Small practice amps

banditguitarist1

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Hey I want to buy a small cheap tube practice amp nothing more then like 10 watts at the most, its gotta be light and portable. I've been using a Hot Rod Deluxe to practice with my schools church band but its a pain in the ass to lug up the 3 flights of stairs to the practice room. I've been looking at the Fender Champ 600 5W seems small cheap and portable anyone have any experiences? Or recommendations?
 

Darkburst

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If you like Fender try the Pro Jr or Blues Jr. Nice little amps for practice or even gigs where you're mic'd.
 

Fracture

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9 Volts of pure thunder...see battery.
15 watts of SS noise. Just don't plug a single coil
into either.
Just kidding the Nifty Fifty was a steal for $20.
 

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Zoshquin

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9 Volts of pure thunder...see battery.
15 watts of SS noise. Just don't plug a single coil
into either.
Just kidding the Nifty Fifty was a steal for $20.
20? wow where did you bought it man?
 

refin

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Well,it depends on how well your PA/soundperson works---and your budget.
I would look into the smaller Crate or Kustom amps---been reading some good reports on those.Other than that,I hope you luck into a Champ or Princeton Reverb.:fingersx:
I know you requested a tube amp,but there are some great SS amps out there that sound good,are lighter,and will give you more than 10 watts.
Good luck!
 

nirvana89

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i have a spider III line 6 amp its loud as hell and it delivers pretty well and its a 15w 8 inch and not a hassle to carry around
 

nicolasrivera

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Go with a fender pro junior or a Blues junior. I have the pro junior and it has been my most reliable amp ever, i had it since 1995 usa made in tweed and it has withstand a lot of abuse, falls and even rain!!! and never ever failed to power up and produce amazing tone. But it is a loud little devil and if you want the amp to produce tube overdrive, then go with the blues junior, it has a master volume and a gain knob.

Nico.
 

Zoshquin

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hmm I'm saving up for a tube amp too.. I need something I can use for our church but budget is kinda tight.. XD is there any way I can connect a tube amp to a speaker? there's those big speakers on our church...
 

Paragon

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9 Volts of pure thunder...see battery.
15 watts of SS noise. Just don't plug a single coil
into either.
Just kidding the Nifty Fifty was a steal for $20.
I got a Nifty Fifty for $30 :thumb: Kinda nice. I had to recenter the speaker spider/magnet over the voicecoil cause it was lightly rubbing and making a horrible buzzing on low notes. I do get the constant hiss but it is normal with this amp. I may try tweaking sometime to get rid of that. For now, it is just fine for up in the loft.
 

gmacdonnell

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The Fender Champ 600 is a nice amp for the money. With a speaker and cap replacement it actually sounds almost as good as a Boutique design.

The Epi and Blackheart practice amps also aren't bad, but to get a better tone you really need to upgrade a few components.

If you look, you can often find the Gibson Les Paul Junior GA5 for a great price.
They were $300 at Musician's Friend a while back, but you can find them used for less than that.

They're hand-wired, USA made amps and really sound great.

The hybrid tube/digital Fender Super Champ sounds really good, and is a sweet amp for practice and recording.

Lastly, you could wait for the BlackStar HT-5. They're a company that has handmade amps, designed in the UK but built in Korea. I've played the Artisans and they're easily on the level of a Matchless or similar amp for less than half that price.

The new HT-5 is their 5 watt practice amp, and should probably be about $450-500 when it gets to the US.:thumb:
 

roadsong66

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While researching LP copies, I stumbled across this all-tube 30 Watt amp for $330 USD.

New 2008 Prestige VT-30 All Tube Guitar Amplifier Amp - (eBay.ca item 350169399716 end time 28-Feb-09 12:57:21 EST)

Here are some pics:





Here is a review off of the Prestige website Prestige Guitars :: Electric and Bass Guitars

Prestige VT-30 Class-A 30watt Tube Amp

"Great amp!! Sorta reminds me of a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Nice clean tone and really searing distortion on the dirty channel. Reverb is superb and the overall mix of sounds on both channels are so pleasing to my ears. I love this amp...wouldn't trade it for the world! This amp has everything I ever want in a tube amp!"

I hope this information is helpful!

BTW, I just noticed that you wanted a 10-watt amp. You are in luck, they make a 10-watt version as well...here is the link:

http://cgi.ebay.ca/New-2008-Prestige-VT-10-All-Tube-Guitar-Amplier-Amp_W0QQitemZ230327039564QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item230327039564&_trksid=p3911.c0.m14&_trkparms=72:1215|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318

http://www.prestigeguitars.com/prestigeamps.html

These guitars are much cheaper to buy on eBay than paying full retail on the company website.
 

