I had to sell my early 70's Fender Twin Reverb a couple years ago. The amp was the previous possession of one Bruce Johnston of Beach Boys fame (or so i was told by the Nashville broker in 1996) and was just a marvelous-sounding piece of equipment once the tubes got nice and hot. Ever since then I've been "borrowing" a friends modified Carvin Belair. I was never a fan of Carvin gear, but that Belair (with some small mods done to the wiring) is perhaps the sweetest amp I have ever used. For that chiming, clean tone with gobs of warmth, I can only compare it to a boutique amp, like a Bogner or Dr. Z. costing five times the price. Using it with my 1978 Ibanez 2635 hollowbody, a Boss compressor, Ibanez tube screamer, Boss RC 20XL loop station and an Akai Headrush was a marriage(s) made in heaven-- an even better fit for me than the classic (and much more expensive) Fender Twin.
Well, a few months ago, my borrowing privileges were revoked and I sadly had to give the old gal back to her owner. The only amp in my possession now is a tiny Peavey practice amp, which obviously sounds like dung and is useful to me as a Dan Deacon-style "feedback oscillator" and nothing else.
I'm in the market for a small tube amp-- a 10" or 12" speaker, under $500 bucks, but something with major attitude and tone...
Amps that I've got my eye on right now:
* the Carvin Nomad-- basically a smaller version of the Belair (1X12) Same sweet tone and similar wiring. Also, easily modified via a couple snips and solders to the board. Even out-of-the-box it's got a pretty impressive sound.
*Fender Blues Junior-- (anyone have one of these little suckers?) -- a lot has been written about these amps. Their definitely workhorses. You can buy them for under $300 used, and for a couple hundred dollars you can upgrade the speaker and tubes to give you a very tight little setup. For a little more, you can apply BillM's modifications to the circuit board and get something close to a boutique amp with striking tone and clarity.
Any suggestions fellow guitarists? What are you currently using?
The second item on my list is the Electro Harmonix POG (polyphonic octave generator) which churns out a nice twelve-string emulation as well as a some cool, almost analog synth-sounding effects. But the hook for me is the semi-Hammond organ sound you can squeeze from it. A novelty pedal of sorts, but looks and sounds like SO much fun. I love toys. Demo here for anyone who hasn't seen it in action.
Edited by coltrane, 02 November 2007 - 09:41 AM.