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Thread: Jazz Guitarists Need to Eat More Wheaties

  1. #1
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Jazz Guitarists Need to Eat More Wheaties

    Jazz Guitarists Need to Eat More Wheaties.

    This is going to be a little rant about guitar players who whine that a Twin Reverb is too heavy for them to manage. I think that the Jazz guys have to be the worst offenders in this regard. Ultimately, I think that sort of weight-intolerant mindset doesn't bode well for the future of tube amps.

    Putting this into perspective for me -- I grew up playing bass, and back in the day bass amps were heavy. In the 70s prior to the advent of the big PA, if you wanted good bass tone at a respectable volume you had to slug around an Acoustic with the 18-inch folded horn, or an 8x10 SVT. Or heaven forbid, two of the 810 SVT cabs when they had low power speakers. All those cabs were the size of a refrigerator. Back then gear was heavy. That was just the way it was in the Golden Era of the tube amp. Tube amps had transformers, transformers had weight, and high power meant heavy iron. We dealt with it. I don't remember people whining about how heavy tube amps were back then. But I'm noticing that people seem to be whining a lot more than they used to. And the jazz guitar guys seem to be the worst of the crybabies.

    Let me start off with a disclaimer -- I'm a jazz guy. I don't have the time to dedicate to playing in a group setting any more, so when I gig, I gig as a solo act now. I avoid the coffee houses and rowdy bars. For me the best way to do a solo act is to put on a suit and play jazz guitar standards on an archtop in a martini bar. Now that I've been doing this sort of gig, I've started associating with more jazzers. It's taken me some time to realize it, but I'm starting to think that a lot of jazz guitarists are amp-wimps -- limp-wristed 98-pound weakling types of wimps who can't lift a tube amp. I feel like I can get away saying that sort of thing because even though I am a 98-pound weakling type of guy, at least I'm willing to lift a tube amp.

    I guess we have to blame the little solid state "cube" amps from Polytone and Roland for this sort of thing. Guitar players everywhere are adopting lightweight solid state gear that's extremely bandwidth limited. All they need is something that will work for a jazz guitar tone, and that doesn't require much bandwidth, much volume, or much power. The result is that a lot of them have adopted featherweight amps.

    Now I notice that I'm hearing more and more of the prevailing whine about how a Twin Reverb is too heavy to to take to a gig. Come on -- a Twin Reverb Reissue weighs 64 lb. And it has wheels.

    As a lifetime bass player I just have to laugh at them. An SVT head all by itself weighs 85 lb. That's 21 lb more than a Twin Reverb. And the fridge cabinet weighs in at 140 lb. Any bass player with and SVT and two testicles has no problem dead lifting the SVT head and tossing it on top of his "refrigerator" cabinet. That's a 220 lb stack.

    Rock guitarists don't seem to whine as much as the jazz guys, either. Your typical Marshall DSL head weighs in at 24 kg / 53 lb, and a 1960 cab weighs in at 36.4 kg / 80 lb. A Marshall half-stack weighs in at around 133 lb. That's about twice as heavy as a 64 lb Twin Reverb, and the Twin Reverb which has wheels.


    So I was reading at one of the jazz guitar forums and I heard the typical whining about how heavy a Twin Reverb was, and how it's just too much for them to lift at a gig. Another fellow commented that he had just taken delivery of his brand new Deluxe Reverb '65 Reissue, and he was whining that his Deluxe is too heavy to carry to a gig. The DRRI weighs in at a hernia-inducing 42 lb. That's only about 2/3 of the weight of a Twin Reverb.

    WTF?!?

    Another guy asked what he should do, because he was now playing in a Big Band will a full 5-4-4-4 horn ensemble and he couldn't hear himself playing on his Polytone Minibrute (100W 1x12). I suggested that he might try a Twin Reverb and he responded, "A Twin is out of the question -- what should I do now?"

    I told him. "Eat some Wheaties."

    What's up with guitarists today? It seems like more and more people are falling into the camp that cries out, "I can't handle a Twin Reverb -- they're too heavy." Well now I've heard it all -- I've heard a jazz guitarist whine that a Deluxe Reverb was too heavy to carry to a gig. He is now looking for a replacement amp that won't be such a burden to haul around.

