Amplifiers...

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Amplifiers...

Postby David Martin » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:53 pm

Now this is where I start to get a little controversial... feel free to dive in an argue the toss :D

Because there is no "one single Hank sound" there is, accordingly no single, solution to any of the kit choices, so if you are aiming to duplicate every Shadows' lead guitar sound, you'll need lots of money and kit, and you'll spend more time listening to the sound than playing and enjoying the music - in that direction, madness lies.

So what I'm advising here will get you - in varying degrees - a "good" Shads sound, and some of it will move you in the direction of an "authentic" Shadows sound.

First choice... are we talking bedroom playing, bedroom playing with an occasional venture to a smallish club, or all of that plus gigs with a drummer? (If you have the luxury of plugging into a PA much of what follows can be ignored!!)

Second choice... valves, transistors or a bit of both? Hang on! We're talking sounds here, not technology, so trust your ears! Take your own guitar to the shop (that's why shops are useful..) and try the amps till you get the sound you like... Don't forget that if you take someone's advice (including mine) you get all the personal prejudices thrown in for free!!

So... the tiny Vox DA5 will make great guitar sounds at volumes you won't believe, and any of the Vox Valvetronix range will give you emulations of all the great Vox amps in fine style and a whole load more... I've been playing through a VT 50 recently... not too big and will do any of the venues mentioned above....

To be continued... (more guff on amps coming up...) I'll just add some more to this a little later...
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Re: Amplifiers...

Postby David Martin » Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:36 pm

Ooo that's better... two bottles of Batemans (http://www.bateman.co.uk/) and a steak and ale pie make such a difference to the way you feel...

Other amps for consideration in the bedroom category are the Epiphone Valve Jr, Vox AC4, in fact any of the small valve amps which feature EL84 valves like original Vox amps. (Not everyone agrees with this...) and whilst they have minimal features and certainly no effects and sims built in, they all have a wonderfully warm, organic tone... authentic? Depends on your ears, but certainly good. (How about the little Fender/Gretsch amp being given away free with American Standard Fenders at present? Great amps but not, in my view, a great Shads sound...)

So no pure transistor amps then? Not so... the original Award Session Acetone and its successor the Stockton, will get you great Shads sound (including Burns era) without a valve in sight... and easily portable too.

Probably my best recommendation for a loud, portable, affordable valve combo would be the Fender Blues Junior (preferably the ltd edition with an alnico speaker)... does everything from Clapton to Hank - Fender and Burns... and for something a little more portable, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

Voxes? The Custom Classic Voxes are fine... heavy and quite expensive... I can't comment on the internals - I've leave that to Amanda, but the sound is good.

And for the ultimate modern Vox the Heritage series... 15 or 30... is about as close as you can get to the originals but with everything from a late 50's to a mid sixties sound built in... and all valves.

There are loads of amps I haven't mentioned - because I have no experience of them... Laney, Carvin, Mesa... all feature in some clubs...

Ultimately, it's what your ears tell you you're getting closer to your Shadows sound...

So there you are... a starter for 10... tin hat on... start shooting (Just wait till we get to echoes!!)

:twisted:
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Re: Amplifiers...

Postby Amanda » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:07 pm

Hi,

Re David's mention of Custom Classics, these amps have in the past
had bad press due to early problems with cheap rectifier valves (AC30CC) series
and also use of the standby switch, (this applies to other manuafcturers as well!).

The AC15CC suffered with fuse blowing problems due mainly to fuses being under rated.

In my opinion these are well built amps and I reckon if it had still been Jennings Musical
Instruments they would have made the same amps and off shore as well.

Amanda
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Re: Amplifiers...

Postby Keith Bateman » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:54 am

[quote="David Martin"]Ooo that's better... two bottles of Batemans (http://www.bateman.co.uk/) and a steak and ale pie make such a difference to the way you feel...

Have you been at my ale again David?!!! Seriously, the XXB is good stuff not to mention the Rosey Nosey at Christmas. :)

Keith
(CAMRA member and home brewer extraordinaire)
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Re: Amplifiers...

