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Rhodes and Vox AC15 (or similar sized amps)


DavidD

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Hi guys

 

I am thinking about starting gigging with my Rhodes and am looking for at small-ish and reasonably priced tube-amp to go with it.

 

It has to have enough headroom to compete with guitar and drums in my band's rehearsal space, but when I bring it out live it will be miked, so I won't be needing a giant stack.

 

I should mention that I'm looking for something that can give me a (somewhat) clean rhodes sound at pretty high volumes, I'm not a huge fan of the overly overdriven sound.

 

Price and weight is an issue (same old story).

 

At the moment I kind of like the feature set of the Vox AC15C1. 12" Celestion Greenback speaker, 15W and a nice tremolo and reverb. In Denmark I can get it for approx. 600 USD new - cheaper used ones pop up now and then. For the same price I can get the Fender Blues Junior, which is also a 15W amp with a single 12" speaker.

 

Here's my concern: I like the pricetag and the weight/bulk size of the two amps, but I'm concerned about the headroom. As I have mentioned, I like a clean rhodes sound. Unfortunately it's not really possible for me to try them with my rhodes before buying.

 

Do any of you have experience with these amps? Or any other amps in the same price- and weight range?

 

And yes, when I get a roadie I will buy a Twin Reverb :cool:

 

Best regards

 

David

David Dyrholm - Copenhagen.

 

Rhodes MK II, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Moog Sub 37, Roland Juno 6, Casio PX-5S, MBP w. Mainstage (+ lots of fx pedals).

 

Endorsed by Casio.

 

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Headroom before breakup in a tube guitar amp...that seems to be a topic of great discussion and disagreement amongst the guitar players I know.

 

Consensus seems to be: that's why the Twin Reverb exists. And it seems that's also why Fender originally voiced the Rhodes with Twin Reverbs. But you already know that, and you don't want to drop the cheddar or schlep 64 glorious pounds.

 

I was thinking maybe a Hot Rod Deluxe? I'm assuming you want to stay with a tube amp. I've played a Rhodes through a Roland Jazz Chorus (look up 'clean guitar amp' on Wiki and there's probably a picture of a JC120) and it certainly stays clean. It also was boring and lacking soul, passion, conviction or any other word you want to use.

..
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I play my Rhodes through my Hot Rod Deluxe and I love it. Now, I like some crunch to the clean sound. Not a lot, but a kind of warm breakup of the tone. However, I typically have my gain set a little above the volume. I'm sure if you brought the gain way down and the volume up, it would sound great and not distort. Or if it did, I think you would find that you like that way anyhow. ;)
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Fender Blues Jr. With the Twin Reverb tone mod.

 

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+1 As Vox claim Vox amps have that unique Vox sound. One trick pony. The Fender tube amps do excellent clean and you can use pedals to add drive, trem etc. You can dirty up a clean amp, you cannot clean up a dirty amp.

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I would question whether a 15 watt amp is going to be enough for a Rhodes. A guitar is one thing, but a Rhodes is another.

 

If plugging your Rhodes into a one 12" amp voiced for blues and rock guitar is your thing (and it wasn't really mine when I was playing a Rhodes) I'd be much more comfortable bumping the wattage up to at least 40. And there are so many choices in the used market: Fender Hot Rods, Peavey Classics... I recently heard a guitar through a Blackstar combo in this range that sounded terrific.

 

Anyway I think you can do better for cheaper if you shop used. 40-50 watt combos flood my local CL every week.

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Yeah, 15 watts is simply not enough for a Rhodes.

I played mine thru a 40W Fender Blues DeLuxe in a rehearsal space

with a blues band. That amp didn't have enough headroom for me to be able

to hear myself and stay fairly clean. I think the Blues De Ville 2x12 might be

better as it's 60W. As others said, there is a reason why a Twin is 100W even if I don't like it myself. I have an old CMI Lead & Bass 100W which is a 100 %

Marshall under a different name. Now, Marshalls normally don't sound good

with Rhodes as they are too dirty, but this one sounds like a Fender until you push it...then comes a distorsion that will melt your face. I'm thinking of trying

that head with a bass cabinet to get a wider range than your normal honky guitar cabs.

 

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Thanks for all your replies! I can see that a lot of you have the same concerns as my self regarding the 15W amps.

 

I think I'm probably gonna go for a 40W Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III as they come up on the used market in my part of the world quite often. It seems like an okay compromise between weight, price and sound.

 

Once again, thanks alot! :)

David Dyrholm - Copenhagen.

 

Rhodes MK II, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Moog Sub 37, Roland Juno 6, Casio PX-5S, MBP w. Mainstage (+ lots of fx pedals).

