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Any SS amp fans here?

Dave P

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Oct 13, 2001
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783
I know it sounds like blasphemy to mention SS amps, but there are a few I really like so I figured I would start a thread to see if there are any others here that dig them.
Here are a few I own and like:
Pearce G1r - These were like the Caddilac of SS amps back in the day, I really like the sound of them especially the overdrive.
Lab L5 - There are guys who still use these, BB King comes immediately to mind. Lots of people think they are just for clean playing, but with some knob twiddling they offer some beefy OD sounds. Also built like a brick shithouse.
Yamaha G100 212 II - Seriously overlooked gem, jazz guys love these amps, Mike Stern still uses one. Terrible overdrive, but the clean sounds are terrific, and has a great sounding reverb.
Yamaha DG80 - Holdsworth. He used them and got otherworldly tones from them. Rumour has it that Clapton is also a fan of these. Holdsworth retired them a while back, but I noticed he has been using them again.
Peavey "red stripe" Transtube amps - I kept hearing guys say good things about these. I picked one up dirt cheap and now I use it all the time for practicing while on the computer. Nice cleans and surprisingly decent overdrive sounds. Seems to take pedals really well too.

I'd love to hear about any other under the radar SS amps.
 

moonweasel

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Jan 20, 2004
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Dave P,

They are all I played during the first 8 years or so after I started, so I will always have a soft spot for them. Alas, I was all tube until a couple years ago when I went even further than regular SS and purchased a Fender G-Dec 30 for low volume stuff while sitting at the computer.

Glad I am open-minded about SS / Modeling for low-volume stuff because I have loved having the G-Dec. It has great connectivity with my computer too through USB. You can control the entire amp with your mouse so I stuff the amp way under my computer desk where I don't have to look at it.
 

Dave P

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Oct 13, 2001
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The GDecs are cool, my brother has one and i liked it a lot. I left out modeling amps because that is kind of a different kettle of fish, I know the Yamaha DG was advertised as sort of a modeling amp, but it really wasn't. But if you dig them feel free to discuss them here.
 

duaneflowers

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Aug 13, 2013
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Ethos Overdrive ordered and should be here next month... ask me again then... :salude
 

Dave P

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Oct 13, 2001
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I have an older Ethos without the amp section and it sounds great.
 

Xpensive Wino

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Nov 3, 2012
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I have a little Yamaha THR that I quite like when I can't be arsed to hook up the pedalboard and valve amps.
 

Wally

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Feb 27, 2003
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I bought a Lab Series L-5 new in 1978. IT is the only SS guitar amp that I will play through or listen to for more than 5 minutes....because it is the only one that I have heard that will produce anything close to tube harmonics. The Moog people knew what they were doing when they designed and built this amp. I sold is about 20 years ago but got it back when my friend passed 2 1/2 years ago...with all of the hang tags, schematics, manuals,....all of the paper...with it still. I am a tube amp guy, but I like to turn the knobs and show other tube players that this is one amp that will mimic almost any tube amp accurately..from a Twin Reverb to a 5F1 to a 5F6A to a high gain boogie type of thing. Not only B.B. King plays them, but at the other end of the spectrum so has Ty Tabor.
 

moonweasel

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The GDecs are cool, my brother has one and i liked it a lot. I left out modeling amps because that is kind of a different kettle of fish, I know the Yamaha DG was advertised as sort of a modeling amp, but it really wasn't. But if you dig them feel free to discuss them here.

For straight up SS, I had a Peavey Special 112 when I first started playing. It was the predecessor to the red banded ones you were mentioning. Had killer reverb and was a great all around amp.
 

roadrunner

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Aug 25, 2001
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The Vox Berkeley is one of my faves. Great sounding amp!

The Beatles were quite fond of SS amps, as was Jimmy Page.
 

Ryan Givhan

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Apr 13, 2009
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they sound fine, but none of them sound amazing.

there is a huge list of tube amps that i love, so i think i'll stick with them.
 

tdarian

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Jun 25, 2008
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As far as sounding great on a stage in a band mix the Quilter Aviator line is ridiculously good, even the little 1-8 combo.
 

Dave P

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Oct 13, 2001
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I bought a Lab Series L-5 new in 1978. IT is the only SS guitar amp that I will play through or listen to for more than 5 minutes....because it is the only one that I have heard that will produce anything close to tube harmonics. The Moog people knew what they were doing when they designed and built this amp. I sold is about 20 years ago but got it back when my friend passed 2 1/2 years ago...with all of the hang tags, schematics, manuals,....all of the paper...with it still. I am a tube amp guy, but I like to turn the knobs and show other tube players that this is one amp that will mimic almost any tube amp accurately..from a Twin Reverb to a 5F1 to a 5F6A to a high gain boogie type of thing. Not only B.B. King plays them, but at the other end of the spectrum so has Ty Tabor.

Ronnie Montrose got some kick ass sounds from them too. Holdsworth used them for a time as well.

When Dan Pearce was at Moog he was designing the follow up to the Lab L series amps, which never were produced. From what I've heard, the design later was refined and eventually produced as the Pearce G1. Since Montrose and Holdsworth were early endorsers of the G1, it all makes sense in hindsight.

Another SS amp I forgot to mention was the old Randall RG series amps. They could produce nice clean and overdriven tones when dialed in right. They also could do some fairly abrasive metal tones ala Dimebag Darrell.

