[Harp-L] Re: small 5W amps

Couple comments on the small amp question...
  (1) Fender Champion 600
  Nice retro look and inexpensive <$200. I ordered one online in Feb and the amp was supposed to be released by Fender in March. It didn't get released and they called and said it would be 8 more weeks. I canceled my order. The only concern I had about the amp was that the marketing info said that the amp had a higher gain preamp than the original. This is probably bad for a harp amp. However, I think it had a high and low gain input that might take care of this. Has anyone actually played harp through one of these yet?
  (2) Crate VC508. 
  I owned one and it was OK. You have to change the 12AX7 preamp tube to a 12AU7 to reduce the gain so it works for harp. It has a solid state (Op-amp) gain stage in front of the preamp tube. With any harp mic I tried, this solid state stage is clipping which gives you a bit of a harsh solid state sound - but not that bad. Overall its a decent amp for the low price.
  (3) Epiphone Valve Jr.
  I played one and it sounded pretty darn good. The owner had made a speaker change but he said it was not bad at all with the original speaker. For $119 brand new how can you go wrong. WARNING - the early versions had a very bad hum. I saw one today for $89 used at a music store and it hummed like crazy. If you search the internet you'll find mods to fix this. Epiphone has fixed the hum and the newer ones don't have it anymore.
  (4) Harpgear amps at www.harpgear.com
  I played a couple of these at a Gindick jam Camp, and have heard Dennis Gruenling and other pros playing through them. All I can say is these are the real deal. I finally made up my mind to stop fooling around with the inexpensive amps listed above and get one of these amps which I'll never outgrow. 
  If I was trying to go inexpensive though, I would buy any of the amps listed above. They all make sounds that will work great for harp (haven't heard the Fender Champion 600 yet).
  Another great choice is the Pignose Hog-20. Its small and all solid state, portable and battery powered. Amazingly its loud (20W peak) and sounds really good for harp. I have a sound sample of it on my website at www.bottle-o-blues.com
  Jim McBride

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