Change amp or buy pedals?

If you want to get an inexpensive multi fx to try your existing amp out one of these is adequate and basically costs ‘Beer money’, a no brainier really!

I can’t say I have critically listened to the 5” speaker, but it certainly falls into the adequate range.

At the low volumes I play it at, it sounds quite good, this coming from an audiophile making my own tube amps and speakers.

My guess is that it falls down at higher volumes, but it is more than adequate for living room and family type play.

If you plan to play your entire basement and have a party, it would probably need an added cabinet. Same if you are someone who also just wants to crank it alone, I suppose.

These are often out and available to try at places like GC, so give it a listen.

I have to disagree with this recommendation.
Cheap it is but its options for effects are very limted.
It only offers Flanger, Chorus, Phaser, Delay, Tremolo and Pitch Shifter effects.
No reverb,
No overdrive / distortion.
Flanger, Tremolo and Pitch Shift are seldom used.
And @Lefteris wants AC/DC and rock crunch plus some Blues-Rock tones.
This pedal offers none of those.


To a point I agree but I just looked at it as being a very inexpensive way of seeing how well the existing amp takes pedals, some are OK, some are not! In retrospect perhaps I should have suggested something like this:

It has more options and combinations so would be more useful anyway.

Quite a few friends above, suggested the Katana (50W or 100W).
I think the size of them would be prohibitive. I live in a flat so space comes at a premium.
I had for a while a MG50GFX which has a 12" speaker too and I was given an ultimatum… Well not quite, but my wife was not too happy… I tried to explain that we can use it as an extra coffee table but she wasn’t convinced. :joy::joy: So, it went.

I think 10" combo would probably be very good considering the space but also its sonic capabilities compared to an 8" speaker.

With regards to the pedals I’ll have a look to those @AlistairC, @DarrellW and @Richard_close2u mentioned.
I think Richard is getting close to what I have in mind. I can do half-decent dirt (for metal) with my current amp but crunch or slight overdrive… Is challenging for me to achieve (e.g. AC/DC or ZZ Top tones). Perhaps my guitar’s pickups are also to blame (Tone Zone/Air Norton) but that’s what I’m working with at the moment.

Below (hopefully) you can see a pic of the amp I have.

Yes, agreement on the STomplab - from earlier. [quote=“Richard_close2u, post:17, topic:31868”]
1] Vox Stomplab or Mooer PE100 (both around £50-60

Also . @Lefteris do not underestimate the purchasing power of your wallet in the 2nd hand market … these amps / multi-fx go for good buys on ebay / mktplace etc.

That’s very true @Richard_close2u. That MG50 I mentioned before, I picked up on ebay for 50 quid. It was a bargain and the guy also gave me the footswitch for it for free.

I recommend getting a low Watt tube amp (or head) and some pedals. It’s a natural progression and something that you kind of have to do to really get the appeal. The way notes blossom may not be important for the type of music that the OP wants to play, but the way that you can move air is important. Pedals are fun and where all the tone shaping and finding your own sound eventually leads to (for most of the top players).

If all you want to do is approximate AC/DC and chug some metal, you should be able to do that now with a humbucker guitar and your current amp. Take a stab at recording and posting in the AVoYP forum. You may be closer than you think.

Note that it has a killer metal tone in the mix and not so much all on its own. Play over a metal backing track and your current rig is right there, man.

EDIT: He did double track the guitar, so there may be some trickeration to get this rig chuggable.

Oh I need to find the guts to post anything of myself playing. I do record myself sometimes and then even I can’t hear me playing…
I’m joking, it’s not that bad but I do listen to a lot of mistakes, strings ringing when they shouldn’t, parts where my timing is a bit off… So I’m not too confident yet… Perhaps that’s something I need to change too :laughing:

Don’t forget the katana head or air. They are much much smaller.

Interesting discussion here. I have a Katana Air, which I bought secondhand. It’s a good little amp for sure, but I also have a BOSS RC5 looper pedal. Unfortunately the Katana doesn’t have an FX loop so all my loops are modified by whatever tones I have on the Katana. I have decided to bite the bullet and have ordered a Fender GTX50. I did think about the Katana 100 but don’t need the additional weight( have to lug it up stairs to practice) and the Fender has a load of features that the Katana has, including an optional footswitch with built in looper. Will I keep the RC5 - time will tell! I think being able to loop clean loops and play over them is an essential part of practising.

