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What amplifiers are recommended ...?

Amplifiers and speakers that are mentioned regularly in posts with some quotes from contributors.

Acoustic Image Series II Clarus 1 (Model 400 IA) "The Clarus 1 (Model 400 IA) is a compact and powerful integrated amplifier for acoustic and electric instruments. Combining a flexible four-band preamp section and a 300 watt switch mode amplifier in a compact 5 pound package, the C1 provides transparent, powerful and accurate sound reproduction across the full frequency spectrum so that your sound comes through."

AER Audio Electric Research "Most of known German jazz guitarists like M. Sagmeister and F. Haunschild and many others are playing the AER combo amps. These amps are very small, light weight and amplifying just the tone you put in."

"I have this amp and sometimes use it with my jazz guitars Golden Eagle, GB10, Emporer Regent and X-170 but find that because it is really voiced for electro acoustic guitars it is rather 'reedy' in the top end with all these different guitars. Having said that, I recently saw Martin Taylor (UK jazz supremo) playing his Django homage stuff through a slightly larger (10"?) touring version and his sound was sublime ...using a Yamaha(?) full body size electro acoustic guitar. However, I don't know if he would use an AER with his Vanden archtop model. Dave Cliff, another excellent UK jazz guitarist, is using the smaller AER to amplify his (believe it or not) Fender Bullitt (an older budget type combined tele/strat styling) and his sound is also first rate especially for cutting through "over enthusiastic" rhythm sections. However, he also agrees that the bottom end is a little lacking for solo or showcase guitar groups."

Alessandro "I play a Clarus/RE, but my favorite setup (for the living room) is an Alessandro Italian Greyhound head through my RE 6+8 ER cab. Alessandro is simply using Fender-ish designs with top-of-the-line parts and silver solder of point-to-point wiring. The result is magical, and EXPENSIVE, and only a little better than the Clarus. Still, the difference isn't big enough for me to lay awake at night pining for the Alessandro."

Electric Lion

Evans Custom Amplifiers- "I own an Evans JE200, it is the best sounding amp i have ever owned. It has a very dark and thick tone. I had a Polytone.....it just has a very ded sound. Not very colorful to me. Also, the Evans has over 200 watts of power and can handle most situations, where as the Polytone Minibrute is weaker and tends to distort at higher volumes. There are 2 drawbacks to the Evans.... the price, and the weight. I only paid 800 for my Evans used, but this model runs about 1100 dollars....and weighs over 50lbs. This part sucks.. i play 4 nights a week and luckily can park near the front door, but i also own an amp cart. So... if you want a colorful and thick sound, the Evans is great."

Fargen Amplification

Fender- "Well, I did it. I bought me a Fender cyber Twin and took it out on the road to play for four nights. I'm loving this thing more and more with each passing day. I sure do love those old vintage Fender tones which this amp does so very well at sane volume levels. It also does great hard rock, metal, and blues tones, and is easy to program, and control live. I would never have believed it, nor would I have ever even tried it if it weren't for so many great players in the music industry going nuts over this thing. Anyway, Just thought I'd let you all know what I've been up to lately. "

Flite Sound

Fuchs Audio Technology "Andy Fuchs of Fuchs Audio Technology has miraculously stuffed one of his 50 Watt all tube jazz amps into an old Princeton cabinet. Aptly called a Jazz Jr., it sports a 12" EV and a sweet reverb circuit. A tad hefty but quite portable. I have been playing it for over a week and all I can say so far is "bye bye Polytone"."

Polytone The Polytone brand of amps, has been associated with jazz guitar players for many years. Two models are mentioned regularly in posts, Mini-Brute II and the Mega-Brute. The official website is not up yet, but more information on Polytone's can be found at Murch Music "Find a Polytone Minibrute and check it out. I really had to search for one, but it's the best sounding Jazz amp I've ever owned. You can hear the tone on either of the "5:30 demo" tracks on my site at http://www.ClifJohnston.com. I'm playing an Ibanez AS80 (neck pickup) through just the Polytone with the Bass at -3 and the mid and treble at 0...and just a touch of reverb. This is not a tube amp, but it sounds and responds like a tube amp, and you can play any small or medium venue with it easily. If you needed to play anything bigger, the D.I. sucks (as do most amps I've tried) but the amp mikes really well, as you can hear on the demo."

