Head room confusion - Roland JC 40

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Placidcasual79Placidcasual79 Frets: 615
Hello all - probably me being stupid so apologies

I was in Dawsons in Liverpool today. 

For a while I've been thinking about getting SS amp. I have a bad back and play almost exclusively clean in a ska band, also I often record at home at night time (so an SS amp can go straight into my audio interface instead of having to mic my tube amp)

So I've been thinking about the Jazz Chorus amps - they have a long history of use in reggae/ska. 

The 120 is HUGE and probably heavier than my Blues Deluxe (though the clean did sound absolutely gorgeous). So I was having a look at the 40. I wasn't convinced in the shop that it'd be loud enough to cope with a 9 piece band. The sales people said I couldn't get a refund (If I bought it and tried it at rehearsal)...

Then one of the staff in the shop said the 40 would be fine with the volume right up but then said there might not be enough head room and said the sound would start breaking up...

This confused me - I thought that didn't happen in none tube amps?

(I did buy a BOSS re 20 which is brilliant and have a digitech Freqout coming in the post too!)
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 27550
    Breakup will happen with any amp if you push it hard enough, unless it has some sort of limiting circuitry to actively prevent it.

    With a solid-state amp, you're unlikely to like the result either.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ICBM said:
    Breakup will happen with any amp if you push it hard enough, unless it has some sort of limiting circuitry to actively prevent it.

    With a solid-state amp, you're unlikely to like the result either.
    Ah - right. Ok. Thank you very much @ICBM thats interesting. I think I'd have to run the JC 40 at close to top volume to be able to hear it on stage at a gig. I think its a no go. 

    I thought it was only tubes that broke up.

    Appreciate your help @ICBM - could's saved me a lot of trouble and money there. 


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  • LooseMooseLooseMoose Frets: 658
    If it’s clean headroom you want, Fender Champion 100. Light too! I like them, although plenty slate anything solid state because it doesn’t have teh valvez...
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  • If it’s clean headroom you want, Fender Champion 100. Light too! I like them, although plenty slate anything solid state because it doesn’t have teh valvez...
    Thanks Mr Moose - I am over the value snobbery - my bad back has helped me with that - also I play clean and the breaking up value sound isn't something I need. 

    The irony is that when I started out gigging as a guitar player it was with a champion 100 - great amp - I sold it for £50!!!!
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 16465
    I’m frankly astonished that someone hasn’t posted ‘Katana’ yet....
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  • I’m frankly astonished that someone hasn’t posted ‘Katana’ yet....
    Yes - its been suggested before - the JC 120 does have the most desirable clean tone for me and has been used on many records that I love (and would like to try and emulate!)

    But yeah - its a fair point @richardhomer as the JC 120 is no lighter than five Blues Deluxe's it may well be that I'll have a look at some of the other 'new' SS amps - Ive heard the Katana is good and the Blues Cube series. 

    I'd be able to get some light and 80w(ish) to cover the volume and the weight issue. 
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 2398
    Isn't the clean on the Katana the JC model from the Boss GT100? Or at least could be if you install the "extra models" thing on it. Trouble is it won't look anywhere near as nice as a Jazz Chorus, if that's a consideration for you (it would be to me)

    I want to believe

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  • Isn't the clean on the Katana the JC model from the Boss GT100? Or at least could be if you install the "extra models" thing on it. Trouble is it won't look anywhere near as nice as a Jazz Chorus, if that's a consideration for you (it would be to me)
    @thecolourbox - I have admired taste and agreed with many of your posts - but I have to say I cannot get on board with Jazz Chorus as a handsome amp. Unless thats sarcasm - the only reason to buy a Jazz Chorus is that beautiful clean tone. 

    In terms of appearance its an amp on its mother could love lol - so its not a consideration for me (not that I am above that sort of thing!)
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 12591
    Hello all - probably me being stupid so apologies

    I was in Dawsons in Liverpool today. 

    For a while I've been thinking about getting SS amp. I have a bad back and play almost exclusively clean in a ska band, also I often record at home at night time (so an SS amp can go straight into my audio interface instead of having to mic my tube amp)

    So I've been thinking about the Jazz Chorus amps - they have a long history of use in reggae/ska. 

    The 120 is HUGE and probably heavier than my Blues Deluxe (though the clean did sound absolutely gorgeous). So I was having a look at the 40. I wasn't convinced in the shop that it'd be loud enough to cope with a 9 piece band. The sales people said I couldn't get a refund (If I bought it and tried it at rehearsal)...

    Then one of the staff in the shop said the 40 would be fine with the volume right up but then said there might not be enough head room and said the sound would start breaking up...

    This confused me - I thought that didn't happen in none tube amps?

    (I did buy a BOSS re 20 which is brilliant and have a digitech Freqout coming in the post too!)
    Do you have a PA?
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • Fretwired said:
    Hello all - probably me being stupid so apologies

    I was in Dawsons in Liverpool today. 

