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  I need a good SS amp! (But which...?)

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Author Topic:   I need a good SS amp! (But which...?)
Bill Llewellyn
Member

From: San Jose, CA

posted 03 May 2000 06:04 PM     profile     
Ok, steelers, I may be getting ready to buy a good steel amp. (Replacing my honky little Roland JC50.) The Peavey Session 400 (500?) seems to get a lot of attention. Isn't there also a Nashville 400? (Is my ignorance showing?)

Anyway, I did a search for "best amp" and "best amplifier" on Bar Chatter and only got one discussion -- on SS vs tube amps. I'm ok with solid state, so I'm now a-lookin' for the right one.

Also, when comparing guitar amplifiers, I see a lot of comments about warmth, tone, edge, sustain, bottom, and so on. Doesn't a lot of that have to do with the speaker (driver) itself and the cabinet, maybe even moreso than with the electronics?

Anyway, my price range for a good SS amp is about $400.

Fire away!

------------------
Bill * MSA Classic U12 * email * homepage

Bob Tuttle
Member

From: San Angelo, Tx, USA

posted 03 May 2000 07:26 PM     profile     
Bill,
You can't go wrong with the Nashville 400 (especially if it has the LeMay modification). You can often find them in the buy & Sell section in the $300 to $350 price range. I've used the Session 400, the Session 500 and now have two Nashville 400s. IMO I get a better sound out of the Nashville and they're somewhat smaller and lighter than the others.

Hope this helps.
Regards,
Bob

Dave Burton
Member

From: Richland,Wa. USA

posted 03 May 2000 10:53 PM     profile     
Bill, do yourself a favor and try a Nashville 1000. It will be over your budget but if in the future you play through one (if your like me ) you will want one.You might as well buy something you will use for a long time.JMHO GOOD LUCK Dave
road runner
unregistered
posted 04 May 2000 05:43 AM           
i have an Evans FET.500 FOR SALE, 500.00 GOOD COND. WITH COVER,JOHN HUGEY LIKES THEM .

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Don LaCourse Sr.

Bill Llewellyn
Member

From: San Jose, CA

posted 04 May 2000 07:37 AM     profile     
Thanks for the replies, gentlemen.

One of the difficulties I have in picking among steel amps is actually finding live ones around so I can give them a "road test". They tend to be specialty items and hard to find, so I can't just walk into a local music shop with my MSA U12 (read: Sherman tank) slung over my back and give the amp a good workout. I do know a few local steelers, and maybe they have the Nashville 400 or 1000 or the Evans, I'm not sure. I do know that I like a "tight", spectrally flat (uncolored) sound more akin to a high quality studio monitor with a solid state amp, moreso than I like the open-back cabinet sound. The Nashville and Evans are solid state, yes?

------------------
Bill * MSA Classic U12 * email * homepage

jerry wallace
Member

From: Artesia , NM - 35 mi from Roswell UFO CITY

posted 04 May 2000 08:08 AM     profile     
Bill,the Nashville 400,1000,2000 or any of the older "400" series are the most used ss amps for psg.Depending on what you want to spend the Evans,or Webb are also great ss but a little higher in price...

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Jerry Wallace-LegrandeII,D-10,8+6,Carter S-10DB,3+5,Nashville 1000,Webb 6-14e,tubefex,profexII, ARTESIA, NEW MEX

Bosse Engzell
Member

From: Äppelbo, SWEDEN

posted 04 May 2000 10:11 AM     profile     
Have you try a WEBB? I have one from-79 with 15" JBL. Work great with MSA D10. Good luck. Bosse
John Bresler
Member

From: Medford, Oregon

posted 04 May 2000 11:05 AM     profile     
Bill:

I recommend getting on I-680 and driving to Antioch and try a Webb Amp. Jim may have some others on hand that he took in trade, too. I'd call ahead, tho. I think he's in the progress of closing the store, but continuing the Amp business.

Jerry Wright
Member

From: Leeds,Al. US

posted 05 May 2000 09:13 PM     profile     
How does 20 yrs of service on a amp before you have to spend $60 on it.
I am still playing on my Session 500 at home.
I got a Nashville 400 to replace it for the road.For the money and sound it has to be a Peavey.Timex has nothing on these amps.They
take a Licking & keep on Ticking!!
Randy Reimer
Member

From: Ardrossan, AB

posted 05 May 2000 10:55 PM     profile     
I've the session 400 (old) and a webb (old but new to me). Both wiegh as much as the MSA - or seem to.

