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Old 01-21-08, 07:45 PM   #1
cuda2k
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Electric Guitar Practice Amp suggestions?

Ok, I've settled on an electric guitar (Epiphone Les Paul Standard) which I hope to pick up in the next couple of days. (I was going to get it today, however the Guitar Center I went to was out of stock)

I've been researching a good practice amp in the approx 15W range, however I'm considering everything from the 3W Roland Micro Cube up to 30W Line6 Spider III models. I'd like a modeling amp so I can eventually play with different sounds to get an idea of what I really like as this will be my first electric guitar (and I've had limited practice on an acoustic). Here's my short list, however open to suggestions of others:

Roland Cube 20X
Roland Micro Cube
Line 6 Spider III 15
Line 6 Spider III 30
Crate FlexWave FW15R
Vox DA15
Vox Valvetronix AD15VT

Looking to play mostly classic rock, southern rock; want a clean sound when a clean sound is needed, but the ability to play with the sound as I advance. Might also add that I'm going to be playing with headphones a LOT. A big part of the reason for getting an electric is so I can practice some in the evenings while watching TV in the same room as my wife.

Anything in the list above that stands out for the players out there, anything I should knock off the list or something I'm over looking that I really should add?
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Old 01-21-08, 07:53 PM   #2
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The Line 6 15 watter is pretty loud and has some nice preprogrammed sounds
Im probably going to get on myself.
I have experience with a Marshall DCX15 that is pretty positive too.
Headfone output is a great idea. You might even consider a Modeling pedal
(Line 6) and a cheepo amp if you are doing lots of headfone time. The pedal
has zillions of presets....more than the amp unit has.

Keep us posted on what you are looking at
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Old 01-21-08, 08:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by cuda2k View Post
Ok, I've settled on an electric guitar (Epiphone Les Paul Standard) which I hope to pick up in the next couple of days. (I was going to get it today, however the Guitar Center I went to was out of stock)

I've been researching a good practice amp in the approx 15W range, however I'm considering everything from the 3W Roland Micro Cube up to 30W Line6 Spider III models. I'd like a modeling amp so I can eventually play with different sounds to get an idea of what I really like as this will be my first electric guitar (and I've had limited practice on an acoustic). Here's my short list, however open to suggestions of others:

Roland Cube 20X
Roland Micro Cube
Line 6 Spider III 15
Line 6 Spider III 30
Crate FlexWave FW15R
Vox DA15
Vox Valvetronix AD15VT

Looking to play mostly classic rock, southern rock; want a clean sound when a clean sound is needed, but the ability to play with the sound as I advance.

Anything in the list above that stands out for the players out there, anything I should knock off the list or something I'm over looking that I really should add?
A small vintage Fender tube amp - Champ, Vibro Champ or Princeton if you can find one cheap enough.
I think modeling amps are fairly useless because they tons of sounds but none of them well. Unlike the digital modeling stuff an actual vintage tube amp will hold its value and likely appreciate over the years. The '79 Vibro Champ I paid $150 for is now worth about $400.

If you can't find a vintage specimen the Fender Pro Junior is a good choice. For getting better, nothing beats a clean, unforgiving amp without a lot of bells and whistles. Despite what salespeople will tell you you do *not* need a bunch of wattage to keep up with a drummer. I have done it with my 6 watt Vibro Champ.

Oh, and be sure to get a ProCo Rat (the "vintage" model). Best distortion pedal ever.

I'm a Fender guitar guy myself, but the Epi Les Pauls are pretty good for the money.
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Old 01-21-08, 08:05 PM   #4
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My guess is that the headphones will let you practise fingering and picking without bothering your wife too much, but the sound isn't going to sound much like the live tone of a real amp. For that, you will have to play around with the real thing to get the feedback from the amp to the strings and around again.

My son says his friends have either spiders or cubes and they are both pretty good with some built in effects.
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Old 01-21-08, 08:10 PM   #5
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The Line 6 Spider's are in stock at the shop, the Cube's I've heard better things about (and are at the top of my list for a reason), but would have to be ordered. Right now my budget for an amp is $200 max, thought $150 is more what I"m hoping to spend. I know practice amps aren't going to match the tone of a $2300 tube Marshall, but looking for something to get me started, isn't huge, and will allow me to experiment some.
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Old 01-21-08, 08:11 PM   #6
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The Vox Valvetronix is a great amp, too bad mine broke.
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Old 01-21-08, 08:35 PM   #7
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The Vox Valvetronix is a great amp, too bad mine broke.
How long did you have it before that happened??
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Old 01-21-08, 08:53 PM   #8
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If you just want a stop gap to get you started, why not get a cheap Danelectro Honeytone for the time being and spend a bit more on a good amp later? It has a headphone jack.

http://www.zzounds.com/item--DANN10
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Old 01-21-08, 08:54 PM   #9
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I have a Vox Valvetronix, it's great. I ususally play a Les Paul and a SG, the Vox has a great hard rock / classic rock sound. I had a Line 6 Spider II. The Vox is much better.
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Old 01-21-08, 09:08 PM   #10
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also look for one that has a line out, with that you can record to your computer or to other sorces
or to be pluged into a bigger sound system, for just practicing they make a headfone amp just for headfones(not sure of the qulity)
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Old 01-21-08, 09:47 PM   #11
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I have a Vox Valvetronix, it's great. I ususally play a Les Paul and a SG, the Vox has a great hard rock / classic rock sound. I had a Line 6 Spider II. The Vox is much better.
How's the Vox sound with headphones?? I'm reading up on a long thread in one guitar forum which states the sound suffers greatly on the line-out / headphones because the Vox Valve Reactor circuit is on the power amp side only and thus not utilized on the line-out. I did like the sound of the Vox from the recordings I've heard online. Of course, I don't exactly have the most discriminating ear.
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Old 01-21-08, 11:00 PM   #12
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personally I would get a small simple old tube amp and add pedals

what's an old school fender champ go for these days?
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Old 01-22-08, 08:40 AM   #13
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If your just practicing, why not get a good pair of headphones and a Line 6 Pocket POD. Lately I've been playing 1-2 hours a day just sitting on the couch watching TV.

