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Old 10-12-2011, 10:38 PM   #1
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Default I want a practice amp

It's been a while since I've played guitar regularly and I want to start again. Going to go pick up some strings for my electric. Unfortunately, when I clicked on my Mesa Boogie DC-3 the other day I was reminded that it needs repair...tons of pops, clicks, sudden volume changes, and microphonics. I've changed the power tubes and preamp tubes and it still does it, so I need someone to take a look at it.

Problem is that there's no one local I trust to do it. Not going to leave my Mesa with some chain music store or home-based hobbyist to screw around with.

It struck me that the Mesa was really way too loud anyway. Hard to get good tone without cranking it loud enough to irritate the wife and worry the dog. So now I'm in the market for a practice amp.

What I don't care about:

Solid state vs. tube -- I've got a tube amp already, this is just for home use.
Headroom -- Actually, the better tone I can get at low volume, the better.
Digital effects -- Not my thing.

What I do care about:

Tone -- I know it won't be a Marshall stack, but I want reasonably smooth clean channel and good, convincing distortion. Don't play death metal but do play some prog/guitar rock.
Footswitch -- Necessity. Can't play through full songs if I can't switch channels on the fly.
Budget -- Would love to find something under $100 used, but would pay up to $200 if I thought it was worth it.

My preliminary research led me to the Peavey Vypyr 15 and the Line 6 Spider IV 15w. The problem is everyone seems to agree that the Peavey sounds much better than the Line 6 (particularly the clean channel), but only the Line 6 is compatible with a footswitch.

Any suggestions would be welcome.
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:35 AM   #2
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Roland Cube

/thread


I was so impressed I picked one up as a practice amp and I only play bass. Seriously, it's astonishing.
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:44 AM   #3
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My brother got a Blackstar HT-5 (IIRC) recently and seems to be pretty happy with it. It's his 3rd amp, and he's also on this 3rd guitar and millionth peddle thingie. I've got no idea how much it cost, but he plays metal and changes it to acoustic (ish) with a foot switch (I think). He's pretty particular about his equipment so I would think it's all good stuff.
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Old 10-13-2011, 03:49 AM   #4
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Subscribed, this is extremely relevant to my interests. My shitty Line 6 just stopped working and I'm having withdrawals.

I have the Spider IV 15W, and apparently a somewhat common problem is that it stops turning on. Which is why I say its shitty. I play metal mostly, and for a small practice amp I am satisfied. I'm no Marty Friedman or anything so it gets the job done.

This is funny, I was thinking of starting a similar thread here a couple days ago.

I don't mean to derail your thread, but what about practice guitars?
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:05 AM   #5
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Have you considered getting an interface and just using guitar rig with headphones? Many amps in one and you won't bother anyone.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
Roland Cube

/thread
Footswitch? I've got a line on a Roland Microcube on CL here for $30, I was thinking of picking it up just for kicks. It can't do a footswitch but it'd be a decent practice/travel amp for now. And it'll run for 20 hours on 6 AA's, apparently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead_318 View Post
My brother got a Blackstar HT-5 (IIRC) recently and seems to be pretty happy with it.
It is nice...too nice. $400 new, and you don't see many of them used. Looks like it'd be perfect, but it's double my max budget.

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Originally Posted by MartinezA92 View Post
My shitty Line 6 just stopped working and I'm having withdrawals.

[...]

I don't mean to derail your thread, but what about practice guitars?
Good to know about the Line 6. What do you mean by practice guitars? Like cheaper backup guitars, or what?

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Originally Posted by rccote View Post
Have you considered getting an interface and just using guitar rig with headphones? Many amps in one and you won't bother anyone.
But then how will my wife hear my amazing chops? I'm melting faces over here.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
Good to know about the Line 6. What do you mean by practice guitars? Like cheaper backup guitars, or what?

Good guitars for someone who is still learning, but doesn't want it to sound shitty. I'm on an Epiphone from a beginner kit but it feels a little clunky/weird sounding to me.

After some research, Line 6 seems to warranty these things for 2 years if you have the original receipt. In case that sways your opinion.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:51 PM   #8
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Good guitars for someone who is still learning, but doesn't want it to sound shitty. I'm on an Epiphone from a beginner kit but it feels a little clunky/weird sounding to me.
Oh, gotcha. What kind of a budget are we talking about here? And what preferred style? Strat, Super-Strat, Les Paul...

My first electric was a new Yamaha Pacifica tele-copy. Excellent build quality, mediocre pickups. Could've been a nice little guitar if I'd bother to swap in some hotter pickups but decided to sell it and move on.

