Stick with tube amp or jump ship and get a modeling amp?

Discussion about guitar playing from a diverse group of people with different tastes and levels of experience.
Post Reply
tony77
newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: April 9th, 2019, 11:06 pm

Stick with tube amp or jump ship and get a modeling amp?

Post by tony77 » April 9th, 2019, 11:08 pm

Hello everyone,

Hi all, I'm currently in gear limbo and am ready to just commit to a decision and get out of this. I currently have a '68 Princeton Reissue with a Celestion Gold speaker and I think it sounds pretty good, but I'm starting to realize the pitfalls of tube amps — namely maintenance, tube/cabinet rattle issues and learning to diagnose and deal with these amp issues on my own — and I'm wondering what the consensus is on current modeling amps. I'm also running a keyboard + amp with my live set up and so less worries about rig maintenance would drastically ease my mind while on tour. I'm most likely not going to buy a Kemper because they're out of my budget right now (and I don't like the thought of having one of them on stage with me purely because they're insanely expensive and I'm not a fan of the visual aesthetic). I've heard great things about the Line 6 Helix with a Powercab but I've also been seeing the Boss Katana, Blues Cube and Nextone amps, Yamaha THR100, the Fender Champ XD2 and seeing as there's constantly a new amp coming out I'm getting bogged down in option paralysis. Can someone talk me out of this madness by offering perspective or a recommendation? Should I just wait it out a year or two until the next generation of realistic modeling amps come out, I feel like it won't be long? Anyways, thank you for reading, I realize there are a lot of people who ask this question and I really appreciate any guidance on this issue.

Thank you!

CitiZenNoir
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1251
Joined: April 10th, 2007, 3:03 pm
Location: Lost in the Woods

Re: Stick with tube amp or jump ship and get a modeling amp?

Post by CitiZenNoir » May 19th, 2019, 9:07 am

Hi!

I'm sort of an old fashioned, vintage gear kinda guy. Tube Amps are what do it for me.
One of my favourite set ups is either my 52 Tele RI or my 54 Strat RI through my 54/55 Gibson GA-20 amp. That was always one of my Holy Grail, had to have amps. It sure didn't let me down! (If you type, Random Gear Pic, into the search you'll find a pic of it with my Tele).
You jack the guitar in, and you've got your choice of: Volume & Tone on the amp, Volume and Tone on the guitar. If you think that limits your sound palette, it doesn't. Surprising how many different sounds/tones you can get out of that combination.
On the other hand, I lost the instrument input on her right after I got it. I have no idea how to fix it, nor does anyone else around here - Although, there is talk of a legendary amp guru who lives around here in a place hoarded with stacks of amps, tubes, and rare electronic gear - he's as hard to pin down as a ghost lol
My other amp is a Maggie tube amp from the 60s, which also has its problems. When it works, it works beautifully.... when it gets fussy, its dreadful! Not to mention it needs a 3 prong plug cos I keep getting electrocuted every time I use it, and thats not even playing it outside in the rain at Woodstock! Lol
So, yeah I feel your pain when it comes to tube amp maintenance.
I don't play out at all, but if I did I'm not sure I would trust either of these gems to be anywhere near reliable.

My dad also has a pretty good tube amp and guitar collection, but his go to amp is a Line 6 with a looping effect in it. I've never used it, so I can't comment on it.... but dad does have a pretty discerning ear.

Recently I've heard that two tube amp tone hounds have switched to modeling amps when gigging:
Mark Knopfler is using a Kemper.
John Mayer is using an Axe Fx.
So modeling amps must be getting to the point of tube amp tone rivalry. The last time I looked into them (like, seoking) was about 15 years ago and they weren't much to behold.

I pulled this up regarding a Line 6 Helix:

"The four years that Line 6 took to develop the Helix were well spent, and it's a valid alternative to its rivals. Kemper and Fractal both have more amp models but, as Line 6 tells us, "Helix is still in its infancy and we expect big things to come", so more models and features can be expected via firmware updates."

So, perhaps you wont have to wait for new models to come out?
It seems (at least with the Helix) that they might update via firmware.... ?

Something to look into, anyway.

Best of luck on your tone quest!

