Underrated Low Wattage Tube Amps

CoolRene

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2017
Messages
104
Reaction score
96
1. VOX Pathfinder
2. Marshall Lead 12
3. Fender Pro Junior
 

redking

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2010
Messages
5,153
Reaction score
6,631
You have to slam the front end with a pedal, but this is a killer sleeper vintage amp that you used to be able to get pretty cheap - I think I got my 1963 version for $250. Gibson GA-5 (and GA-5T with tremolo) Crestline model.

1656602909503.png
 

CB91710

Not Michael Sankar
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
14,102
Reaction score
38,407
You have to slam the front end with a pedal, but this is a killer sleeper vintage amp that you used to be able to get pretty cheap - I think I got my 1963 version for $250. Gibson GA-5 (and GA-5T with tremolo) Crestline model.

View attachment 618396
Psionic just overhauled an old Skylark Trem model, and he was able to get NASTY distortion straight up.
Part of the "nasty" was the atrocious speaker (and he's not a "vintage alnico" corksniffer... says the speakers were on the level with what you'd find in the door of a '65 Chevy), but the amp was definitely breaking up nicely.
 

Dolebludger

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
17,246
Reaction score
17,499
I must post again about my Bugera G5 (head) 5W, 1W, .1 amp. It takes pedals on the front end very well. I use a delay and a compressor, it is all tube, but it has only one 12AX7 and one EL84. But the instructions say you can change those tubes to any value that will fit the sockets without rebasing.On anything below 5W, the clean channel is pretty wimpy. But the gain channel can be dialed down into a perfect clean tone for me — and dialed up to a scream and everything in between. But volume does not have to be above apartment level for metal if set on .1W. On 5W I swear it is gig worthy if played through a 1X12 cab. (unless you are in an arena, of course). The on board reverb is digital, but it is the best digital I have heard. Using the three band EQ on the gain channel, with low gain, even jazz tones are possible. I have not tried changing out tube values or brands, because this thing gets my sound as is. And I bought it mint used locally for $180.
 

CB91710

Not Michael Sankar
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
14,102
Reaction score
38,407
I must post again about my Bugera G5 (head) 5W, 1W, .1 amp. It takes pedals on the front end very well. I use a delay and a compressor, it is all tube, but it has only one 12AX7 and one EL84. But the instructions say you can change those tubes to any value that will fit the sockets without rebasing.On anything below 5W, the clean channel is pretty wimpy. But the gain channel can be dialed down into a perfect clean tone for me — and dialed up to a scream and everything in between. But volume does not have to be above apartment level for metal if set on .1W. On 5W I swear it is gig worthy if played through a 1X12 cab. (unless you are in an arena, of course). The on board reverb is digital, but it is the best digital I have heard. Using the three band EQ on the gain channel, with low gain, even jazz tones are possible. I have not tried changing out tube values or brands, because this thing gets my sound as is. And I bought it mint used locally for $180.
Probably the 2nd most recorded amp in rock and roll behind the 5E3 Deluxe is the little 5w Fender Champ.
5w can get loud.
 

sc1989

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2022
Messages
10
Reaction score
21
Lots of sweet low-wattage amps here!!!

I think without a doubt, the most under-rated low watt amp is the Laney L5T. Had (and got rid of, GRRRRRRRRR) 2 of the original made in UK ones

The Laney Studio 5 is pretty nice too, but those LT5 Combos, WOWSERS
(5 watts, EL 84)

View attachment 585367 View attachment 585368
My 1990 Standard and a 1974 Deluxe; I don't have the Deluxe anymore (DOPE)


ANOTHER little known, and no longer made is the Valve Bimbo: FIVE watts, EL-34 with Powerscaling. Made for a short time in Italy. KILLER 70s and 80s Marshall tone, and literally at bedroom volume.

View attachment 585369
frig me six ways from Sunday using the full paw up to the elbow, there's a lot of regret in this post
 

cherrysunburst00

TUBE AMP JUNKIE FOR LIFE BAD ASS
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Messages
19,164
Reaction score
39,632
frig me six ways from Sunday using the full paw up to the elbow, there's a lot of regret in this post
:laugh2: It would have been nice to keep the original L5T for sure.
Any love for the marshall slash combo? for a little 10-incher it's git plenty of scrotum, surprisingly responsive clean too
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the SL5. Some love it, some hate it
 

redking

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2010
Messages
5,153
Reaction score
6,631
Any love for the marshall slash combo? for a little 10-incher it's git plenty of scrotum, surprisingly responsive clean too
I thought it had a 12 inch speaker? - there is one for sale here locally where I live and I thought about grabbing it so that my daughter can have her own Marshall.
 

Dolebludger

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
17,246
Reaction score
17,499
Yessir. The original Crate V58 was one of the nice ones: 5 watts (EL84). It's only drawback was an 8" speaker


View attachment 585372
There is no law against running a 5W or less amp through a 12” cab — or a pair of them as I do. It really opens up the tone without opening up the loudness. I don’t think electric guitars were meant to be played through an amp with less than a 12” speaker (or two of them as I do) even if the amp has only 1W or less.
 

cherrysunburst00

TUBE AMP JUNKIE FOR LIFE BAD ASS
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Messages
19,164
Reaction score
39,632
I thought it had a 12 inch speaker? - there is one for sale here locally where I live and I thought about grabbing it so that my daughter can have her own Marshall.