Another decent amp for steel is the old fender twin reverb.

Ive also tried Yamaha (cant remember the model) with good results, and a lighter amp too.

C Allen
Member

From: BEREA, KENTUCKY, USA

posted 06 May 2000 06:12 AM     profile     
When I played a Tele, I played a Fender "Twin". I was the friend of a lot of techs, as I've probably spent enough money having those twins hot-rodded, to put their kids through college.
Now I play steel, full time, and up until now,I haven't found an amp better than the Peavey, for steel. I've had session
500s;Session 400s; and now I have a Nashville 400. And, I suspect that since my B'day is in November, I'll have a brand new 2000 in November.
Bill Llewellyn
Member

From: San Jose, CA

posted 06 May 2000 10:16 AM     profile     
A lot of the differences between amps, I think, is the frequency response. Guitar amps aren't usually flat, and the frequencies each emphasizes or de-emphasizes (the countour of the response spectrum) defines a lot of the particular character. The next most significant factor, I think, would be the non-linearities in the speaker and the electronics, which add subtle overtones or harmonics. Some of those can sound good, some bad.

As the frequency response issue goes, does anybody have experience trying to dial their amplifier into a great sound using a 10, 15, or even 31 band graphic equalizer? It seems to me much of the blandness of a flat amp or the unevenness of a highly colored amp could be overcome by proper equalization.

Or am I out to lunch?

------------------
Bill * MSA Classic U12 * email * homepage

[This message was edited by Bill Llewellyn on 06 May 2000 at 10:19 AM.]

Richard Sinkler
Member

From: Fremont, California

posted 06 May 2000 10:41 AM     profile     
Of course you are out to lunch Still think I'm not the worst player? We'll see.

I have tried eq's in the past (both graphic and parametric). I've used them with Twin Reverbs, Webb, and Peavey Session 400, 500 and Nashville 400. I never really thought they helped me that much and at times I found it harder to dial in a tone I really liked.

I think your best bet is to go with a Peavey Nashville 400, Session 400, or Session 500 (only if it comes with a roadie to lug it around for you. You'll never get it up those stairs in your house). This is based on your budget of $400. Used Webbs and Evans tend to go for more than that.

Of course, the way music is headed these days, a couple of Marshall stacks could be a possibility .

------------------
Carter D10 8p/10k
Richard Sinkler BS, www.sinkler.com

Don Walters
Member

From: Regina, SK, Canada

posted 06 May 2000 01:08 PM     profile     
At the Winnipeg Steel Guitar Jamboree in April, I took my Session 500 along with full intentions on selling/trading, etc. (it weighs over 80 pounds!)

In the Saturday morning seminar session, Al Brisco had 3 Carters, all with different pickups. For amps, we had 2 Nashville 400's, one with the LeMay Mod, my 500 (with LeMay mod), and the new Nashville 1000. We spent over an hour comparing all the combinations and the conclusion most of us came to was that my Session 500 was a reasonably close second to the 1000 (at that time in that location, etc. etc.).

I don't play out much so the weight isn't often a problem. Still, I've decided to remove the head into its own enclosure, and leave the speaker in the original box. I'm going to check again with Mike Brown to get Peavey's advice, but I don't see why it wouldn't work well.

------------------
Don Walters
get "listed" at the World Wide Steel Guitarist Directory
www3.sk.sympatico.ca/waltd/
(aka On-Line Steel Guitarists of the World)

Rich Paton
Member

From: Santa Maria, CA.,

posted 06 May 2000 05:47 PM     profile     
Richard, what parametric EQ didn't work for you?
I would avoid graphic EQ's due to "Phase funnies" and their downstrean effects on tone.
I have used the Rane PE-15 5 band parametric eq, always with excellent results.
http://www.rane.com/studicat.htm#peq
Bill Llewellyn
Member

From: San Jose, CA

posted 06 May 2000 10:09 PM     profile     
Mr. Sinkler, you're in for it. I've just strung my guitar with Brillo wire, and we'll just see who's da baddest at the next jam.

I keep hearing about the LeMay mod for the Nashville 400. I visited a site of someone who does the modification, but it never described what the modification really is. What is it? A boost to the mids? More bass? Less "bite" in the 2kHz area?