    Maybe I should blame some of this on the advent of the lightweight Class D amplifier, and modern bass drivers that are designed to withstand being driven by hundreds of watts in an ultralight enclosure. Personally I think those ultra-compact rigs are built around a design compromise that requires so much driver excursion that they produce a lot of IM distortion, and they sound like ass to me, but there's no denying that they're becoming popular.

    I hate to say it, but the desire of hollow body guitar players to avoid amps that weigh more than a feather doesn't help the cause for classic valve amps. It's sad to think that people are starting to abandon lightweight tube amps like Deluxe Reverbs because they're too much of a whimp to carry a 42 lb. amp.

    So where do you fit in? If I had to bet, I'd guess that most of the guys here still prefer to use a tube amp... and that would include those of us who play at home and those of us who have to drag gear out to gigs.
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  2. #2
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    As a card carrying old person, who was once young, I can say that the "it was uphill both ways to school and we had to walk barefoot in the snow" arguments don;t convince anyone. The fact that we toted around SVTs - and I did too - doesn;t make they guy's Twin any lighter. I used to do a lot of field service, but it got to the point I could no longer comfortably lug my 50 pound tool kit down narrow stairs into basement game rooms.

    I am not whining, it just is too heavy. Can I GET it down those stairs? Yes, I can. But it hurts, and is not conducive to doing good work.

    I used to have a Rickenbacher bass I really loved to play. I couldn;t tell you the model, I haven't had it since about 1972. It was a shallow hollow body. The neck stuck out a mile and was heavy. I dearly loved that neck to play, but it weighed the guitar down - it was tiring to wear, plus it was poorly balanced. The strap anchored to the ends of the body and the neck pulled itself down. To keep it level, I would have had to anchor the strap at the head stock. But in general, it was just too heavy. I could heft it, I could wear it and play it, but it wasn't fun.

    I got no problem with someone who wants a sound but doesn't want to heft a 60 pound thing. I prefer tube amps myself for guitar, but not everyone wants to be macho shifting cargo around like a longshoreman.

    As to the weight, we can save the weight of the power transformer by going to SMPS for power. They weigh no more than a reverb pan. The magnet assembly is a major contributor to speaker weight. Neodymium magnets weigh a lot mess than ceramic magnets, Maybe we can save some weight by making cabs from carbon fiber or some such.
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  3. #3
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    Twin Reverb:

    Not only is it not <THAT> loud, it's not that heavy. My 2x15" Bassman cab weighs in at 86lbs, and I usually have to move it myself.

    One time a buddy of mine, and "former" Marine, and about 14 (24) years younger, asked if I needed some help carrying my amps from my truck to our house. I was two short city blocks away, so I took the help. I grabbed my Bassman head & handed him my Champ. Okay, it's a little hit heavier because I added a 12AX7, so maybe he should get a pass?

    He was tired after half a block, and asked if we could trade. Hell no, because if you can't haul a Champ a block, I <SURE> ain't letting my cherished BF Bassman hit the pavement because of your weak hands!

    As far as the weight in general, it's not the weight that bugs me. It's the BULK. I'm a short guy, and it's hard to get my Concert or Bassman off the ground far enough to avoid scraping the bottoms. If I was two inches taller... but it's worth it's weight in iron (and the bulk in wood) to sound my best.

    I get it if you're older and have legit issues - you only have one back to keep forever. But the "kids" these days, they try to grab my amps, even my little 15watter, and they just drop it out of their fingers without getting it off the floor. Guess it comes with never lifting anything heavier than a cell phone or Game Boy...

    Justin
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    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    Heavy metal indeed!

    BluGuitar Amp1 and Nanocab weigh 24.6 lbs
    4 channels, 150W with tiny tube preamp!

    Its good enough for Jen Batten to take around the world...


  5. #5
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Well I'm with you!
    I hauled (and would/will haul) whatever I had to to get the tone I wanted for the venue I was playing. And sometimes more just to be sure or to help out (I owned the truck). It's a labor of love and should be done without any reservation IMHE. That said...

    I have a customer that won't take the amp I built to gigs because it's too heavy. It's a 2x12, sure. But it's a 50W amp. Certainly weighs less than a Twin. It was a special request to specifications. Now he doesn't want to use the damn thing?!? Ok, fine. As it happens his sound guy doesn't like that amp either because he has to balance the amp's output with the mix output. I asked the sound guy: "Which amp (of his) do you like best?" He said "The little one." He said this without knowing what it was and without pausing. It turns out that what he likes about the little amp is that he can control the entire guitar sound within the mix and not have to balance it with ambient from the amp itself. Nuff said?

