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Old 12th October 2007, 09:14 AM   #1
AuroraB is offline AuroraB  Norway
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Default Solid State Guitar amps worthwhile??

My son is into guitars, - he most certainly have an ear for it, so all good and well for him, - I'm a woodwind guy myself, sax'es and clarinets.

He has access to several amps on loan, - some good and other s not so good.
Being an old geezer of an EE and long time AudioPhool myself, I suggested that we build something together.

And now for the magical qustion- are SS guitar amps really worth the effort? As far as I can tell from my friends, at's all about tubes when it comes to guitars......
Can someone point at any SS guitar amps, heads or combos, that are concidered good?

I've been working with tube stuff for ages, so building a Fender ,Vox or Marshall clone is no problem as such, except for the work involved, but if SS is useable, I most probably have all the parts I need!
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Old 12th October 2007, 09:28 AM   #2
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short awnser... nope.. stick to tubes...and keep the wattage low
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Old 12th October 2007, 09:57 PM   #3
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Depends what you want, and what style you play, but they are an awful lot of solid state guitar amplifiers out there, many played by some top names.
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Old 12th October 2007, 10:27 PM   #4
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Ditto about it depending on style.

Roland JC's are pretty popular among pro jazz players.

http://www.blueguitar.org/new/schem/...zz-chorus1.gif

http://www.blueguitar.org/new/schem/...zz-chorus2.gif
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Old 12th October 2007, 11:03 PM   #5
teemuk is offline teemuk  Finland
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You can also hear that amp (and its distinctive chorus sound) on Metallica’s Master of Puppets so it’s not just a jazz amp. The linked schematic is for the head version and for the record; there are at least 8 different versions of that amp - some very different from the other. Schematics for at least two other versions can be found from the Internet as well. I personally prefer the older version with current feedback and short circuit protected output stage.

Other good solid-state amps are for example, Randall amplifiers (namely Warhead and RG series), Award Session amps, Pritchard amps, Peavey Bandits, Lab Series amps, some newer Fenders and Vox Valvetronix series. Gibson, Standel, Kustom, Sunn, Vox and Gallien-Krueger made some fine solid-state amps too. However, the older solid-state amplifiers do not really shine with their reliability.

It’s definitely not “all about tubes” – I’d rather say it’s all about design and build quality (and how much effort and/or money is put into it). If you have better skills with tube technology then stick to that: Solid-state amps are different beasts and have to be designed with that in mind. They are definitely worth the effort (if made properly) but you likely need to learn a bunch of new tricks before you can design something that performs well. If you don’t want to start a “practicing project” I suggest you stick to the technology you know already.

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Old 13th October 2007, 02:21 AM   #6
fdeck is offline fdeck  United States
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Don't forget the Polytone Mini-Brute, which practically defined the jazz guitar tone. Of course it is so reliable that a dead one is sitting in my garage with an irreplaceable IC in the power amp section.
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Old 13th October 2007, 05:23 AM   #7
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Hi,

There's a few 2-tube simple circuits being R&D's here:
http://tonegeeks.sicomm.us/ToneGeeks/index.php?topic=56

Maybe it would be of interest to you?

Cheers!
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Old 13th October 2007, 09:56 AM   #8
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don't we just love the much anticipated " no it's not" responses... but seriously.. it IS all about tubes.. and the short awnser still is stick to Tubes...
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Old 13th October 2007, 02:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by tschrama
don't we just love the much anticipated " no it's not" responses... but seriously.. it IS all about tubes.. and the short awnser still is stick to Tubes...
Again, that's only YOUR personal opinion, and much of the music industry disagrees with you. For some uses valve amplifiers are essential, for the specific sound you're looking for, for for other sounds transistor amps are essential. By blindly following the incorrect premise that only valve amps are any good for guitar, you're crippling your potential.
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Old 13th October 2007, 05:02 PM   #10
gerryc is offline gerryc  United States
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As others have said, it's up to you as to what you want. Yes there have been many successful SS guitar amps over the years. Here's a link to a project site that you might find interesting:

http://sound.westhost.com/projects.htm

In particular, look at the musical instrument page for a couple of SS guitar amp projects (especially 27 and 27B):

http://sound.westhost.com/projects-5.htm

The preamp portion there looks interesting and is not too complex. The power amp looks a bit complex, if you're up to it. There are also a number of other simpler power amp schematics there on the power amp page that you could substitute as well.

Sounds like a fun project for you and your son.
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