 

Endorsed by Casio.

 

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Okay, if it works out for you, I believe I deserve a Dolphin Sticker* since I was the first in the thread to suggest the Hot Rod Deluxe.

 

* Remember when you were 9 years old and taking piano lessons and you'd get that little four bar piece correct? Your teacher would paste a Dolphin Sticker on the page and then you could go to the next exercise.

 

..
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Dolphin stickers all around!

 

Btw Timwat, I agree with you on the JC120 lacking "soul". I used to play with one - liked the chorus but I never warmed up to the overall sound of the amp.

 

That's why I'm looking for a tube amp now. Plus I'll have to gig with it, the Jazz Chorus was damn heavy, but back then I didn't have to move it.

David Dyrholm - Copenhagen.

 

Rhodes MK II, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Moog Sub 37, Roland Juno 6, Casio PX-5S, MBP w. Mainstage (+ lots of fx pedals).

 

Endorsed by Casio.

 

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Let us know what you end up with and how it works out for you, David.

 

My Rhodes never leaves the house now, but I run it through a 5W Blackstar HT 5 and it sounds great (for home use).

 

And Eric, my mom says I have to share my Dolphin sticker so no one feels left out.

 

Tim

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I actually use a Blackstar as well - a HT-1R for practice at home.

 

I bought it online sight unseen based on the pretty good reviews it had gotten, plus I liked the fact that it has an AUX-input and a headphone output, so that I could practice with backtrack and headphones without waking up my significant other.

 

However, the 1W is not really enough, not even for a small practice amp. It breaks up way to early, so I haven't really been using it that much.

David Dyrholm - Copenhagen.

 

Rhodes MK II, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Moog Sub 37, Roland Juno 6, Casio PX-5S, MBP w. Mainstage (+ lots of fx pedals).

 

Endorsed by Casio.

 

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Timwat, the HT-5 is a superb amp, especially the crunch channel. It is my home practice guitar amp. Best £300/$450 I ever spent.

 

SSM

 

Yeah, I have the "anniversary" edition, which is 2x10 (and blonde tolex). The thing sounds magnificent - I just wish I was a better guitar player. I don't practice enough - all my practice time goes to the piano. Still, that amp sounds great to my ears.

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Twin Reverbs are a great amp for electric keyboards, and around a grand currently. I recently bought the 64 reissue, which I prefer to the 68 reissue, but some say the 68 is better voiced for keys (and the 65 better for guitars).

 

I also own a hand-wired AC15, but hadn't thought to try it on keys yet.

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Select Strat/Tele, Am Pro Jazzmaster, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, T64, PM2, EXL1, XK4, Voyager

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Does reissue amp vs. original amp make a difference for keyboards? It must make a difference for guitarists because the originals are pricey, if you can even locate them. I've been looking for a tube amp for my D6 and Wurli 200 for quite a while now.
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Guitarists get real picky about the specific tubes, as well as hand-wiring and Made in America. Not sure keyboardists care quite as much about any or all of those factors.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Ann P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico Bari, Dano Bari

Select Strat/Tele, Am Pro Jazzmaster, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, T64, PM2, EXL1, XK4, Voyager

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I actually use a Blackstar as well - a HT-1R for practice at home.

 

I bought it online sight unseen based on the pretty good reviews it had gotten, plus I liked the fact that it has an AUX-input and a headphone output, so that I could practice with backtrack and headphones without waking up my significant other.

 

However, the 1W is not really enough, not even for a small practice amp. It breaks up way to early, so I haven't really been using it that much.

 

 

Thanks for this David. I am currently teaching a guy to play guitar, and he likes my HT-5, but was considering a HT-1, as it is about 30% cheaper over here. Our local Blackstar dealer doesn't have the HT-1 in stock, and seems reluctant to get one in unless he gets a firm order first.

 

I will pass on your experiences to my pupil, and break the news to him that he may need to pay more than he expected. It's not all bad news though, as the HT-5 has an effects loop, (which I think is a very desirable feature on a guitar amp) and the HT-1 doesn't.

 

 

SSM

Occasionally, do something nice for a total stranger. They'll wonder what the hell is going on!
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I actually use a Blackstar as well - a HT-1R for practice at home.

 

I bought it online sight unseen based on the pretty good reviews it had gotten, plus I liked the fact that it has an AUX-input and a headphone output, so that I could practice with backtrack and headphones without waking up my significant other.

 

However, the 1W is not really enough, not even for a small practice amp. It breaks up way to early, so I haven't really been using it that much.

 

 

Thanks for this David. I am currently teaching a guy to play guitar, and he likes my HT-5, but was considering a HT-1, as it is about 30% cheaper over here. Our local Blackstar dealer doesn't have the HT-1 in stock, and seems reluctant to get one in unless he gets a firm order first.

