Guitarists often mention a seemingly mystical thing called “tone” however this comes from a pursuit of that vintage guitar amplifier tone that appears on classic recordings from the 40s and 50s. In those days the only guitar amplifiers available were small size practice valve guitar amps developed from the technology used in car radio players and home radio units. This was due to the availability of components in what was a new field of sound amplification. It is known that a lot of the old guitar players used valve radios to amplify their instruments, these were modified to take a basic guitar pickup input. This created a random and somewhat unrepeatable tone.
From the 1930’s onward a number of companies began manufacturing small combo valve guitar amplifiers. By todays standards we would call these practice valve guitar amps however back in the day these 1W to 5W amps were the biggest available. These early amps featured valve circuit design technology for converting the small voltage that was generated by a pickup, or microphone, in the guitar body and amplifying it into a larger voltage that could drive a speaker cone and allow the sound to be heard.
Since those days guitar amplifier manufacturers have been trying to recreate the sounds of the vintage valve guitar amplifiers the greats used, some manufacturers have got very close, Fender valve amps and Vox valve amps for instance, but most have failed taking the route of cost saving or mass production and missing out on the actual goal.
Vintage Valve Guitar Amplifiers Tone
When you hear guitar players talking about superior tone and sonic characteristics then it is highly likely this refers to the sound from a valve guitar amplifier. Serious guitar players and valve guitar amplifier enthusiasts will tell you that all tube guitar amps produce a “warmer” sound with a smoother, natural “overdrive” sound.
Overdrive is when the pre-amplifier valves are driven harder, either by the input gain control on the amp being set high or by using a pickup booster pedal, leading to a softer clipping, or distortion, of the input signal. This is then passed to the power valves and amplified to a much higher level to be heard at the speaker. Depending on the strength of the signal from the preamplifier stage the power tubes may also start to clip, adding more sonic qualities.
Check Out These Vintage Valve Guitar Amplifiers
The Bugera V55 Infinium Valve Amplifier Combo has retro design syling and vintage valve guitar amp tone
. Based on the original V55 valve amp design, this full-featured and hand-built, 55W, 2-Channel tube combo amplifier possesses modern features that will launch your tone into the sonic stratosphere. Loaded with 3 x 12AX7 preamp valves
and 2 x 6L6 power tubes
, this boutique-style powerhouse gives you the flexibility of two independent channels and selectable reverb, both switchable via the included footswitch. Add to ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
The Fender 65 Princeton Reverb Valve Guitar Amplifier Combo produces 15W of pure vintage tube amplifier tone
into a single 10” Jensen C-10R speaker rated at 40W with ceramic magnet. This is a fender vintage tube amp
with a single channel that has two inputs. Included in this package is a valve driven spring reverb. The Fender 65 Princeton has a cult status among guitarists who are seeking a smooth clean tube amp tone for Jazz or Country playing. And ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
The Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb Valve Amp Combo provides 22W of pure vintage Fender guitar amp tone
from a single 12" Celestion G12V speaker. This is a reissue of the classic Fender Silverface guitar amp
design launched in 68. That year Fender decided to give the classic Fender tweed guitar amps a makeover introducing a new black and silver design style. These amplifiers became popular with musicians across the world for a clean sound that can be driven into ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
The new reissue Fender '68 Custom Princeton Reverb Valve Amplifier is a modern adaptation of the legendary 1968 Fender Silverface guitar amps
which combined a warm and full tube tone, visually pleasing design styling and an on board reverb and vibrato. Retaining all the features in the original 1960's Fender Silverface amplifiers the 68' Custom Princeton Reverb Amplifier emanates vintage fender tweed amp tone and looks with a few modern features added such as a new tone circuit, reduced negative ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
Back in 1968 Fender changed the design of the original Fender tweed amps, the legendary Fender tube amp tone