I’ve only been learning for about 3 years but I’m quite adventurous if not very good! :grimacing:

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This conversation made me realise the importance of the FX loop. I wasn’t aware of that before.
If I buy an amp, it will stay with me, I don’t plan - at the moment - to be buying amps every other week. So the next amp should have features I want and need.
So in that sense I’m grateful for the input from the community here.
Pedals can probably become part of one’s sound and be used at will so I guess it probably won’t be wasted money.

I’m holding off from a purchase at the moment and I’ll focus on learning to play the guitar… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’m looking also at some budget friendly valve amps which seem good in paper.

Let me ask, what amps (either valve or solid state) with independent EQs for each channel would you recommend looking at? Pricewise, I’d stick to 3 digit numbers :joy:

I’ve just bought a Hotone Ampero as the backbone of my new sound system gives you all the effects you could ever need plus you can run it into a variety of speakers/amps. Means you can get to a really lightweight giging set-up while still being able to play at home at more modest volume levels. There’s some great youtube videos discussing similar set-ups, just search FRFR speakers for guitar on Youtube and see what you think.

I’d be a plus one for the Katana series not least because for a beginner you get great tones straight out of the amp without needing to hook it up to a laptop/pc AND you still have the option for using lots of boss effects AND they sound really good. Bang for buck it’s great amp.

On the multifx path I’d say take your time as tone wise you get what you pay for AND for the uninitiated they are complicated beasts to get used to. This comes from someone who ONLY uses multifx 99% of time now (I have Line6 PodGo) and has had a number of different manufacturer models over the last 7 years. There are some good budget ones (Zoom and Mooer in recent years) but equally some not so good. They are undoubtedly a cost saver ,particular at the higher end where they do model pedals very accurately and can save you lots of money on individual pedals BUT better perhaps to learn how a few pedals work together first. A cheap(er) distortion, chorus, reverb and delay would be a good start. You pretty much always get your money back with pedals if you sell them as well.

@Lefteris I’m in the same boat as you and, I’m assuming, tons of other people. I have the Boss Katana 50 MkII, and have recently discovered that the lack of an FX loop is problematic (ref. looper pedal as mentioned here). So I’ve been looking around for alternatives. No one seems to mention the blackstar ht-20r mkii valve combo. From what I can tell so far it ticks a lot of boxes. 2 channels (each with 2 ‘voicings’), EQ on OD channel, on board reverb, FX loop, and last but least the possibility to lower the output from 20watts to 2 watts. This last thing I think is a no-brainer for everyone trying to discover the tones you want in a practice/home setting.

To be clear to anyone new to the looper/fx loop discussion it’s only really a problem because typically you would want to lay down a loop using one guitar tone and then probably solo over that loop using a different tone.

If you are reliant on your amp for FX then when you change the tone on your amp (after laying down your initial loop) then with the looper going into the front of the amp everything on the looper will now play using that new guitar tone. Just think of the looper as a guitar signal recorder. If you use it between the guitar and the amp input it just records the dry guitar signal and then the amp converts that to whatever tone is set on the amp. If however you use it in the FX loop of an amp its AFTER the fx have been applied so therefore the signal it records will include the FX.

Obviously if you utilise a pedalboard or multifx in front of your amp so that the looper input is from your pedalboard it will record the output from those incorporating the FX BEFORE the looper then goes into the amp. So it is then not essential to have a FX loop (although it might be desirable for other reasons).

Got to agree with Rossco,

The idea is to have the looper after any effects you may add. If you have a pedal board for effects, you probably don’t need an effects loop for looping purposes. As long as the looper pedal is between the effects and the amp.
If you rely on the amp effects then a fx loop is more desirable.

I’m no electric guitar/tone expert, so take this with more than a pinch …

Would it not work to set up a suitable lead tone on the amp then back off the guitar volume to clean that up. Record using the clean tone on the looper and then crank back the guitar volume to play lead over a recorded rhythm on the looper. Without touching the amp settings?

Not going to give the the flexibility of the looper sitting last in a pedal board chain of fx but maybe a useable solution for beginners wanting to record simple backing and then improv over it using a looper?

David, absolutely that will also work and I would guess was an approach taken by many historically. Obviously it’s nice to be able to have a rhythm loop which can include some FX and then an overdriven tone without. Also that approach works fine for the simplest of uses of a looper BUT if you are building up some sort of ambient track with many overlays it works less well. Then you really want something to distinguish between the different tracks.

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Do you know if the low power setting still utilizes the tube output? If it achieves this by bypassing the tubes, you might as well get a modeling amp.
Having built valve stereo amps, and understanding valve circuits, in order to lower the watts like that they either bypass an output stage or they have an attenuator circuit (like having an attenuator pedal built in).