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What's the best amp head for: Hard Rock or Metal, Pop/Blues, Vintage sound, Clean sound, or all of the above?


Scoobie Sat, 12/09/2006 - 17:32

A friend sitting right here with me say's, Mesa Boogie's Road King. It's like haveing more than one amp in one head. You have the output of 6L6's or EL34's. Lot's of tones like your looking for.

I have a Peavey Classic 30 Head and love it............That Road King will kill your back lug'in it around.


Kapt.Krunch Sun, 12/10/2006 - 04:20

stickers wrote: isnt this like saying whats the best microphone for everything?

I would tend to agree, though I haven't heard everything so I can't say definitively that one amp couldn't do it all.

The speakers have a lot to do with the sound also. My Deluxe Reverb sounds a lot different running through my Mesa Boogie 2-12 cab than it does running through it's speaker. The number, type and size of speakers make a big difference. It's hard for my Marshall cabinet to sound like a Fender, and my Fender cab to sound like a Marshall.

It's going to take one very carefully considered amp/speaker combination to do it all from the Mesa Boogie multi-rectifier compressed tweeze, to chunky Marshall hard rock, to cranked-up Fender Deluxe blues, to Twin Reverb country clean.

And none of those amps will even come near to giving me an old-school early-Stones "Jumpin' Jack Flash" grit like my little Univox U45B cranked to 10, or that old Kinks "You Really Got Me" broken-amp raunch like my little Supro Bantam.

And what amp does a Roland Jazz Chorus much better than a Roland?

There are probably amps that will get pretty close to a lot of what you want...with maybe some stompbox help...but there may be a bit of compromise in certain areas. It may be that you'll find an amp that does a lot of things pretty good, , but you have to really try to get them to do others.

If you find one that does most of what you want, that would be a good place to start. You may be able to figure out how to coax it beyond what's in itself by effects, etc.

A good, all-around amp is a handy thing if someone were playing a wide variety of music on stage.

Just some thoughts,


Davedog Sun, 12/10/2006 - 11:17

Cosme wrote: What's the best amp head for: Hard Rock or Metal, Pop/Blues, Vintage sound, Clean sound, or all of the above??

There is no best for all of the above and the best for each catagory would be subjective at best.

I own a Gibson GoldTone which does a lot of this very well. Is it the best? Hardly. Is it passable on all these catagories? Without a doubt.

Keep in mind that a lot of the tones which favor these different genres or styles, is first and foremost, generated by the player and the song structure. On the other foot, playing and writing a subdeath metal song will never reach its full potential if you go at it with a Twin set to clean.

One definately influences the other.

Cabinet size and type as well as speaker construction make a huge difference in sound. As has been mentioned, a 4-12 sealed back cab sounds way different than an open-back combo style amp. It also requires a slightly different recording setup to capture fully.

Having several amps in the studio will always enhance the ability to get most sounds with a minor amount of effort.

That being said, the Bogner Uberschall is the best amp I've ever played for a large variety of noises.

Kapt.Krunch Mon, 12/11/2006 - 03:46


I hope you take this in the spirit of trying to be helpful, and can see our confusion in thinking you were asking about the one best amp to use for all? The heading was singular, as was the part about "what's the best amp head for:", and then "or all of the above". I think we may have all assumed you were looking for the most versatile to use with all of those? :wink:

Anyway, perhaps it would help to narrow down the question a bit? Are you looking for relatively affordable, mass-market amps? Marshall, Boogie, Fender, etc.,? Are you considering more expensive boutique amps? Are you looking for more than one amp, perhaps something that does from xtreme-metal to barely-grinding dirt, and then another that may overlap from the bluesy, old-time grit to crystal clear?

What are your budget considerations and size and power requirements? If you are looking to stay in the 50W and below range, then nobody will suggest a Marshall Mode 4. If you want at least 50W, then nobody will likely offer a 20-watter.

Are you just looking for head(s) that you can plug into a cab, or do combo amps apply? Would you consider a pre-amp (analog or digital modelling) and a power amp combination?

Even your last reply left me with a bit of head-scratching to try to figure out exactly what you are asking. You may get 15 different suggestions for each genre, and suggestions that each of those can also go just so far toward the blues or whatever, but ain't gonna get near the other extreme.

It may also help if you provided some examples of the sounds of each genre. Do you want Dimebag chunka-chunka metal, or Black Sabbath metal? Do you want country chicken'-pickin'-reverb clean, or jazz clean?

Providing clues like these may narrow down the suggestions, and answer your question much more quickly. :wink:


Scoobie Mon, 12/11/2006 - 14:46

I still think the Road King would be the most versatile amp head.

Country chicken' pickin...........Fender Twin
Jazz Clean.............................Fender Vibro-king
Oldschool Punk rock................Marshall
Dimebag................................Randall V-Max
crunchy overdrive..................Boogie Rectifier

Check out Orange amps.........I'm using a AD30R
in the Studio right now. Great amp.


Hemophagus Tue, 12/12/2006 - 09:55


My favourite TOP 5 amps:

1.- H&K Triamp (I prefer the MKI vintage version)
2.- ENGL Savage 120 (very high gain and a clean amp!)
3.- Mesa Boogie Road King (a classic here, but a little bit noisy)
4.- Soldano SLO100 (only 2 channels, but enought!)
5.- Peavey 5150 (for people who likes classic distortion sound)

Davedog Tue, 12/12/2006 - 18:16

Cosme wrote: Ok let's narrow it down a bit...

Budget> under 2000$

Dimebag chuka-chunka metal
Jazz Clean
Country Chicken'-pickin' reverb clean
Grunge crunchy overdrive
Oldschool Punk rock
The most vesatile amp

place your nominees!

Allrighty......I'm sure that my choices will show my age very clearly....... :wink: PLUS these choices are based more on studio use rather than live ...

Dimebag.........Peavey 5150

Jazz clean.......Roland Jazz Chorus

Country Pickin.......Early 60's Pro-Reverb

Grunge Crunchy Overdrive......Mesa Rectifier

Old Skool Punk..........Marshall Super Lead 100

Most Versatile......Bogner Uberschall (sorry...WAY more than 2k)

I could go again and choose 6 different amps. Its all subjective and totally dependant on the player. The outboard gear and guitar have a lot to do with it too. If you're talking just a guitar with a single wire to the amp then you need to address the guitar also for these very specific styles.

The pickups, bridge style, type of neck set, size and alloy of the frets, string gauge, even the scale length will all determine the ability of the amp to deliver the 'style' of the genre.

So, I'm saying that, given the guitar that will be used normally in each of these styles of music, my Gibson GoldTone will do a great job on all of them!

jonnyc Wed, 12/13/2006 - 13:13

Check out the Randall all tube amps that have the swappable modules. You can get almost any sound you want, and I think a few models have 3 module bays so you could get 3 very different tones in one amp. By the way Michael Wagener(google the name if you haven't heard of him) swears by this amp.

Angstaroo Mon, 12/18/2006 - 16:20

jonnyc wrote: Check out the Randall all tube amps that have the swappable modules. You can get almost any sound you want, and I think a few models have 3 module bays so you could get 3 very different tones in one amp. By the way Michael Wagener(google the name if you haven't heard of him) swears by this amp.

I think they're the MTB series.. Ty Tabor of King's X is really big into them, and they just did their last album with Michael Wagener. That Randall is all over the latest King's X cd, "Ogre Tones".