Trying to find the right amp in life can be tricky and a life time search.

I am after advise on what is the best smallish gigging amp.

So far this is what have learnt on the various experimental trials I have made,

for the right sounding amp. The problem is still not resolved can you help?

1) Basic transistors amps can sound a bit flat

2) These sound way better with reverb

3) A valve in the circuit sound better (but the AX12 valve doesn't sound great)

4) This then lead me to combo amps with valve and effects

5) Valves sound better and more three dimensional, these need to be driven to get better distortion effect.

6) If you drive valves with valves pedals or over drive pedals this helps them come alive

7) But this leads you to what valves, I have tried  some EL84 mullards and these sound ok  

What valves have the best sound? 6v6, El84, etc?

Valve circuits can be noisey and lots of hiss and buzz for recording

8) This then lead me to "Rat amps" which modify valve amps and remove the noise from the circuit for recording

and offer power scaling, so you can turn it down but still sound crunchy. These are great see my Bugera rat amp and rat Grainger (Epiphone copy) amps (small 5 watt amps).

9) External speakers sound better than combo speakers, a 12inch has more bass then a 10" and pushes air

this is about all you would want to carry as they weight. 

However a four 10" also sound possibly better than 1 x 12" but vary depending on makes.( leads you to Jensen and vintage speakers etc)

10) I have no found some 2 no 2 x 10 inch 80's jap celestrians ( £20 each bargain.. see bugstack!) which sound pretty darn good (I may have preferred 2 x 12's if it was a big venue but still lightish and portable)

11) But am now back to the issue of what head unit to drive them with.

12) I like the sounds of Orange valve amps but these have no reverb (unless you go to stupid money), 

13) Hence I am on the quest for best valves to use and what second hand head to aim for?.

I hear Messa boogey are very good, but they may be beyond my badly listed ebay bargain bucket budget.

Hence I'm after any tips to the way to go on getting that Holy grail of sound...

I know the old Marshall stuff used to use a certain type of valve in old vintage stuff, but what is the holy grail of amp heads for sound? EC83 and EL84?

Now how can you get this on the cheap?.  

Here is some of my experimentation with amps etc:

Your help and ideas are greatly appreciated..

Views: 677

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion


Hi Bug,

Got me thinking about an article I read a few weeks ago. It was a Premier Guitar Magazine interview with David Jung about this very topic...small tube amp heads. Specifically, "sleeper amps", or "awesome amps" that were overlooked for the more popular brands of the day.

The article mentions and discusses the 60's Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve. You can read here: http://

And guess what? I found one (and yes, it also has true reverb too) on eBay for a deal and a steal. It's been re-capped, serviced, and fresh tubes installed. The price? Well, it's so good, I may just have to get it.

Ha, actually, I won't. Here's the listing: http://

Cheers Scott

What I sussed out is that a lot of these amps use the same valves and half the battle is knowing the best ones to aim for.. point for point wiring is said to sound better and the old components probably do to too

Some older amps make a lot of hiss and noise which i find distracting especially if recording.

what your take on the new

Roland blues Cube?

The take is they have got transistors to react like valve do,,do we believe them?

Been watching Rob Chapman on Youtube, from Anderton's Music in the UK doing a review of the Roland Blues Cube. Judging by their reactions, and how the amp sounds, it is a very compelling and great sounding amp. It has some great features too! The price for the two models, the Stage 60 watt, at around 430 pounds and the Artist 80 watt at 539 pounds. Actually, is a fair price for what the amps are.

Bonus is that tran amps are more reliable, durable, lighter, and best of all, there aren't any tubes that eventually need replacing (which takes a huge bite out of the wallet).

Yeh I'm sold but not sure the sound is quite there on it
Plan to try one (prob can't afford one)


For gigging, the brutal reality is that the audience don't give a sh*t about what sort of amp you are using. Nobody stopped going to see BB King because he used Gibson Lab Series transistor amps instead of Fender Twin Reverbs. Gigging is about performing for an audience and putting on an entertaining show. There is no Holy Grail of tone, its a fruitless waste of time and money trying to find it.

All you need is that the amp sounds OK, is loud enough and it won't fail you. That's all you need. Have the confidence to find your own sound from what you've got to hand, and go for it. Commitment, passion and skill will make you sound better than any "Holy Grail" of rigs. 


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Nylon Strings

Started by Mark Rinehart in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Taffy Evans on Sunday. 2 Replies


Started by Lennox Gavin in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Tim Pannabecker Mar 17. 3 Replies

Problem CGB

Started by Thomas Rasmussen in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by Thomas Rasmussen Mar 14. 18 Replies

Blog Posts

Pickups and pots.

Posted by Daniel Walter on March 26, 2019 at 10:31am 0 Comments

Pickup mounting options

Posted by Terry Brennan on March 15, 2019 at 11:27am 6 Comments

Buy, Sell, Trade

Posted by Don Craig on March 12, 2019 at 8:00am 4 Comments

Latest Activity

Daniel Walter posted photos
7 minutes ago
Daniel Walter commented on Dave Lynas's photo

Added some style

"i echo Maddog: WOW. nice scraps."
9 minutes ago
AGP # commented on Mark C's photo

Meet Béla

""Bellissima"  :-)"
9 minutes ago
AGP # liked Mark C's photo
9 minutes ago
RTZGUITARS commented on Clarky's video

Misirlou - Dick Dale & The Del Tones - Cigar Box Guitar Play Along

"Nice had to be done. he had more energy at 80 then I do now."
12 minutes ago
the anonymous pick commented on Daniel Walter's photo

Meditation Spoon Guitar

12 minutes ago
AGP # commented on RTZGUITARS's video

The Black And White Days

"Epic Production RTZ, had a quick look through and sounds & looks good, but!, will have to…"
14 minutes ago
the anonymous pick commented on the anonymous pick's photo


"le boo! ;-)"
18 minutes ago
AGP # commented on Clarky's video

Misirlou - Dick Dale & The Del Tones - Cigar Box Guitar Play Along

"Woweeeeeeeeeeee, that's some mighty quick pickin' Clarky, don't know if your on…"
18 minutes ago
RTZGUITARS posted a video

The Black And White Days

RTZGUITARS is 7 years old so I'm posting old B&W vids that don't play on androidsHobo Bill 0:01 Love In Vain 2:38 Autumn Leaves 6:38 Fool Hearted Memory 9:55...
19 minutes ago
AGP # liked Clarky's video
21 minutes ago
JB liked BeetleJuice!'s photo
33 minutes ago



© 2019   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->