I have never played through a real tube amp..

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by AwakenTheSkies, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. AwakenTheSkies

    AwakenTheSkies SS.org Regular

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    It's almost embarrassing to say it, guitar has been a huge part of my life since many years ago, I have practiced like hell, I have recorded albums of my own & my friends bands in my bedroom. But I have never played through a real tube amp. Yikes, I guess?

    I guess for economic reasons and space and loudness reasons too. When I did have enough money to buy a tube amp, I just bought a Helix LT instead, seemed much more complete for what I was doing. A bit crazy to think about..

    Anyone can relate? Have a similar confession?

    :cheers::mk:
     
  2. Dayn

    Dayn SS.org Regular

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    I've played one in a store. At the time I only had solid state amps to compare with, not even any modelers. It certainly had a very rich sound to it, though it was more the feeling of the air being pushed that got me. I have no complaints, it sounded great.

    I remember that sound, and the software amps these days sound as good, if not better. So I'll never own one and I'll keep to my software.
     
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  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Nothing to be ashamed of really. That's just the times these days. You don't need a tube amp anymore. Heck you don't even need an amp now.

    561AB154-6436-4B3F-A092-B5CC72F64831.png
     
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  4. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade John Bohlinger's Dank Stash

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    Tubes are a choice, not a privilege.
     
  5. mongey

    mongey SS.org Regular

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    the reality is tubes are an old technology that are only getting older and more niche with time

    There will be a point where supply and demand will shoot prices up. And tube amps will become more rare in the wild.
    10 years , 20 maybe? Who knows but the days are numbered.
    There will be a day when most people have never played a tube amp.

    times change. But hopefully I’m dead by then.
     
  6. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    When I started playing guitar tube amps where prohibitevely expensive in my home country. Even a new Peavey and Marshall amp was way too expensive, let alone something like Mesa. Especially for a Uni student that his parents didn't have deep pockets. And of course they were really loud. So I played solid state and whatever modeling technology was out and relatively cheap. I remember the Line 6 bean pod being the bees knees.

    The revelation came when I bought my first tube amp head. It was just, wow! But the problem with tube amps is weight, size, loudness and maintenance. I haven't played any of the newer modelling technology (maybe I should give some quality plug ins a go when I buy a new PC). If I can get the same sound without all the clutter then I'm game lol!
     
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  7. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    It's less it has to be a tube amp and more playing stupidly loud is plain fun. But the internet will tell you playing loud has to be done with a tube amp for the full experience.

    The end goal with any amp is it needs to make a sound you like to hear.
     
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  8. beerandbeards

    beerandbeards Majestic Shoveler

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    Man I sure do love the sound of my Mesa turned up. I don’t even play out anymore so it’s not a necessity but it makes me happy to crank my amp in the basement.
     
  9. Avedas

    Avedas SS.org Regular

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    I've only actually owned a single tube amp (I miss you F-30). Played through a ton more though, and using tube amps is probably my favorite part of going to rehearsal spaces. However, I don't see myself owning another one in the future. Just not very practical for my living and playing situation.
     
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  10. thebeesknees22

    thebeesknees22 SS.org Regular

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    You made the right choice.

    @AwakenTheSkies

    I was an early adopter of digital when it first became a thing way back in 2000. It always seemed to me like it was the way things would go due to the cost and versatility. I didn't really go tubes until the Line6 dt25 came out, and then my dad gave me his marshall JCM2000 that he wasn't using. But I sold the DT25, and the JCM just collects dust. I'm in an apartment so I can't crank it, which takes the fun out of having a tube amp. :(

    You're not really missing out on anything. They're noisy. They collect dust. They require maintenance. etc....They're not nearly as versatile, and they're really expensive.

    I pretty much just use Helix native at home. But... it's really fun to crank a tube amp when you can. Are they worth the price tag? no. You'll get waaaay more bang for the buck going digital, and you'll end up with a better product since you can spend all that cash you save on other gear. It sounds like you're big into recording so I would take that cash you save and put it towards some really nice plugins for mixing. You'll end up with a way better mix at the end of the day.

    Anyway, I've pretty much always been digital solely for the versatility and bang for the buck. Gear is expensive. ..gear is even more expensive now. If you're on a budget, I wouldn't go tube. They're fun, and they look cool...but make sure you plan for your end goal so you can end up with the best product you can if you're recording.
     