At this point, though, it's so easy to find good deals on used guitars that I'd be hard-pressed to buy new. I like Carvin guitars a lot, and since they are sold direct they don't have the same "name recognition" that bigger companies do...you can find good deals on them.

My current electric is a U.S. Masters Vector (super strat) that I picked up on eBay for $440 in nearly new condition a few years ago. This is a guitar that sells for over $2000 new. Nobody's ever heard of U.S. Masters but they make fantastic guitars -- I'd put mine up against any PRS, G&L, etc.

What I would do is hit every music store you can in the area, and play every $800+ guitar they have in stock. Start narrowing down to a 4 or 5 makers you like, with an emphasis on smaller companies that don't have a loyal following (ie, you're not going to find a smoking deal on a Gibson). Then start scouring eBay and Craigslist. Shouldn't take long before you find a deal.
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:27 PM   #9
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FWIW, I have a line 6 foot switch here that I would not mind getting rid of. My Line 6 spider is long gone.




I paid about $120 for a Vox AC4TV8 (super sale, not sure how much they are now). LOTS of people really love this little tube amp as a practice setup because you can set it all the way down to 1/10th WATT.

Edit: Just checked my records and I paid $110 for it.
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:03 PM   #10
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Serious question from the point of view of a guy who makes his living in pro-audio but never really touches musical instruments.

From an electrical standpoint, a guitar is basically just a microphone. They're usually unbalanced whereas mics are always differential, but the philosophy is the same.

Do you guitarists ever use broadcast / recording - style mic preamps or processors on your guitars? I realize that when you speak of "amps" you usually mean a large box containing a combination preamp / power-amp / speaker, but for practice / recording, has anyone ever tried using discrete microphone-style preamps / processors?
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post

What I would do is hit every music store you can in the area, and play every $800+ guitar they have in stock. Start narrowing down to a 4 or 5 makers you like, with an emphasis on smaller companies that don't have a loyal following (ie, you're not going to find a smoking deal on a Gibson). Then start scouring eBay and Craigslist. Shouldn't take long before you find a deal.
Pretty much open to any style. For some reason doing this never crossed my mind. I may just pick up another Line 6 spider IV and start checking out guitar stores in the area to see what I like.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:34 PM   #12
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What I would do is hit every music store you can in the area, and play every $800+ guitar they have in stock.
I challenge anyone here to find a single fault (other than it does not have a sexy Fender American Standard label on it) with this $99 guitar. The guitar I play was $45 for it off CL (Deals Gap and Zoom-Zoom stickers were free <G>). I suck at playing but my main guitar/amp combo only cost a total of $155. My friend can pick it up and it sounds like a million bucks. Don't get too tied up in what something costs.


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Old 10-13-2011, 09:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
I like Carvin guitars a lot, and since they are sold direct they don't have the same "name recognition" that bigger companies do...you can find good deals on them.

What I would do is hit every music store you can in the area, and play every $800+ guitar they have in stock. Start narrowing down to a 4 or 5 makers you like, with an emphasis on smaller companies that don't have a loyal following (ie, you're not going to find a smoking deal on a Gibson). Then start scouring eBay and Craigslist. Shouldn't take long before you find a deal.

First, carvins are fantastic.

Second:

http://rondomusic.com/

Quality instruments dirt cheap. The SX line is great. My knockoff SX strat with p90s sounds better than my Gibson Les Paul custom and has the weight and feel of a quality instrument.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:54 PM   #14
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More quality instruments dirt cheap (GFS).

http://www.guitarfetish.com/Jays-CRA...ALE_c_185.html

If I had some cash I might be tempted to buy one. Check youtube for some reviews (all positive).
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:49 PM   #15
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More quality instruments dirt cheap (GFS).

http://www.guitarfetish.com/Jays-CRA...ALE_c_185.html

If I had some cash I might be tempted to buy one. Check youtube for some reviews (all positive).
They've got decent strings for cheap too. Bought a 12 pack of hybrids not too long ago and I wasn't disappointed.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:26 AM   #16
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I've been buying their strings for a couple of years now. I like 'em and the price is pretty good.
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
Roland Cube

/thread


I was so impressed I picked one up as a practice amp and I only play bass. Seriously, it's astonishing.
Roland microcube!!!
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:31 AM   #18
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Actually getting a Roland Microcube today for $40 off CL today. Doesn't hit all of my needs (most importantly, no footswitch), but for $40 it'll do the job for now.
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