I have a small Fender H.O.T. practice amp, but i havnet botherd pluging it in since I got the POD. I've had it for almost 20 years now. If they had had PODs back in the day, i may have never take a 12 year haitus from playing.

I agree that tube amps are the way to go for a great tone. I have a personal setting in my POD to emulate my now sold Fender Twin. I had a love/hate relationship with that thing. Great sound, tone and volume. But the damn thing weighed a ton. Schelping it to gigs and practices was a gigantic pain in the butt.
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Old 01-22-08, 08:46 AM   #14
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How long did you have it before that happened??
About 2 months, but I don't quite remember. What happened was the input jack got messed up and fell into the amp itself. It's a great amp though, I would buy a bigger one, maybe 50 watts if I had the money.
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Old 01-22-08, 08:47 AM   #15
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If your just practicing, why not get a good pair of headphones and a Line 6 Pocket POD. Lately I've been playing 1-2 hours a day just sitting on the couch watching TV.

I have a small Fender H.O.T. practice amp, but i havnet botherd pluging it in since I got the POD. I've had it for almost 20 years now. If they had had PODs back in the day, i may have never take a 12 year haitus from playing.

I agree that tube amps are the way to go for a great tone. I have a personal setting in my POD to emulate my now sold Fender Twin. I had a love/hate relationship with that thing. Great sound, tone and volume. But the damn thing weighed a ton. Schelping it to gigs and practices was a gigantic pain in the butt.
You know, you bring up the exact item that I was just looking at. I'm going back over to guitar center today at lunch to see what kind of setup I can put together for the $$$ I have to spend. The POD is certainly now on my things to look at.
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Old 01-22-08, 09:31 AM   #16
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You should. The Line 6 website has downloadable software that lets you make custom setups and download others.

I downloaded 2 of my favorite players setups, Pat Metheny and Warren Haynes, and made my own to emulate my old twin and get by just fine. The built in tuner is fabulous too. I like to play slide so im changing tunings alot.

The POD is a great piece of kit. The other thing i do is plug in my MP3 player to jam with my favoite tunes or play my mp3s from my laptop and use the 1/2 speed feature in Windows Media Player to slow the songs down to figure out the leads. Theres a line in socket on the POD for doing this. There is also an AMP out jack too so you can use the POD with an amplifier too. I set my HOT to clean and use the effects from the POD. This is all good for just practicing, but I dont recommend this for a gig rig. My gig rig was pretty simple anyway. Just a DOD Overdrive and a Morley Wah. I use the Morley Wah with the POD too.
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Old 01-22-08, 09:34 AM   #17
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If you're going to go the modeling route, the POD is the way to go. You might as well get something truly portable.
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Old 01-22-08, 09:46 AM   #18
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The Pocket POD has a belt clip built in. Cant get anymore portable than that.

If you do get one and plan to use it alot at home, get the power adapter too. It eats batteries.
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Old 01-22-08, 10:06 AM   #19
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All modeling devices have a canned sound but their versatility and portability make them good choices for a true practice 'amp'. When I travelled a lot I had a little Zoom box that I could play in hotels with the head phones. It sounded horrible but allowed me to practice chops while others in the room watched TV or something.
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Old 01-22-08, 10:26 AM   #20
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build your own tube amp and get a pedal or rack for effects.
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Old 01-22-08, 12:15 PM   #21
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Korg Pandora. Great for learning/practicing.
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Old 01-22-08, 01:00 PM   #22
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I swear I've never had as hard of a time dropping over $500 on a toy in my life. Not because I don't want to, but seems I just can't get my hands on what I want. I'm a hair shy of just ordering everything I want online and being done with it. I'd rather buy in store though, get my hands on the actual guitar and such.

Right now my shopping list includes

1) Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top Cherry Burst
2) Line 6 Pocket Pod (with AC Adapater)
3) Amp... still undecided, but with the addition of the POD, I'm considering a more simple model. Perhaps the Epiphone Valve Jr. tube amp.
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Old 01-22-08, 01:12 PM   #23
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Cuda- I should have mentioned to you before regarding sound quality with headphones:
The best headphone sound will be with an amp that has a speaker emmulator that produces
the headphone output. It sounds more like hearing a real amp that way. Note: the microcube
has a headphone jack, but no speaker emmulation. It sounds awesome on the speaker, less
awesome on the headphones.
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Old 01-22-08, 01:13 PM   #24
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I'd take the Valve Junior, especially if you like the classic tone. Mine sounds great with my SG. No headphone jack, though.

Also, if you get stuck check out the forums and lessons at www.guitarnoise.com.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:14 PM   #25
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FWIW, I use Shure EC2 ear buds with my Pocket POD. One of the cool things about the POD is that it does speaker modeling and amp modeling separately so you can mix and match sounds. But you will need a computer for this to make the job eaiser. You do your creations on the computer with the POD software you download from their site and then sync your creations to the unit. Their on-library of amp/speaker tones is impressive. Unfortunaltely it only has one Warren Haynes tone. But lucky for me it was the right one to do his slide based songs with. Someday when i get rich im gonna buy a Soldano amp.
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