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  • billyshakes 12:05AM

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Small Tube Combo Amp

Hi there,

Is there anyone on the forum that can recommend a good small low watt combo amp for emulating a Stimer or Peche a la Mouche amp? I'd like to get close to that late forties/early fifties django electric tone but I'm trying to do it on a budget. My options so far are, a silverface Fender Champ which I've seen in my local guitar shop which is going for a good price; a Fender Champ 600, looks cool but I think it might need a few mods to get it sounding good; a Gretsch G5222 which I think is the same as the Champ 600 but maybe has a better speaker, I'm not sure.

Any other suggestions would be most welcome! Thanks in advance.


  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira MF01, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 758
    I know I might get shot down in flames of ridicule here but - looking for the same thing as you - I looked at 5watt Fender, Epiphone and Vox amps and ended up going for a Bugera V5 by Behringer.

    I know some peope might scoff at the notion but the V5 has more felxibiliy that the Fender and some of the Epiphones and you can always do a mod or two - e.g., better valves ( sorry, tubes ) and speaker.

    For an eighth of the price of a Peche a La Mouche or Stimer amp it's a steal. I suppose the big question is will it give you "that" sound - I'd say it gets you 90-95% of the way to it.

    always learning
  • HotTinRoofHotTinRoof Florida✭✭✭
    Posts: 308
    I recommend you check out the Roland line of Cube amps. Both large and small battery powered versions. I love my Micro Cube, battery powered as well as wall juice, has an impressive array of 'amp modeling' presets and quite impressive tone for a little box. This is saying a lot as I am an old vintage tube tone is king to heck with solid state BS. :lol: For $129 the Micro Cube is hard to beat IMO.

    Micro Cube ... -combo-amp

    Cube ... -combo-amp

    The ZT lunch boxes are said to have insane amounts of power and clean head room though I have never played one :evil: ...yet. A few tele tone head buddies say the lunch box can sound a little harsh and lacks balls at times, however this may be a null point playing an acoustic through it and these comments are pretty typical of telecaster country twang pickers.

    Lunch Boxes ... uestion=zt
  • AhabAhab GB✭✭
    Posts: 88
    Thanks for the reply, sorry I should have been a bit more specific in my topic title! What I want is a low wattage tube amp that'll break easily so I can use it for late-era Django tones. Like the Club St Germain recordings or similar. Not exact, but I just like that overdriven tone for jazz guitar, I'm not really a fan of that super clean sound, nothing wrong with a bit of dirt in my opinion!
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 552
    For that sound, and if you can afford $1000-$1200, you can't beat a vintage Fender Princeton Reverb - it's 15w with a tank reverb. A silverface is less expensive and sounds great, but can easily be modded up to full Blackface specs. The modern Blues Jr also has that sound and is nearly as good as the Princeton, list price is high but I don't think you have to pay all that much to get one. The Champ might not be your best bet, it doesn't have any reverb which you might want.
  • jerojero Michiana✭✭✭✭ J.P. Favino, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 52
    I was on a similar search a few months ago. I had an old Gibson amp from the late-50s which did the job perfectly, but was simply getting too unreliable to use. After trying a few Fender combos, including a recent Princeton reissue, I came across an amp made by Vintage47.

    They specialize in recreating old-Valco amps from the 40s, but with much better parts, and sound and look fantastic. I've tried it with both a Stimer and a Peche a la Mouche, and it really nails that early-50s tone, with just the right amount of break-up when pushed (think of Django's tone on "Impromptu" or his later recording of "Brazil"). With p90s, it can go from an early-Barney Kessel vibe to pure raunch.

    They're also very reasonably priced. I got mine for around $400.00 which for a boutique point-to-point handmade amplifier is pretty amazing (and force me to raise an eyebrow at the way certain other amps are priced).

    In any case, they're definitely worth a look.