I don't want this to turn into a pissing match of tubes vs SS, I own a ton of tube amps and love them. I just remain open minded to SS amps.
 

sonar

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Jan 10, 2003
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Another SS amp I forgot to mention was the old Randall RG series amps. They could produce nice clean and overdriven tones when dialed in right. They also could do some fairly abrasive metal tones ala Dimebag Darrell.

The early RG80 combo's are good amps. I've always found cleans to be lacking with SS, but the RG80 is pretty decent. I'm still not dumping my tube Fenders, but I'd gig with a Randall.

For Brian May saturation Vox made a Deacy inspired amp called the VBM-1 in the early naughts. Very much a one trick pony, but what it did was really cool and fun to play.

Some of the 80's Peavey amps can do 80's rock well. Iirc a 1-12 Backstage 30 bounced around my circle of friends back in the day. I've heard good things about the older Peavey's for country, but never really played one. In my experience older Peavey were not the best built amps, and once they started to fail you pretty much threw them away.

Yamaha made a 2-12 (late 80's or early 90's) that was a house amp in a club I used to frequent. That was a pretty good amp mic'ed up. Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none amp.

edit: I forgot to mention the 15 watt, Vox Pathfinder amps. Maybe my all around favorite, cheap SS practice amp.

I'd take any of these 5 choices over today's sterile modeling amps, except for the Fractal Audio gear.
 
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Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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Hey Dave, glad for the additional support for SS amps. Modeling amps are their own thing and I like a few. Most of my favorites have been mentioned but I'd like to add a few observations.

The Yamaha G II Series with the parametric eq are WAAAY undervalued. I have two G100112II's, basicly a 100 watt 1 12 combo with switchable channels, spring reverb and a very useful parametric eq. If you wack up the clean channel it overdrives beautifly with that sweet FET mojo. LOUD!!

As Dave said the clean channel is best clean. Clean like a Blackface Twin. Big, bold, harmonicly rich tone. This amp loves pedals. The Overdrive "Lead" channel won't do a grindy metal type distortion, but has a very smooth, singing sustain sound. Think Carlos, however there is a pull boost/fat function on both channels volume knobs for more gain. It still is sweet and not as grindy. I use a distortion box set for mayhem if I need it. Humbuckers and single coils sound good.

I love these little monsters.
 

AlvisX

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Sep 16, 2014
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JCM 800 era solid states are hard to beat . They sound just like a MARSHALL...

I've been gettin 'em fairly cheap . I've not paid over 150 bucks for one . The good thing is they used the same cabinetry / hardware as their tube counterparts

Lead 12 is a good amp for recording solos. I cant say I get a good rhythm sound out of it ...One of Mike Campbell's studio tools of choice

I found Two 5210's ,the 50w (or so) channel switcher. I actually like it better than the tube version I have



The Master Lead 30 is cool ...more like a 4010
I found this one for 99 bucks


My favorite one is the Lead 20



I like the JMP era Master Lead too.Its more ratty sounding than the JCMs
I considered guttin' it building a 2x6v6 Marshall out of it .....but then it's a piece of Marshall history , so I spared it



Looks like Bad Co used one in their tune up room ..or studio
Dont ya know.....

 
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chuckNC

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I like the JMP era Master Lead too.Its more ratty sounding than the
I considered guttin' it building a 2x6v6 Marshall out of it .....but then it's a piece of Marshall history , so I spared it

I bought one of these in 1977. Ordered it in Fawn with brown cloth. I got some good sounds out of it at low volume and used it a fair bit for recording. Gibson Melody Maker --> Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer --> Univox Pro Verb (cheap spring reverb tank) --> Master Lead was the best matchup I had. Played loud I wasn't quite so happy with it. The G12L's probably didn't help. Overall the amp did sound "Marshally" but it was missing something. Plug into a tube amp right after using it and you'd say "oh yeah, that's it!"
 

AlvisX

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Sep 16, 2014
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I bought one of these in 1977. Ordered it in Fawn with brown cloth. I got some good sounds out of it at low volume and used it a fair bit for recording. Gibson Melody Maker --> Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer --> Univox Pro Verb (cheap spring reverb tank) --> Master Lead was the best matchup I had. Played loud I wasn't quite so happy with it. The G12L's probably didn't help. Overall the amp did sound "Marshally" but it was missing something. Plug into a tube amp right after using it and you'd say "oh yeah, that's it!"

Yep, I put some WGS Green Berets in mine .....made quite a difference
I get some good tones out of it at clean volume using a "period correct" distortion device like a Ross or real DoD 250
 

chuckNC

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Yep, I put some WGS Green Berets in mine .....made quite a difference
I get some good tones out of it at clean volume using a "period correct" distortion device like a Ross or real DoD 250
I hear ya on the period correct MWD's. I had a '63 Fender Jaguar that sounded great clean through that amp. I ran it into an old EH Hot Tubes (kind of Big Muff-sounding but was supposed to emulate tube overdrive). With the stomp of a switch I went from early-60's clean to sheer brutality. The lack of sustain on the part of the guitar actually was an asset, as every other guitar I tried was just too sustainey. I had clean covered and I had "scorch" covered. All the shades in between were missing though. :laugh2:
 

CharlieS

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Dec 12, 2002
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Dave, at one time I had a Pritchard Sword of Satori 1-12 Combo. It was solid state, but really sounded like tubes. I eventually sold it because it needed to get loud to give up the goods. Heck, I'll just play a tube amp if I'm going to crank it up.
 
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