Roland The Jazz Chorus-90, JC-120 and the Blues Cube amps. "I've auditioned a couple of JC120s. I thought the Roland's sounded pretty good, but I thought that the large size was a major drawback with no offsetting advantage to my ears. I read that Pat Martino plays one, so it certainly has acceptance as a serious amp in some quarters."

Tech 21 "I have been using one of these amps for about a year now and I still think it's one of the best amps I ever used, however I have just put a BBE 264 into the effects loop and the result is fantastic. Lots of extra clarity and sparkle. Try one out if you get the chance." "I have one and its great! I used all week at jazz camp both channels! Played with and over piano, sax, trumpet, trombone drums and bass at 1/2 volumn - no problems! Try one out - they sound better when at 1/2 to 2/4 volumn so be sure to crank it a bit at the store!"

UltraSound "I have had an Ultrasound J100R (jazz voicing, 100 watt, spring reverb, 4-speaker) combo for several months now, and have gigged with it in big band and combo settings. My "other" amp is a MegaBrain/Twin8. The Ultrasound reinforces the acoustic sound of my archtops (L5, Byrdland) and piezo-equipped classical guitar; the classical sounds "just like" itself unplugged, only louder. I'm not sure how to describe the difference between the Ultrasound and the Poly/RE combo with the archtops, other than to say the former has more of an "acoustic" (woody, airy, a bit more treble) sound and the latter more of an "electric" sound. The Poly/RE is louder. A solid-body (humbucker-equipped Tele) into the Ultrasound has an interesting but not unpleasant dry sound, not your garden-variety jazz tone but usable."

Walter Woods Mi 100 - 2 channels (No Website) "This MI100 is from 1987 and has 2 channels. The user manual explains that the equalisation frequencies (bass, medium and treble) are slightly different for both channels. These corrections are efficient (+/-16dB). The front panel, red brushed aluminium , is tilted for easier knob access. The inside view shows us the typical architecture of these amps. The pre-amp circuit board is vertically mounted. This solution is possible by the use of specific jacks and potentiometers. This choice optimises space but makes it less accessible for difficult repairs. You must dismantle in order to solder. For this pre-amp, Walter decided to use a couple of transistors to substitute audio integrated circuits. Was it to obtain a better noise characteristic? I think not. Moreover, this pre-amp has bad distortion (between 3 and 10%!). Later, Walter will give up this very trendy concept for the following models. A central barrier improved the shield of the pre-amp and the rigidity of the box. The power amp, with bipolar transistors equipped, is very classical. It delivers 75W/8 Ohms and 105W/4 Ohms. The power supply deserves consideration. This is the key of the concept. It delivers around 100W but its size is no bigger than a handful of cherries. On the schematic, there is a mysterious rectangle named " switching power supply ". In fact, this is an auto-oscillator working around 100khZ. Compared to power supplies with fixed frexency, this solution is less cumbersome because it reduces the quantity of components, but may cause fallibility problems. Purists will note two points: the frequency of the oscillator varies according to the load and the transformer heats up because it works in the magnetic saturation"

Webb Amps "I've got a couple of Webb amps and think that they are fantastic, particularly with the JBL speaker. My 225 watt Webb 6-14 GP with 15" JBL has tons of headroom and good clean tone. If you're familiar with JBL, they have more extension, high and low, than most "guitar" speakers. If you want your archtop to sound like it does acoustically, just louder, this is an amp that can do it.

Compared to the Evans JE150 and JE200, I think that the Webb has more flexible tone controls. In particular, it's not burdened with a Treble control, such as on the Evans, that you have to turn to Zero to get your starting jazz guitar tone. Set flat the treble sounds good and you can adjust it to your taste. You can't get an Evans with a JBL. "

Speaker Cabinets

Bag End Loudspeakers

Raezer's Edge Stealth 10 "One 10 '' speaker @8ohms, 150 watts, weight 22 lbs. A nice portable speaker cab. For basic jazz guitar, this is probably my favorite RE cab. For acoustic, I think that the bass is actually flatter than the Stealth 12 and sounds more natural. The S12 has some emphasis in the upper bass and lower midrange, giving it the impression of having deeper bass, but the S10 actually has flatter bass that extends almost as far.

Another advantage/disadvantage of the S10 over the S12 and T8-T, is that it doesn't have the "edge" on the upper midrange. This makes it sound sweeter up close. The disadvantage is that I think in a gig playing situation is that the same edge helps the S12 and T8-T project into the room. If you get 20 feet away, those two sound really smooth."


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