------------------
Bill * MSA Classic U12 * email * homepage

ChickenJoe
Member

From: Blairsville, Pa. USA

posted 07 May 2000 05:57 AM     profile     
Seems like Peavey is the choice. I agree. I have a very old Session 400. I play out every sat and sun. Not just country sounds either. The S400 covers it all. Blew it up a month ago. Had most of the transistors replaced. Peavey still had them. Total cost was $80. I keep it in an Anvil flight case. Well worth the investiment. I also tried various EQ's. Still play straight through. I see alot of Peavey psg amps posted on the web. Good luck in your search.
Richard Sinkler
Member

From: Fremont, California

posted 07 May 2000 09:00 AM     profile     
Rich... The parametric EQ I used was a Furman PQ-3. With combo amps, I just couldn't get good sounds. I had originally bought it to use in a rack system in the early 80's (it can also be used as a preamp) along with a Furman Reverb unit and a Peavey M-3000 Power amp into the 15"JBL in my dead Session 400. This setup was OK, But decided at the time to go for a Session 500.

With the quality of the steel amps over the last 15 or so years, I don't think external EQ is necessary.

------------------
Carter D10 8p/10k
Richard Sinkler BS, www.sinkler.com

Mike Brown
Member

From: Meridian, Mississippi USA

posted 10 May 2000 03:33 PM     profile     
WOW! You guys have a lot of Peavey amps! I would like to start posting a photo of you and your arsenal of Peavey amps so that I can post it the Peavey website.

If you wish to send a photo of yourself and a short bio(name,city,length of playing time, and a brief statement about your experiences with Peavey), the webmaster and I will determine if the photo will duplicate for the website. Anyone interested?

You can e-mail me at "mikebrown@peavey.com". I'll send you a Peavey shirt if your photo is used. Thanks again.

Richard Sinkler
Member

From: Fremont, California

posted 10 May 2000 04:34 PM     profile     
Well Mike, Peavey amps are good amps. I must confess, that in my rack I have 2 different setups depending on my mood. I use a Profex 2 into a QSC PLX1202 Power Amp or an Evans ESPA preamp with a Digitech Studio 200 effects into the QSC. I use 2 15" Black Widows. Again, it depends on my mood. For the best value for quality amps, you can't beat Peavey.

------------------
Carter D10 8p/10k
Richard Sinkler BS, www.sinkler.com

Mike Brown
Member

From: Meridian, Mississippi USA

posted 11 May 2000 06:38 AM     profile     
Thank you, Richard.
Dave Burton
Member

From: Richland,Wa. USA

posted 16 May 2000 10:59 PM     profile     
Hey guys I have played through Peavey along time,Guitar and steel.I would have to say it depends on the room and what mood i'm in to what amp I like using.I,ve recently purchased a Nashville 1000 and love the tone I get.Thats after playing through a Session 500 for 15 years!Peavey has done it MHO with the 1000.Mike Brown How about a Special 130,Session 500,Bandit,And a Nashville 1000 do I qualify for a Tee-shirt?I don't buy clothes anymore. Ha Dave B.
WannDJ
Member

From: Longmont, CO USA

posted 24 May 2000 01:36 PM     profile     
Bill, Presummary: It's more than the amp!
Option 1 - Nashville 1000
Option 2 - Nashville 400
I'm not too far ahead of you only I can say I went down the road you're heading and maybe you can benefit from my pain.I had the same problem.. there was no where close to home I could test the amps... so I read up and finally bought an Evans FET 500 Custom. & while it sounded much cleaner than my old Fender Deluxe Reverb, it didn't seem to have any balls on the low-end & something was still wrong with the sound. I LUCKED into a Nashville 400, like new for $250.00. I got it home and wow, what a difference. MUCH BETTER than the Evans FET 500. But in conversations with others here, several love the Evans FET 500 (THEY CAN HAVE MINE FOR $400 + SHIPPING BY THE WAY) and I've recently found out why. It seems nearly everyone plays through a Peavey ProFex II, TubeFex or Transtube Fex. I recently bought the Transtube Fex. They do amazing things for the overall sound and several of the guy's have custom presets you can get from them to emulate the 65' Emmons, a Dobro, all kinds good stuff. If I would have bought the TTF prior to the Nashville 400 I may have been ok with the Evans. But knowing what I know now... If you're trying to stick with a tight budget. Find a used Nashville 400 and Profex II. You'll be happy!
Bob Metzger
Member

From: Waltham (Boston), MA, USA

posted 26 May 2000 01:59 AM     profile     
Well, now that you've found a way to get a good sound out of your Evans amp, I'll give you $250 for that Nashville 400 that you probably won't be using anymore.