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  11. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    we're really living in a golden age of cheap tube amps and cabs...

    try one.

    after the whole covid thing is done and prices go back to normal.
     
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  12. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    Well, it’s definitely not necessary to play through one in order to call yourself a guitarist, but it’s an experience I think most guitarists should have at least once or twice. If anything, just to have an idea of how the people who came before went about dialing stuff in and understanding the tools they were working with.

    It’s definitely going to be an avenue for the creation of new/original guitar tones. The more people aren’t trying to dial in a specific amp, the quicker that will happen. I know in my case, when I dial in amps in my AxeFX, I don’t think “Does this sound close enough to a IIC+?”, I just use the amp names as a general guideline/ballpark then dial in what I want from it.

    Hahahah and every metal guitarist should get to experience the joy of dialing in a Mesa MKIV for the first time. Never came across another amp that made me think it was broken the second I started twisting knobs.
     
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  13. Forkface

    Forkface Feast on this.

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    im a big advocate for small tube combos (dealt with a bigass rockerverb and 212 cab during my touring days... never again)
    i currently have a Helix LT, and a small bassbreaker 15. i love playin thru that thing, moreso than the helix. yeah sure, the helix has so much more stuff and sounds amazing, but idk, the little fender sounds juicy. it has something... idk, but i love it.
    the only way i can sort of explain it, is that the fender just sounds identical to the idea in my head of what an electric guitar should sound.

    plus, the thing runs for like 400 bucks or something, and its lightweight, and apt volume friendly. literally cant go wrong.
     
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  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I strongly suspect my draw to tube amps comes from thinking of music/guitars as being detached from computers/tech/etc. I imagine for a lot of people, the process of playing guitar involves turning on your PC, loading up your amp sims etc - but that's never been the process for me. For me, it's always been about the room and the space, and moving some air, etc. - plus at the time I started learning to play most digital solution sounded pretty bad. I went through a handful of Digitech and similar "amp modelling" budget products and it left a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak.

    I can understand how someone who starts playing now might not ever feel a need to try a tube amp.
     
  15. p0ke

    p0ke 7-string guitard

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    ^ Can relate to this. I also had the "detach from computers/tech" thing for a long time - I didn't even want to play guitar with headphones for a long time for the same reason. Also, back in 2003-2004 when my most active playing phase began, basically everything digital sounded like crap, and solid state stuff just didn't have the "balls", if you know what I mean. I think it was 2006 when I got my first and only tube amp, and that just blew everything I'd played right out of the water. Also in terms of volume - I'd had a Marshall MG100HDFX and that often got buried under our drummer, but once I got my Valveking, I didn't have that problem anymore.

    Then when the Valveking burned, I decided to go all rackmount (I'd had enough of stumbling over pedals as well, I had a pretty substantial pedal board...), and tbh these days it's super rare for me to miss having a tube amp. I don't even use my actual amp much anymore, because VST's (even the free ones) these days are just that good.
     
  16. brector

    brector SS.org Regular

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    Tube amps were too expensive when I was a kid and playing. The only tube amp I have played through belonged to one of my old teachers
     
  17. Tonefinder

    Tonefinder SS.org Regular

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    Lolol
     
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  18. nightflameauto

    nightflameauto SS.org Regular

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    As a dude that has owned several tube amps over the years and currently has two (DSL20, Crate Stealth 50), and has solid state amps (Peavey Studio Pro, Boss Katana) and digital modeling gear (Helix currently), there's a place for all of them.

    That said, you ever get a chance to stand in front of a big stack and try a 100+ watt tube head through it? You'll understand why some dudes love them so much. I still miss the days of standing in front of my Ampeg VL1002 full stack and riffing out for hours. That sucker full up would literally blow your hair back. There's just so much air getting pushed off of 4x12s at full tube power.

    Not practical day-to-day for me in my quiet little neighborhood, but I still relish the chance to do it any time I can. Highly recommended. An hour in front of 100 tube watts pushing air is second only to pouring out fifty plus miles on a pedal road bike as a great mental therapy. You will literally feel physically spent doing either one, and that's a great place to be mentally.

    Even so, sometimes I just want to jot some riffs down in the DAW, and the Helix or a mic on the Studio Pro at whisper volumes gets the job done. Right tools for the right time and all that.
     
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  19. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Tube amps kick ass!!!!
     
  20. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Crank a 1000w power amp and a good digital rig through a large amount of speakers and the effect should be the same. Ymmv
     
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