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Jim Feeley

Guitar Amps (OK... Bass Amps, too...esp if they're good with guitars ;-) )

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16 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

Still lusting for a cream 2x12 Bassman, even thought I have no need for it.  My best sounding amp was a Tremolux with a custom cab with a vintage JBL 15" in it (that's "vintage" in 1967).  Worst amp was a Baldwin B1, although better once I swapped in an Ampeg 15".  Not sorry that one was stolen. 

 

That Tremolux must have sounded great! And a 2X12 Bassman would be cool! What ever you do, don't click this link:

https://reverb.com/marketplace?query=Bassman 2x12

 

Instead, buy local. Have you (or any of you) checked out Milkman Sound in San Francisco? Not Fender clones, but Fender inspired. 

https://milkmansound.com

 

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I like the Sansamp plug in for ProTools, I use it everyday in audio post production. So there, this thread should now be relevant to this forum, check!😃😃😃

 

When I moved to the states with nothing but 2 suitcases in 1990 I really wanted a white piggyback bassman with presence control so I went to this great store in Dekalb, IL (called "Ax in hand") and they had six !!! sets of them. I proceeded to try them and they all either sounded terrible or broke down with smoke coming out of them. After the 3rd of 4th amp I was beginning to feel a bit uneasy but the guy in the store (not the owner, I'm sure) just told me to keep going, that way he can identify the amps that need fixing. After being somewhat disappointed with those particular specimen I turned my attention to my 2nd option, a brown Fender Concert with four 10" speakers. they had five !!! of those. I picked the best one, an early '60 model 5G12 (making it a late 50's circuit) with Alnico Jensen P10Qs.

To me that is THE clean tone, all midrange, thick and beefy, especially when running 7591As for tubes.

 

 

 

For Dirt I love my '59 tweed bassman , those are usually not too dirty until pushed hard but mine is equipped with a solid state rectifier and a 12AX7 in V1 instead of the lower gain 12 AY7. Those amps don't need reverb or anything for that matter, a guitar, a cable and that amp, that's it.

 

For EL-84 tones I love my 18 watt '74 WEM Dominator MK III, that was my first "real" amp when I was a kid, before that I used my dads UHER Report Reel-to-reel field recorder.

It's a poor mans' AC-15 of sorts, not very widely known in the US although anybody over 50 has probably seen that ugly red logo in old concert footage from Europe.

 

As far as new amps go my favorite is the Teixeira Bernie amp, a modern take on the old Filmosound 385 filmprojector I've never seen one in person but the sound samples on their website are out of this world. 

 

Tele brownface 1.JPG

Bassman & ES-5.JPG

wem.jpg

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11 hours ago, Werner Althaus said:

I like the Sansamp plug in for ProTools, I use it everyday in audio post production. So there, this thread should now be relevant to this forum, check!😃😃😃

 

I'm looking for an old version of DECK or Sound Tools so I can get a more vintage sound out of Sansamp. There's nothing like the warm vibe of a 68030/68040 CPU... especially in the Combo 840AV with a 3210 DSP.... 😉 

 

Cool that you're digging Sansamp! Have you tried any other plug-ins or modelers?

 

Also: Great pix of your amps, Werner.

 

11 hours ago, Werner Althaus said:

As far as new amps go my favorite is the Teixeira Bernie amp, a modern take on the old Filmosound 385 filmprojector I've never seen one in person but the sound samples on their website are out of this world. 

 

I was a Kauer Guitars a few months ago for a little get-together (Not Kauerfest; something smaller but still a couple dozen people). There were like three Filmosound-based amps. One in a cabinet, a couple still in the projector housing. They were pretty fun, and a basic conversion doesn't look that hard (though something like what the serious builders/modders are doing is of course beyond me). Here are links to couple Filmosound(ish) builders I've come across. Really resonable prices, and cool looks:

 

https://www.atmarsamps.com

 

http://texamps.com

 

And a couple quick pix from my visit to Kauer (not his amps, of course... he/they are busy enough making cool guitars):

 

 

filmosound_closed.png

filmosound_open.png

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Jim - that Milkman 6G15 + harmonic vibrato box they sell is super, super tempting.  I just read some great things about that on SG101!  The Victoria box looks fun too but apparently it’s not a faithful 6G15.

 

I’ve got a Mesa Strategy 88 and an Eden WT-300 for bass, but seven of the eight (gasp!) guitar amps are Fender...  Just offered to trade one of the 1964 Showman for a blackface 2x15 JBL D130f cab haha!

 

But I want to build and repair tube amps, as a hobby and a little minor income stream.  These beautiful and heavy amps, they are almost 100% repairable and if maintained can work flawlessly for another fifty years!

