Musician's Friend

Ibanez TS 15w
Ibanez TSA15H Tube Screamer 15W Tube Guitar Amp Head | Musician's Friend

That's awesome. Get together a nice 1x12 cab and have a little 'Lunchbox Collection' for it. That'd be pretty cool having a bookshelf with 5-10 little amp heads sitting on it with the 1x12 cab they share.

an 'Amp Collection',...I never even considered such a thing.

Don's an awesome classy guy. He's really opened me up to appreciating a whole new side of the electric guitar.

...kinda sad it took over 20 years to appreciate amplifiers. Hahahaha


I'm still trying to catch up on all the terms and everything. But this section of the forum has been pretty helpful.

I don't hate my SS amps (though I've since sold my Marshall SS since playing with the Soul Tramp) but I do like how much control over the sound a tube amp has. It really feels a lot more like the guitar and amp are working together, instead of the guitar merely being the input device for a computer amplifier.

Taking the Soul Tramp Tremor out tonight to gig with a few other bands. We'll see how loud she can get through the 2x12 Don had me put together for her.

Gonna be the first time I've gigged a tube amp in over 16 years! :shock:

and that was a Marshall JCM 800,..this is all "Boo-Teek" and sh*t! :thumb: :laugh2:
 

PapaSquash

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
6,026
Reaction score
7,804
I'm with you.

See the little thing on the peavey 412 behind Alex? 18 Watts of simple goodness.
_DSC1337.jpg
 

theNARDdog9

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2011
Messages
1,708
Reaction score
731
I know what you mean. I've recently had a similar revelation. I personally don't think I'll ever see any reason to own a Marshall Stack--I just can't justify it, and wouldn't want to buy one just to have to attenuate it. Sure my music space is sound proofed, but I would like to keep my hearing :D

I love the smaller to mid-sized amps. I know you're talking strictly more lunchbox sized 5w-ish amps, but I love my 20 watt Cygnus Kepler, and my Super Sonic 22 and I couldn't ever imagine needing anything much over 30 watts ever!

On another note, tube amps are really cool. No hate on the SS guys but, to me, there is just nothing like plugging into a tube amp. That natural tube saturation and true tube distortion are unlike anything else. Cool to see you're really digging the Soul Tramp. It sounds like a pretty killer amp. Good luck at the gig tonight :thumb:
 

GammyBird

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
21,898
Reaction score
15,664
I've switch from my rather overpowering Phaez to a very versatile Enater. Both fantastic amps!

IMG-20130402-00491_zps004e6670.jpg


Microamp :thumbs:
 

GammyBird

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
21,898
Reaction score
15,664
I don't think either would be classed as a lunchbox though would they :hmm:
 

Kamen_Kaiju

smiling politely as they dream of savage things
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
86,722
Reaction score
265,814
by lunchbox I just meant smaller 5-20w sized amps. I know some literally are very small (like that Orange.)
 

randelli

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
6,059
Reaction score
6,349
You will really enjoy playing the ST tonight! One word.......DYNAMICS..... like you have never experienced before.

Have a great gig!
 

TheWelder

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2011
Messages
2,498
Reaction score
4,322
I love my lunchbox Orange TT Hard Wired - it is such a sweet sounding amp. I play mostly on the 7w setting and I have no problems hearing myself over a moderately loud drummer.

I used to do it all backwards - I played through a ridiculously loud 40w 4X10 Super Reverb and I was constantly struggling with keeping it under control. I was having sound guys tell me my stage volume was too loud and bandmates telling me to turn down (the amp would literally be on 3). Now I just crank up a low wattage amp and I get great tube overdrive at manageable and non-eardrum rupturing volumes. What a concept!
 

michaelinokc

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
6,784
Reaction score
9,814
I love small amps. I've got an Egnater Tweaker combo, Fender Blues Jr. III, and a Fender Greta. I play at home and don't have much use for anything bigger.
 

TheWelder

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2011
Messages
2,498
Reaction score
4,322
$100. one knob.

Kustom Defender 5H Guitar Amp Head at zZounds

That's so Rock N Roll! :dude:

Simple is often better, IMO.

My current main-rig setup is: LP Jr (one P90 w/ one Volume and Tone Knob) into my TT (3 controls: Volume / Tone / Gain). OK, once in a while I'll run an EQ pedal to help shape the sound for the room I'm playing. I'm able to pull off several different tones by just a few twists of knobs, changing up my picking attack, backing off the volume on the guitar, rolling off the tone knob, etc. Five years ago I would have scoffed at how 'limiting' this setup is... but I've found the opposite, actually - it is quite invigorating and inspires creativity (for me, at least). I can easily do a full night and cover several different musical styles and genres with this simple setup. I've also received a lot of compliments on my tone since I switched to this rig full time.

Moral of the story: buy a low watt amp and crank it up - it does wonders for your sound (and your hearing).
 

Soul Tramp

Speaker Snob
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
10,116
Reaction score
27,130
Here's my tabletop (lunchbox) amp. I got the idea from the Fender Greta.

I built it using a 1937 Phiilco 610 Streamline radio.

attachment.php


attachment.php
 

Attachments

  • Final_Cab_Front_3.jpg
    Final_Cab_Front_3.jpg
    81.3 KB · Views: 351
  • Final_Cab_Back_2.jpg
    Final_Cab_Back_2.jpg
    83.8 KB · Views: 346

Quill

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Messages
4,546
Reaction score
3,047
Malikon, I wondered what was up with your Tremor demo ... you're such a nice player, with lots of range in your playing - I was expecting a very different exploration of that amp. It's a good demo, and in all fairness, quick and short and to the point, and it sounds great. But there are other points that could be brought out! I really wanted to hear it rolled back, and the transitions ... wasn't sure what the tube screamer added.

But the fact is, it takes a long time to come around to all the different sides to these things - I didn't realize that you were relatively new to these kinds of amps. I really dig a good solid state amp - and just bought an ST Jam100 for small projects involving microphones as well as magnetic pickups - and it works very, very well. It's my first time exploring solid state, though I did work with the venerable JC 120 back in music school quite a lot. Heh. Not by choice, though. God, the times I lugged my little but very heavy Marshall tube combo to school on the bloody bus in the dead of winter with my guitar and bag of books ... every time there was a need to work on or perform a rock tune of any kind; everyone but the other guitar players thought I was insane. Stupid! A decent pedal would have done the same thing.

The ... searching for the words ... ah ... the "places" in a tube amp and appropriate speaker combination that matter to me are the transitions from one range and set of sound details to another - and it's the lower range that matters to me most. If it's not interesting when it's low and clean, how can we possibly set up the parts that need to be cranked and loud? When you are about to climb a mountain, there are different levels of excitement - that standing-in-the-foothills excitement is an important prelude to the standing-on-the-just-climbed-cliff excitement. And if we can't understand the ground below, jumping off the cliff is meaningless.

(OMG - I'm just getting carried away with hackneyed metaphors, no particular point is directed at Malikon!)

And when we're older, maybe we don't get past the foothills quite so much - so it matters even more! :laugh2:
 

Quill

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Messages
4,546
Reaction score
3,047
I think the Tremor is

the
ultimate
rock'n'roll
machine

... by the way ...
 

Ed B

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
Messages
14,050
Reaction score
11,449
Slow down!!!

Save a few bucks and get a boo-teek lunchbox. You shouldn't be looking back.
 

Lungo

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
8,725
Reaction score
16,272
I have two Mesa Boogies at home and this little guy. It gets the most play time. Although I'm hooked up to one of the Boogies right now.


3350LT1a_500.jpg
 

Latest Threads



Top