Amps / Live

What's Hot
Given I may well be gigging (hopefully!!!) prior to the end of the year, I wonder what the take on amping up is these days... I really don't want to spend a fortune on a mega amp I'll only play sporadically. Just mic up my little Roland? What do you do?
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
«1345678

Comments

  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32683
    If your Roland is loud enough to use as a monitor on stage you can either mic it or DI it. Sound engineers will like you.

    These days I take a pedal and plug it into the PA, but I'm only doing open-mic stuff, and rarely at that.

    Before that I took a monster amp which did really sound good even at lower volume, but I know most people may question the sanity of carrying an amp which weighs that much to play as loud as one which weighs less than a quarter of it…

    If you're playing a lot of the usual band venues nowadays, they have supplied backline - although not usually anything great, but if you can get a decent clean sound from it you can just take pedals.
    "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."
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Mic/DI the amp sounds the best option for me, I think!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 11896
    edited September 2014
    Yep - the question is, what kind of venue are you playing? Is it a pub where you're taking your own PA (and if so can the PA cope with more than just vocals and kick?), or are you playing a venue with a decent dedicated PA? If it's a dedicated PA, what are the monitors like?

    Personally, for a cheap option with pedals generating the dirt, I quite like the Laney LX120H as a purely make-me-louder amp with a 2x12". You can pick them up for £100-ish second hand, same for the cab (they're not particularly picky about speakers). That way you can easily manage without PA backup, and if you have a good PA then you don't have to rely on good monitors and a good monitor mix to hear yourself.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Nice!
    I've a Roland CUbe (I think 20 or 30W) and a bunch of pedals. For distortion I've a Suhr Riot Reloaded which is great, but to be honest if I hadt he money I'd be a sweet amp with a footswitch (i.e. no distortion pedal required)!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Well, there's always the Jet City option. £229 for the two-channel 50 watter and £114 for the 2x12". Believe me, you'll have absolutely no need for additional dirt; a clean boost for that bit of extra oomph every now and then, but no distortion required.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • When I was gigging regularlyish I would use my own amp unmic'd, mic'd, supplied backline and then rehearsals were into what ever was in a rehearsal studio. Very little opportunity to rely on my own amp for a signature sound. What I tried to work towards was a small pedalboard that would work with any amp, my own amp just had to be loud enough to balance against an unmic'd drum kit. I didn't do any gigs straight into the PA but I had something in my gig back if need be.
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32683
    When I was gigging regularlyish I would use my own amp unmic'd, mic'd, supplied backline and then rehearsals were into what ever was in a rehearsal studio. Very little opportunity to rely on my own amp for a signature sound. What I tried to work towards was a small pedalboard that would work with any amp, my own amp just had to be loud enough to balance against an unmic'd drum kit. I didn't do any gigs straight into the PA but I had something in my gig back if need be.
    That's exactly what I did - although I loved the sound of my own amp and it was definitely better than anything else, I didn't 'rely' on it. Flexibility and the ability to get your own sound through anything while taking the least gear for a given situation (even if 'least' is one very heavy amp) is a good thing, it means that you can cope with anything going wrong or not being as you expect. I never minded sharing backline with other bands as long as I knew they were either trustable (if it was my amp) or had half-decent gear (if it was theirs). I never took my amp to a rehearsal except for the last one before an important gig.

    It also makes you more popular among sound engineers if you can set up quickly and get a decent sound without having to be fussy about setting a specific amp to the exact tone and volume you need to get 'your' sound. Only guitarists seem to get so hung up on amps, most bass players are happy using whatever they don't have to carry :).
    "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."
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Quite a lot of pros gig with supplied backline. Off the top of my head in interviews with Richard Thompson, Gregg Koch, Matt Schofield they all do some gigs with supplied backline. Now they usually get more say than I would do about what is likely to turn up but they all talk about being able to dial in an amp as a basic clean platform and then use the pedals they travel with. There are some delightful pictures somewhere of Richard Thompson's flightcase with guitar, pedals, strap, etc all carefully positioned so it all fits in one case. All he then needs is the amp supplied by the venue.
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Got to find the "Gigging Amps" thread I started.
    Getting into this now I have my guitars. Trade off between valve (annual maintenance due to valves blowing, heavier) vs solid state, combo vs head & cab, how many channels (I tried the distortion channel of a particular Marshall once which was AMAZING but I also have my own distortion pedal etc so wondering if single channel will do), size, weight, cost etc.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 8151
    Some people seem to talk like owning a valve amp is a continual battle with bits blowing up and needing to be replaced left right and centre, but provided you get a good one they are pretty reliable. 