remained but the new amplifiers were given a makeover with a silver-and-turquoise front panel and classy aluminum drip edge grille cloth trim. The Fender 68 Custom Twin Reverb has since remained the go to amplifier choice for many pros and amateurs since. Designed with a clear, deep and powerful big tube tone, combined with reverb and vibrato effects. The new reissue ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
The Fender Blues Junior Valve Combo Guitar Amplifier features real valve tone and classic Fender saturation in compact design with a 15W output into a single 12” speaker. The latest version of the vintage Fender Blues Junior includes a modified preamp circuit that provides a fuller sound with more definition and clarity. There is also a new reverb circuit keeping your tone clear and intact, regardless of reverb level. The Fender Blues Junior is a single channel valve guitar amp with ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
The new reissue version of the sought after Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV Valve Combo Amplifier is designed around the same legendary fender valve amp tone
but built to modern standards for extended reliability. The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV features modified preamp circuitry, smoother-sounding spring reverb and updated aesthetics that any guitar player will appreciate. This scorching 40W, 1x12" combo, includes a 12" Celestion speaker for balanced output with smooth highs, laid-back midrange and full, round lows. The modified preamp ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
The Laney VC30 Valve Combo Guitar Amplifier (30W) is available in two versions, Laney VC30-112 with a single 12" speaker and the Laney VC30-212 with two 12" speakers. The Lany VC range is packed with vintage warmth and tone, and enough gain for contemporary playing. If you are looking for pure, classic valve guitar amplifier tone
, you need to look no further than the Laney VC30. Designed with a Class A tube amplifier circuit
valve guitar amplifier circuit the VC30 is ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
The Tone King Imperial Vintage Valve Combo Guitar Amp was first introduced in 1993 and become a proven favorite of guitarists seeking authentic vintage valve guitar amp tone
. Utilizing all-tube circuitry, traditional spring reverb, and a specially voiced, highly resonant speaker cabinet, the Tone King Imperial Combo captures the true experience of playing a well-worn vintage valve amplifier
with exceptional tone and feel. Despite being a combo guitar amp
this amp is portable and a fraction of the weight of other tube ...
Review Vintage Tube Amp
The Tone King Imperial Head Vintage Valve Guitar Amp was first introduced in 1993 and become a proven favorite of guitarists seeking authentic vintage valve guitar amp tone
. Utilizing all-tube circuitry and a traditional spring reverb the Tone King Imperial Head captures the true experience of playing a well-worn vintage valve guitar amplifier
with exceptional tone and feel. Also included are onboard tube reverb and tremolo effects. Perfect for single coil and humbuckers with a clean to crunch tone range. The Tone ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
The Vox AC30S1 Top Boost Valve Combo Guitar Amp features a single channel, 30W output into a single 12" speaker. This is an all tube combo guitar amp
with an effects loop and controls for gain, volume, treble and bass. The VOX AC30 vintage valve guitar amplifier
has been an major of rock’n’roll since the 60s with its unique sound that still amazes and inspires players to this day. The Vox AC30S1 delivers the experience of the classic Vox AC30, ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
The YUMAGOLD YG-05T Practice Valve Amp Combo (5W) is perfect for practice and recording sessions. This vintage styled guitar amp is based on the classic Fender Champ design of 1955 with a 5F2 circuit. This practice valve guitar amplifier
has a 5W output and has a classic tweed covering. The hand wired circuit board with three vacuum tubes has a classic tube or valve amplifier sound with clean sound and tone. This is the baby of the Yuma Gold valve ...
Review Vintage Tube Amp
The YUMAGOLD YG-20T Classic Valve Combo Amp is a clone of the classic Fender 5E3 valve combo guitar amplifier
. This hand wired and made to order guitar amplifier has an all tube circuit which is hand wired and soldered. Manufactured to modern standards for optimum performance and reliability. With vintage tweed covering and sturdy cabinet design the YUMAGOLD YG-20T is ready for studio or stage. For home practice it is advised to buy a valve amp attenuator
to reduce output ...Review Vintage Tube Amp
Some of these vintage valve guitar amps may need a vintage valve guitar amp speaker cabinet to work. Click on that link.
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