I bought a new electric guitar amp! Finally. I haven’t had one since around 2001. It arrived from Amazon yesterday.
I settled on the Line 6 Spider V 30 for $200. It’s a little 30 watt practice amp. I wanted something I could simply turn on and go, as opposed to something like RockSmith on Steam which takes about an hour to load and has that dreaded input delay.
I was undecided between the Spider and a Fender Champion 40 for the longest time. Historically I’ve stuck with “traditional” brands for musical equipment, but I went out on a limb and got the high-tech newcomer. (To me, brands that entered the music scene after the 90s are still “new.") My main deciding factor was that the knobs looked cooler. :) Also, the Line 6 has a USB output so you can record direct from it, which will come in very handy for me.
If you’re not aware, a “modelling amp” differs from a traditional amp in that the “sound” is largely created by a computer DSP instead of the inherent characteristics of the speaker and cabinet. They are more versatile but purists might argue they are sonically inferior. It’s the first one I’ve ever owned, and so far it sounds fine. In today’s pop music world where people cheerfully accept songs with instruments that sound like they were recorded at the bottom of a rusted metal garbage can with a cheap 80s Radio Shack tape recorder mic and too much gain, I doubt anyone would notice the sonic impurities. It’s a small trade-off to get a lot of fiddly buttons and knobs on the front to satisfy my need to change the sound.
If you’ll permit me a bit of nostalgia, the last electric guitar amps I owned were these monstrosities:
The top amp is a ~60 watt H&K tube amp I bought in roughly 1993. The bottom one is a ~60 watt Crate tube amp I bought some years later when the H&K started to die. (Later I fixed it.) Both were around $400-$500 each, considerably more than the Spider. They worked but I was never really in love with them, since they didn’t have a wide variety of sound possibilities. They were traditional amps with a single speaker and cabinets tailored specifically for electric guitars. It may not look like it, but they weighed a frickin' ton and they were a huge pain to carry around. I sold both of them c. 2001.
As it turned out I didn’t use them very much. When recording, I used preamps and pedals to get the tone I wanted, and I used an H&K Red Box amp simulator gizmo to record direct to the mixer. First I had an ADA MP-1 tube preamp, which I loved. (I sold it c. 2001 and I wish I hadn’t.) Later I had an ART SG-1 tube preamp and effects box, which I also loved. I threw it away in c. 2013 because of various wear and tear that made it a door stop. I still have the Red Box though!
I also had a little acoustic guitar amp for a while, too. I can’t remember the brand but it was kind of cheap. I used it with pedals as an electric guitar practice amp but it wasn’t very good for that. I think I threw it away around 2013. (I got rid of lot of stuff in the great moves of 2001 and 2013.)
Anyway, now I can practice playing guitar again, and even record some music! I just need the mental determination to build up calluses.
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