Digital modeling combo guitar amps have come a long way since the early days, when they were known for over-promising and under-delivering. The tones that they create today are very usable for live and recording purposes. Two advantages of digital amplifiers are their affordability and their ability to be quite compact. Modern technology has also helped by creating full range speaker systems that deliver a room-filling stereo sound from a very small package.
So, now we’ll take a look at a few of the best of the small and inexpensive digital modeling combo guitar amps. They should all be great for beginners because they won’t require too much of an up-front investment, but they will produce tones that inspire more practice. They’ll be helpful for people who don’t need too much power but also don’t want to compromise on tone.
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The Blackstar ID:Core 10 V2 is a 2x5W ultra compact digital modeling guitar amplifier that features Blackstar’s unique Super Wide Stereo technology, which is intended to give you a more immersive sound experience. The amplifier features six different channels: Clean Warm, Clean Bright, Crunch, Super Crunch, OD 1, and OD 2. There are also 12 vintage style studio-quality effects which include four modulation effects, four delays, and four reverb effects. Continue reading “Blackstar ID:Core 10 V2 10W Combo Amp”
The 12AX7, 12AT7, and 12AU7 all belong to the same family of nine contact, twin triode tubes. In many cases, these tubes are interchangeable and can easily be swapped. We will take a look at why you might, or might not want to swap out the different types of tubes.
Continue reading “What is the Difference Between the 12AX7, 12AT7, and 12AU7 Preamp Tubes?”
Eric Clapton, B.B.King, Buddy Guy, and Muddy Waters all got plenty of miles out of their combo amps. This list of great combo amps for the Blues is just scratching the surface. The combo amp is the perfect partner for the blues guitarist, especially since they are most often easy to transport. Combo amps are usually lower wattage which means that you can drive them harder without turning your neighbours into enemies. Continue reading “What are the Best Guitar Combo Amps for the Blues?”
Vox has dusted off one of their flagship models for yet another reissue that offers a great blend of classic features and modern upgrades. The 12″ Celestion G12M Greenback speaker is probably the most notable improvement. You can expect some serious mids and tons of headroom from this speaker. As has been the case for many years, the “Normal” and “Top Boost” channels offer some variety for the overall voicing of the amp. Both of these channels share the master volume and “Tone Cut” controls. This is particularly cool because it means that the Tone Cut control operates on the power-amp level, not the pre-amp. The result is a true tone shaping of the overall amp voice, not the input.
Continue reading “Vox Custom AC15C1”
The Line 6 Vetta II is extremely well designed, well made and sounds fantastic. At 150 Watts, there is more than enough volume and headroom. Whether you plan to use the Vetta II for live performance or recording, the feature set provides plenty of tools for you to sculpt your sound as you wish.
The Line 6 Vetta II is literally two amplifiers in one. At first glance, one might say: “Well, it’s just a stereo amplifier,” and this is true. But more importantly, it is designed so that you can have two completely different sounds going on at once. Of course, you’d probably choose two sounds that are somewhat alike, but in theory, you could have a clean Fender Twin sound and a cranked Marshall Plexi tone combined into one. The combined sounds become one named and saved preset. This is amazing. Just imagine all the possibilities.
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This rant is about the much-overlooked Music Man RD-50 Head. I must admit that, for a long time, I didn’t even know this thing existed. If you can believe it, I actually found one in a pawn shop on 7th Ave and 23rd Street in New York City. These kinds of things don’t happen quite so much anymore, as Guitar Center and Sam Ash have pretty much put everyone else out of business.
But in this case, there I was in this pawn shop, surrounded by cameras and cheap jewelry, when I saw this little mini head, with that familiar Music Man logo on it. I scratched my head: “…this ain’t an HD-130… what the hell is this little thing… I didn’t know that Music Man even made a head this small…”
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I’ll admit that I really resisted this stuff, I really really did. In principal, it just goes against everything I believe in. But then again, when the “Frying Pan” guitar was first put out by Rickenbacker, I’m sure it was met with the same disdain. Same for the solid body electric, the Flying-V, The Explorer, the Parker Fly, etc. So, I decided to lighten up and just try the Cyber Twin SE, and as it turns out, there’s a lot to enjoy.
Continue reading “Fender Cyber Twin SE Amplifier”
Power tubes can have a dramatic effect on your amplifier’s sound. At low volumes, the difference between one tube and another can be difficult to decipher; it’s almost not worth talking about. Once you start to push a little air, however, your amplifier will show off what it can do and the power tube will display its individual characteristics more. Keep in mind, that by using pedals, you can make one amp sound pretty much like any other one, so this discussion is focused on how a few of the most popular power tubes differ from each other when using the amp, and not the pedals, to get your sound. Continue reading “Power Tube Differences: EL84, EL34, & 6L6”