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¿V4BH Guitar?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TheChariot, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    I've heard of guitar players using the Ampeg V-4BH or 70's V4 as stage amps. It surprised me at first... but then I kinda got to thinking that 100Watts is really right in the area of most tube guitar heads.

    Is this like.... a practical decision for guitar players (tone-wise)? And if so, how would the V-4BH sound in comparison with say... your standard Marshall DSL head or Mesa Dual Rectifier?
  2. The Stones supposedly used V4's on their "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out" live album (though i have also heard they used V-9's, which is the guitar version of the SVT)

    The V4 is virtually the same amp as the V4B (not the V4BH, which is the modern day "descendant" of the V4B and which has a completely different design than either of its ancestors). The V4 has reverb, whereas the V4B does not. The "voicing" of the EQ in the V4B is tailored a tad more towards the bass.

    My '71 V4 has a truly great guitar tone. However, if you want distortion, you have to crank the volume up to ear-splitting levels--there's no master volume control on either the V4 or V4B. So it's great for blues or blues/rock or country, but not a "metal" amp (unless you want to stick a distortion pedal in front of it). It's versatile enough to double as a great bass amp, there's a midrange selector switch that lets you set the frequency that the midrange knob will control.

    So IMHO, the V4 is a good guitar amp or bass amp; but I think many guitarists would not gravitate towards the V4B because it lacks reverb and the EQ is just a tad more in favor of a bass.

    The lack of a master volume on the V4's or V4B's kinda sets them in a different class than the Marshalls or Mesa heads. Also, the rectification on the V4 is solid-state ; the power supply transformer as well as the output transformer is very massive on the V4 and V4B's. So (again) this makes the V4 and V4B a much cleaner sounding amp--great for bass and clean or slightly distorted guitar, bad for metal or heavily distorted blues. In fact many guitarists prefer the tone that is developed when a tube rectifier and undersized power supply "sags" as well as the output transformer saturating.... that rules the V4 or V4B out.
  3. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I can get all out nasty distortion from my V-4B at volume settings of 1 and up that I thought would be great for a metal band or heavy style music. Havent used it in that context though.
  4. If you mean "at 1 o'clock", yes that's pretty cranked (12 o'clock being straight up, 7 o'clock would be off, 5 o'clock would be fully cranked). Crunchy....Ear-splittingly loud for a guitar, 100 watts is a LOT of oomph for a guitar.

    If you mean that it distorts at 1, if 0 were off and 10 fully cranked, then something's not right IMHO. This amp should be relatively clean up through, say 3 or 4 out of 10 (or up to 11 o'clock--confusing huh?) Maybe a wrong tube substituted? (say a 12AX7 for a 12AU7 or the 12DW7) Unless it's being driven with a very hot input signal---even so, flip the sensitivity switch all the way left...

    I assume this is the "non-master-volume" (early V4 and V4B).

    Mine crunches pretty good--and it sounds good-- but it's not a very versatile distortion, in that you can't get that much tonal variety out of the crunch. And not having an ability to switch between a clean and lead channels doesn't help either.

    Nevertheless, Steve Morse of the Dixie Dregs used a V4 for some time.

    I'm doing some acoustic and electric guitar sub work for a band, and unfortunately my V4 doesn't fit the bill. And no I don't need a full Marshall stack or Mesa dual rectifier. I'd much rather have a 40 watt combo for gigging, something more flexible.
  5. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Oh sorry I meant 1 o clock! Yeah its pretty cranked at that point :D but you are right about not being able to get tonal variety in the distortion. I have found pretty much the same thing. Mine is a non-master model. Probably not so versatile as a guitar amp but Ive never tried.
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Prior to Metron acquiring the V4B, I played my 335 through it into 2 12's and also into 1 15 JBL. Beautiful, warm clean jazz tone. To get that thing to distort, you would want a wireless setup as follows
    Guitar > wireless > cell phone >< cell phone < wireless < V4B

    That way you could be in the next county over when you finally get it distorting ... way too freakin' loud to contemplate!

    My fav for guitar distortion? Trace Elliot Velocette. 15 watts, EL 84, Class A, 1 vol, 1 tone & Brite switch. Into a 4x10 it sounds like a Mashall being punished by Jeff Beck and you can stand in the same room with it! Bar none, the best guitar distortion sound I've ever been able to achieve. It actually isn't bad going into the internal 10" but into the 4x10 is just over the top!

    I'm running My Fender ProReverb setup for clean and sparkly and the Trace setup for nasty on an A/B/AB switch. Not quite dialed in yet but it's been a fun process.
  7. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    How the heck did we manage to get a thread with all posts from 2005 up on page 1??

    Inquiring minds want to know!! :)

    Are Zombies resurrecting themselves now?? OH! The horrors!!! :(
  8. Hmmmmm???
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well since it's been resurrected, I'll point out that Nashville Bill's post was accurate for its day, but in 2013, Ampeg reissued the V4B with a sound that's much more like the old ones, and if you can stand to get your reverb from a pedal, it crushes on guitar!