Postby petercreasey » Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:11 am

Keith Bateman wrote:
David Martin wrote:Ooo that's better... two bottles of Batemans (http://www.bateman.co.uk/) and a steak and ale pie make such a difference to the way you feel...

Have you been at my ale again David?!!! Seriously, the XXB is good stuff not to mention the Rosey Nosey at Christmas. :)

Keith
(CAMRA member and home brewer extraordinaire)



It's not the beer that gets me that sound.... Its the Mushey peas!! :lol:
Peter

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You grow old when you stop playing
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Re: Amplifiers...

Postby Martyn » Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:43 pm

David Martin wrote:So no pure transistor amps then? Not so... the original Award Session Acetone and its successor the Stockton, will get you great Shads sound (including Burns era) without a valve in sight... and easily portable too.
Probably my best recommendation for a loud, portable, affordable valve combo would be the Fender Blues Junior (preferably the ltd edition with an alnico speaker)... does everything from Clapton to Hank - Fender and Burns... and for something a little more portable, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.


I'd almost forgotten the Award Session Stockton as that was often quoted as giving the best Shads tones and was specifically marketed as such by the one man maker. Trouble is, as with many cottage industry one man outfits, he struggled a bit and his website says he no longer trades. I contacted the guy who took over retailing them who said he's received no amps from the maker and couldn't foresee a time when they'd reappear. A shame as it appeared to tick all the boxes to me and I've never seen one pop up on eBay or anywhere else.

I'm still looking for an all singing & dancing amp that doubles up for home and club use but which allows me to bypass the internal speaker so I can record late at night into the computer with me using headphones. I believe most valve amps don't or can't facilitate this and I think (correct me if I've got it wrong) the Fender range don't offer this facility either. I bought a Vox AD60VT a while back but that proved unreliable and it went the same way it arrived, via eBay, which has left me wary of Vox amps other than the AC30/15s. Again, these don't have the bypass facility and would probably be unsuitable even if they did because I think all valve amps need to be cranked up quite loud to get the proper sounds and for home usage that's not practical.
I've played through one of our club member's Tech 21 Trademark 60 amps, which was most impressive. These New york built amps have a good reputation and there's a Power Engine 60 cab they do, which is just an amplification unit with speaker so the sounds you create aren't coloured in any way. For this I'd use my TonelabST to create the Vox AC30/15 simulation and just amplify it using the Power Engine. The later units used Celestions and are more sought after but these amps rarely pop up second hand. Can be bought new, though.

Just my few thoughts so far.
Regards,
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Re: Amplifiers...

Postby David Martin » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:55 am

I would suggest you acquire whatever valve amp takes your fancy (though I've been using a Vox VT50 recently for rock purposes and it's been fine - now built in Vietnam!) and a Korg Ampworks (discontinued) but still around which will give you really authentic Vox (and a whole lot more) noises for headphone and recording use... you can even play your backing tracks into it for headphone use...
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Re: Amplifiers...

Postby Martyn » Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:41 pm

Hi David,
How do you rate the little Ampworks unit? I've seen folk asking for them and then a few weeks later putting one up for sale again, so not having used or heard one, I'm curious. I've also seen various reviews on a couple of sites where some rated them quite highly whereas others complained of noise or background hissing etc, which is why I've not really given them more serious attention. Didn't want to buy one without hearing it first and I've not heard Shads material recorded with one - as far as I'm aware, that is.
I'm reasonably content with my TonelabST but always on the inevitable lookout for alternatives . . . :roll:
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Re: Amplifiers...

Postby Pat Seaman » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:11 pm

Hi Martyn,

Unless I'm mistaken ...........always possible.............the innards of the Ampworks are pretty similar to your Tonelab, so probably not worth worrying about.

Pat.
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Re: Amplifiers...

Postby David Martin » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:21 pm

Suspect that Pat is right... Noise? Not had a problem myself...

Bit of a "marmite" thing I reckon...

Here's a demo I made for the Legend EP direct recording using an Ampworks... no drums, just me, a guitar and Ampworks. Was aiming for an Atlantis type sound on my Burns...
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