Bob

Dennis Manuel
Member

From: Wells, B.C., Canada

posted 27 May 2000 12:44 PM     profile     
It seems like no matter what we steel guitarist have, we are never satisfied with our sound. That ultimate tone we hear in our heads is what we strive for, its a never ending quest. Recently, I bought a Webb amp and my search for that ultimate sound has ended, at least for now. I've tried them all and the Webb seems to be the only one that I have found that has a natural full rounded tone. It has tons of power and its clean without being compressed.
Also, a lot of effects manufacturers have programs claiming to have the sound of an Emmons guitar. Why not spend $500.00 more and buy an Emmons, instead of spending a $1000.00 on something that will try and make your guitar sound like an Emmons. Not trying to start a war simply stating my humble opinion.

[This message was edited by Dennis Manuel on 27 May 2000 at 12:45 PM.]

Fred Murphy
Member

From: Indianapolis, In. USA

posted 27 May 2000 01:22 PM     profile     
For instant gratification, go for the Evans. You don't have to do much to get a good tone. The new Peavey 1000 sounds good too, and it is also the best sounding amp that I have for lead guitar, and I have several of all brands and sizes. I have Mesa Boogie, Crate, Fenders of all kinds, and Peavey Classic delta blues, polytones and Yamahas. The Evans I don't like very well for my Telecasters and Stratocasters, but it is very good for fiddles and Gibsons. If I could only have one amp, it would have to be the new Peavey 1000. I also have the Session 400, the Session 500, and have had the Nashville 400 and the Webb. For Sho-Buds, I would buy the Webb. If I were only going to play steel, I would buy the Evans FET 500. It is pretty light, small and great tone. The Nashville 400 I like the least of any of them. They are also heavier than the Evans. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, however, so the only way to know for sure is to try them on the job. That gets to be expensive though, as you can tell from what I own. I also have the new Session 2000 and it will sound good too, but it takes some work to program.
Doug Ferguson
Member

From: Burnet, Texas, USA

posted 23 July 2004 01:59 PM     profile     
I bought a Session 500 15 or so years ago for $250. I'm still playing on it after all these years. We had a gig in San Jose CA about 5 years ago and Motorola flew us out there and rented us equipment for the gig. The Guitar Center in San Jose didn't have any Session 500s or Nashville series and they talked me into using a Fender twin reverb. Of course I brought my steel with me on the plane. (they let me put it in the coat closet in first class cause I wasn't leaving the ground crew to take care of it) I agonized over this twin reverb the whole weekend, trying to tweek it to get a sound I liked, and actually blew the first one up the day before the gig and they had to come get the old one and brought me a bran new twin reverb to play through. It still drove me batty trying to get that sweet sound. I couldn't wait to get back to Austin and play the next gig with my Session 500. The rest of the band commented about how much better my Peavey sounds than that Fender. When my Session 500 gets tired and blows up (if it ever does--it was at least 5 years old when I got it, 15 years ago) I'll send it to Mike Brown and get it fixed, period.
Bill Llewellyn
Member

From: San Jose, CA

posted 25 July 2004 08:23 AM     profile     
Wow, that's more than a 4 year jump between Fred's and Doug's respones to this thread. That may be a Forum record for a "ressurection". And as it turns out I still have my old Roland JC50 amp. A number of steelers have said it sounds pretty good with steel. Plus I don't use it a lot so I haven't had much motivation to replace it.... But if that time comes, I'll need to revisit this thread, for sure. Lots of good discussion here.

This is a Roland JC50. Mine is in better shape, and doesn't have wheels.

http://www.musicpark.com.au/Graphics/MP2nd/RolJazzChorus50.jpg

------------------
Bill, steelin' since '99 | Steel page | My music | Steelers' birthdays | Over 50?

[This message was edited by Bill Llewellyn on 25 July 2004 at 08:29 AM.]