 

Dan Izen

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I'm loving this. 1951 Silvertone 1340, same circuits and tubes as a 48 Fender Champ, bought at the donation store for $43.16. Awesome tweed tones I'm squeezing a Weber 8 inch 40 oz Alnico into it, but I may have to throw everything into a new sturdy cabinet that can handle the weight of the Weber.

 

silvertone 1340 fender champ circuit.jpg

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3 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

 

I'm looking for an old version of DECK or Sound Tools so I can get a more vintage sound out of Sansamp. There's nothing like the warm vibe of a 68030/68040 CPU... especially in the Combo 840AV with a 3210 DSP.... 😉 

 

Cool that you're digging Sansamp! Have you tried any other plug-ins or modelers?

 

Also: Great pix of your amps, Werner.

 

 

I was a Kauer Guitars a few months ago for a little get-together (Not Kauerfest; something smaller but still a couple dozen people). There were like three Filmosound-based amps. One in a cabinet, a couple still in the projector housing. They were pretty fun, and a basic conversion doesn't look that hard (though something like what the serious builders/modders are doing is of course beyond me). Here are links to couple Filmosound(ish) builders I've come across. Really resonable prices, and cool looks:

 

https://www.atmarsamps.com

 

http://texamps.com

 

And a couple quick pix from my visit to Kauer (not his amps, of course... he/they are busy enough making cool guitars):

 

 

filmosound_closed.png

filmosound_open.png

I'm digging the Sansamp a lot, just not for guitar. I use it in post mixing, anytime I need a recent recording to sound old I use Sansamp and/ or AudioEase Speakerphone.

For guitar amplification I wouldn't touch modelers or plug ins with a 10-foot pole. main reason is that they feel sterile to me and latency, even small amounts of it are a deal breaker. I've tried a few and didn't get anything useable out of them despite or because of the convenience and ease of use. then there's the fact that if I'm not driving a guitar speaker cabinet  and a monitor instead it all feels and acts wrong. I could use guitar cabs with modelers but why bother, I already have a box that has all that built in, it's called a tube guitar combo amplifier, lol.

 Even the current loadboxes with IR seem ill-conceived to me because they tend to make every recorded track sound the same. I demoed the UA Oxbox ( I think that's what it's called) and it sounded so formulaic and boring.

The Filmosound thing is cool, I blame Blake Mills for making them popular but I first learned about them from Colin Cripps, a Canadian player who worked with Brian Adams, Blue Rodeo and Kathleen Edwards. He has fantastic tones.

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Oh man.... I could write a very long post here, but I will try to keep it under control LOL.

I started playing guitar as a 12 year old back in Sweden. My whole thing started in Rock, Blues and Metal (specifically the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and the whole 70's and 80's scene with Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads and various lineups of Thin Lizzy being big heroes. As I got older, I started digging backwards in time towards the roots of blues and rock. Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page was a gateway to Buddy Guy, Albert King, BB King, Bukka White, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson etc.

 

For myself, I have to this day never found ANY of the amp simulators to be sounding quite right. In fact, I have never played a solid state amp that I liked either. For me, when it comes to electric guitar - it's all about tubes. Tubes, tubes, tubes. Or Valves as they say in England.

I was about 14 when I had saved up enough by doing paper routes, collecting recyclable bottles to get some kind of obscure amp-head (I think it was German, but cannot remember the name of it), paired with a Fender Bassman 2x12" cabinet (might have been 2x15") that had foldable kickstands on the sides. I got this setup from a neighbor at my parent's summer house. Played a cheap SG knockoff by the brand "Duke" through a fuzz-box into it LOUD to the dismay of parents and neighbors, I'm sure.

 

Then around the age of 16, I got a band going, and it was all about Marshall amps. My first one was a combo amp, then Marshall heads with 4x12 cabinets. In the Eddie Van Halen school of thought (overdrive the pre-amp, overdrive the power amp and overdrive the speaker cone), I didn't like the sound of Distortion pedals, so I had the heads tweaked and swapped out the tubes for ones that were easier to drive. Also got hold of a 60's Marshall speaker cab with 30-watt elements.
Then, later added a 4x12 cab with 25-watt elements. At that point, I was running a rack mount custom built tube pre (built by 2 crazy Swedes that played guitar with Glenn Hughes' band). Ran that through a Stereo tube Power Amp by the name of "Kitty Hawk" to the two 4x12 cabs, with a Rocktron Intellifex adding Chorus / Delay / Reverb to taste for a big sound. I used a Roland Pedal board that was able to switch between the different pre-sets via MIDI, and also could switch between channels on the pre-amp. 


Played the (now defunct) Stockholm Water Festival's main stage with that setup, and later shipped it too L.A. once I had decided that I had moved here. Played some shows at the Roxy and The Troubadour with that setup as well. Before deciding to ship this heavy stuff all the way from Sweden, for a while I played a 50-Watt Peavy Classic Combo tweed amp, which was not bad actually - especially for its price point.

