Removed by TTM Music Group Inc.
I got a Crate VC-508 off digibid for $60. It's a 5 watt tube amp with a single 8". I liked it so much I went back and got two more, they each have a tad bit of a different flavor. I love those tiny amps and clean or dirty it will run you out of the room if you want it to.
Just happy to be breathing
Removed by TTM Music Group Inc.
Well, I have taken delivery of my Fender Blues Junior amp. 15 watts, one 12 inch speaker, 5 tubes, 6 knobs and a whole lotta sweetness.
I think what is ultimately gonna work best for me is one amp, this one, and alot of different front end stuff. I just picked up a Digitech RP200 modeling pedal, which i find really good. The compressor on it kicks ass, really smoothes out the delivery of the amp, which was worth the price of the pedal alone, and the amp models while maybe not necessarily "just like the real thing" give me plenty of different sonic capabilites to drive the amp with. This thing can now produce a wealth of different tones across the spectrum.
I have the POD XT on the way as well, and i already have a good arsenal of pedals, so for me, i think its gonna be lots of modeling but thru a real amplifier all mic'd up instead of direct, which currently to my ear sounds more believable. I also have a Leslie cab and a Celestion cab, so i'll have speaker choices as well, but this should get me pretty far.
Just thought you'd all like to hear the update, and once again, thanks for all your input and opinions, I'll definitely be picking up some of these other recommended amps in the future.
Full Time Dreamer
Ahhhhh....another satisfied blues jr. owner...right on dude....anyone who has not given this amp a thorough thrashin is indeed missing something...aside from using the real thing...ala 50's/60's tube amps that were mostly handbuilt like the boutiques are today, this little amp has serious tone-age...and for the price of a used matchless you can have EM in stereo!
da moderAtor....proprietor of droolindoggrecords.com....everything in moderation including moderation...Pythagorean Number-Cult Acoustics Deriver #1158
I've not tried nearly enough amps to really act like I know what I'm talkin about, but my Yamaha DG-80 modeling amp has some great tones...miked and/or direct. Still, "aint nothin like the real thing, baby."
Playing With Uranium
Twin Reverb is bigger than you want, but really a standard. Another amp that I have had great luck with is a Peavey Bandit. Just the size and well below the price you state. It is rock solid and has produces some very nice rock sounds.
I've got a number of sweet old Fender amps, but the one I use the most is 1964 Princeton. It's got a very "tweed era" sound and a killer vibrato. Later Princetons don't have the same sound. So, my vote goes for the FOUR KNOB Princeton to give you clean - saturated screaming. If you require more filth you'll get it form a Fender Champ (5F1).
These are both great SMALL amps.
Best Wishes, Julius
Any era or version of the single 6V6 Fender Champ is pretty good (including the Vibrochamp and its alter ego, the silver face Bronco). The silver face champ variants are often among the least outrageously priced old Fenders, but not always. Bandmaster, Bassman and Showman heads also are often not as ridiculously priced as the bigger combos, maybe because no one really knows the first one and the second two are reverbless, and what's a Fender amp without reverb? (Still a good amp, but keep it to yourself . . .)
The Smokey is a trick amp, and it does have it's own little trick tone. For me it'll do instant "Touch Me, I'm Sick", among other things. Another interesting little battery amp is the Danelectro Honeytone. Get's pretty loud, can sound pretty decent, but it does this weird thing of sputtering and sagging at high volume and gain settings. This can be good or bad, depending. With a sick fuzz pedal, it's a nice bit of extra freakout.
I just tried a few cheap solid state amps out in a store for kicks. One was the Roland Cube 15. I thought the clean sound flat out sucked, so I didn't venture any further. (I really wanted to like it, but I didn't.) I also tried the two Rat Fink amps, made/distributed by Lace (as in Lace Sensor, the guys who did those pu's for Fender). The bigger of the two was actually pretty damned compelling, a very nice sound. Clean didn't sound clinical or solid state, and while there was some solid state character in the distortion tone, it definitely didn't suck. The chorus seemed out of place on it, though. I would rather have tremolo any day of the week. The little one was okay, but not as good, largely because the clean and dirty sounds were on the same channel with an abrupt transition between them. Not the cheapest little amps, but I'd by them over a solid state Fender or Marshall any day (though they don't particularly do a Marshall sort of sound).
Always be on the lookout for good used amps that don't have name clout. Ampeg, Hiwatt, Traynor, old Gibson amps, . . . hell, just try anything. Any little practice amp, anything that was sold for lap steel players way back, whatever. Beware, though, of "Vintage" guitar shops that will sell you an old Silvertone for the price of an old Fender. Ratty cool should still come cheap, espescially when thousands of the things were available at Sears stores nationwide.
As others say, the Fender Blues Jr is
about $350 small, and all tube, sounds
great. I swapped mine for a Fender Hot Rod
Deluxe, about $550, still all tube, very
nice distortion. The Blues Jr is easier
If you can really find an old Fender Champ
for only $500, get it. That seems to be
the bottom of the price range at the local
used stores arround here. Be careful, there
were later "Champ" models that used evil
transistors. You want the all tube kind.
There are lots of boutique amps that are low power, all tube, and great for recording.
But many of them are closer to a grand.