    When I presented at the 2009 winter NAMM show there was a jazz guitar booth across the walk and two over from mine (we actually jammed quite a bit together from our respective booths. VERY cool). The hot ticket for jazz at that time was a little single ended tube amp that, while not loud, did produce fine jazz punch and tone. The idea being that if the venue you're playing has a PA and a spare mic then this little amp is all you need! That was nine years ago.

    This is all very entertaining fun poking, but the truth is much more sinister than wimpiness. The truth is that most guitar players just don't care or can't hear enough significant difference. I don't think they ever did actually. As long as their tone is "good enough" and they have THE guitar they coveted and spent a "S" ton of money on, all good. Back in the day there WAS only the Twin Reverb. Then came the JC and later the Cube, etc. They jumped right on that band wagon. You think the amps I build aren't better sounding than a Fender HRD or a Peavey Classic 30? Price point is a lot like weight in this regard. Someday, hopefully far, far off in the future, the house sound system in bars, pubs and small venues will be replaced by digital media. All the musicians will plug their instruments into some tiny digital gadget and then straight to the interface (mixing board?). There won't even BE amps on stages. Musicians just want to make music. As in, notes and arrangements. Us tube amp guys are fricken caveman neanderthals and are the only ones that REALLY care about tone. But, then again, we care about OUR definition of it.

    Damn kids! Git offa my lawn!
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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

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    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    But the "kids" these days, they try to grab my amps, even my little 15watter, and they just drop it out of their fingers without getting it off the floor. Guess it comes with never lifting anything heavier than a cell phone or Game Boy...
    When I first started playing with a band I had a Peavey Bandit 65 (the old one, no TransTube stuff). I'll guess it at about 50lbs. When you're young you play in "the family room", "the garage" or the "rec room" of one of your bandmates parents house. We use to call my amp "the wrecking ball" because of how it swung from my arm and how I banged up so many door casings, wall corners and stair balusters with it.
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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "Shut up, you big dumb poopy-head!" Justin Thomas

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    To make the comparisons fair, those guys I was referring to were all dealing with non-mic'd setups, where they had to fill the room on their own while playing with a full horn section.

    I understand that micing changes the game entirely. That gal in the video was mic'd, and she doesn't need much amp if there's a mic on her amp. She could've probably gotten by with a DI box right into the PA, considering that her tone was all stompbox and nothing tubey. That kind of player doesn't even need an amp. her tone was getting close to that digital plug-in of the future that Chuck was talking about.

    And Enzo, I don't buy the idea of discounting my macho SVT slinging by saying "I used to walk to school in the snow and it was uphill both ways." I'm *still* willing to haul an SVT or a Twin Reverb or a Bassman/1960 half stack if I get an opportunity to do so. I'm still willing to go walking uphill both ways, barefoot in the snow. Because it's worth it.

    What I don't understand is why those wimps who cry about a Twin Reverb being too heavy don't do the obvious thing -- instead of carrying the amp by the one handle in the middle, put a handle at each end. Then ask one of the horn players to grab the other end. With 2 people a Twin Reverb is only a 32 lb lift. Even a total wuss can handle that.

    Maybe I should put this in my sig: "If you can't lift a Twin Reverb then you need to eat more Wheaties."
    Last edited by bob p; 12-19-2017 at 08:22 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    I'm *still* willing to haul an SVT or a Twin Reverb or a Bassman/1960 half stack if I get an opportunity to do so. I'm still willing to go walking uphill both ways, barefoot in the snow. Because it's worth it.
    This. What makes me upset is when a friend says to me, "well, it gets 95% of the way there, but it's not as good... But it's not worth it..." As a listener, something in that makes me feel ripped off or cheated. And these are guys who have some VERY nice amps AND know how to use them. Their amps inspire them to be daring, but their cubes and modelers and computers are so much lighter, more convenient, and as you (Bob) so eloquently put it, "safe..."

    Boring, and cheap. No thanks. It <IS> worth it.

