Author Topic: First amp buying help request  (Read 250 times)

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Offline Rob7

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First amp buying help request
« on: July 20, 2021, 10:56:25 am »
Hi everyone. I hope you’re all doing well.

I recently bought a ticket for a guitar raffle and yesterday won a Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster in Natural Amber (built in 2003). This will be my first electric and will hopefully get me into the habit of using my guitar(s) more often as I really enjoy it but need to develop the habit.

My acoustic guitar is a Yamaha FG820 which is purely acoustic so I don’t have an amp.

I know next to nothing about electric guitars or amps really so I was hoping for some help from you lovely lot on recommendations for the amp (and any accessories needed). I have no interest in being in a band or gigging so it will purely be used in my living room for my own personal enjoyment. I did wonder whether you can Bluetooth headphones to an amp or if that pushes the cost up considerably (if it’s even possible)? I have no idea what sort of cost amps are so I’m open to any suggestions.

Thanks in advance.

Offline tobyjenner

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2021, 11:41:11 am »
Well that was a nice win !!

Best place to start is with your budget. For your usage you probably best off with a modelling amp with built in effects and no need to buy extra pedals and stuff. I have a Fender Mustang III which has far more power than I need. So folk here will make plenty of recommendations but something like a Boss Katana will suit you well but even then more power than you need for home use but there are headphones and volume knobs for that !  ;)

https://www.thomann.de/gb/boss_katana_50_mkii.htm

Let folks know how much you are considering and take it from there,

Cheers

Toby
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Offline tobyjenner

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2021, 11:55:40 am »
Rob

Thought I'd better clarify what I said about pedals. That reference was specific to FX pedals, which are all part of the firmware on a modelling amp but you most likely will need a footswitch, for controlling the on board FX like to 2 shown here.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/fender_mustang_lt50_bundle.htm?listPosition=2
https://www.thomann.de/gb/fender_mustang_gtx50_bundle.htm?listPosition=4

Here's some quick comparisons, while we wait for the experts.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/search_compare.html?art%5B%5D=469494&art%5B%5D=510887&art%5B%5D=456903&art%5B%5D=474872&art%5B%5D=374816

Cheers

Toby
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Here since Mar 2013 Completed BC, RUST 1 & 2, IM, MTMS Still on Blues Rhythm and Blues Lead
https://soundcloud.com/tobyjenner/   
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2wcjHmnrFuQyom6tqUtdrQ
Roadcase : https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?topic=39537

Offline Jamolay

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2021, 01:33:38 pm »
No expert here, but a couple of questions.
Do you need portability?
Headphone mostly?
Something you will grow into?
Or a very entry level cheap amp?

Bluetooth on amps is to play lessons or tracks from your phone to the amp, not for headphones. The lag for headphones is too much, so if you want headphones you need a cord and if you pick something without a built in speaker, you will need a cable.

I started with a Blacksrar Fly BT ( which I could sell cheap if you are in the US). Works, simple, I like the Bluetooth for lessons and song app. Speaker pretty anaemic. Limited.

Then I splurged and found a used Katana mkii head. Small but good speaker, very flexible and to grow into. Lots of cables… guitar, phone in for lessons, tablet in to control it, headphones…sigh. But sounds great, small and compact and the more I play with it the more I like it. Still way, way more than I need.

I recently replaced the Blackstar with a Femder Mustang Micro. About $100 US.
It is really nice, super small and portable, so I take it when I go away for the weekend and bring a guitar. Lots of flexibility and models, but not comparable to the Katana. Headphone out, blue tooth in and you can take the headphone jack to a stereo system if you want to play louder (and have one).

This is just my experience. The Fender can be a good start.


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Offline Rossco01

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2021, 02:04:48 pm »
So first bit of advice is probably to take a look at a few of threads in this section of the forum...I can see one straight away that is similar to yours (but you'll find there are lots). It'll help clarify what you are after, educate you a little on what to look for and give you some suggestions. It'll also prevent everyone giving you the same advice again.

I'd then come back to your thread and refine your thoughts and ask people to provide feedback.
Epiphone Masterbilt DR500MCE, Yamaha Pacifica 112V, HB Tele, Fender Mustang 1v2, Katana 100, Trio Plus, Boss GT1
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Offline Rob7

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2021, 03:54:10 pm »
Rob

Thought I'd better clarify what I said about pedals. That reference was specific to FX pedals, which are all part of the firmware on a modelling amp but you most likely will need a footswitch, for controlling the on board FX like to 2 shown here.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/fender_mustang_lt50_bundle.htm?listPosition=2
https://www.thomann.de/gb/fender_mustang_gtx50_bundle.htm?listPosition=4

Here's some quick comparisons, while we wait for the experts.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/search_compare.html?art%5B%5D=469494&art%5B%5D=510887&art%5B%5D=456903&art%5B%5D=474872&art%5B%5D=374816

Cheers

Toby
 8)

Thanks for that Toby, I appreciate it . I didn’t really have a set budget as I had no idea what was value for money in terms of amps but it does look like Boss Katana 50 mkii is very good value for money as it isn’t expensive.