 

For a while, I experimented with, and got good results with connecting the tube-pre to the DAW via interface, and using Impulse Responses of various Amps and speaker cabinets. This is not to be confused with amp simulators, as the tone is actually coming from a real tube pre-amp, and the impulse responses are virtually actual speaker cabinets coloring the sound. There were hundreds of people sampling their amps and cabs and uploading/sharing the files for free for others to use. I simply loaded them into a IR Reverb plug-in, and saved them as presets; Princeton, Vox AC30, Marshall Plexi etc.

 

Nowadays, I don't play shows anymore, but my favorite amp for recording electric Guitar is a Vox AC4TV. This little thing is amazing. It has an input, a Volume knob, a Tone knob, and a OP Level knob. OP Level switches between 1/4 W, 1 W and 4 W.
- 4 watts is clean, 1 W gets a little bit of breakup when turned up, and 1/4 gets a nice Jimmy Page kind of breakup when cranked. It also has a speaker output, and when hooked up to the 4x12 Marshall cab with 30W elements it sounds amazing. Oh yeah, this little thing gets waaay louder than one would expect from a 4-watt amp. By a lot.

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The only in-load box-speaker emulator-out that sounds incredibly good is the Rivera Rock Crusher, and given how well it works, it is, of course, expensive.

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On 8/9/2019 at 12:42 PM, Werner Althaus said:

The Filmosound thing is cool, I blame Blake Mills for making them popular but I first learned about them from Colin Cripps, a Canadian player who worked with Brian Adams, Blue Rodeo and Kathleen Edwards. He has fantastic tones.

 

My memory is (and a quick Google search pretty much confirms) that Cripps used one of the dozen or so Filmosound amps converted by Bernie Raunig... Hence the "Bernie" moniker on some of the amps converted by other companies. Totally cool that you learned about them from Cripps!

 

On 8/9/2019 at 12:42 PM, Werner Althaus said:

For guitar amplification I wouldn't touch modelers or plug ins with a 10-foot pole.

 

Ya, they're not my thing. But if I traveled or just gigged regularly (or hell, at all), something like an Axe-FX, Kemper, or whatever (I don't really keep up with that stuff) would be kinda nice. Remember all the heavy equipment we had to haul around in the old days? Yes, modelers are not the same, but my (younger than me) friends who do travel they're convenient, flexible and pretty decent. But not my thing; I just want to build a couple/few tube amps for some retro-modern fun. 

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8 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

 

 Totally cool that you learned about them from Cripps!. 

via the internet of course. I wish I knew guys like that personally, so much to learn from guys who really have their own sound. I knew of him through his work with Kathleen Edwards.

 

I was fortunate enough to learn about guitar amps, tone, etc from a deceased german guitar player who played his "Peter Gunn" style Blackguard Tele ( Bigsby and PAF style PU in neck position) and his '58 Flying Vee through a Dynacord S62 tape echo into a white Fender Bandmaster head with two 2x12" cabs. Once you hear that kinda sound in person at close range during practice there's no way that you'll ever go the modeler route.

But for pro players who travel a lot, sure, absolutely a viable option. But hobbyists like myself don't have to worry about such things.

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Really fun thread Jim!  It’s about time we discuss stuff that MAKES noise instead of cheap crap that only records it!

 

I too am a tubes-til-the-end guy.  But many surf purists sing the praises of the Quilter amps.  If I were a touring artist I’d probably get into them; I can’t see dragging an ultra-rare 1962 Dual Showman (factory Triad 90w Tweed Twin OT!) around the country.  But, I could easily see myself dragging that Carl’s Amps 6G14!  Blood Reef only plays every six or eight weeks, so we can treat that as kind of a performance art thing.  Part of the spectacle is the sight of those huge cabs and heads and to hear those cranked tubes y’know?

 

This past Sat was the first band practice with that *monstrous* 460w all tube Mesa Strategy 88 AND the Carl’s Amps 6G14 - and the band never sounded so good.  WOW. The greatest tone for both the guitar and bass.  The organ goes through the 1974 Twin, which is a 120w version that cannot break up at all (with guitar), and is kinda bassy.  It produces a perfect tone for the organ, with cool dark non-surf reverb.  The line out from the organ is hotter than a guitar and that *can* get some pleasing dirt.

 

I prefer a completely clean guitar tone, so Showmans and Twins are perfect.  After hearing the two brownface circuits together I decided I just don’t need the blackface tone.  Too shrill, too bassy, I guess just too scoopy.  So I’m gonna dump the ‘64 Showmans eventually.  I’m not familiar with this artist you guys are talking about, so I can’t comment on that tone.  I’ve very recently had some huge revelations about guitar tone as it relates to music I like, but it’s a but much to go into!

