No longer the preserve of the well heeled, a valve guitar amp can be surprisingly affordable these days…
When you’re aiming to get the best guitar tone possible, one piece of equipment always seems to figure- a valve guitar amp.
Producing tone with legendary rich tone, and astonishing dynamic performance, there really is no substitute for real valves.
Once upon a time, owning a valve amp required a serious financial commitment. These days, however, the huge increase in demand for tube amps at the more affordable end of the spectrum has meant that you can you get your hands on some glowing tubes for a surprisingly low price.
Here are four great examples…
Fender is no stranger to hybrid digital-tube technologies, but one of its most recent amps provided this at an unprecedented low price.
The Champ X2 combines valve guitar amp technology (it’s equipped with a 12AX7 pre-amp valve, and two 6V6 power amp valve) with its incredibly popular FUSE modelling tech.
Essentially, channel 1 is a clean valve channel (with all of Fender’s classic sparkle and warmth), and channel 2 offers all of the modelling technology. So, it can emulate countless amps, edit sounds via a host computer, and even record to a DAW via USB.
The Marshall brand is now synonymous with the valve amplifier, having graced the stages of the musical world since 1962, the people there tend to know a thing or two about crafting great valve amplifiers for all styles, and budgets. The Marshall DSL5C Electric Guitar Combo Amplifier is a great option for those who want an all valve sound without breaking the bank, or their back! Packed inside this easy to carry box is a two channel, all-valve combo guitar amplifier with 1 x Celestion Ten 30 speaker that provides a huge amount of attitude.
The two channels i.e. Classic Gain and Ultra Gain give you some great tonal options and plenty of room to explore all facets of music. If you want traditional vintage tones, then the Classic gain is for you, however if you want to really add some power to your riffs the Ultra Gain can really kick your sound up a notch (or 10) providing bone crunching distortion. The master volume knob ensures you can get that driven valve sound at low volumes whilst Marshall’s very useful high/low Power Shift, allows you to change the output power and reduce it from 5 watts to 1 watt – perfect for practicing at home. It’s an all valve amplifier at a fraction of the cost.
Fender have introduced their new Bassbreaker series of amps for 2016 and the results are simply stunning. Fortunately these all valve amplifiers come in a range of options, so whether you’re a touring musician, home recording specialist or just want something easy to lug from practice and home again, you have a wide range of different sized combos and cab/head sets to choose from.
Here we have the very impressive Fender Bassbreaker 007 combo. Yes it’s small in size, but don’t think for a second that this thing won’t blow your windows out if you crank it. Packed with 12AX7 and EL84 tubes for a dynamic range of tone, a 10 inch celestion speaker and 7 watts of pure power, it’s capable of handling smaller sized venues, practice rooms or studio work with ease. Go from gorgeous crystal clear tones to humbucker style drive and use the treble boost switch with caution; this thing bites. Check out the full range here.
If you’ve ever hankered after real valve amp tone, there’s never been a better time to get it…