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#3089561 03/21/21 03:29 PM
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wraub Offline OP
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Anyone here have any experience with Firefly guitars? Lots of internet push, some decent looking and sounding videos, but...still, an inexpensive import guitar.

Considering one as a base to build on, change out PUs and hardware if needed...

Are they any good?



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




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wraub #3089570 03/21/21 04:59 PM
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One way to find out!

I would avoid the semi hollowbodies, not just theirs but most inexpensive imports.
Unless they have a rear access panel or the electronics mounted on a panel in front, you will go through Hell when the cheap, crappy electronics - switch, pots, jack - become unusable. Note that I said "when", not "if" - there is no "if."

If you are prepared to cut your own access hole that could work too. If the guitar played well I'd gut the harness early on so I could gig with confidence.
They have to cut corners somewhere and that is definitely one of the places.

Solid bodies? If it plays good it could be a great platform for customizing and a fairly safe way to learn. Remove the original stuff carefully, you may want to put it back someday.
A Firefly with all the good stuff installed won't fetch much more than a stock one, don't give away your good parts!!!!


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wraub #3089584 03/21/21 07:04 PM
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There are so many of these various 'import' brands popping up, it's hard to keep track; I've only vaguely seen any reference at all to them, I believe it was in scrolling through Facebook notices and seeing mention here and there regarding moderately priced Firefly 7 and 8 string guitars- I think.


Hmmm; doing a little searchin' ("Here, letmeh Google 'at fer ya!" wink grin ), it seems that they're popularly regarded as being good to high-ish quality, became very popular very quickly, just where and by whom they're made is a bit of a mystery- as is their seeming disappearence recently.

Here's an interesting bloggish bit about all that, and more: What Happened to Firefly Guitars? Guitar Advise dot com < LINK

And now, looking at a few used offerings on Reverb, I'm actually tempted to consider a Firefly 'Telecaster Thinline' style guitar, myself, to hopefully inexpensively satisfy some itches, at least up to a point- maybe temporarily, maybe long-term, and maybe not at all... ! laugh grin thu

EDIT: Changed my mind, naaah.

I saw one bizarre guitar (< LINK) listed there- the bizarre part being an alleged "B Bender" mechanism, nothing more than a very crude Bigsby-like contraption, strung incorrectly and mounted behind the stop-tailpiece... Yeesch! What crap! I'm not sure if it was made that way, cob-jobbed up by an owner, or what... !!



I'm guessing that you're not referring to THIS Firefly guitar... ?

Firefly Guitar < LINK

[Linked Image from santacruzguitar.com]


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Thanks for the link, I've read that and everything I can find on them. Similar to the now rising "Ivy" guitars, they seem to be produced in China and have come to attention on the basis of internet videos and press releases, FB groups and the like...
I guess their 335 copy is pretty good. Mainly sold by the amazonians and a single website, and resellers on the 'bay and the 'verb.
I've been seeing the reviews, but avoid FB and amazon so have missed a lot of the noise for and against.
Curious if anyone here jumped on a Firefly yet.


And, the guitar in question is one of these - [Linked Image from images.reverb.com]





Originally Posted by Caevan O'Shite
There are so many of these various 'import' brands popping up, it's hard to keep track; I've only vaguely seen any reference at all to them, I believe it was in scrolling through Facebook notices and seeing mention here and there regarding moderately priced Firefly 7 and 8 string guitars- I think.


Hmmm; doing a little searchin' ("Here, letmeh Google 'at fer ya!" wink grin ), it seems that they're popularly regarded as being good to high-ish quality, became very popular very quickly, just where and by whom they're made is a bit of a mystery- as is their seeming disappearence recently.

Here's an interesting bloggish bit about all that, and more: What Happened to Firefly Guitars? Guitar Advise dot com < LINK

And now, looking at a few used offerings on Reverb, I'm actually tempted to consider a Firefly 'Telecaster Thinline' style guitar, myself, to hopefully inexpensively satisfy some itches, at least up to a point- maybe temporarily, maybe long-term, and maybe not at all... ! laugh grin thu

EDIT: Changed my mind, naaah.