    Justin
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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    bob, you are STILL willing to haul your SVT. Great! Your willingness to do that for you doesn;t affect how the Twin guy feels about hauling HIS. I don't like pineapple on a pizza. So anyone who DOES is somehow violating how I did it? My 50 pound toolbox is no less heavy just because your tool box weighs 85 pounds.

    I am just not clear on why our personal choices turn into ad hominems towards others.

    If a guy claims his amp is too heavy, we can say "Oh boo hoo hoo, the widdle boy is a wimp." and sneer at him. Or we can say "OK, how can we make an amp that sounds like this weigh less."

    If you have a set list for a gig, and someone makes a request not on it, are they a wimp for not eating what they were served, so to speak? If I order a burger and tell them to hold the onions, am I a wimp? If the big arm chair I want would block the walkway to the dining room, is my wife a wimp when she says we should get a smaller chair?

    People want what they want. It isn't a personal affront that they do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    bob, you are STILL willing to haul your SVT. Great! Your willingness to do that for you doesn;t affect how the Twin guy feels about hauling HIS. I don't like pineapple on a pizza. So anyone who DOES is somehow violating how I did it? My 50 pound toolbox is no less heavy just because your tool box weighs 85 pounds.

    I am just not clear on why our personal choices turn into ad hominems towards others.

    If a guy claims his amp is too heavy, we can say "Oh boo hoo hoo, the widdle boy is a wimp." and sneer at him. Or we can say "OK, how can we make an amp that sounds like this weigh less."

    If you have a set list for a gig, and someone makes a request not on it, are they a wimp for not eating what they were served, so to speak? If I order a burger and tell them to hold the onions, am I a wimp? If the big arm chair I want would block the walkway to the dining room, is my wife a wimp when she says we should get a smaller chair?

    People want what they want. It isn't a personal affront that they do.
    Insults and name-calling are intended to be inflammatory so as to elicit a response.

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    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by minim View Post
    Insults and name-calling are intended to be inflammatory so as to elicit a response.
    Who pissed in your Wheaties, Pokey?



    Some of this is just intended as good natured ribbing. I don't know if the same jazz players that want lighter amps also have thin skin or not.
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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    I don't know if the same jazz players that want lighter amps also have thin skin or not.
    Well, just to clarify I never played jazz and quite happily lugged my Classic 50, my Bassman and quad back in the day, but don't play out anymore.

    Enzo's post just pretty much summed it up for me.
    Last edited by minim; 12-19-2017 at 03:43 PM.

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    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    If I may. Uhm, hmm...

    If there were a meter that had "tone" on one end and "convenience" on the other (both subjective BTW) each individual musician will likely fall somewhere in between the two. Those that lean toward convenience want amps that are easier to carry as long as the needle doesn't swing too far from tone. Those that lean toward tone will amicably carry more if necessary. Enzo's point is that it's not for anyone to decide what's right for another and trying to reach anyone as a demographic seems reasonable as a manufacturer. So why not try to make the lightest amps that sound as good as they can? The extreme alternative being to make the best sounding amps regardless of weight. Which seems more reasonable? Bob's point is that the old, heavy amps he likes, and is willing to lug around, sound better. He's probably right. But since tone is subjective, not necessarily (though I agree that they do sound better). No one is wrong and we're just having fun.
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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "Shut up, you big dumb poopy-head!" Justin Thomas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    If I may. Uhm, hmm...

    If there were a meter that had "tone" on one end and "convenience" on the other (both subjective BTW) each individual musician will likely fall somewhere in between the two. Those that lean toward convenience want amps that are easier to carry as long as the needle doesn't swing too far from tone. Those that lean toward tone will amicably carry more if necessary. Enzo's point is that it's not for anyone to decide what's right for another and trying to reach anyone as a demographic seems reasonable as a manufacturer. So why not try to make the lightest amps that sound as good as they can? The extreme alternative being to make the best sounding amps regardless of weight. Which seems more reasonable? Bob's point is that the , heavy amps he likes, and is willing to lug around, sound better. He's probably right. But since tone is subjective, not necessarily (though I agree that they do sound better). No one is wrong and we're just having fun.
    And in this light, I'm (as always) coming out of left field, arguing from the romantic side (Thoreau, not Cupid). But I don't take any of it personally. Y'all are fun, and logical, but there's a few of us still around who say, "I don't care what the facts is, it just don't seem right!" I may be argued with, but never has anyone ever said, "Shut up, you big dumb poopy-head!" That's only reserved for the ones who earnestly asked for and genuinely deserved it...