Dragonsarc

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how bout a Blackheart sounds good or a fender super champ xd check the vids

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pB5hV21Y00]YouTube - Blackheart all tube 5w amp... vintage tone for $200 bones![/ame]


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhvHUR8ROHA]YouTube - BLACKHEART TUBE AMP TONES[/ame]


 
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GoofyDawg

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That Blackheart is pretty sweet! I played a BH5 head, and it sounded superb - of course, I played it through a pretty nice cab. I've played the 1X12 combo as well. Really light, very versatile. Here's a review I wrote about it. Sorry no sound clips as I tested it out in a small shop.

All that said, an amp that you should seriously consider is the Peavey Windsor Studio. This has a balanced line out that you can input into your church's board. But it also will allow you to play with different power tubes (comes stock with a single EL34). It's a 25 Watt amp, but it is very versatile. Go to YouTube and enter "peavey windsor studio" and you'll see some great clips of this amp in action.
 

gmacdonnell

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Hey I want to buy a small cheap tube practice amp nothing more then like 10 watts at the most, its gotta be light and portable. I've been using a Hot Rod Deluxe to practice with my schools church band but its a pain in the ass to lug up the 3 flights of stairs to the practice room. I've been looking at the Fender Champ 600 5W seems small cheap and portable anyone have any experiences? Or recommendations?
I've done quite a bit of shopping for amps like this, both for myself and for a couple studios.

It really depends on your price range but I'll lay out a few that I think are really excellent amps.
Considering you want to use it for rehearsing, a line-out would be very helpful, which some of these amps have. Otherwise, you might need to mic them, depending on how loud you are.
I always write down my impressions of amps, (any gear, really) I'm testing, buying, or recording with, so here's what I wrote down for these amps:

*Fender Champ 600:
This is a great little amp, though because of the recent price increase, now faces some stiff competition. It's pretty loud for its size, and it has relatively high headroom. Because of that, I wouldn't recommend it if you want to crank it up in your bedroom, and are expecting a amp you can talk over: it's got some kick to it. The speaker is just OK, but I've heard them really come (more) alive with a Weber replacement. A great amp for cleans and mild overdrive.
Price: $260

Epiphone Valve Jr:
This amp seems to break up quite a bit faster than the Fender. It's not as loud, and the tone isn't as sweet, but it has a nice punchy tone and good overdrive. If you want power tube overdrive, this is a nice little amp.The speaker isn't very good, but again, with a replacement it's great. Price: $200

Black Heart Amps:
These are mini-stacks, but very small. Comes in 1 watt, which is great for overdrive, and 5 watts, which is quite a bit louder. These amps have a more "British" feel to the sound, and nice overdrive grind. The cleans can be chimey, but there isn't much headroom. The speakers are ok, but could definitely use an upgrade. They seem better built than the Epiphone or Fenders. Price: $350-400


Peavey Valve King Royal 8:
This is a very nice little amp. It's a great little workhorse, with more versatility than the other amps in this price range. It can get great, Fender-ish clean sounds, and some very "British" sounding crunch and lead tones. It can be loud, but you can get great sounds at love volume. Price: $200


Getting into slightly more expensive waters, you get a big increase in the quality of contruction, cabinet and speaker. If you can save an extra $150, it's definitely worth it in the long run.


Blackstar HT-5:
This is a 5-watt, twin-channel amp that comes in a combo or a mini-stack. I'll just cut to the chase: it's unbelievable. It's just an incredible sounding amp, that rivals boutique amps costing 4 times as much. Blackstar is a small company started by two former Marshall designers. They design the amps, which are then hand-built in a high-end Korean factory. The construction is on par with boutique amps, and so is the tone. The cleans are gorgeous, and the overdrive is classic. You could easily record albums worth of great tones with just one of these. The Celestion speaker helps with huge tone, and a lot of volume for the size. To prove I'm not the only one who thinks these are so great, here's a review from Guitarist, which is a highly critical UK magazine, (they hardly ever give a 5/5 for anything.) Blackstar HT5-S Mini Stack | musicradar.com
Price: $400

Peavey Mini Colossal:
The HT-5 is a tough act to follow, but the Peavey Mini Colossal more than holds it own. Like the Blackstar, the Peavey gives some boutique amps a real run for their money. Think of it as an AC-30 shrunk into a practice amp, and you're about right. The custom Weber speaker can put out a lot of volume, and the built-in tremolo is luscious. Joe Satriani helped them design this amp, and it's got some very useful features like a "power sponge" so you can run it on 1/2 a watt, (late night shredding?) an effects loop, and a great sounding speaker-emulating line out. For recording or practicing this is a killer amp, and very well made. Real high quality, made-in-the USA amp. Price: $500

Orange AD-5:
This is a really sweet sounding amp. It’s very classic 60’s, British sounding. It’s got some of the clang of a Vox, and chimes beautifully on clean, but its overdriven tones punch and sing with a lot of force and sweetness. It’s also really nicely made, and has a nice EQ section. It's very crisp, chimey and crunchy. Price: $500

Gibson Les Paul Jr. GA-5:
This is a discontinued amp, (why Gibson, why?) but it’s a true hand-wired beauty. Used, they go for $350-400, and the components are really high-quality: it’ll last you a lifetime. It’s not the loudest amp, but it gets a great crunch and lead tone at low volumes. The clean headroom is minimal, but the cleans that are there are really sweet, with a really unique sound: it’s sort of half-American, half-British. This is a another little “boutique killer.” Price: $350-400, depending on condition.