Yes, 12" speaker. And (to me) it sounds glorious!

There is no law against running a 5W or less amp through a 12” cab — or a pair of them as I do. It really opens up the tone without opening up the loudness. I don’t think electric guitars were meant to be played through an amp with less than a 12” speaker (or two of them as I do) even if the amp has only 1W or less.

Correct-a-mundo, My Friend. I've been experimenting with a 12" creamback and a 12" WGS Reaper (I think it's supposed to be greenbackish) with my 1 watt 50th anni JCM. Not surprisingly, it is lots louder (even in .1 watt mode!).

Surprisingly, there are some 10" speakers that sound HUGE. I really like the 10" creamback and Jeff Bober of East Amps made amazing use of an Eminence 10" speaker that is amazing.
 

Dolebludger

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
17,246
Reaction score
17,499
cherrysunburst, not all,12” speakers are created equal. Some, like vintage JBL’s have a specific output of 105 db/1W/1meter. They will get loud with a 1W amp! But those of us who want good tone from a low wattage amp chose 12” speakers with specific output more like 90 db/1W/1meter. Much different. And 8” speakers with high specific output will get loud too. And ones with low specific output won’t, but won’t sound as good as 12” speakers with the same low specific output. Now if you have found 10” speakers that give you your tone, nobody will argue with you. After all, it is your tone. All I can report is how I get mine.
 

sc1989

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2022
Messages
10
Reaction score
21
I thought it had a 12 inch speaker? - there is one for sale here locally where I live and I thought about grabbing it so that my daughter can have her own Marshall.
You're right - a V30 I believe, which goes some way to explaining the scrotum
 

Thunder Dump

That tickles
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
5,286
Reaction score
8,664
Any love for the marshall slash combo? for a little 10-incher it's git plenty of scrotum, surprisingly responsive clean too
Love my SL-5. It was my #1 gigging amp for several years. And as others have pointed out it has a 12" V30 which makes a huge difference.
 

rjwilson37

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
8,539
Reaction score
7,216
Any love for the marshall slash combo? for a little 10-incher it's git plenty of scrotum, surprisingly responsive clean too
I had a Marshall SL-5 when they came out, very nice JCM800 tone for sure with the 12" speaker in the oversized cabinet just like my Blackheart. I just did not like that it was very bright and really had just that one tone, even though it was a great tone, that was it.

marshalsl5.jpg
 

cherrysunburst00

TUBE AMP JUNKIE FOR LIFE BAD ASS
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2015
Messages
19,164
Reaction score
39,632
cherrysunburst, not all,12” speakers are created equal. Some, like vintage JBL’s have a specific output of 105 db/1W/1meter. They will get loud with a 1W amp! But those of us who want good tone from a low wattage amp chose 12” speakers with specific output more like 90 db/1W/1meter. Much different. And 8” speakers with high specific output will get loud too. And ones with low specific output won’t, but won’t sound as good as 12” speakers with the same low specific output. Now if you have found 10” speakers that give you your tone, nobody will argue with you. After all, it is your tone. All I can report is how I get mine.
:thumb:
 

jeepocaster

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Messages
16
Reaction score
23
I’ve still got a Handsome Devil head that I’ve never brought myself to sell. Someday I’ll sell all my amps and keep that one and a few pedals. Maybe, get a Marshall vertical 2x12 for it, for a man cave setup. I used it with a Tiny Terror for quite a few years back in the day. AB+Y switch between them into a 4x12 split stereo. Good times!
 

cybermgk

“Happiness is the most insidious prison of all"
Gold Supporting Member
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2011
Messages
16,484
Reaction score
25,248
Have to add the amp I recently got, Supro Delta King 12, 15 watt. EXCELS at at home light breakup and Edge Of breakup tones, clean, great pedal platform, etc. Sounds huge. Price range with Blues Jr.
 

Drew224

"Obvious BS Artist"
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2009
Messages
16,653
Reaction score
7,936
recently got a fender champion 600. for the money i paid i have no complaints, it's not underrated but it's a fun little tube amp to play around with. mine is 100% stock and i find it to be kinda dark, and obviously the 6" speaker is a potato, but i can crank this thing up without hurting myself which is pretty cool considering i'm used to tube amps ripping my head off. best results to be had with this thing are with a rangemaster maxed out, the volume set high, and the guitar controls are your tone and drive settings. there are some massive tones to be had in this thing, just don't expect it to be like a $1000 champ clone
 

efstop

Small amps ^^ are fun
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 29, 2015
Messages
13,928
Reaction score
36,403
recently got a fender champion 600. for the money i paid i have no complaints, it's not underrated but it's a fun little tube amp to play around with. mine is 100% stock and i find it to be kinda dark, and obviously the 6" speaker is a potato, but i can crank this thing up without hurting myself which is pretty cool considering i'm used to tube amps ripping my head off. best results to be had with this thing are with a rangemaster maxed out, the volume set high, and the guitar controls are your tone and drive settings. there are some massive tones to be had in this thing, just don't expect it to be like a $1000 champ clone
I have the Gretsch Electromatic version that I found in a pawn shop. Fun little amp but needs a more transparent grille cloth.
 

Latest Threads



Top