Posted by: kubiakl | November 17, 2010

Another Amp Post

Whew, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here.  And there’s really no excuse (unless you count laziness, plus there was a week or two where I was sick).  So here we go.

A few guys got together to record a little the other day.  What we came up with was good, but I noticed that the recordings sounded a little flat.  Not tuning wise, but depth wise.  Which makes sense – everything we recorded was a digital signal.  Our guitars were run directly into Garage Band, DG used his digital drum set… nothing was really organic.

So I started thinking about ways to make better recordings.  Maybe miking up an amp will produce better results?  But here’s the problem:  my amp is a 15 watt Fender Blues Jr.  15 watts of tube power can sound pretty loud when pushed, and pushing a tube amp is the way to get the best tone.

Some research led me to look at smaller wattage tube amps, but that presented a new problem:  how can I test one out?  One of the guys and I ran to Guitar Center this past weekend and tried out an array of different styles of amps (he’s also shopping for a new one).  Most sounded flat, a few sounded terrible, and one (the Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special) sounded incredible.  But $1800 is pretty expensive for a recording amp and the built in attenuator didn’t really shave off much volume.

The Bugera V5 sounded okay and was switchable between 5w, 1w, and .1w.  It also had reverb (a feature my Blues Jr. lacks, due to some issue that was there when I bought it used).  But in the store it was hard to really tell if it was the amp for me.

So what do you do?  I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again – buying an amp in a guitar shop is nearly impossible.  You’re competing with a horde of other guitarists, all playing metal riffs at ear-splitting volume… not really an ideal situation to test out a low-wattage tube amp for purity of tone.

One option is to go ahead and buy it, then return it if I’m not satisfied.  But I’ll be honest – my laziness prevents this from being a sensible option.  Odds are it will just sit unused in a corner if I’m dissatisfied.  For now I’m trying the second option, trolling Craigslist and hoping for a miracle.

If anyone has a better system I’d love to know about it.




    try the link. He’s into guitars and amps.

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