    For a while I've been thinking about getting SS amp. I have a bad back and play almost exclusively clean in a ska band, also I often record at home at night time (so an SS amp can go straight into my audio interface instead of having to mic my tube amp)

    So I've been thinking about the Jazz Chorus amps - they have a long history of use in reggae/ska. 

    The 120 is HUGE and probably heavier than my Blues Deluxe (though the clean did sound absolutely gorgeous). So I was having a look at the 40. I wasn't convinced in the shop that it'd be loud enough to cope with a 9 piece band. The sales people said I couldn't get a refund (If I bought it and tried it at rehearsal)...

    Then one of the staff in the shop said the 40 would be fine with the volume right up but then said there might not be enough head room and said the sound would start breaking up...

    This confused me - I thought that didn't happen in none tube amps?

    (I did buy a BOSS re 20 which is brilliant and have a digitech Freqout coming in the post too!)
    Do you have a PA?
    Yes - but only one monitor - which the vocalist has (naturally) so I need some volume from my amp for stage monitoring...... is that what you where thinking?
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 6067
    Clean headroom from a Katana 100 in a 9-piece band?

    Not a chance, not even close.   
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 27550
    If you’re only using it as a monitor then the JC-40 may be loud enough.

    You can easily try one - buy it online, and if it’s not then you can return it for a refund within 14 days. Even from Dawsons.

    If it’s not loud enough and the weight of a JC-120 is still a problem, you probably need something like Quilter Aviator and the lightest cab you can find, with neodymium speakers.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6153
    I was thinking about the Quilter amps for loud, light solid state. Not cheap though. 
    The DV Mark Jazz combos are more affordable and very light, can’t see them having any more headroom than the JC though. Maybe two Jazz 12s as a stereo set up with the RE20! 
    The Matrix VB800 and the matching cab is another lightweight SS idea. Marshall type voicing though might be going in the wrong direction. Made in the lovely West Midlands. 

    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 2398
    Isn't the clean on the Katana the JC model from the Boss GT100? Or at least could be if you install the "extra models" thing on it. Trouble is it won't look anywhere near as nice as a Jazz Chorus, if that's a consideration for you (it would be to me)
    @thecolourbox - I have admired taste and agreed with many of your posts - but I have to say I cannot get on board with Jazz Chorus as a handsome amp. Unless thats sarcasm - the only reason to buy a Jazz Chorus is that beautiful clean tone. 

    In terms of appearance its an amp on its mother could love lol - so its not a consideration for me (not that I am above that sort of thing!)
    I've always thought of the JC amps as pretty awesome looking to be honest, nice retro look maybe a bit of brutalism but that's the era they came from right? And definitely nicer than the plastic looking cartoon style image of the Katana surely?! On a side note, you need to be careful agreeing with me too much, most of the time I don't even agree with myself...


    I want to believe

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 27550
    I think the JCs are very good-looking amps too. And tough, so they tend to stay that way even after a lot of use.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • TrudeTrude Frets: 256
    p90fool said:
    Clean headroom from a Katana 100 in a 9-piece band?

    Not a chance, not even close.   
    I beg to differ. 

    Using the clean channel as a loud, clean platform (which is what the OP is talking about) then the Katana 100 is easily louder and cleaner than a Blues Deluxe (his current amp).  You've said you prefer to use a driven base tone and get your clean from the guitar volume knob, which is why you've struggled with volume (if I read your previous comments correctly).  That's a perfectly valid approach, but worlds apart from what the OP is talking about.

    I can't comment on how similar the Katana clean channel is to a real JC amp, never having played one.  Would be a worthwhile comparison to do, and I'd be interested in the results (I admit to having a bit of a hankering for a JC-40 too)
    Trading feedback here
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  • LooseMooseLooseMoose Frets: 658
    Trude said:
    p90fool said:
    Clean headroom from a Katana 100 in a 9-piece band?

    Not a chance, not even close.   
    I beg to differ. 

    Using the clean channel as a loud, clean platform (which is what the OP is talking about) then the Katana 100 is easily louder and cleaner than a Blues Deluxe (his current amp)
    It really isn’t. I’ve owned both and the Katana can’t hold a candle to the Blues Deluxe for ‘clean’ headroom (as neither are truely clean in the way a JC120 is).
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  • TrudeTrude Frets: 256
    Okay, put it another way - I've played the Katana in 50w mode on an enormous festival stage and it was easily capable.  A Blues Deluxe would have been some way into power valve breakup at that point (not to say that's not a great sound).  The Fender would probably sound a bit nicer in all honesty, but bearing in mind the use case the OP is talking about (late night recording), this may be an acceptable trade-off

    To say it's "not even close" to being usable in a 9 piece ska band context, as unequivocal fact, is misleading if you ask me.  