Fender Silverface Champ or Vibro Champ:
Ok, they're not the sexiest amps that Fender ever made, but with a good speaker, these things rock. They can be very easily modified to Blackface or Tweed specs, which brings out some more grit and power. These are terrific little amps for practice or recording. Obviously, it's a classic Fender sound. ;)Price: $350-450

Tech 21 Trademark 30:
This is an analog modeling amp, based on the legendary Sansamp preamp. I've owned one of these for a long time, and it's one of the most useful amps on the market, and sounds incredible. It can fool you into thinking you're plugged into a cranked vintage tune amp: the feel and dynamics are that good. It's very simple to use, and gets Mesa, Marshall, Vox and Fender sounds, all very convincing. The speaker is great, and it's handmade in the USA to a very, very high-standard. The Sansamp is a staple you'll find in every professional studio, because it sounds so good and is so versatile. This amp is basically that, with 30 watts and a speaker. It's loud enough for rehearsals and some gigs, but has a line out with speaker emulation for recording or big gigs. It also has a headphone out, a great sounding reverb, and can get a cranked up sound at very low volumes. Definitely worth investigating, if you're interested in recording or many styles of music. Price: $320

Once again, if it's at all possible, see if you can save the extra money to get one of the amps in the $350-500 category. They won't need any upgrades to be at their best, and will last you a lifetime. All of these amps are really good, and I think stand out from the others in their price ranges. Amps have come a long way in the past couple years. The Peavey's and Blackstars are proof of that: they rival amps that cost $2k in tone and build. They're not the fanciest or most famous amps around, but you can't beat them for value.

If I had to pick 1, it'd be tough. I love AC-30's, so the Peavey Mini Colossal is a great choice. For a US made amp with its quality, tone and features, it's a bargain. If you want a "roomful" of amps and great tone, the Trademark 30 is a truly professional tool, (and blows away digital amps for tone and feel.) But for all-around tone and value, I think I'd have to go for the Blackstar HT-5, or a used Gibson GA-5. But they're all great, and one might stand out for you, which is what's most important.

Good luck and let us know what it goes!
 

needlespauls

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All excellent suggestions, wow!
I have a GA-5 which I LOVE!!! It will be buried with me lol! Not a ton of headroom, but if you're using it for practicing or recording, theres some magic in there!!!

The TM 30 is truly a remarkable amp!! I just sold mine to a fellow member, I just need to do some upgrades for my main guitar first and foremost. If I come across one again down the road, I'll buy one. THE most versatile little combo out there! Great fat sound/feel/tone. VERY compact yet still with a 10" speaker, accutronics spring reverb, effects loop, direct out, speaker out, etc. Made in the USA and as GMAC said, NOT a toy amp!!
Highly recommended!!

If you can't find either of these, or want another option, for a simple tube combo kind of like the Gibson GA5, Blackheart, Valve Jr, etc.......,
Take a look at this too.....
http://www.valvetrainamps.com/concord.htm
6watts, 10" speaker, hand wired/ hand made in the USA. Gearmandude on youtube.com has done a few pedal demos on one.
And they're only $499 brand new. There is not another USA made handwired turretboard combo with this wattage and speaker size on the market, and Valvetrains sound GREAT!!! Another great option in the sea of amps! You can't go wrong with any of these!!
 

gmacdonnell

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Oh, I forgot about the Valvetrain Concord. I haven't played one yet, but Valvetrain makes a killer amp. I really thinking about picking one of those up.

Two more amps to add to the list, that would be really handy for practice, recording and rehearsal/gigs.

Carvin Vintage 16 /5:
Handmade in the USA amp, that switches from 16 watts to 5 watts, with 1x12" speaker. Nice reverb and great EQ, with a beautiful sounding gain circuit. Single-channel amp with a lot of flexibility and nice features, huge tone and light weight. A great little amp. Price: $400

Peavey Windsor Studio:
This is a great sounding, British-style amp. It'd adjustable from 20 watts on down to less than 1, and has a 12" speaker, and lot's of features for practice and recording. It's single-channel, and in the style of a Marshall small combo. It has a great, rich voice, full of harmonics and a nice speaker. It can get great chiming cleans, or a wonderful crunch and lead sound reminiscent of classic Marshalls. Very flexible with great tone, but it's a bit heavier. Price: $400

Some really great amps in the $350-500 price range...

Scary!
 




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