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  • jazzalicious changed the title to Tube amps for jazz

Are you wanting "clean" clean or with a little "squish" to it?

Maybe dig up a Gibbons GA20. Hard to go wrong with a Fender Deluxe (or clone or something crazy similar). I'm in a small group on this next one but I LOVE the AC15. I had a Vox AC15HW for a few years. I recently let it go in favor of my Strymon Iridium that could get a strikingly similar tone/texture/feel to my liking.

I like to go after smokey cleans. Clean enough to hear everything but some obvious saturation.

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Lots and lots of great choices out there.  I have been using A Fender Princeton, 15 watts and a Fender Reverb Deluxe, 22 watts.  There is a more headroom in the Deluxe. Both sound great to my ear.  I would figure out how much you want to spend, do your research on the internet. Then, if possible go out and try your top four or five choices to determine what sound you like best, and buy it, Happy hunting and let us know what you purchase.

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When I think of jazz guitar tones , I hear a clean, round and woody ,a mid range that is punchy with a clear percussive attack if needed.

I'm not a jazz player but I've sat in with some pretty good ones.

The ones that stood out were using F hole, arch tops with Bartolini pickups.

They also ran solid state amps or direct into the board even though these guys were tube fanatics.

If I was going the tube route I would be looking at something with a solid state rectifier and a front end that will absolutely not distort.

Speaker consideration would be something in the order of an EV, RCF or some of the Jensen neo's that are quite nice.

High efficiency is key.

 Depending on the volume that you will need: duo v.s. full band with horns..etc will obviously be the deciding wattage factor .

Depending on picky you are about your tone...you may have to tweak  a donor amp ( tube / speaker change) or have something built for your needs.

 Off the top, nothing comes to mind but now I'm curious as to what may be out there.

If I find anything, I'll post...good luck with your search.

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As others have said, this is going to depend a LOT on what type of clean do you want. Especially what type of HIGHS you want.   I see a lot of people recommending the Fender Blues and Blues deluxe.  Also the VOX AC15 or AC30.

The VOX and Fender sound are quite a bit different.

If you want something CRYSTAL clean, Carvin made the vintage series amps to have just that kind of clean channel. THey used that on a lot of their amps actually. But it can almost be TOO clean, but for Jazz, some people want that.  Others want a more woody percussive sound.

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I remember hearing a lot of jazz guys using the Roland JC40 or JC120.   Ultra clean, choose how much volume you need.

I'm not a jazz player, but I'm guessing my 65 Princeton clone would do pretty well.   Of course my Heritage Patriot would do great but they aren't widely available.  

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I really like my Headstrong Lil' King --tweaked Princeton circuit, but with a 12 rather than a 10.  Lighter than a Deluxe Reverb design, a little more color at low volume.  It doesn't, however, do that absolute clean kind of Roland/etc. sound, so, if that's your target, this is not a good option.

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2 hours ago, kennyv4 said:

Lots and lots of great choices out there.  I have been using A Fender Princeton, 15 watts and a Fender Reverb Deluxe, 22 watts.  There is a more headroom in the Deluxe. Both sound great to my ear.  I would figure out how much you want to spend, do your research on the internet. Then, if possible go out and try your top four or five choices to determine what sound you like best, and buy it, Happy hunting and let us know what you purchase.

The Princeton is FABULOUS and shame on me for not mentioning it. I played a Princeton with a 12 and loved it! 

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18 minutes ago, 111518 said:

I really like my Headstrong Lil' King --tweaked Princeton circuit, but with a 12 rather than a 10.  Lighter than a Deluxe Reverb design, a little more color at low volume.  It doesn't, however, do that absolute clean kind of Roland/etc. sound, so, if that's your target, this is not a good option.

What's particularly interesting about Rolands is that the much maligned Distortion knob can add a bit of low-level, lo-fi grit that I've found really, really nice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For what this is worth, I use the first amp I ever built as my living room practice amp. The biggest difference between this one and all the others I built is that this one uses (2) JJ 6V6GTs in the power output section at about 400V running in parallel class A. If you built something with say, an older Gibbons front end, like on the BR-6, you could end up with a nice, warm amp, putting out about 8-10 watts, and your "cleanliness" of the output power would depend a lot on the output transformer used. I believe mine is a Hammond 125SE, but I could be wrong. I'll have to look at it today, as I have to clean the pots in the high gain section; 15+ years will get a bit of crackle on the pots. As well, you could put together the old Fender reverb unit with a tremolo section, and throw that in front of the amp to get a bit more versatility without crushing the tone.

Just an idea. Class A isn't the way to go for metal, but is sure works wonders on classic rock and blues, IMO.

rooster.

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On 11/6/2020 at 8:46 PM, jazzalicious said:

Any recommendations? Ideally around 20 watts or slightly more or less. 

Love my Vintage Sound 20.  Princeton based circuit, bigger transformer, 20 watts, great build quality, solid cabinet and at warm 12” speaker.  VS makes a “jazz” specific voiced version which is what I have.  I’ve posted pics recently in other threads but let me know if you want to see it.  

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If I were in the market fro a jazz amp I'd check out Fender's Tone Master Deluxe Reverb or Twin Reverb.

They're lightweight, solid state and sound very close to their tube counterparts.  I really like the new blonde/oxblood Twin!

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1 minute ago, kennyv4 said:

Gitfiddler, have you tried out any of the Fender Tone Masters yet?  For that matter, has anyone tried them out?  I have not seen them in any music store yet.