    Anyway, the OP should have no trouble locating a Katana to test alongside a JC40 if he wants to compare.  I'd love to hear how they both stack up to each other and the Blues Deluxe.
    Trading feedback here
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 6067
    Trude said:
    Okay, put it another way - I've played the Katana in 50w mode on an enormous festival stage and it was easily capable.  A Blues Deluxe would have been some way into power valve breakup at that point (not to say that's not a great sound).  The Fender would probably sound a bit nicer in all honesty, but bearing in mind the use case the OP is talking about (late night recording), this may be an acceptable trade-off

    To say it's "not even close" to being usable in a 9 piece ska band context, as unequivocal fact, is misleading if you ask me.  


    Well whatever, but having owned and gigged both on large and small stages there's no doubt at all in my mind which one I'd grab on the way out to gig with a big band with no monitoring.  
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6153
    Yamaha THR100 Head and matching 1x12. Lightweight, has a solid state amp model and a clean valve model. Some direct recording options too. That have more headroom than the JC40? 
    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • Obviously volume is not an issue with the blues deluxe and generally it has ample headroom to stay reasonably clean. Sounds bloody lovely. 

    Maybe a little trolley is the solution with another amp for home recording. 

    Tell you what though Dawsons have been proper iffy with me about returns and other stuff - also iffy with family and friends. 

    Hope those are isolated experiences. 


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  • TrudeTrude Frets: 256
    You could also try a neodymium speaker to drop some weight? I've had good results with an Eminence Lil Texas in Fender amps. 
    Trading feedback here
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  • modellistamodellista Frets: 391
    p90fool said:
    Clean headroom from a Katana 100 in a 9-piece band?

    Not a chance, not even close.   
    Have you tried the Katana on the clean channel?  I thought you used Brown and turned it down from the guitar?
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 6067
    p90fool said:
    Clean headroom from a Katana 100 in a 9-piece band?

    Not a chance, not even close.   
    Have you tried the Katana on the clean channel?  I thought you used Brown and turned it down from the guitar?
    I have, and to be fair to the OP I didn't realise it was a ska band, if he's playing purely ska rhythm guitar then the Katana may be ok. 

    For my purposes, where I need a clean tone to step out over a band for solos at a similar level to a lead vocal then no, it'll struggle IME, without monitoring anyway. 

    Don't get me wrong, the Katana is a good amp, but it really isn't a 100w amp in traditional guitar amp terms. 


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  • TrudeTrude Frets: 256
    This video is worth a watch for volume context, although it's a shame he didn't do any clean playing:


    Trading feedback here
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 12591

    Yes - but only one monitor - which the vocalist has (naturally) so I need some volume from my amp for stage monitoring...... is that what you where thinking?
    As @ICBM has stated above JC-40 to PA and position the amp near you - I think 40W amp would be OK for monitoring. Where do you stand on stage in relation to the drummer and I'm guessing a brass section?
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6153
    Although there's only 5 and not 9 of us our singer does most of the clean skanky stuff and that cuts through without much problem even from quite tiny amps ( he has a huge collection of very cheap guitar amps like Marshall MGs). The headroom issue for him is that there's nowhere to go for a solo as single notes just disappear with that kind of sound. Thankfully that's where I come in... :naughty: 
    I'd guess the JC40 would actually work fine for old school rythmn work in context ( and we've used one in a rehearsal room and our singer loved it).
    Buy one under distance selling regs, give it a go and look after it very carefully, return it if it's no good. 
    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 12591
    Trude said:
    This video is worth a watch for volume context, although it's a shame he didn't do any clean playing:


    Impressive ..
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • EvoEvo Frets: 81
    Somebody mentioned the DV Mark jazz stuff earlier, might I point you towards the GH250?

    250w of clean headroom on that one, good mid gain tones on the drive channel too. I’ve been gigging it in a 6 piece funk band so not a million miles away from the ska tones you’re after and never had the volume over 4. 

    When you see the size of it, you’ll think I’m joking. But I promise you I’m not. 

    I paired it up with a DV neo loaded 212 and a 112 for smaller gigs. I had people genuinely ask why I had an empty cab when they lifted them.

    And it comes in at around 350 quid for the head. No brainier if you ask me. Give em a look
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  • @Fretwired I stand to the right of the drummer typically and behind 2 of the four horns - as I am sure you can imagine - there isn'y usually a lot of space on the stages we play on for 9 of us - certainly no room for a monitor. I try to raise my amp and usually manage it. The PA will handle the volume in the mix - it's just so I can hear it. 

    Obviously 80% of the time I am playing clean rhythm - I use an Xotic EP booster for clean volume lift and a tube screamer for a bit of gain/sustain on solo's. 

    @EricTheWeary whats distance selling regs mate? I am skeptical about Dawsons - there is a kind chap on this forum who I am hoping might lone me a JC40, which I'd buy if the volume issue wasn't a problem. 

    Much thanks to all contributors in this thread btw - your expertise/experience is appreciated (@Trude ;@p90fool @LooseMoose @ICBM etc) 


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