I have a 100watt Marshall Combo Tube Amp. It is WAY TOO POWERFUL for anything at church. I usually have the volume set at .5 out of 10 and it is still pretty loud. Plus it has dual 12's so this thing is big and heavy and I get to haul it to church everytime I play.


My church has given me permission to buy an amp for them. I am thinking a 2 channel, 8 - 15 watt tube amp with one 12 inch or 10 inch speaker. I would prefer something under $700 but it needs to sound good. I am not really interested in Fender. Their crunch is horrid! However, I could try them again. I am looking for an amp that would be a very good all around amp. I use humbucker pickups but other guitarists at church may use single coils.


What do you think?

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I really hope you don't mind me butting in this discussion but could I ask for some advise.  I hadn't used my amp for a few weeks and it has been sitting around at a friends house.  When I went to use it the other night I couldn't get anything out of it. I twiddled the master volume knob and it was very crackly.  Eventually I got some volume out of it.  Same thing happened the next time, it kicked in after twiddling about.  As far as I know it's not been moved or damaged in any way.......any ideas.


Oh, bad situation. What brand/model of amp is it? Troubleshooting amps can be difficult. If it's a tube amp, power tubes can cause this. Is it new enough to be under warranty? How old is it? So many things here.

BTW - I saw the word "kicked" and thought you said that you kicked the amp. LOL. You might try that, it can be a valuable diagnostic tool. Just make sure to contact it squarely on the side...

Make/model etc required. It could be something as simple as dirty contacts somewhere or a loose connection.


Sorry for late reply.....it's a 60 watt Laney A1 dedicated acoustic amplifier.  It's about five years old. but not been used a great deal.  I've looked after it well, but like I said it's not at my house at the moment and had previously stood unused for a few weeks. 

Thanks guys.

This depends on several things such as available funds and type of music you play and the desired output

I would consider that an valve driven amp will probably give the best sound. At present my household has the Orange TA 30 and a Black Star Studio 20 these are good work horses. I also have a Fender Super Champ 20 that I use for practice

We also have some other amps but these need a bit of attention. mainly Super 002 Line Amp th is has quite a few effects fed to an Valve output quite useful. and a Session 75 watt not bad for socail events.




Henry Talman


I've just got back from holiday, and it looks like this thread is already well established.

I've been a small-combo user for about 20 years now: used to use an AC30 everywhere, but found it too loud for anything less than congregations of about 800-1000. There are some general rules of thumb for tonal qualities that may help (sorry if this is more technical than you want):

Output valves

EL84 (vox AC15 & 30, Peavy classic 30, Marshall 18 watt & clones) tend to be lighter and brighter toned, with good clean sparkle, a nice crunch in the mids and less bass thump and fatness.

6L6/5881 (many classic Fenders, Boogeys) do nice cleans, having a slightly mid-scooped tone and more top end extension. Can thump in the bass too, but may not do crunch so well.

EL34 (classic Marshall valve, also some Boogeys and the Vox AC50) does a great crunch but can be a bit thin sounding if not pushed a little.

There are a lot of really great amps out there that should be within your budget. Look for Blackstar, Jet City Amplification, VHT, Vox modellers (go higher on the wattage - perceived volume of a 50W SS amp is lower than a 15W valve amp) Tech 21 (SS modelling) Peavy, Laney. If you like the idea of a Marshall 18watt clone then for a really great build you could order one from Ceriatone pre-built

I have 3 fave amps: a Ceriatone 18 watt Marshall clone (EL84) 15 watt 2 channel Fender/Soldano type (6V6 based, sounds like 6L6s) and a Pignose G40V (6L6 based, more or less a tiny Fender Bassman). For low volume work I prefer to use the amp clean and reasonably fat sounding, getting overdrive & distortion sounds from a separate drive pedal (Visual sound Jekyll & Hyde). I can play for as few as 15 people and it will still sound good, but can also open up if needed for 300 odd.

Just one more thing - speakers. Some speakers deliver low volume tone much better than others, and some can need a bit of cabinet 'tweaking' to help too. Many speakers sound either thin or harsh at low volume, or will deliver poor overdrive sounds. In my experience Celestions need to be pushed a bit before sounding good, unless they are quite old. From current speakers I use 2 from Eminence: the Red Fang (12" alnico, 30W, expensive) and the Ragin Cajun (10" ceramic, 75W, cheaper, needed a little foam in the back of the cab to reduce harshness). Both are highly efficient at turning watts into volume, both work well at a range of volume levels and sound good both clean and with overdrive. If you find an amp you like but the tone isn't *quite* there then try a speaker swap.

Just noticed reading through you asked about a Bugera V22. I've heard one played (and a V5) a few years back and it sounded really nice at lower volume. Bugera have a bad rep for reliability (and the early ones were bad - some caught fire, many failed quite early) but for the last few years they've made some good sounding clones and own designs that seem more reliable. At the music show where I heard them they sounded better to me than many of the other big name amps, and I would have been happy to try one if I'd had time to queue.

Tony - do you feel that the AC15 is a good stand in for the AC30 in lower volume situations? It's been a long standing thought of mine to own one. If money were to permit, the hand wired one looks good. Even better, the heritage one with the EF86.

This may shock you a little, but I've no *personal* experience of the AC15. However I *understand* that it does not sound like an AC30, being more marshally in standard form. A friend owns an AC15, and the little I've heard of it sounds quite conventional compared to an AC30. The AC30 top boost circuit affects tone a lot for that channel, and the normal channel is very dark, at least on the original designs. Some have a reverb/trem channel too (mine does) which gives more or less normal tones.

This is actually not a surprise. I did own a Laney VC30 for a while and it was a nice amp. Not quite a Vox sound, but not exactly Marshall either. I'm not sure why I got rid of it.

Probably because it didn't hit any particular spot either (something Peavey amps suffer from too) and just sounded OK without being either great or terrible.

I had an AOR30 for a little while, and could never get a sound out of it that I was happy with - always sounded thin and characterless, or loose and flubby or woolly and unclear. I changed the speaker, opened the back in different sized openings, wadding, valve swaps, all kinds of stuff. It was made of the lightest, cheapest chipboard too. Sold it for a profit and the purchaser moved it on after a year or 2 as well. I recently heard someone record a clip through one (using a Golden Cello pedal) and it sounded thin and ratty all over again. Laney can sound good, but their older, smaller amps not so much.

I have to say that my 2nd favorite amp was my Marshal Silver Jubilee 25/50 combo. It was a short run in the '80s to celebrate Marshall's 25th anniversary. It ran EL84s and I loved the tone. It developed problems and I went back to Boogies and stayed there. If I could find one of those again I'd consider it. I occasionally see them on eBay for about 3x what they originally went for new. I won't play that game...

I like Fender :-) I have twin on stage, one bass and one acoustic JR amp.


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