No I have not.  That's why I wrote that I would 'check them out' if in the market. 

There are a few posters over on The Jazz Guitar Forum who have purchased either the Tone Master DR or Twin and their comments were very favorable. 

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2 minutes ago, Gitfiddler said:

No I have not.  That's why I wrote that I would 'check them out' if in the market. 

There are a few posters over on The Jazz Guitar Forum who have purchased either the Tone Master DR or Twin and their comments were very favorable. 

While I have not played these newer models, I was impressed by the old Fender Cyber Twin a few years back.   If you are willing to try solid state, there are a lot of good options as suggested  above like Polytone Minibrute and Roland Jazz Chorus.

Also if solid state is ok for you- I often use a little  Acoustic Image Clarus 2R with a 12" cabinet and it sounds great.  Super small and light.  Fits easily in a backpack with all my cables, strap, power-strip, Real Book or iPad, etc.  With the right cabinet or DI into the PA I love the sound.   So simple, portable, reliable, low maintenance and fuss.   It has built in delay and reverb to add some richness.  Pat Martino plays this amp.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The venue dictates what amp I use. I only use “old school” tube amps even though one of them is only a few years old. I have a Tungsten Creamawheat that is great for jazz. It is a 20 watt tweed deluxe. I roll the tone knob back to get a warm tone and I jump the channels to lower the headroom. I usually start to get good warm tone about 3 on the volume dial with the other volume on 8. This is good for a clean tone that might break up if I really push it. This is good with a drummer and some horns and big bands. 
 

if there are not any drums or a small club I go to a 5 watt SF champ that I modified. I changed the tone stack caps to Marshall values and added a mid knob. This warmed the amp up and allowed me to play jazz at lower volumes than the stock amp would do, it was just too bright. If I tried to use the 20 watt amp in a small club I would be in trouble in no time. The 5 water is my most used amp. I use it in breweries and dinner club settings. Places where people want to see you but not really hear you. The 5 watter allows me to set the volume like the 20 watter so that if I push really hard it will just start to break up but 99% of the time it is clean. The volume is not too loud but I also always put a screen in front of the amp no mater what type of gig I’m playing. It is the fastest way to make friends with bar owners and sound guys. 
 

I am very curious about the new Fender Tone Master Deluxe for its ability to go very low volume but still be warm and it really isn’t very pricey. I’m a tube amp lover but this new solid state has me wondering......... 

The most important thing really is volume. I have found that low volume is super important and a warm tube amp get me the most compliments on my tone. I think most people remember this in a pleasing way more than they do the actual playing. It is sad but true. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I tried out the Fender Tone Master Twin yesterday.  Very light amp, sounds good, but no where as good as a tube Twin Reverb amp.  IMO at a cost of one thousand dollars  it's not worth buying.

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I may have posted this before but can’t remember....A bass player I work with a lot is the engineer for a public radio show called Live From the Divide. They bring in people from Steve Earle, Tommy Emmanuel, David Wilcox, etc....some pretty heavy hitters. A lot of these folks have a rider wanting a Deluxe. Doc picked up a tonemaster deluxe for the show and didn’t tell the players until after the shows. All were completely fooled having no idea they were playing through a modeled amp. Instead of using the processing power to do multiple things, all of the power is dedicated to one thing....the sound of a fender deluxe. The only drawback I have heard about is that you don’t get a choice of speakers as this one is designed specifically for the tonemaster and putting a celestial or Weber or whatever in it just doesn’t sound better.

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45 minutes ago, kennyv4 said:

I tried out the Fender Tone Master Twin yesterday.  Very light amp, sounds good, but no where as good as a tube Twin Reverb amp.  IMO at a cost of one thousand dollars  it's not worth buying.

I tried the Deluxe next to a DRRI and preferred to DRRI but did think that the TMDR sounded alright.

Originally I thought the TMDR was quite a good buy for the price in comparison to the DRRI but after trying it Im not so sure.

Sounded good and was light vs not really the sound and I don't need a light amp.

tbh, I was just tire kicking when I was looking at them, I wasnt considering either the DRRI or the TMDR, I was just satisfying my curiosity.

 

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On 12/17/2020 at 10:41 AM, rwinking said:

I may have posted this before but can’t remember....A bass player I work with a lot is the engineer for a public radio show called Live From the Divide. They bring in people from Steve Earle, Tommy Emmanuel, David Wilcox, etc....some pretty heavy hitters. A lot of these folks have a rider wanting a Deluxe. Doc picked up a tonemaster deluxe for the show and didn’t tell the players until after the shows. All were completely fooled having no idea they were playing through a modeled amp. Instead of using the processing power to do multiple things, all of the power is dedicated to one thing....the sound of a fender deluxe. The only drawback I have heard about is that you don’t get a choice of speakers as this one is designed specifically for the tonemaster and putting a celestial or Weber or whatever in it just doesn’t sound better.

The speaker thing is interesting. One thing I like to do is play around with speakers because they can make such a big difference. Sometimes I like a 15” or a British or an American. They can all sound good in a particular amp but bring out different tones. It’s like changing your hair to suit your mood. 
 

I think it is fascinating that they didn’t notice the difference. I imagine once it is in the mix and it does what it is supposed to do it sounds great. They also weight next to nothing and have attenuation that can allow them to be very versatile. If they break down though you might have to send it to MIT to get it fixed. 

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