Offline Rob7

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First amp buying help request
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2021, 03:56:15 pm »
No expert here, but a couple of questions.
Do you need portability?
Headphone mostly?
Something you will grow into?
Or a very entry level cheap amp?

Bluetooth on amps is to play lessons or tracks from your phone to the amp, not for headphones. The lag for headphones is too much, so if you want headphones you need a cord and if you pick something without a built in speaker, you will need a cable.

I started with a Blacksrar Fly BT ( which I could sell cheap if you are in the US). Works, simple, I like the Bluetooth for lessons and song app. Speaker pretty anaemic. Limited.

Then I splurged and found a used Katana mkii head. Small but good speaker, very flexible and to grow into. Lots of cables… guitar, phone in for lessons, tablet in to control it, headphones…sigh. But sounds great, small and compact and the more I play with it the more I like it. Still way, way more than I need.

I recently replaced the Blackstar with a Femder Mustang Micro. About $100 US.
It is really nice, super small and portable, so I take it when I go away for the weekend and bring a guitar. Lots of flexibility and models, but not comparable to the Katana. Headphone out, blue tooth in and you can take the headphone jack to a stereo system if you want to play louder (and have one).

This is just my experience. The Fender can be a good start.


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Thanks for replying Jamolay . Yeah, I like the sound of the Boss Katana 50 mkii. I’m thinking headphones into it would be good as I’ll feel less self conscious at messing up as no-one will hear it. It’ll pretty much stay in my front room so portability isn’t really important (although I don’t want something taking up tons of room).

How long is the power lead? I’m wondering what length of cable I would need to get from the amp to my guitar. Also what type of cable would I need? As I say, I’m a complete newbie with this stuff.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 04:12:16 pm by Rob7 »

Offline Rob7

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First amp buying help request
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2021, 03:57:29 pm »
So first bit of advice is probably to take a look at a few of threads in this section of the forum...I can see one straight away that is similar to yours (but you'll find there are lots). It'll help clarify what you are after, educate you a little on what to look for and give you some suggestions. It'll also prevent everyone giving you the same advice again.

I'd then come back to your thread and refine your thoughts and ask people to provide feedback.

Cheers Rossco. Fair point about looking through the forum for similar threads. I should of done that first but I was in work and wanted to get the question out there quickly so didn’t think properly. Sorry about that. From advice given in here and looking at other threads it looks like the Boss Katana 50 mkii is a good choice.

Offline tobyjenner

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2021, 04:21:31 pm »
That's a fair choice Rob. As much as I love my Mustang III I was disappointed in Fender pulling support for the Fuse into face and taking down the website which provided FX downloads. Boss have a similar interface with their Tone Studio, which allows you import different set ups. I am sure one of the Boss owners will elaborate more on that and if you go down that route, you will likely need on of these.
https://www.thomann.de/gb/boss_fs6.htm
I can only guess functionality not owning a Boss (I know what my Fender foot switches do !!) but again I am sure some will clarify and there will be other probably better options I am sure.

If I was looking at the moment the Katana would certainly be near the top of my list, given the reports and feedback here.

Cheers

Toby
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Here since Mar 2013 Completed BC, RUST 1 & 2, IM, MTMS Still on Blues Rhythm and Blues Lead
https://soundcloud.com/tobyjenner/   
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2wcjHmnrFuQyom6tqUtdrQ
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Offline Rossco01

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2021, 04:57:02 pm »
Cheers Rossco. Fair point about looking through the forum for similar threads. I should of done that first but I was in work and wanted to get the question out there quickly so didn’t think properly. Sorry about that. From advice given in here and looking at other threads it looks like the Boss Katana 50 mkii is a good choice.

Not a problem Rob and as you can see lots of people happy to help out. The Katana has been a "go to" amp  in recent years for beginners and experienced alike . You are unlikely to be disappointed with it. Prior to that it was very much the Fender Mustang (and indeed Toby owns the MKIII which is probably one of the best). Mine the forum for more useful info as there is lots of it.
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Offline Jamolay

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2021, 07:29:43 pm »
Thanks for replying Jamolay . Yeah, I like the sound of the Boss Katana 50 mkii. I’m thinking headphones into it would be good as I’ll feel less self conscious at messing up as no-one will hear it. It’ll pretty much stay in my front room so portability isn’t really important (although I don’t want something taking up tons of room).

How long is the power lead? I’m wondering what length of cable I would need to get from the amp to my guitar. Also what type of cable would I need? As I say, I’m a complete newbie with this stuff.
I like the katana head because it is smaller and the 5” speaker is enough for my own living room. I can add on if I ever need more, but I don’t expect to ever go gig-ing.