    Carry on!

    Justin
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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Who pissed in your Wheaties, Pokey?

    It sounds like you are assuming that "Pokey" eats Wheaties.

    Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn't. There are people out there that prefer Frankenberry or Lucky Charms. But I won't go so far as to predict whether any of them prefer Pods to tubes based on their cereal preferences. That would be an ad hominem type of attack. Enzo's right -- I won't go there.
    Last edited by bob p; 12-19-2017 at 05:51 PM.
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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    If I may. Uhm, hmm...

    If there were a meter that had "tone" on one end and "convenience" on the other (both subjective BTW) each individual musician will likely fall somewhere in between the two. Those that lean toward convenience want amps that are easier to carry as long as the needle doesn't swing too far from tone. Those that lean toward tone will amicably carry more if necessary.
    On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is convenience and 10 is tone:



    Of course this is hyperbole. I never meant for this to be taken seriously.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails tone-knob.jpg  
    Last edited by bob p; 12-19-2017 at 06:13 PM.
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    Everyone wants something different. If I hauled around a light rig so it would be less of a burden but I sounded worse, I would probably just want to stay home and do something better with my time.

    People always come in with the same story, I'm sure you've heard it as well. "hey can you fix my broken SVT so I can sell it. It's too heavy to carry around anymore im too old I'm getting a blah blah blah (probably some inexpensive solid state amp from the 70/80s -- acoustic, sunn, galien krueger, earth, etc -- , or maybe PV firebass or or some new class D whatever)"

    Ok, that's fine. Have fun sounding probably worse but having less of a hassle. Whataver you want.

    A guy came in to drop off a broken amp a few weeks ago and was saying that after dropping it off he was "about to go buy one of those crappy Peavey bass amps thats cheap and really loud. I don't really care about tone." Ok, great have fun. He probably meant Peavey Mark whatever series or Peavey firebass.

    you ever see a good band play but they sound terrible? It can really be a drag. some bands can sound terrible and it doesn't matter, depending on music genre. But 90% of people can't tell the difference and are tone deaf anyway, and maybe it's not that they're even deaf. They just might have no preference or standard for what sounds good if they're just used to cheap PV bass amps and some fender Hot Rod series amps, or worse.

    Bob is a tone hound, it seems

  18. #18
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsubulysses View Post
    Bob is a tone hound, it seems
    I think it's fair to say that about anyone who plays a tube amp. There's no denying that they have their idiosyncracies and that SS gear is probably more reliable over the long haul. So why does anyone bother with tube gear, given all the hassles that come with it?

    Tone.
    TONE. TONE!!!

    I think it's safe to say that anyone who's willing to lug around a tube amp is a tone hound.

    Rockers especially. Jazz guys? Not as much. Rockers tend to like to hear amps compress and/or clip. Even subtle clipping has it's charm to them. Jazz guys, not so much. For many Jazz guys guitar tone is all about CLEAN, even though the pioneers like Charlie Christian played through little tube amps that were clipping. I can understand why jazz guys who are after clean tone are willing to trade off some of the weight, because to them the difference in tone isn't as marked as it is in other genres. The compromise is easy for them to make.

    My apologies to anyone who was offended by the breakfast cereal and wimp comment. When I was a kid, "Eat Your Wheaties" was the standard line when you were suggesting that someone needed to man-up. Maybe it's a generational thing. Maybe I need to get with the 90s:

    I wonder if those guys who have trouble lifting a Twin Reverb have any more luck after taking their Viagra.
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  19. #19
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Enzo actually has a pretty good idea. A light as possible tube amp. Available materials could make it a worthy effort that was almost impossible 40 years ago. Toroidal power transformer, carbon fiber cabinet, neo mag speaker, transistor for things like effects loops, a digital reverb and aluminum chassis. They could end up very popular. Hell, you could even market weight reduction kits for existing amps with some of those components. Someone here covered a 5e3 in carbon fiber cloth some years ago. It looked tre' cool. Like high tech tweed. If you could get that look it be an even easier sell.
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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "Shut up, you big dumb poopy-head!" Justin Thomas

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Weight is a tough problem to solve.

