Small valve amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Various777, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Various777


    Feb 7, 2014
    Hi All,

    Does anyone know of a small 5w+ valve amp that would be good for practice and studio use?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    There was a bit of an Epiphone Valve Junior craze for a while here. There was a mod that made it very useful for bass. At least as useful as a 5W head can be for bass. :)

    You can probably get one used cheap.
  3. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    Pretty much awesome plugged straight in to a speaker. Only one knob, but that is all you need.
  4. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Kustom The Defender 5w valve amp is coming up cheap in places, would be a good amp for tinkering, seen a few mod projects now the Epi valve Junior has gone.
  5. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    There's a "low wattage tube amp" thread that has quite a few different models owned by TBers. Some pricey stuff, some rare stuff. The popular one right now is the "lil bastard" by ashdown. I think it's 30 watt, so a little more powerful than 5 watts, but it's smaller. I have been seeking similar stuff and have come up with a few large-run inexpensive ones:
    Crate V5, V18
    Kustom Defender
    Epiphone Valve Jr
    Vox AC4, Mini Nighttrain
    Bugera... somethin' (5w)
    Peavey Windsor Studio(15w combo, but I'd steal it and make it a head)
    Jet city Picovalve (1w)

    There are probably more than a few more, depending on your budget. But; on the used market $100-$150 should be able to get you any of these. They ARE all guitar amps, though, so a good efficient bass cab would be needed.

    On another note: does anyone have a link, or the "name" of the Valve jr mod mentioned? Ive seen them listed with a "bitmo" mod which I assume is a mod that gives them "a bit more". Is this the one?
  6. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    I had the Ashdown CTM 15 and well tonally it wasn't my cup of tea- it would be plenty loud for a normal volume practice- so long as you don't have a gui**** and a pounder!!
  7. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
  8. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Bitmo is the screen name of a guy who sold a lot of valve jr mod kits on ebay. Good stuff, though a bit pricey IIRC.
  9. MHensleyJr

    MHensleyJr Supporting Member

    May 5, 2008
    Redlands, CA
    +1 Wish I still had mine
  10. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    The Valve Jr works well for bass with an EQ pedal in front.
  11. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Thanks Jasper383.
  12. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    I am very very happy with my old Elpico 5 watt British contemporary version of the 1948 Fender Champ C1 amp. Well it was actually an RCA design in the first place anyway:
    It's got a 6sl7 dual triode into 6v6 pentode with 5y3 glass rectification.
    It's equipped with far better quality transformers than the fender C1 Champ.
    I find those old school octal tubes have a special something, modern 9 pin 12ax7 into EL84 single ended amps just don't have.
    What does it sound like? The Elpico octal 5 watt amp was the amp used to record the guitar sound for Love Love Me Do The Beatles and You Really Got Me The Kinks.
    On bass it seems very sparkly and alive run clean, with a very good full frequency response and utterly killer tone and loads of gain for the overdrive.:bassist::hyper:
  13. I have been using an ampeg gvt15h on guitar for a while now and I really like it for that. Yesterday though I hooked it up to my markbass 6x10 and it is awesome on bass. I tried it with my squire vm jazz with flats and my American P+ and I was really astonished at how good it does sound. Not really loud but plenty of low end. Compare that with my fender supersonic gtar amp which is supposed to have a 63 bassman circuit and I was really surprised. The supersonic sounds like a guitar amp with a bass plugged in = crap. The ampeg gvt15h sounds like a baby svt. Now I said that it was not that loud but if you crank the mids a bit it will get very, very hairy and pretty loud. I have not tried it yet with any other cabs but I'm betting that it would get along great with my old sunn cab with a JBL e140.
  14. I use a stock valve junior, sometimes I plug it into my 410 cabinet, I built it into a 5F1 style cabinet with a cheap 8" speaker though, and generally use that, never cranked for bass though. A few things to note, in either cabinet: 1) stock, the VJ has very little other than mid, this works great for nice, shimmering cleans on guitar, and for bass it'll get the job done with cleans, if you're jamming in a small room/garage with a quiet drummer. 2) crank the amp into a good bass speaker like a 410, 115, or the like, it's 5 watts, it won't damage many speakers, but anyways, dime the amp, and dig into it with a pick, and it gets really gritty and fun. I've played some really small gigs as a bass/drums duo with this amp and my 410, it was fun stuff. 3) it's a good amp right off the bat, but it's simplicity - the PCB construction, lack of EQ, and 2-tube design - lends itself very well to modding. It can seem absurd to buy an amp just to mess around with, but some people are really into it. Once I build the 5F1 cabinet, I realized maybe I'm not the type, but the amp could be a bit brighter for guitar IMO.
  15. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    You could go ultra low and try the Zvex1w amp. Not sure how well it works on bass but they claim when used on guitar plugged into a 4x12 it gets as loud as a singer. Great for cab & mic use.
  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I enjoy my Valve, Jr. You might also consider the Hughes & Kettner B.A.T.T., if you can find one.
  17. Various777


    Feb 7, 2014
    Thanks for all your suggestions, some great replies - to throw something else in... What about combos?
  18. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    if money isn't an issue, you could try asking Jule to build you something custom. i'm sure he needs more to do than just cranking out more Monique's ;)
  19. Why not build Your own? Ampmaker in uk has an 18w plexi/dominator thats easy, inexpensive and sounds great with the right speaker. He also has link to a cab-builder that makes combo cabs. I have the 18w, and sounds like my Marshall 1986 (bass amp) but wthout the big bottom. There are other kit providers out there too, and these amps are very tweakable, as you build them yourself.