The cable length depends on where you sit or move in relation to your amp. I sit close, so 6’ is plenty. The cable type is any decent guitar cable with 1/4” connectors. I have one end angled (90 degrees) for the amp and the other straight for the guitar.


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Offline adi_mrok

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2021, 07:50:37 pm »
If this reassures you I have a Katana mk50 and I am really happy about it. For a beginner it's more than enough :)

Keep on rockin' my friends


Offline batwoman

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2021, 11:22:12 pm »
Congrats on your guitar win  :)

I'm new to electric guitars too. I love my Boss Katana 50 mkii. It has everything I need and more. Lots and lots of fun exploring it. You can also plug your acoustic into it as it has a setting for that. Have a look at this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixOc9e140bk
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Offline CT

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2021, 03:19:51 am »
I'm partial to practice amps that have emulation of a number of well known amps. This came in very handy as I was exploring tone and developing my ear and gaining some understanding of different amps and cabs. Layla was played on a Fender Champ. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played a Vox AC30 on a lot of those records. A lot of the greats used Marshalls. I can bring up those amp sims and cabs and wail away. I can dial up a Fender '65 twin reverb in a heartbeat and be in a very good place.

The Fender amps have really good emulation (to my ears) of all those amps and others that are really cool. I play my acoustic through it all the time without any issues. As a result I would recommend the Fender LT25 as a first amp if your sensibility falls in line with mine. My first amp was the Mustang I v.2 and it still holds up, but the new LT25 has a more usable interface on the amp itself.

I get the appeal of the Katana line, and there are patches that come close to certain brown, clean and other tones. If you can get to a cranked Marshall tone, Vox chime and sublime cleans of a '65 twin reverb on a Katana then you should be in a good way. If none of this matters to you, you should still be in a good way. :)   
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 03:46:54 am by CT »

Offline Rob7

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2021, 01:22:55 pm »
Thanks everyone for the replies. Does anyone else get disheartened when listening to guitarists on YouTube? I don’t mean in terms of being better than me but in terms of the sound they’re playing. Everyone seems to go for heavy rock, grainy kind of sound and it actually puts me off the electric guitar. The guitar arrives today but I’m now feeling uninspired about it and not sure whether to get an amp or not. I’d need to order one in the next hour and a half to get it delivered tomorrow and I just don’t know what to do.

Offline CT

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2021, 02:33:01 pm »
Thanks everyone for the replies. Does anyone else get disheartened when listening to guitarists on YouTube? I don’t mean in terms of being better than me but in terms of the sound they’re playing. Everyone seems to go for heavy rock, grainy kind of sound and it actually puts me off the electric guitar. The guitar arrives today but I’m now feeling uninspired about it and not sure whether to get an amp or not. I’d need to order one in the next hour and a half to get it delivered tomorrow and I just don’t know what to do.
Listen to, and play, what you like. Find what you like and play like that.

If you're in a hurry get a pocket amp for around $20 US. Play through headphones, but start playing. 

Offline Jamolay

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Re: First amp buying help request
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2021, 02:33:31 pm »
Thanks everyone for the replies. Does anyone else get disheartened when listening to guitarists on YouTube? I don’t mean in terms of being better than me but in terms of the sound they’re playing. Everyone seems to go for heavy rock, grainy kind of sound and it actually puts me off the electric guitar. The guitar arrives today but I’m now feeling uninspired about it and not sure whether to get an amp or not. I’d need to order one in the next hour and a half to get it delivered tomorrow and I just don’t know what to do.
I get what you are saying. I also am not a big fan of the highly distorted grungier and dirtier sounds.

But keep in mind that there are about a gazillion sounds that these guitar/amp combos can make. Just because whatever search you are doing brings up the sounds you don’t like, it has more to do with your search than what you can do with your guitar.

Refine your search, listen to some solos by people you like who play music you prefer. Keep searching, it is out there. Also listening to some blues and jazz electric guitar may help.

Regardless, it is not about them, it is about you and what sound you want to make. It will take time, effort, joy and experiment to learn how to develops the sounds you like. But that is the fun!

I am a beginner with a predilection to acoustic, but one of my eventual goals is to play classical music on electric guitar. Because why not!

Also, as a beginner, I have felt a bit overwhelmed with my Katana mkii head. It has soooooo many possibilities. I started with trying a bunch of pre-made models, many of which are far too much for me, heavy distorted, grungy just like you and I don’t like as much. Even some of the clean models had too much.

I am now playing with some of them and editing them, testing gentle effects and modifications to bring out sounds I like. It is super fun and plenty of ways to do this.

That is why a good amp with options is a valuable tool. One, you can explore your sound. Two, you are not locked in to a limited amp that may have clean sound that isn’t right for you, or for all your future wants. I am already finding that “pure” amp times are kind of dull and a touch of various effects brings out the music.

Anyway, long answer. Short answer is to look for what inspires you, and get an amp that is flexible enough for you to work with that. IMHO


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