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All tube amp suggestions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Slowgypsy, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    I've been a SS amp guy forever. No tube amp experience short of playing venues with a house Ampeg or similar. Looking to pick something up and learn that world. New or used doesn't matter. Don't need more than 100 watts, and could probably be happy with 50 watts. Must be all tube, no hybrids. Under $1000. Lightish weight would keep that smile on my face.

    Suggestions.... go.... :bassist:
  2. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Ashdown little bastard.
  3. Muckaluck


    Oct 11, 2005
    Whitby, Ontario
    I think I saw a mesa buster in the classifieds for around $850. That thing is guaranteed to impress. If you don't like it I'm sure you could sell it for what you paid for it.
  4. ampeg v4/v4b/vt22.
  5. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I think you'll be hard pressed to find a 100W with a bigger fanbase than one of the Ampeg V4 iterations.

    They are tough as tanks and sound sweet!
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I can't help you with a LIGHTWEIGHT all-tube amp. I don't think they exist. Output transformers alone are a lot of metal. And the chassis and cab to hang on to such weight should be a little beefy just to keep things together.

    However, there are quite a few amps you could look into that will put a big smile on your face tone wise and not break the bank. I personally love the Ampeg V4. (Some call it a baby SVT although the tone is somewhat different.) It's 100W but is VERY strong for that rating. It can drive an 8-10 without breaking a sweat. You can get a vintage one in amazing condition for less than a grand.

    Perhaps a Fender Bassman 70 would work as well. Also under a grand. The tone of the Bassman will be "warmer" in most cases. That's not better or worse, just different.

    However, there's a curve ball I can throw at you as well. I own a Fender PA100. It's an oddball amp with four separate channels. (Of course, it was originally a PA head.) It's 100W. It sounds absolutely amazing. Big round Fender tone that everyone is familiar with. It makes a great mod platform. You can literally tweek each channel for different preferences of tone. You can even daisy chain channels for more gain. The possibilities are nearly endless. And the best part is it is a "sleeper". What I mean is, they don't hold value at all. I got mine for $275 in great shape. Plus, with no collector value, you can feel good about modding whatever you wish and not ruining a "classic collector" amp. I'm getting ready to add a mid control to a couple of channels. I already played with resistor values to get different gains on each channel. It sounds great for guitar with enough input gain. It sounds amazing with keys or harmonica. The reverb is sweet. That thing has been lots of fun for me. I take it out more than you might think (and I have a V4 and a Mesa Walkabout stack to boot). If you are wanting to learn the tube world, it's a great place to start to get great tone, mod possibilities, and cheap price. You could get both a PA100 and a nice V4 for under a grand and be set. I love both of mine. Best of luck. Have fun!

    Here they are on top of a cab project I'm working on.

    Attached Files:

  7. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    Personal favorites you can find under 1k:

    Ampeg VT22/V4/V4B
    Mesa Buster if you want a versatile super clean tube amp (200w)
    Fender Bassman 50/70/100/135
    Fender PA 100/135
    Fender Studio Bass (200w)
    Ampeg V4BH if you can deal with a kind of wimpy EL34 power section with an SVT-CL preamp

    Budget minded suggestions:
    Peavey VB-2
    Bugera 1960 (100w Marshall clone)

    There's a myriad of other tube amps out there but these are off the top of my head.
  8. Well the ampeg svt and Mesa 400 are both over your price and power needs. A peavey vb-2 is under the price but I think its 200w. I played either the vb2 or vb3 at my local music store and it sounded good but I can't remember which one it was.
  9. kbakerde

    kbakerde Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    Ashdown LB30
    Ampeg V4

    I have not had luck finding the Traynor stuff, but if you find it you can usually grab a decent shape Silverface Fender Bassman. They are not extremely popular as they still labor under the myth of being bad for bass overall, while the silverface is known for being bad for guitar. I own a Bassman 135, the Bassman 100 is well regarded and I also like the Bassman Ten which is a huge combo that is 80w into 4x10. If you find one, you can usually score the head and matching cabinet for about $500-$600.
  10. Rob Martinez