    There's a trend in modern amps to make cabs out of MDF. MDF is heavy. It only makes the weight problem worse.

    I've seen quite a few tube combos that have strayed from the heavy 3/4" baltic birch plywood, using 5/8" instead. That provides significant weight reduction. I think there are a lot of people who would be willing to trade away bulletproof for light weight. I've thought about it.

    The problem is that when you move to lightweight materials you have to deal with resonance issues. I know an engineer whose hobby is to design his own uber-hifi speakers using digital modelling circuits doing all of his frequency response shaping in the digital domain. He designs his cabinets not to have resonances in the audio spectrum. For that to happen, he has to build the cabinets as double enclosures, with the inner enclosure suspended within the outer enclosure, and a layer of dry sand poured in between for damping. The result is that the speakers are ridiculously heavy, they have a ton of sand in them. The sound is incredible, but they're absolutely not portable.

    Eliminating resonance peaks can be very difficult. I don't have experience working with Carbon Fiber, but what little experience I've had with lightweight enclosures suggests that they're all going to have audible resonance peaks. It's an engineering challenge, for sure.

    One problem that I see using SMPS in tube amps is that you're talking about a pretty stiff power supply. Tube guys traditionally aren't fond of stiff power supplies. (OK, maybe the metalheads like it, but not so much the classic rockers and especially not the bluesmen.) Some of the most beloved amps had saggy power supplies that resulted in sonic bloom. I think it would be damned hard to model a linear power supply that goes non-linear using a switch mode circuit. That would be a major obstacle that had to be overcome.

    I've yet to find a digital reverb unit that I like. To me they all sound too much like a 90's Pioneer car stereo that had those fake reverb models for different sized halls. If you know what I mean.
    Last edited by bob p; 12-19-2017 at 08:35 PM.
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    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    I had an amp in a couple of years ago that surprised me - a Tweed Deluxe x2 (same preamp, but 4x6V6). The cabinet was really thin yellow pine and it carried two Jensen 12" neo speakers. I could hold it at arm's length with one hand. The resonance of that thing made it sing, yet no unwanted vibration or rattles. I'm a big fan of lightweight equipment. My wife has a modern lightweight pushbike and she's at a considerable advantage over me on my 35 year old clunker. My new aircraft luggage is super-light and is tougher and stronger than my old cases. I love the original Parker Fly - super sound and very light. One of my customers spent a few hours with ZZ Top's Elwood Francis who showed him one of Billy's super-light guitars and ultra-light strings. A good example where weight does not equal tone.

    In a modern, progressive world, why would you want or need heavy stuff? A condom as thick as an inner tube, a pacemaker that's the size of a car battery you lug around on a trolley, or a rucksack that's heavier than the stuff it holds?
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    A friend had a Sunn 4x12 with the Eminence EM12 speakers in it. They are the Eminence version of "the world's greatest speaker," the Electro Voice EVM12L.

    Sounded so good. Made me want the speakers pretty bad but the most I would ever do is 2 in a 4x12 because they are about 17 pounds each. His band mates hated it (even though the tone was specacular !??!?) and actually ended up telling him they would NO LONGER help him carry it around for shows and tour.

    SO my friend, being the tone hound he is, and a doctor with money to blow, bought 3 new custom made cabs from Science all with Eminence NEO speakers, a 4x12, a 2x15, and a 1x18.

    Now he can blow the doors out and also keep his bandmates from quitting. He said those three cabs beat every cab he has (and he has probably 20 cabs) EXCEPT the Acoustic 408 which he says is unfuckwithable. They also said they would not help him move that one either because it's a 4x15.

    Even though the sound is exceptional, it's not good when the cab gets banned from the band.
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  23. #23
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    One problem that I see using SMPS in tube amps is that you're talking about a pretty stiff power supply. Tube guys traditionally aren't fond of stiff power supplies...

    Some of the most beloved amps had saggy power supplies that resulted in sonic bloom.
    So stick a big honkin' resistor in there. Still weighs less than a power transformer. I don't know how well an SMPS would work with an amp that's really pumping up and down in current though. I think I read that at the higher voltages power tubes require the SMPS's can't handle the variable currents well enough.?. That may be worked out by now.
    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Did I mention that my Twin Reverb is heavier than most, because it has Alnico SRO in it?