Doug Ferguson
Member

From: Burnet, Texas, USA

posted 29 July 2004 01:17 PM     profile     
I think I might have done a search on 'session 500' and didn't realize I was reading such a historical thread. But, as usual, I put in my $.02 worth. I do that often even when I'm in the workshop by myself

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Fergy, MSA Classic D12

Stephen Gambrell
Member

From: Ware Shoals, South Carolina, USA

posted 29 July 2004 02:14 PM     profile     
PEAVEY---the company that put Fender back in the steel amp business!!

Sorry, Mike

Joe Alterio
Member

From: Fishers, Indiana

posted 29 July 2004 02:45 PM     profile     
quote:
Wow, that's more than a 4 year jump between Fred's and Doug's respones to this thread.

Sadly, Fred passed away just about two years ago......hard to believe the time has flown by.

I believe that the Session 400 and 500 amps are the best pedal steel amps Peavey made.....and they are well worth the $200-$400 you can buy them for.

Joe

Bob Snelgrove
Member

From: san jose, ca

posted 29 July 2004 05:51 PM     profile     
Bill

There is a session 400 w/ original BW right now in the buy and sell. $350/shipped. Best amp Peavey ever made cuz I say so


bob

Marc Friedland
Member

From: Vallejo, CA

posted 29 July 2004 06:04 PM     profile     
Hi Bill,
If you're still interested in trying your steel through different amps, you're more than welcome to come over to my house, set up your steel and try it through 3 different amplifiers. They are a Nashville 400, 112, and an Evans. And yes, I'm sure it's all right with my wife Lorilee! We could even jam a little, and I have some videos and cds I think you might find entertaining. Just let me know.
-- Marc
Brad Sarno
Member

From: St. Louis, MO USA

posted 29 July 2004 06:34 PM     profile     
Original Session 400 with the spider web Black Widow. Hard to beat!

Brad Sarno

Mike Brown
Member

From: Meridian, Mississippi USA

posted 30 July 2004 06:31 AM     profile     
Yes, you could say that we forced Fender back into the steel amp business. But, does that mean that they have more experience in knowing what works for the multitude of steel guitarists? I don't think so. They've been shunning steel guitarists for years and all of a sudden.................

Peavey has supported the steel guitar market since 1974 with many, many new ideas and we will continue to do so with the steel community's support.

Yes, there will be players who will be curious about this amp, which will good for our business. It surprises me that they did not offer a tube amp first(which they did and it apparently was too heavy), which is what I've stated about tube amps all along.

How many folks have actually played through this amp yet? I wasn't aware that there were that many of these amps out in the marketplace yet, or are all of the comments about this model based on the company name or by actually playing through the amp? All of my Fender musician friends seek out the older Fender models, but never mention purchasing a new one. Wonder why? Just an observation.

See ya at the convention on Labor Day.

Mike Brown
Peavey Electronics Corporation

Joe Alterio
Member

From: Fishers, Indiana

posted 30 July 2004 06:40 AM     profile     
quote:
But, does that mean that they have more experience in knowing what works for the multitude of steel guitarists? I don't think so. They've been shunning steel guitarists for years and all of a sudden.................
Peavey has supported the steel guitar market since 1974 with many, many new ideas and we will continue to do so with the steel community's support.

Mike, it is great that steel guitarists have a friend in Peavey....the amps are reliable, road-worthy, and innovative. Sound-wise, my preference lease to the old Session amps, but that's just me. I have not heard the Nashville 112, so that may not be a fair comment to make....

quote:
It surprises me that they did not offer a tube amp first

Up to this point, Fender's steel amps have been the Vibrosonic and Custom Twin 15" reissues, both tube amps, so they definitely did offer tube amps first.

Joe

Brad Sarno
Member

From: St. Louis, MO USA

posted 30 July 2004 08:54 AM     profile     
I'm with Mike here. I'm going to withold judgement on the new Fender until I play with one and peek inside to see the build quality. We all know that Fender today has very little to do with the Fender that made our favorite tube amps back in the '50s, '60's and '70s. The only thing that's the same is the logo. Peavey has been deep into steel amp refinement for 30 years. Fender has been totally disinterested until lately. They may have a decent idea here, but really it's probably going to take a few years for the design to get refined. Good amps evolve. Even the great Fenders of the '60s were the result of 15 years of evolution. Fender's build quality has been less than impressive lately. Steel puts some serious demands on an amp and only hard, live gigging will put this new amp thru its paces. I bet in about 6 months we'll have enough feedback to base some opinions.

My first reaction to the new Fender amp was "what, no tubes?"

Brad Sarno

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