I saw one bizarre guitar (< LINK) listed there- the bizarre part being an alleged "B Bender" mechanism, nothing more than a very crude Bigsby-like contraption, strung incorrectly and mounted behind the stop-tailpiece... Yeesch! What crap! I'm not sure if it was made that way, cob-jobbed up by an owner, or what... !!



I'm guessing that you're not referring to THIS Firefly guitar... ?

Firefly Guitar < LINK

[Linked Image from santacruzguitar.com]

Last edited by wraub; 03/21/21 08:34 PM.


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wraub #3089621 03/22/21 01:10 AM
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...and, I have a new guitar. grin

Info to follow asap.



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




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wraub #3089694 03/22/21 06:47 PM
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First impression- It's startlingly good. Not perfect by any means, but so good it almost begs belief, especially considering the price point.
Pics and more info asap.



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wraub #3089732 03/22/21 10:44 PM
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That's great! Congratulations, wraub.

Let me know if you see any Firefly LP-style axes with P-90 "soap-bar" type pickups, I might be interested, myself...


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wraub #3089742 03/23/21 12:37 AM
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It seems the best place to find these guitars is through a single website, although they are commonly resold on the 'verb and the 'bay at a markup. For example, the current batch that just hit is almost sold out, and I'm already seeing them being resold for $100 or more over the new price.
The markup is extreme in my opinion, but this guitar is, as I said above, surprisingly good.

That said, reportedly they are made in relatively small batches, and quality can vary. My guess is that the industrial supplier involved is using different productions shops to make them, so quality can be inconsistent. I have seen numerous reports that suggest the company is listening to criticisms and is quick to adjust, and one benefit of smaller production runs is that improvements are quick to be implemented.

I got mine from a seller who claimed the frets were polished and the strings changed, I don't know if they did any other work, but the one I have is extremely good, imo. Frets, action, and intonation are really good. The only real issues I can find are in the otherwise good (but very poly) finish, a few of the fingerboard inlays have some more filler than others, and the fingerboard was very dry, but is looking and feeling better after all the playing.I played it for over 4 hours last night, and I'm playing it now.
It's not perfect, but what's good is pretty darn good. There are a very few very minor finish issues, and that's pretty much it. I went at it with a crazy bright flashlight and that's the only way I could find anything off at all.



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




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wraub #3089788 03/23/21 05:00 AM
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Congrats Wraub! If it kept you playing for four hours and you're still playing it, it's a keeper! Looking forward to the pic! thu


Take care, Larryz
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wraub #3089981 03/24/21 04:00 PM
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Okay...here's the thing. When I sit down to play this guitar, everything else goes away.
In the last three days I've played this guitar about 15 hours. Played along with some things, played some of my own stuff, came up with new stuff, and just played with it, making noises and doinking around.
I've also spent some time examining it closely, trying to figure out how it was done. Below are some initial results. I got this slightly used, the plastic was still on the pickguard and the tuners. I removed the pickguard, because.

Firstly, it looks like this- Note- I've taken a lot of pics of this guitar already, and will take more if anyone has questions about anything.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc] [Linked Image from i.postimg.cc] [Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

The quality of it is simply amazing at the price point. The woodwork is solid, the bones seem really good. There is cost cutting apparent in places- there are some very, very minor finish flaws under the clear coat, the hardware is likely of "lesser" materials and processes,and I'm pretty sure there's some clever veneer work going on with the back, but can't really say. There is some finish on the binding that didn't get scraped off before clearcoat went on. Also the "rosewood" looked more like laurel or pao ferro at first, very pale and dry looking, but it's darkening with playing on it. The fingerboard inlays look good, but some have extra filler around the edges, and they feel a little sticky, but I'm expecting them to wear in with more play. We'll see.

The body is (some kind of) mahogany, and even though mine has a gold top there is a maple top visible through the control cavity, which is shielded in grounding stuff. The gold top on mine, which appears to be carved, skews a bit towards the green side, which personally I like, but not everyone will. Similarly, there's no scarf joint in the neck, it's all one piece, also (some kind of) mahogany. Not for everyone, but there it is. There is reportedly a 2 way truss rod, I haven't needed to use it as yet. I may, as the action is if anything, too low. The neck is straight atm with a slight touch of relief.