    If you want tone there is no free lunch.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails tr-back.jpg  
    Last edited by bob p; 12-19-2017 at 11:38 PM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

  25. #25
    rjb
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    Alternative POV

    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Another guy asked what he should do, because he was now playing in a Big Band will a full 5-4-4-4 horn ensemble and he couldn't hear himself playing on his Polytone Minibrute (100W 1x12). I suggested that he might try a Twin Reverb and he responded, "A Twin is out of the question -- what should I do now?"
    Anyone who needs an amp to play in a big band is a wimp.
    Freddie Green didn't need no stinking' amp.

    -rb
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    Damn, I read about that kind of stuff, along with concrete enclosures, etc., in one of those old Hi-Fi encyclopedias. Given the overall light and amusing nature with which most topics were treated, I thought these sand-&-concrete enclosures were a joke. Turns out the author was SERIOUS! Kewl.

    Justin
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  27. #27
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    Anyone who needs an amp to play in a big band is a wimp.
    Freddie Green didn't need no stinking' amp.

    -rb
    Lol.


    Part of the problem is the type of guitars that those guys are buying today. Virtually none of them are playing a fully acoustic carved archtop that hasn't had it's soundboard molested by cutting holes in it and hanging dead weights (aka pickups) on it. Doing that kills 90% of the soundboard's vibration, which means that the guitars don't project the way that Green's did. So they have to be amplified. The problem gets further exacerbated by the fact that most "archop" guitars today are laminated and pressed instead of carved. As a result they just aren't very loud. Like an ES-175 with flatwound nickel strings. Nowhere near as loud as an L-7 or an L-12 with bronze roundwounds. And they are all a bunch of wimps that play with low actions that don't project well. Real men like Green played with a high action and 13-15 gauge strings. Combine a laminated top with weights hanging on it and flimsy 10ga strings and the guitars aren't really archtops -- they're really archtop-looking electrics. Most jazzers today have these laminated guitars with pups on them and flappy strings that just don't produce much sound output... they can't even come close to getting Green Tone. It's hopeless. The guitars need to be amped because the guitars and the players don't have anything in common with Freddie Green.
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  28. #28
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Lol.


    Part of the problem is the type of guitars that those guys are buying today. Virtually none of them are playing a fully acoustic carved archtop that hasn't had it's soundboard molested by cutting holes in it and hanging dead weights (aka pickups) on it. Doing that kills 90% of the soundboard's vibration, which means that the guitars don't project the way that Green's did. So they have to be amplified. The problem gets further exacerbated by the fact that most "archop" guitars today are laminated and pressed instead of carved. As a result they just aren't very loud. Like an ES-175 with flatwound nickel strings. Nowhere near as loud as an L-7 or an L-12 with bronze roundwounds. And they are all a bunch of wimps that play with low actions that don't project well. Real men like Green played with a high action and 13-15 gauge strings. Combine a laminated top with weights hanging on it and flimsy 10ga strings and the guitars aren't really archtops -- they're really archtop-looking electrics. Most jazzers today have these laminated guitars with pups on them and flappy strings that just don't produce much sound output... they can't even come close to getting Green Tone. It's hopeless. The guitars need to be amped because the guitars and the players don't have anything in common with Freddie Green.
    All true! And amazing players, those guys. True artisans with depth and a necessary physical dedication. You can actually hear sound board distortion in some recordings. Damn! That always struck me. Because I heard it and knew what it had to be. It impressed the hell out of me.
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  29. #29
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Tube rigs for the 21st Century...

    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    This is going to be a little rant about guitar players who whine that a Twin Reverb is too heavy for them to manage.* I think that the Jazz guys have to be the worst offenders in this regard.* Ultimately, I think that sort of weight-intolerant mindset doesn't bode well for the future of tube amps.
    Korg's NuTube technology could revolutionize the whole vacuum tube industry. Rather than use glass bottle vacuum tubes going back to 1904 which are manufactured using hazardous chemicals and materials NuTubes are based on vacuum fluorescent display technology.