 

The tiny bit of research I did on attenuators was mostly forum reading, and nothing clearly rose to the top.  It’s a cool idea though!  I wish I understood speaker loads.  It really does suck how the tone is very thin and sort of “blanket over it” until the gain is increased.  The moment the amp opens up, I need earplugs haha!  Thanks to this forum I’m very happy with the Etymotic earplugs.  I ordered a few hundred bucks of different brands and those sounded the best.  They also reduce the least, but if I keep them jammed in it’s fine for super loud crap.

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3 hours ago, Izen Ears said:

I’m not familiar with this artist you guys are talking about, so I can’t comment on that tone.  I’ve very recently had some huge revelations about guitar tone as it relates to music I like, but it’s a but much to go into!

 

 

Colin Cripps? That's a whole different category of tone, definitely not clean but very chimey with beautiful overtone bloom, typical EL-84 tone, just better than the rest IMHO.

I brought up Colin in the context of the relatively recent surge of popularity of the Filmosound projector/ amp conversions. There's a whole bunch of builders doing designs inspired by those conversions, there's even a pedal that supposedly sounds like a Filmosound 385.

For Colin's sound samples there's the Tex amp webpage, I'll link to my favorites. The SG and tele samples are wonderful while the Les Paul clips are muddy and boring to my ears. In a way that's a good thing in that the amp doesn't alter the true sound of the guitar too much, great guitars sound great through it, mediocre guitars sound mediocre through it.

 

https://soundcloud.com/tex-amps/sets/texamps

 

I like all kinds of tones, for cleans the bigger brown-face Fenders are definitely it but they do make great platform amps for pedals or other type of preamps as well, they can get very brutal sounding with the right preamp. 

 

 

 

 

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A lot of so so or downright inferior sounding amps usually sound a heck of a lot better with a speaker upgrade. I have seen night and day type changes occur.

 

I always laugh at folks in forums who request recommendations for pickups to install because of this or that shortcoming in the guitar. The first thing someone should do at that stage is replace the bridge or the saddles with steel parts. Most bridges are compressed Zinc. Zinc is fabulous if you're after a rotten tone, dulled attack and lousy sustain. Steel will deliver clarity and sustain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sustain. Well, someone had to post this, so it might as well be me. 😉

 

 

13 hours ago, Izen Ears said:

Really fun thread Jim!

 

It's just a branch of your surf thread... 😉

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7 hours ago, Gerard-NYNY said:

A lot of so so or downright inferior sounding amps usually sound a heck of a lot better with a speaker upgrade. I have seen night and day type changes occur.

 

I always laugh at folks in forums who request recommendations for pickups to install because of this or that shortcoming in the guitar. The first thing someone should do at that stage is replace the bridge or the saddles with steel parts. Most bridges are compressed Zinc. Zinc is fabulous if you're after a rotten tone, dulled attack and lousy sustain. Steel will deliver clarity and sustain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man, I’m kind of on an “alternative to JBL” quest.  Got some ‘63 Oxford 12M6 but apparently the 12T6 speakers are better matched to the Twins.  I wonder if the 12T6 is an updated version of the 12M6s with more wattage?  I have a pair of 12” Weber Californias and they sound pretty good.  They don’t have the “gut punch” of the JBLs tho.

 

But steel strings are waaaaaaaaay too bright for me.  I’m a rogue and use acoustic-electric strings!  They’re 1/2 bronze and 1/2 nickel-plated steel.  They are perfectly “not piercing.”  I’m almost at the point where I want to try flats, but I just love those DR Zebra round wounds.

 

Both the JM and Jag have Mastery bridges, which I’m happy with...

 

Crap I keep forgetting to post some photos...

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38 minutes ago, Izen Ears said:

  They are perfectly “not piercing.” 

 

My specialty, not  piercing. One is a vintage rosewood arch top bridge on a solid body, the tele bridge is John Page WoodTone Saddles and a generic half bridge plate.

samick avion 5 vintage es 175 bridge, brass thumbwheels.jpg

2018-09-09-148.jpg

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3 hours ago, Izen Ears said:

I’ve not seen that wood bridge before!  That must change the tone compared to steel?

 

 

 

 

Definitely. The tone changes, the attack and sustain/decay changes.Ebony and Rosewood bridges  are very different.

 

Sometimes it takes some experimentation to find the right match up.

 

Most standard bridges are Zinc and have crappy tone, so I swap out one way or another, steel or wood.

 

I have another solid body with a Sadowsky wood bridge that sounds great. It may take some fidgeting with neck angle to get intonation in the ballpark. I got lucky with the guitar with the p90s. It's a set neck and action/intonation is superb. Other tries with set necks were not as good.

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