 

I will pass on your experiences to my pupil, and break the news to Ihim that he may need to pay more than he expected. It's not all bad news though, as the HT-5 has an effects loop, (which I think is a very desirable feature on a guitar amp) and the HT-1 doesn't.

 

 

SSM

 

SSM, I should specify that I used the HT1R with my Rhodes which has a hotter signal than a guitar. I think it would make a fine practice amp for guitar, I'm guessing that you can push the amp volume further before it starts to break and distort with a guitar than with a Rhodes.

 

However, if the HT-5 is only 30% more expensive, I would go for that one.

David Dyrholm - Copenhagen.

 

Rhodes MK II, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Moog Sub 37, Roland Juno 6, Casio PX-5S, MBP w. Mainstage (+ lots of fx pedals).

 

Endorsed by Casio.

 

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I have to agree that the Vox AC15 isn't the best amp for a keyboard. But as a guitar amp (particularly paired with a Fender) it's an excellent choice. Coupled with my Tele, the Vox gives me the best clean guitar sound I've ever gotten. It just shimmers.

 

I used a Roland JC-120 for many years. If you can get one with the silver coned speakers, it would be a good amp for keys. Pretty transparent and very loud. The non-silver cones are o.k., just less bright.

 

And while there's not a lot of them around on the used market, the Barbetta's are also great. I still use my old Sona 31 occasionally on small gigs.

 

Just a few thoughts. Hope this helps...

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Playing in a rock band many moons ago, I used a Rhodes through a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp. Volume for stage is adequate as long as it is positioned correctly but even back then we were running everything through the PA.

John Cassetty

 

"there is no dark side of the moon, really. As a matter of fact it's all dark"

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I was thinking maybe a Hot Rod Deluxe?
I had one of those and my 1977 MkI sounded great though it, on clean channel.

 

My HRD was stolen, so I tried out a Blues Jr as a replacement. On guitar it's actually better than a Deluxe, because it's smaller, so I could get better tone at lower volumes. But for Rhodes it just plain sucked, even just playing at home at relatively mild volumes. I don't know why it sucked, it just did. Seemed to me that the speaker just couldn't handle it. At the time I thought it was maybe a smaller woofer and that was the reason, but no, it's a 12". Maybe it has a smaller magnet or something. Or maybe it is the amp. In any case, it was a total non-starter at any volume. Ick. Ptui!

So instead I went for a Blues Deluxe, which is the same thing as the HRD but with the preamp tweaked for a smoother, blusier tone, which I now prefer. I use the clean channel for Rhodes, and if there is any difference between the Hot Rod and the Blues, I can't hear it.

 

A number of East Coast KC-ers have played my Rhodes through that amp; maybe they can remember.

 

I've played a Rhodes through a Roland Jazz Chorus (look up 'clean guitar amp' on Wiki and there's probably a picture of a JC120) and it certainly stays clean. It also was boring and lacking soul, passion, conviction or any other word you want to use.
When I first got my Rhodes back in 77 or 78, my roommate had one of these and that's what I used for it for quite a while. I loved the sound of the stereo chorus, and the brightness on the bell tones (though I had to be VERY light on the high notes!) It's not what I'd want today, though. After that, I ran it direct, with a Roland stereo chorus. I still like a Rhodes direct, but I like it better through a tube amp.

 

I played mine thru a 40W Fender Blues DeLuxe in a rehearsal space with a blues band. That amp didn't have enough headroom for me to be able to hear myself and stay fairly clean.
As I said above, that's pretty much the same amp (on clean channel) as the Hot Rod. I'm guessing it was a pretty loud blues band. My deluxe keeps up with a blues band that regulates its volume pretty well.

 

I haven't tried it with the guys I'm playing with these days; one guitarist runs too hot and drags the rest of us up there. Maybe someday I'll give it a try, but where we usually play there's hardly room for my keyboards; definitely no room for the amp.

 

I think the Blues De Ville 2x12 might be better as it's 60W.
And it's 2 speakers! Definitely louder; who knows if it's needed to keep up with the guitarists. My favorite for Rhodes is actually 4x10. I don't remember which Fender it is, but a friend of mine has an old Fender combo with 4x10 for harp, and the Rhodes sounds just lovely through it. Except you can't quite turn it up loud enough to warm up the power tubes without raising the roof, and I vastly prefer power tube warmth to preamp overdrive.

 

Anyway, I highly recommend a Blues Deluxe or Hot Rod Deluxe, in an affordable tube amp. A bit to lug, but not too terrible. Blue Junior, no way Ho-say. If you plan to use preamp overdrive, I bet the Blues Deluxe would be better than the Hot Rod which is a bit hot for a Rhodes, unless you like a fuzzy tone.