The fretwork is great, over the binding and cleanly done, the intonation was perfect. The seller I got this from claimed the frets had been polished and the strings changed, I can't vouch for that, but I'm pretty sure they didn't do a full fret job. These are all good.The tuners are Grover copies that feel solid and work well- in all the playing noted above, I've tuned the guitar once. I'm sure it could (and may) get upgraded at some point, but it all works.

The pickups are a mixed bag, in my opinion. They are p.a.f. style pickups, and sound good. The bridge I don't love, but it does sound like a LP bridge pickup, just a little on the bright side. I lowered it and that helped. The neck pickup is, is my opinion, pretty darned good. Warm with clarity, lots of goodness in there. They meter at 7.94K for the neck, and 9.69K for the bridge.

The pots are full sized 500k, the wires are all full sized too, and the caps are orange drop looking things- the tone controls have a lot of range and do the job well.The wiring all looks pretty cleanly done. A part of the reason I got this guitar was because I recently acquired some pricy aftermarket p.a.f. style PUs in a drawing, so was ready to replace the stock ones (and will sometime soon) but, again, these work fine as is. The knobs are the "wrong" color, more pale gold than true Gibby gold, and the knobs are closer together than on Gibby/Epi guitars, which is a minor thing I've easily adapted to.

It plays really well, it sounds good, it feel right, it looks good, and the price was almost absurdly low. I've kinda wanted a LPSO for a while, and this fits the bill perfectly, it's exactly what I was shopping for. Of course, long term will be the tell, as it all ages and wears, but right now I'm pretty impressed.

If anyone has questions about anything or wants more pics, just ask. I'm off work today. Thanks for reading all that, if you actually did. Ima go play guitar now. smile



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




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wraub #3090058 03/25/21 03:01 AM
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Very nice looking gold top with some sparkly pizzazz!...Congrats Wraub! . thu


Take care, Larryz
wraub #3090079 03/25/21 06:24 AM
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Great score Wraub!
Did you say it was a glued neck? i wouldn't mind a pic of the neck joint, if you have time.


Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

Skipsounds on Soundclick:
www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491
skipclone 1 #3090115 03/25/21 02:40 PM
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Yes, typical set-neck design. I'll get a pic up asap, but here's one from online until then-

[Linked Image from images.reverb.com]


Originally Posted by skipclone 1
Great score Wraub!
Did you say it was a glued neck? i wouldn't mind a pic of the neck joint, if you have time.



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




wraub #3090621 03/29/21 10:08 AM
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Looks pretty clean!


Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

Skipsounds on Soundclick:
www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491
wraub #3092057 04/08/21 02:34 PM
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I changed out the pickups last night. The stock ones were a little muddy at the neck and a little thin at the bridge, and after 2 weeks of adjustments I finally just changed them.
Some reading suggests that they're ceramic, which isn't necessarily a bad thing imo but most of the pickups I've disliked ime have been ceramic.

I put in a set of fairly pricey alnico PAFs I won online, and all is good. Clarity, warmth, no mud, the bridge pickup isn't thin sounding, and it's a really good sounding guitar now.

The bones are good, and the pickup swap really helps to improve things... I'd gig or record this guitar without hesitation, when that's a thing again.



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




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wraub #3092079 04/08/21 06:07 PM
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Sounds good Wraub! Pickups make the biggest difference in how an electric guitar is going to sound IMHO. Glad to hear it's working out for you! thu


Take care, Larryz
wraub #3092126 04/08/21 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by wraub
I put in a set of fairly pricey alnico PAFs I won online, and all is good. Clarity, warmth, no mud, the bridge pickup isn't thin sounding, and it's a really good sounding guitar now.

What are they, wraub?