    Rob Martinez

    Sep 14, 2005
    Ashdown Little Bastard is 30 watts that can get loud, has great tube tone, and get a Ashdown VS-112 or VS-115 cab and you are set!
  11. guymanndude1


    Feb 5, 2004
    I can personally attest to the fact that Peavey's VB2 is one fine and affordable amp.
  12. Super Iridium

    Super Iridium

    Jan 21, 2013
    I'm just a novice, but I use my old guitar amp, a Mesa Studio .22

    It's all tube, and it sounds pretty awesome (to me anyway). It has a footswitch for flipping between a clean "rhythm" tone and a nicely distorted, overdriven "lead" sound.
  13. droskobass


    Oct 8, 2007
    Montreal, Canada
    Former Part-Time, Non-Commission Employee MOOG Audio
    Traynor YBA-3

    BUT: if you buy a vintage tube head budget for Four important (Standard) maintenance jobs:

    1) CAP job (cost approx 70-125) Get USA made or German or French made Caps ONLY Chinese caps tend to under perform at peak voltage... so the job will be pointless. Caps are part of the power supply and can greatly effect the "Sweetness" and noise floor of the amp.

    2) get the two-prong power plug replaced with a grounded 3 prong (this will stop annoying and potentially lethal shocks from touching other guitars or mics.

    3 & 4) Re-tube/ Re-bias. Get a matched set of power tubes and have a tech set the "Bias" Bias in layman's terms is like setting the temperature at idle. Over biased amps run too hot and wears out tubes faster it can also cause heat damage to other components and premature tube failure. Under biased amps lack power and always sound weak and cold. tubes will last forever, but what's the point if the never sound the way they should. MOST new big brand amps come under biased to prevent tube failure during the warantee period. Preamp tubes should only be changed if they are noisy or microphonic. no re-bias necessary for preamp tubes

    get to know a tube amp specializing tech and then you may just get a great deal out of a 400$ used Traynor (or ampeg or sunn or marshall), or pay up to 800 for one in tip top shape, Match it to the correct Impedance cab, and you'll be blowing people's heads off with fat warm and slightly fuzzy rock awesomeness!!! happy hunting!
  14. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    One doesn't have to deal with "wimpy EL34" since the V4BH doesn't come with EL34 tubes.
  15. SherwoodGreen

    SherwoodGreen Inactive

    Dec 25, 2012
    From Website:

    Jaguar introduces two new amps for 2013!
    The HC50 guitar & HC100 bass amps
    Details coming soon...


    An alternative to forthcoming Ampeg V4BH & current Fender 100T
    In some regards, (IMO/ME) not even a close race...Owned/loved V4BH; really liking the Fender all-tubes too.


    I saw played the HC100 Bass at NAMM w/ a matched Jaguar 210 cabinet.

    I guess he's working on putting specs/pictures online; It was very awesome.

    Look at the specs of the 200 Model and think down-sized with PLENTY of power, tone, & punch.

    No affiliation other than being a ridiculously satisfied owner of one of the best IMO/IME.
  16. vpermana


    Nov 17, 2009
    Bethesda, MD
    Monique from Juleamp
  17. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Traynor YBA200-2 is a great amp. It's 200 watts.

    Look at weight and form factor.
    You will essentially have the choice between lunch box type amps (Ashdown Little Bastard) or larger units such as the Traynor YBA200-2, Fender 100T or Ampeg V4.
  18. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    It's 200w, but the Traynor YBA200 is very light for an all-tuber, sounds very ampegesque, and is quite affordable. Why the under 100w number? Do you want more breakup at lower volumes? A simple tube swap to early distortion tubes and high-gain preamp tubes will get you that very easily.

    Otherwise, I'd keep an eye out for a used Ampeg V4B...those things are incredible if you can find a good one.
  19. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Sound pretty wimpy if you put EL34s in one though.
  20. I'd go w/ an old Fender Bassman 100 or 135. Loved mine. Miss mine.

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