 

And I bet a Deville would sound even better, but pricier and a lot more to lug. If the Deluxe isn't quite cutting it, the Deville probably would. This is playing in small venues where frankly the Deluxe is too loud to be an ideal guitar amp; the Junior is way better. Or any of a million pricey boutique amps.

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Hi guys

 

I am thinking about starting gigging with my Rhodes and am looking for at small-ish and reasonably priced tube-amp to go with it.

 

It has to have enough headroom to compete with guitar and drums in my band's rehearsal space, but when I bring it out live it will be miked, so I won't be needing a giant stack.

 

I should mention that I'm looking for something that can give me a (somewhat) clean rhodes sound at pretty high volumes, I'm not a huge fan of the overly overdriven sound.

 

Price and weight is an issue (same old story).

 

At the moment I kind of like the feature set of the Vox AC15C1. 12" Celestion Greenback speaker, 15W and a nice tremolo and reverb. In Denmark I can get it for approx. 600 USD new - cheaper used ones pop up now and then. For the same price I can get the Fender Blues Junior, which is also a 15W amp with a single 12" speaker.

 

Here's my concern: I like the pricetag and the weight/bulk size of the two amps, but I'm concerned about the headroom. As I have mentioned, I like a clean rhodes sound. Unfortunately it's not really possible for me to try them with my rhodes before buying.

 

Do any of you have experience with these amps? Or any other amps in the same price- and weight range?

 

And yes, when I get a roadie I will buy a Twin Reverb :cool:

 

Best regards

 

David

 

When I owned and gigged w/ (Fender-) Rhodes pianos in the past, in the studio and for recording, a vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb was great, but on stage, the Super Reverb was much better as were the Twin Reverb and the last Fender amp I owned,- Dual Showman Reverb amp (head of Twin Reverb).

15 Watts is a toy and when I see what you have to pay for the 60 - 100W tube amps today and think of their size and weight, well ...

 

Actually I don´t play any electromagnetic instruments anymore, but when I visited one of my best friends from the past who runs the largest studio in town and is one of germanys most famous producers, I got the tip the Kemper Profiling Amps are as good for keyboards as they are for guitars.

Designed by the man who designed the Access Virus line of synths.

Also not cheap, but it´s much more than just only 1 (combo) amp and much more portable.

 

A.C.

 

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I play a fender rhodes thru a roland jc 90, which is the 2-10-inch version of the famous roland jc120. It sounds great, plenty loud, and very punchy---cuts thru the mix nicely---plus it's much lighter and more manageable than it's older brother, and it actually sounds better to me. I traded my jc 120 straight up for the 90---no regrets. Although I should say that I run it bone dry. It's a mark v, and that's how I prefer it.
Hammond B-2, Leslie 122, Hammond Sk1 73, Korg BX3 2001, Leslie 900, Motion Sound Pro 3, Polytone Taurus Elite, Roland RD300 old one, Roland VK7, Fender Rhodes Mark V with Roland JC90
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Beware of the Vox reissue amps - the AC series anyway. Had a bandmate who had an AC-20 reissue. He took it to the repair shop 3 times in a 2 year period. It would go microphonic, or a switch would suddenly stop working, or just power off for no apparent reason. It wasn't as simple as tubes going bad either.

 

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe isn't bad. I have one but it's been temperamental since I had it modded. Unfortunately vintage Fender amps go for inflated prices in the used market. See if you can find an Ampeg or Traynor - those are Fender-like but tend to sell for less.

 

I'm not sure 15W will deliver the clean headroom you would want for a Rhodes. Maybe a 20W. I have a 20W Ampeg and I've found that in the louder bands I've played with I've had to crank the volume high enough to get power tube overdrive whether I want it or not.

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Once again, thanks a lot for all the replies and comments.

 

Sagetunes, I actually didn't know that Roland made smaller versions of the JazzChorus. Interesting.

 

Ampegs are usually priced close to Fender in Denmark, so no money saved there. Traynors are hard to come by here although there is a used Traynor YGL MK3 for sale right now - but that's to big and heavy for me to lug around.

 

I think the Hot Rod Deluxe will be fine for my needs. I'll only be using it live and not for recordings etc., so as long as it can play loud enough (which I'm sure it can) and give me the nice Fender reverb and sound, I'm a happy camper.

David Dyrholm - Copenhagen.

 

Rhodes MK II, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Moog Sub 37, Roland Juno 6, Casio PX-5S, MBP w. Mainstage (+ lots of fx pedals).

 

Endorsed by Casio.

 

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