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Well... I'm reluctant to post that, because the company apparently has some marketing practices that are, at times, dubious. Many threads across several forums, seemingly littered with mules, sock puppets, and whales, all working to increase the allure of the pickups. Much of the hype is clearly just that, the company doesn't publish any specific info re: their pickups, and sells them at high prices with lots of hyperbole and relatively unknown "celebrity endorsers". Their biggest "name" is probably JayLeonardJ.
That said, they regularly do giveaways for their pickups,and I got lucky.
I would describe the pickups, divorced from all that, as very clear and articulate, but warm and full sounding. I'm honestly not sure if they're worth the asking price, because I'm honestly not sure that very many pickups would be, but I can say they're pretty good.



Here's a video-

Here's a link with info on and videos of the pickups I got- 57/61 Deluxe P.A.F. Humbuckers


Originally Posted by Caevan O'Shite
Originally Posted by wraub
I put in a set of fairly pricey alnico PAFs I won online, and all is good. Clarity, warmth, no mud, the bridge pickup isn't thin sounding, and it's a really good sounding guitar now.

What are they, wraub?



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




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wraub #3092151 04/09/21 04:04 AM
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Good is what we like and we are all different. That's a cool guitar!!!!

I can't justify paying too much either, not when TV Jones (just for one) has fairly reasonable prices on great sounding pickups.
I've had an EMG HB in the neck of my ES-335 since the late 80s and I can't think of a single pickup I've used ever that I would prefer.
It has the clarity of a Strat, the full response of a Gretsch Filtertron and a round single coil bass response.

Originally made for the Steinberger basses, the ones that look like canoe paddles. It is an EMG P pickup in a humbucking form factor. The only downside is needing a 9v battery but they last a long time.


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wraub #3092186 04/09/21 03:16 PM
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Hmm, well one of my main electrics, that I got on an international airplane for, has a set of Bartolini
hunbuckers. I switched them for the original set. They are ceramics. I was blown away by the difference. But so far,
I've mostly used them for recording. There is a blues jam on the 18th. Despite the risk, I may join. I think they are capable of
a lot more than I've done so far, this is a good chance.

Last edited by skipclone 1; 04/09/21 03:16 PM.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

Skipsounds on Soundclick:
www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491
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Great Demo Wraub! I love it when you can actually hear the guitar! The 57's are my favorite pups! like

ps. The gold 57 US made Gibsons run $179 each. I got mine through Zzounds for $159 each. I like the same pup at the bridge and neck and do not use the 57+ at the bridge (even though the + sounds great too). Great pups and the ones in your demo sound great with the 61 at the bridge as well! cool

Last edited by Larryz; 04/09/21 04:12 PM. Reason: ps.

Take care, Larryz
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I think my reservations with ceramics is because most of my experience with ceramic pickups has been with inexpensive pickups, and they may have just not been all that good.

I've definitely heard some good ceramic pickups, and I have a set of Barts in my Jazz bass, so no issues there. I think I just prefer alnico and others more.



Originally Posted by skipclone 1
Hmm, well one of my main electrics, that I got on an international airplane for, has a set of Bartolini
hunbuckers. I switched them for the original set. They are ceramics. I was blown away by the difference. But so far,
I've mostly used them for recording. There is a blues jam on the 18th. Despite the risk, I may join. I think they are capable of
a lot more than I've done so far, this is a good chance.



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




Larryz #3092200 04/09/21 04:41 PM
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Yeah, that video was in my mind when I entered the drawing, it's pretty much exactly what I was hoping for, soundwise. These pickups definitely have that in them, first I just need to play better... a lot better. wink

I've come to realize "the P.A.F. sound" is the guitar sound I've been going for all this time, and these get me pretty close. Bright without brittleness, warmth without muddiness, balanced across the spectrum, clean and unhyped.
I've really come to dislike the sound of most overwound pickups, maybe I'm maturing. I hope not.

Now I need a real guitar amp. I don't like playing through my bass amp and I think it's time I got something decent.