    Oh, one more thing. I find that a number of Fender amps have their mids cut too severely to work that well with a Stimer or Peche. If you do go Fender, try to find an amp with a mid-control or a simple one-knob tone cut.
  • HotTinRoofHotTinRoof Florida✭✭✭
    edited August 2012 Posts: 308
    Ahab, if $$$ is low I still suggest the Roland Cube amps, you can dial in some breakup easily. Are they as good as the vintage tube predecessors, no. Will your audience, and most likely many of your band members be able to tell, probably not. Scot has a good suggestion to go vintage if you have the coin, however looking Fender IMO, is a mistake as they are WAY over priced for what you get unless you have a collector mentality. Blues Juniors over the last decade are decent choice and seem to not as en vogue as they were 5 years ago - I highly suggest getting a mod kit though if you go that route - Fromel makes a few depending on what model of BJ you have. Incredible the difference between stock and modded.

    If you are looking to go vintage I'd suggest Valco and National brands if the price of vintage Fenders makes you throw up a little. Killer tone. Valco Oahu is a sick little tone box. But... and I warn you... :lol: if you take the red pill and go down the vintage path, you have a high chance of disappearing into the void of tone... and get sucked into endlessly switching tubes, caps, and speakers on the never ending search for "it". :D I'm back from my search for "it". Clawed my way back out kicking and screaming. GJ is wonderful. Acoustics are wonderful. :lol:

    [EDIT] Honestly tho, all things being equal I have no idea how these vintages will sound with an acoustic pickup driving them. Gretsch hollowbodies, Telecaster, and strats, excellent. GJ acoustic? No idea. Tread caustiously. Maybe Jero here has played his through his amp(s)?

    IMO - start CHEAP. Hit the modeling amps and run them through, see if you dig their sound as for the price and lack of maintenance you can easily replace them if they go out on you.

    All under $300...
    Roland Cubes
    Fender DECs
    Vox Valvetronics
    Orange Crush

    I still say to give the ZT lunch boxes a go.

    Tons of reviews on youtube for all of these.

    But if you want an adventure. 8) I present the red pill...
  • HotTinRoofHotTinRoof Florida✭✭✭
    Posts: 308
    jero wrote:
    I was on a similar search a few months ago...[snip]...I came across an amp made by Vintage47.

    Good find Jero! I owned quite a few of the originals their amps are based on. Wow. I did the same to my Oahu and updated it, only one I held onto. Bookmarking this for later! 8)
  • Tele295Tele295 San Buenaventura (Latcho Drom), CA✭✭✭ Gitane DG300, D500
    Posts: 629
    Anyone tried the new Fender Excelsior for this? Street price of $299. More of a low-fi sound than later Fenders, so I would image it is like the older Stimer amps.
    13 Watts of output power, Two 6V6 output tubes, Two 12AX7 preamp tubes, 15" Special Design speaker, GTR, Microphone, and Accordion inputs, each with individually optimized circuitry, Bottom-loaded primary chassis with top-loaded control chassis for low noise and operating convenience, Volume control, Tremolo with speed control, Treble/Bass tone switch, 1/4’’ speaker plug may be disconnected to use Excelsior with an 8-ohm, 15W minimum, external speaker enclosure



    Jill Martini Soiree - Gypsy Swing & Cocktail Jazz
  • HotTinRoofHotTinRoof Florida✭✭✭
    Posts: 308
    Tele, I haven't tho I think you just gave me an excuse to run to the walmart of music stores, GC. :lol:

    This is a nice and very welcome addition. About time...
    speaker plug may be disconnected to use Excelsior with an 8-ohm, 15W minimum, external speaker enclosure
  • Tele295Tele295 San Buenaventura (Latcho Drom), CA✭✭✭ Gitane DG300, D500
    Posts: 629
    HotTinRoof wrote:
    Tele, I haven't tho I think you just gave me an excuse to run to the walmart of music stores, GC. :lol:

    This is a nice and very welcome addition. About time...
    speaker plug may be disconnected to use Excelsior with an 8-ohm, 15W minimum, external speaker enclosure

    I agree!

    They may be too new to have hit your local GC. They were offically released just prior to the July 2012 NAMM show. I haven't seen one in person yet
    Jill Martini Soiree - Gypsy Swing & Cocktail Jazz
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