    Nutube, similar to a conventional vacuum tube, has an anode grid filament structure, and operates exactly as a triode vacuum tube. Also similar to a vacuum tube, it creates the same characteristic rich overtones. By applying their vacuum fluorescent display technology, Noritake Itron Corp. have devised a structure which achieves substantial power saving, miniaturization, and quality improvements when compared with a conventional vacuum tube.
    Nutube ? English | korgnutube.com ? English



    Putting this into perspective for me -- I grew up playing bass, and back in the day bass amps were heavy.* In the 70s prior to the advent of the big PA, if you wanted good bass tone at a respectable volume you had to slug around an Acoustic with the 18-inch folded horn, or an 8x10 SVT.* Or heaven forbid, two of the 810 SVT cabs when they had low power speakers.* All those cabs were the size of a refrigerator. Back then gear was heavy.* That was just the way it was in the Golden Era of the tube amp.
    Have you even looked into the amps that bass players are using these days? Unless they have a road crew more and more bassists are switching to equipment with Class D power amps and preamps that are predominantly solid state with an optional vacuum tube for color. Tone controls built on op amp filters are much more versatile than the tube based tone stacks going back 75 years.

    Along with their 2000 watt Class D amps which weigh as low as 6.6 lbs*** many bass players are carrying around light weight cabinets with neodymium speakers.




    *** Bugera Veyron BV1001M 2000-Watt Bass Amplifier Head with MOSFET Preamp $399.99 MSRP

    https://www.amazon.com/Bugera-BV1001.../dp/B00SV5T4L2


    Steve A.

    P.S. Here is an article about the Vox MV50 tube amps with a NuTube preamp... 2.6 lbs, 50watts into 4 ohms, $199.99 MSRP.* (They recommend the MV50 Clean amp for jazz guitarists and/or pedalboard freaks.)

    http://www.musicradar.com/reviews/vox-mv50-clean-head

    After getting the MV50 Clean and being very impressed with it I just added the MV50 Rock which gets some really nice high gain sounds (with 48 month same-as-cash financing how could I say "no"?!?) I got the MV50 AC first but found a lot of overlap with the MV50 Clean so I brought that back and ordered the MV50 Rock.



    screenshot_2017-12-20-20-12-36_20171220202151109.jpg

    bugera-veyron-mosfet-bv1001m-ultra-compact-2-000-watt-class-d-bass-amplifier-p33790-50663_image_.jpg
    Last edited by Steve A.; 12-21-2017 at 05:02 AM.

  30. #30
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    OK, I get it... But I just threw up a little in my mouth.
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    FWIW: I played through one of the Quilter 101 Reverb amps, which is supposed to be based on NuTube technology. I was thoroughly unimpressed. That's not to say it's the fault of the NuTube components. Of course, it could be any number of other design issues. That said, I'm not opposed to plugging in to something and trying it out. Maybe some day I'll find a 10 pound amp that I like, but for now,.........
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  32. #32
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    FWIW: I played through one of the Quilter 101 Reverb amps, which is supposed to be based on NuTube technology. I was thoroughly unimpressed. That's not to say it's the fault of the NuTube components. Of course, it could be any number of other design issues. That said, I'm not opposed to plugging in to something and trying it out. Maybe some day I'll find a 10 pound amp that I like, but for now,.........
    I am very unimpressed by practically all of the modern amps I find at GC these days. Check out the Anderton video I just added to my previous post (skip ahead to ~20 minutes into the 35 minute video.) The MV50 Rock amp is the coolest high gain amp I've played in a long time. (I usually like low gain traditional-style amps goosed up with pedals as needed.)
    Last edited by Steve A.; 12-21-2017 at 05:16 AM.

  33. #33
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I'm with Chuck -- I need some milk to get that sour taste out of the back of my throat.

    There are a lot of bass players haven't quite wrapped their minds around the limitations that Class D brings with it... like being stuck with fixed load impedance. They're so used to swapping different impedance cabs with tube and conventional SS gear that they do it without thinking too much about it. I can't tell you how many guys have blown up their D amps because they were switching cabs willy nilly without thinking about Z. that's the kiss of death to a Class D amp.

    Just like you might expect, the jazz guys talk a lot about the Quilters.
    Last edited by bob p; 12-21-2017 at 05:29 AM.
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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    I'll check one out Steve and thanks for the tip. IMO, the video is somewhat useless for me, as he kicks on a pedal right at the 20 minute mark. I want to hear an amp demo- not a pedal demo. I will play through one as soon as I get the opportunity.
    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

  35. #35
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Watching Chappers and the Captain reminds me of Beavis and Butthead.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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