Those Gibsons sound like a good buy, if you like them, even better. Enjoy! smile



Originally Posted by Larryz
Great Demo Wraub! I love it when you can actually hear the guitar! The 57's are my favorite pups! like

ps. The gold 57 US made Gibsons run $179 each. I got mine through Zzounds for $159 each. I like the same pup at the bridge and neck and do not use the 57+ at the bridge (even though the + sounds great too). Great pups and the ones in your demo sound great with the 61 at the bridge as well! cool



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




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Wraub, You might want to take your gold top to the nearest GC and plug it into a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp. I think you will like the sound with those pickups in your old age LOL! I'll be doing a shoot out this Tuesday with 3 guitars to see how well my mods went with pups, pots and caps. 3 guitars with the same woods, design, etc., by the same manufacture very close in serial numbers. One has flat wounds, one has round wounds and mine has roller wound strings. All very close in gauges. I'll report back. All 3 are PAF's. cool


Take care, Larryz
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Please do report back... I'm about to start amp shopping in earnest. I could use all the info I can get. wink

Pics are good, too. smile


Originally Posted by Larryz
Wraub, You might want to take your gold top to the nearest GC and plug it into a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp. I think you will like the sound with those pickups in your old age LOL! I'll be doing a shoot out this Tuesday with 3 guitars to see how well my mods went with pups, pots and caps. 3 guitars with the same woods, design, etc., by the same manufacture very close in serial numbers. One has flat wounds, one has round wounds and mine has roller wound strings. All very close in gauges. I'll report back. All 3 are PAF's. cool



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




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Originally Posted by wraub
Please do report back... I'm about to start amp shopping in earnest. I could use all the info I can get. wink
What sort of amp and sound are you looking for?

Low watt? High watt? Loud and clean with a lot of headroom, medium or high gain, bright, dark... ?

Fendery, Marshally, Voxy, MESA/Boogieish... ? Combo or head and cab? Do you prefer 12" speakers, or 10", or... ?

"Play the amp" varying your guitars volume-knobs and your "touch"? Or consistently the same?

"Pedal platform"? Effects-loop necessary?

Channel-switching, two or more? One AMAZING channel?

What kind of price range?

Tea-infusion? Incense-burner? Ovaltine?


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Looking for warmth and clarity, not into built in distortion or overdrive. I have pedals for that. Home/bedroom use, but also good for recording if desired. It will likely never be used onstage, because I'm not likely to ever play guitar onstage, but it could maybe happen, I suppose. I like darker rather than brighter, bluesy more than metal.

Probably a combo, probably not too loud. I tend to play the amp, using the guitar's controls for that... I like the ability to have breakup and tube saturation, but have always disliked the maintenance of tubes. One speaker is fine, but two is not a deal breaker. I like 12s and 10s for guitar, but open to possibilities.

Channel switching could be useful, but more interested in one amazing channel. Most modeling amps in my price range don't sound great to me.I like "real" stuff, if that makes sense.

I do run a pedalboard, but usually just plug it in.

I guess, if pressed, I'd lean more towards Fender/Vox, but I do remember a Boogie combo at the recording studio I worked at that was fairly amazing. I prefer clean to dirty from an amp, I can always add dirty.

Price range- that could be an issue. I'm not primarily a guitar player, so can't really justify a major expense for a hobby tool, and I do have a household budget officer. wink
I can do $200-250, maybe $300 tops.
I feel leery of buying an amp used, not sure why, but, it's a thing. I'd do it from a store that offered a warranty of some kind, but from the usual private sellers I get cautious. Lots to go wrong, and I can probably only do this once.

I've been looking at the Yamaha THR5, but still unconvinced. It's still got that "modeling thing", but could maybe be useful for recording. More than anything, I want quality sound, clear and warm. If that's a small single speaker cab and a micro tube head, or a big combo, I'm okay either way.

I think my main issue is that guitar amps are kind of a mystery to me, so I'm learning on the go. I did just order a case for this guitar, so I can take it to some stores and try some things out.

Oh, and coffee, or Yoo-hoo. Incense, optional. wink



Originally Posted by Caevan O'Shite
Originally Posted by wraub
Please do report back... I'm about to start amp shopping in earnest. I could use all the info I can get. wink



What sort of amp and sound are you looking for?

