Our next guitar amp

Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about getting an amp for my 14 year old. He’s starting to need an amp to play small shows and the 15 watt solid state Marshall we have is just not good enough sounding nor powerful enough. There are a few options we have explored based on recommendations from people I know and music store sales people.

The first we looked at was the Line 6 Bogner Spider Valve amps. They seem to be a great value but we really don’t need all the modeling and effects. We have a line 6 Pod XT Live which does amp modeling and effects. It seems a bit redundant to have an amp with similar capabilities.

Another guy tried to sway me from a tube amp by arguing that a practice should be low wattage. Again, the Pod XT Live is great in that it supports a headphone. It can be your practice amp (and connect to your computer as well). My son agrees with me (today, at least) that a tube amp with a good clean sound is the way to go. The Pod XT Live gives you a plethora of modeling and effects to run through a decent tube amp.

Another option is the Mesa Engineering Express 5:25 or 5:50 amps. They offer the advantage of multi-watt settings so you can practice at home with the 5 watt setting and then go play with the band with the higher wattage setting. The Mesas sound really good. Their problem is that they are the priciest amps I’ve looked at. They also have the Lone Star line which is even more expensive. But, they do sound great. If I bought one of those I’d keep it and give my son my amp. Is that fair?

A lower end approach is the Fender Blues Junior. Fender has a number of amps that have excellent sound and right now I’m thinking the Blues Junior may be in the price range I’m considering. The question is whether its powerful enough in a club setting.

I’ll update after we take another trip to the music store.

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