    If you do want a compact SS solution the AMT Stonehead looks pretty cool.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Some people seem to talk like owning a valve amp is a continual battle with bits blowing up and needing to be replaced left right and centre, but provided you get a good one they are pretty reliable. 
    Exactly. They don't have to be expensive, either - my main Jet City has been with me for a good 4 years or so now, and it's only had one blowout caused by me using valves outside its spec (which cost a whole £30 to fix). As long as they're built fairly well and you look after them, there's no reason they shouldn't last a bloody long time. Generally, they're simpler and easier to fix than most SS amps with a million features, too.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • What sort of sounds do you want?  What genres do you play?


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Not metal. Not jazz. Middle of the road - I love chiming cleans... but then I have to be able to play 80s rock like G N' R, Journey etc. I do have a Riot Reloaded pedal which I'm sure I'd use rather than a distorted channel, though..
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 8151
    My standard recommendations for low cost gigging:

    If you aren't bothered about loads of filth and you want a good clean channel then get a Classic 50 or an HRD. 

    If you need dirt as well get a Laney LC50

    If you want solid state get a Bandit, a TM60, or a Stonehead.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Stonehead.. that name keeps popping up...
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • The Bandit looks VERY cheap...!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 1599
    Not metal. Not jazz. Middle of the road - I love chiming cleans... but then I have to be able to play 80s rock like G N' R, Journey etc. I do have a Riot Reloaded pedal which I'm sure I'd use rather than a distorted channel, though..
    When I downsized from big stacks and started gigging with a fender twin and pedals I was happy with the high gain sounds coming from a riot and a pinnacle  but then I bought an evh 5153.  The pedals are good but not quite as grin inducing as the amp gain. 
    That said I still use the pedals once in a while and a decent clean amp can be a very practical set up.

    I like the sounds from the jet city amps but hate tap dancing though so if I was looking now I'd go for a loop switcher like the new joyo one with a few pedals and a jet city.  A lot of quality sounds without spending a fortune.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Some people seem to talk like owning a valve amp is a continual battle with bits blowing up and needing to be replaced left right and centre, but provided you get a good one they are pretty reliable. 

    If you do want a compact SS solution the AMT Stonehead looks pretty cool.
    amen!

    I used my knackered old evil twin for ten years with no back up.

    Funnily enough before tube ownership my SS amp went pop on me live :-S
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • mike_lmike_l Frets: 5670
    If you're happy to use a pedal for dirt and have a nice clean amp, then maybe a Hardwire CM-2 would work nicely.

    Ringleader of the Cambridge cartel, pedal champ and king of the dirt boxes (down to 21) 

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Well check it out!
    How about... Lightweight solid state combo that sounds amazing and has power squeeze so you can practice at home.. Bigger Roland? Black star?
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3573

    The Blackstar dirt is fine for most things, the cleans a bit meh on humbuckers but nice with compressed single coils. I've done about 200 gigs now with the little HT5, if you mic up this is the ideal amp for pubs and small to medium clubs as you can get it cooking without being overly loud. These things are so cheap, typically £150 ish and mines been ultra reliable
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • HT5. Is it SS or valve? 5W? 
    Right now I have a Roland Cube 30W... clean isn't great but who cares. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Well check it out!
    How about... Lightweight solid state combo that sounds amazing and has power squeeze so you can practice at home.. Bigger Roland? Black star?
    AMT Stonehead or Blackstar ID.

    Does it need multiple channels or is volume clean up okay?  If so, look into the MJW Bantam or Roadstar.  Should be enough power to gig, though it'll be primarily dirty sounds.  


    The Bandit looks VERY cheap...!
    It's also a great sounding solid state amp.  I use one, a silver stripe one, and it's solid.  

    The overdrive channel is best for low gain/edge of breakup tones with some brightness as they get quite dark as the gain goes up, but it is capable of decent tones.  

    The clean channel is nice sounding, too, and takes pedals very well.  

    I have to admit, though, playing 6 grand's worth of guitar through £100 worth of amp seems wrong, and I think you'd be much happier with something like a Laney LC50.  Cracking sounding amp, let down by a lower quality speaker (upgradeable).  

    The Jet City 50 watter alluded to is probably the best of the bunch though, built well, sounds great, and the only reason I don't own one is it'll slow down my purchasing of a custom amp. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • HT5. Is it SS or valve? 5W? 
    It's both. It's got a hybrid preamp (solid state gain stages, valve-driven tone stack from what knowledgeable folk have said) and a valve power section.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • thomasross20thomasross20 Frets: 3680
    edited October 2014
    Guys - many thanks! Looks like I've a lot to check out. 
    Re valves & solid state... how much trouble is it really if a valve blows? 

    I don't think multiple channels is a big deal. Here are the FX I use (maybe they'd go into the FX loop, of which I know little about):
    Riot Reloaded Distortion
    TC Dreamscape (chorus/flange)
    TC Flashback Delay
    TC Boost
    Dunlop Wah
    Tuner

    If an amp had a GREAT distortion channel I guess I could forgo the distortion pedal in my set-up. 