Low watt? High watt? Loud and clean with a lot of headroom, medium or high gain, bright, dark... ?

Fendery, Marshally, Voxy, MESA/Boogieish... ? Combo or head and cab? Do you prefer 12" speakers, or 10", or... ?

"Play the amp" varying your guitars volume-knobs and your "touch"? Or consistently the same?

"Pedal platform"? Effects-loop necessary?

Channel-switching, two or more? One AMAZING channel?

What kind of price range?

Tea-infusion? Incense-burner? Ovaltine?



I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.




wraub #3092316 04/10/21 03:52 PM
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Fear of modeling amps is common, I had it for a long time myself.
It may be worth overcoming it. It was for me.

FWIW, Ive owned LOTS of tube amps from small and cheap to larger, heavy and not cheap at all. I still have a couple, until I can get all my tubes tested. Not sure if I'll keep either of them once that is done.

Once you accept that virtually ALL preset tones on modeling amps are horrible garbage and start exploring what an amp can do and how to get the tones you like, the mistrust goes out the window.
Your pedals are all modeling "something", whether it be by analog, digital or a combination of the two.

I've got a short list of 5 amps I would recommend to anybody and everybody since they can all be dialed in to produce a wide range of tones.

Boss Katana 50 combo - for live work you'd want the 100 for more versatile switching but the 50 will deliver the tones, clean and sweet - clean and evil - mild OD, to total shred. You will have to sit and play with it for a bit. I recommend putting it in 1/2 watt mode and turning up the Master, that brings in a nice simulation of the output section of a tube amp working hard, smooth responsive tones.

Roland Cube 40 GX - I gig with this on the regular and continue to find a variety of tones.

Roland Micro Cube - This won't get loud but it's a great little amp. The "Black Panel" and "Brit Combo" settings offer up some great tones. I had one, sold it, hated myself and recently got another.

Peavey Vypyr VIP2 - This is the version that sounds best suited to your wants/needs. I have the VIP 1 with a 10" Scorpion in it and the VIP 3 which is large and loud but offers a "Power Soak" knob that takes it down to 1 watt.
These amps take some time to learn. Post Gain does not mean "After Gain", it means "Output section gain". These are analog modeling, the effects are digital but the amp tones are analog. The presets might be some of the worst ever created but there is a huge range of clean and semi-clean tones on tap to be explored. You'll want to work with the Green and Orange settings, the Red settings are way over the top high gain tones. Add a Sanpera 1 and you have a great volume and wah pedal with preset switching - fun but you don't need for home use.

Tech 21 Trademark 30. Discontinued and hard to find. I had a Trademark 10 and should have kept it. All Analog amp modeling with Fender, Marshall and Mesa clean and dirty tones available. These have a quiet, great sounding XLR output that can go direct into an audio interface for recording and spring reverb. Great little amps!

I haven't tried everything. I've heard great things about the Yamaha stuff and a couple of friends are getting tones using Line 6 gear. I'm sure there are more options.


Every Time I Am Wrong, I Learn Something.
wraub #3092367 04/10/21 09:07 PM
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Wraub, DBM lives right around the corner from you. He has a tuber Fender Hot Rod Deluxe he's been trying to sell. They run about $300 used. Great little clean 112 combo amps in your price range. I have one I would sell but I don't want to ship it to anyone. I don't know how much he's asking. Maybe he'll chime in... cool


Take care, Larryz
Larryz #3092448 04/11/21 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Larryz
Wraub, DBM lives right around the corner from you. He has a tuber Fender Hot Rod Deluxe he's been trying to sell. They run about $300 used. Great little clean 112 combo amps in your price range. I have one I would sell but I don't want to ship it to anyone. I don't know how much he's asking. Maybe he'll chime in... cool

Thanks for the heads up @Larryz I see that his top dollar is $300, so I guess this amp is out of his price range. I won't sell it for that little. I will need $500 to buy my next (much smaller amp like that little Roland of yours Larryz) The HRD sounds awesome clean, if I can't sell it for the money I am asking, I will just keep it until I can, no big problem.

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