Kenny
"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles

lizmcconel
newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: June 22nd, 2019, 8:42 am

Re: Stick with tube amp or jump ship and get a modeling amp?

Post by lizmcconel » June 22nd, 2019, 8:44 am

Could you please advice me where to buy good tube amp. My friend told me about musirank

User avatar
Alan Green
Guitari Lama
Posts: 8045
Joined: September 23rd, 2002, 1:35 am
Location: Little Cambridge, Essex, UK
Contact:

Re: Stick with tube amp or jump ship and get a modeling amp?

Post by Alan Green » June 22nd, 2019, 8:56 am

lizmcconel wrote:
June 22nd, 2019, 8:44 am
Could you please advice me where to buy good tube amp. My friend told me about musirank
I edited your post to remove the ad - if you own musirank, we're happy to take your paid advertising. talk to Paul (GN Site Owner) or David (Senior Editor)
"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger
"I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk

Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk

rparker
Musically Insane
Posts: 5495
Joined: December 18th, 2003, 6:12 pm
Location: Sunny North Carolina
Contact:

Re: Stick with tube amp or jump ship and get a modeling amp?

Post by rparker » July 11th, 2019, 3:06 am

CitiZenNoir wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 9:07 am
Hi!

I'm sort of an old fashioned, vintage gear kinda guy. Tube Amps are what do it for me.
One of my favourite set ups is either my 52 Tele RI or my 54 Strat RI through my 54/55 Gibson GA-20 amp. That was always one of my Holy Grail, had to have amps. It sure didn't let me down! (If you type, Random Gear Pic, into the search you'll find a pic of it with my Tele).
You jack the guitar in, and you've got your choice of: Volume & Tone on the amp, Volume and Tone on the guitar. If you think that limits your sound palette, it doesn't. Surprising how many different sounds/tones you can get out of that combination.
On the other hand, I lost the instrument input on her right after I got it. I have no idea how to fix it, nor does anyone else around here - Although, there is talk of a legendary amp guru who lives around here in a place hoarded with stacks of amps, tubes, and rare electronic gear - he's as hard to pin down as a ghost lol
My other amp is a Maggie tube amp from the 60s, which also has its problems. When it works, it works beautifully.... when it gets fussy, its dreadful! Not to mention it needs a 3 prong plug cos I keep getting electrocuted every time I use it, and thats not even playing it outside in the rain at Woodstock! Lol
So, yeah I feel your pain when it comes to tube amp maintenance.
I don't play out at all, but if I did I'm not sure I would trust either of these gems to be anywhere near reliable.

My dad also has a pretty good tube amp and guitar collection, but his go to amp is a Line 6 with a looping effect in it. I've never used it, so I can't comment on it.... but dad does have a pretty discerning ear.

Recently I've heard that two tube amp tone hounds have switched to modeling amps when gigging:
Mark Knopfler is using a Kemper.
John Mayer is using an Axe Fx.
So modeling amps must be getting to the point of tube amp tone rivalry. The last time I looked into them (like, seoking) was about 15 years ago and they weren't much to behold.

I pulled this up regarding a Line 6 Helix:

"The four years that Line 6 took to develop the Helix were well spent, and it's a valid alternative to its rivals. Kemper and Fractal both have more amp models but, as Line 6 tells us, "Helix is still in its infancy and we expect big things to come", so more models and features can be expected via firmware updates."

So, perhaps you wont have to wait for new models to come out?
It seems (at least with the Helix) that they might update via firmware.... ?

Something to look into, anyway.

Best of luck on your tone quest!

Kenny
So I guess this meant you wasted your precious time for an advertisement? So rude! <sigh>

I've heard so much good about the kemper. If it was not for other gear expenses I incurred getting two new Gibson Acoustics (Hummingbird and SJ-200) last year followed by a lot of expense getting my studio room to the next level, I'd be on one quick as anything.

On the inexpensive side of things, one inside-the-box-solution for my studio playing that has been a massive plus for me is the Scuffham amp sims. Especially with the impulse response functionality they built in. 5 amps isn't much, but you'll get good coverage with them. They fall shy, from what I hear, with the modern ultra-heavy stuff. They have free demos, and the license price is just $129.

Yeah, I still ramble.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

Post Reply