    I just want something simple (easy to use... Jet City amps look great and very simple, as do some blackstar), light and relatively small, worthy of my guitars but not costing the earth. I don't want to make complicated upgrades - easy ones, no problem. 

    Hold the phone... what are Slash's signature amps like (SL5)? He's always been my hero (God that sounds lame, but it's true!)...

    EDIT - thing I love about my Roland Cube is how I can practice with it using power squeeze or headphones. I'd HATE to have an expensive amp sitting around for 99% of the time because I couldn't play it at home....

    For my own reference later:

    Nobody has mentioned Orange amps...? 
    Laney VC30 sounds good. Do you buy spare valves and take them to gigs with you..?

    Tried a Tech 21 Trademark 60?

    Again, for my reference later:

    I'd probably buy used when it comes to an amp... 
    Vox/Laney/Blackstar all look good value. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • The sl5 is a rubbish amp.

    Well, okay, maybe overstatement, but for the money you expect both better built and better sounding.

    You could do worse than this http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/24462/fs-blackstar-ht20-combo-v30-upgrade-reduced-225#latest and blackstar amps are reliable. Some don't like the darker voicing, but I really quite like it. Solid sounding amps.

    How long have you been playing? And in that time, what amps have you owned? If just the one practice amp, you're pretty much in the world of going out and trying them first before you buy, but a 5 watt amp would not be suitable for gigs, unless it's gonna DI and even then... 20 would be my start point, and that blackstar with upgraded speaker represents good value.

    You wouldn't need the distortion pedal so you could possibly sell the riot if you liked the amp distortion. The riot is not my favourite distortion pedal, but I don't think it would sound good through the blackstar - it would probably get muddy (or muddier - like I said, I'm not a fan!).

    Another "mod" common on blackstar amps is running an eq in the loop to boost up the brightness a touch. :)
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • If gigging a valve amp, I'd take a couple of fuses (ask an amp tech on here which ones to get and check should it die) and a preamp valve and a power valve set that I know works. If it goes again soon after, it needs to be seen by a professional, and you need to di your guitar (take a joyo di preamp thing! Small, and a get out of jail, and the American sound one takes pedals well, there are also ac and Marshall flavours).

    Actually, I'm not sure I'd take fuses and valves - I might be tempted to just take a di preamp. @monquixote uses one for rehearsals I think and has been very impressed. You can use pedals for dirt - maybe not time to sell the riot after all.

    But as for amps, either take a punt on a bargain, or get out and try some. If you want cleans and a slash type of crunch (but hopefully without his nasty top end thing), the Blackstar is a decent option, as would a Laney lc50. Again, these benefit from a speaker upgrade but are not *awful* stock.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • thomasross20thomasross20 Frets: 3680
    edited October 2014
    Wow, thanks again!
    Embarrassingly, I've been playing 15 years. I'm of a decent standard but never really needed to have a "proper" amp before.. 
    Yes, I saw that in the amp section... 
    I really like the sound of the Mesa Boogies but they seem vastly, vastly overpriced. 
    Be honest, is solid-state just a no-no?
    Curious what your fave dist pedal is? I tried a few... Blackstar was good... but I honestly thought the Riot blew them all out of the water.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • thomasross20;375297" said:
    Wow, thanks again!Embarrassingly, I've been playing 15 years. I'm of a decent standard but never really needed to have a "proper" amp before.. Yes, I saw that in the amp section... I really like the sound of the Mesa Boogies but they seem vastly, vastly overpriced. Be honest, is solid-state just a no-no?
    It's not a no-no... But you want to try them and compare. I quite like the solid state sound, especially cleans, because they can be warm and bright and very, very dynamic - pick quiet and you'll get a very quiet sound, pick loud and it'll blow your ears off.

    Don't be embarrassed :) I've been playing about 10 years, I suck at playing and I use a solid state amp!

    Well, you say you like mesa, but that's like me saying I like fender - what ones? They're all vastly different, and sound cemetery different. I don't like mark series boogies. I actually don't like that many mesa amps, I like the express series and the old dual recs (not tried the newest ones).

    Is it just a brand and marketing you've fallen in love with? If so, you'll inevitably buy a "mesa boogie", love it in the honeymoon period, then realise that it doesn't sound anything like the sound in your head.

    Most mesa amps are reliable and well built apparently, so that's good.

    The only mesa I'd want to own would be a dual rec. The express amps are nice but I'd still be hankering. Plenty of folks would say the exact opposite.

    Get to a shop and plug into a few amps. Take your favourite guitar along with you, and your ears will tell you what's best for you. Then, if it's out of budget, at least you know the sound you want, and people on here can advise as to ways of achieving that sound without breaking the bank :)

    But you need a budget first.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.