Amp advice

Hi all,

New to the forum and would very much apppreciate some advice. I’ve seen the below amp advertised on Gumtree. It’s a tube amp which I’m lead to beleive is what you need for a good tone and for classic blues harp.

Can anyone tell me if they know if this amp would be suitable for harmonica?

http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/ibanez-valbee-5-watt-valve-combo-amp/1015299501

TIA

[quote=“spudgun79, post:1, topic:3545”]
Hi all,

New to the forum and would very much apppreciate some advice. I’ve seen the below amp advertised on Gumtree. It’s a tube amp which I’m lead to beleive is what you need for a good tone and for classic blues harp.

Can anyone tell me if they know if this amp would be suitable for harmonica?

http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/ibanez-valbee-5-watt-valve-combo-amp/1015299501

TIA
[/quote]Hi I recommend the VHT special 20 combo amp (not the ultra version). This amp is cheap at only $239 and it makes a great harmonica amp. Plus its very easy to mod if one likes doing that. I have one but I changed the speaker to an eminence lil buddy amd I changed the cheap Chinese tubes to a nos 6v6gt and a tungsol 12ax7. But it sounds great stock as well. this amp sounds as good as a $800 harp gear amp and it blows away a kalamazoo. I think its based on the old champ design. Just google vht special 6 for harmonica and see for yourself

As a general rule you want a small valve amp with low preamp gain. This usually means playing through the clean channel of whatever amp you use. You want low preamp gain because higher gain in the preamp increases your chances of feedback. The reason you want the valve amp to be small is that if your preamp section is clean that means you are relying on your power amp to give you distortion. Most harp players favor amps that are between 5watt and 30 watt.

I wouldn’t get the valvebee. It has a lot of preamp gain which will give feedback and the distortion will tend to sound buzzy rather than giving you the blues honk you are after

In my gigging days I used a blackface Princeton reverb but replaced the 12ax7 valve with a 12ay7 which lowered the preamp gain significantly. For practice I used a modified Epi valve Jr. Stock the valve Jr power filtering is insufficient but double the capacity of the electrolytic capacitors (it’s a super common mod) and it tightens up the low end and gives you a good harmonica amp. Marshall, vox, and blackstar all 3 have 5 watt amps that are low gain and will give good harmonica tone. If you need a larger harp amp the clean channel of the fender blues jr isn’t bad but you need a big space to play it in.

Check out the epiphone valve junior head, it is 5 watts and stays real clean, That head is really affordable, there is one on the popular auction site right now for 125 bucks. I use one of those with a sweet harp cab and people tell me I have awesome tone and I have less that 500 bucks in my whole rig, I use the shure green bullet and I am good to go.
http://earcandycabs.com/harmonica/ there is the cab
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/520DX/ there is the Microphone
search ebay for " epiphone valve junior " and you will see the amp goes for about 125.00