I am in process of finding a nifty nice amplier for church playing ... as you know, most amplifers are real loud and basically, when you crank them up, the sound guy does not have much control of the house sound .... so like to hear from you guys your experiences and what amps you have found works ...
You would be surprised at how accepting people are of feedback in worship - I've found the key is keeping it musical and controlled (they like to know you're doing it on purpose). If it is just shrill and loud, well, nobody likes that... : )
I am a vox man myself i love the warmth you get from the Tubes and the clean tone and warm overdrive that you can achieve from connecting a tube screamer. I have been Running my Boss GT-8 (with the TS9 Tube Screamer through the effects loop) into a Vox AC120. the tones you get from the edal and the tone of the amp is so Warm and clean.
Well, I travel to many churches with different types of acoustic environments, and I have a 65 watt fender frontman with a 10' speaker. (not quiet at all). I have found that the best solution is to find a stairwell, or back room and stick the amp back there and turn it up as loud as it needs to go (sense mine is a solid state amp, it doesn't need to get that loud, but if anyone plays through a hot rod or an AC30, you can only get those nice sounds the amps make if they are up a bit). Then our sound tech just throws a mic in front of it and gives me sound though the stage wedges. I have also heard of churches with 'amp rooms' with soundproofing and routing capabilities. I don't know if that helps anyone, but thats what I have found!
I would suggest getting a VOX AC15CC1. It is a great church amp! We all know that alot of churches have problems with alot of stage volume, I love this one because I set it where I want and mic it. 15 watts is all you will really ever need for most church settings. Now if your playing with hillsong you mite wanna bump it up :)
But Vox's tone is killer, its not a bright spanky clean like a fender. Its fat and warm. Its a single channel amp, which means to get good overdrive without switchin it manually you will have to run pedals. This is a great amp, its works perfect for my style and tone, and I know many church players who play on it and love it!
I hope I don't get killed here. I use a POD XT Live into the mains, *but* if you want an amp, another route besides the new amps that people have mentioned is getting Single-Ended Class A 6V6 amp. For example, I have a old and rugged National (Supro/Valco) 50's amp. Dead simple, one volume knob. However, the sound is sweet (however, a little noisy at times). Tiny, tiny amp, like an old old Fender Tweed, and I know Harmonica (aka "Harp") Players love these amps. They'll go for a vintage crooner looking mic out through the amp, to be "colored" and then mic the amp again into the house. The features are limited, but I made up for it with pedals in my signal before the amp. Might be even newer versions out there of the same thing. The idea stays the same. Tiny amp, mic'd. You get tone and sound, A/V people get signal to play with.
You can find these things around on e-bay and some local collectors. The value never seems to go down as well, and usually goes up with age. Can't say that about all amps. Not sure what's the situation in your area would be.
BTW I did this for a on-campus outreach years back when I was in University. Really liked the tone, especially with crunch before it via a mix of pedals I had in my pedal board. We were playing in a huge lecture hall.
However, these days I don't have the luxury of time on Sundays, so it's plug in the XTL, DI to the house and start playing. We literally have to be plugged in and sound-checked in less than 5-7 mins. We're a "sandwich" service, meaning we have a service before ours and after ours, so time is always tight.
No amp at all, just a monitor, which my vocals come through as well. *BUT* sometimes that causes problems, because if the A/V isn't nice that day, you won't hear anything and will have to play by feel.
This may sound like a ad but it's not. All worship leaders that play electrics and want the tone and response of a real tube amp have always run into the same problem: VOLUME. We cover them with blankets, hide them in iso boxes, and turn them down till the tone drys up. At first I was just going get a 15W deal with the fact that my amp would always live in the iso box, but I've changed my mind after a trip to Guitar Center in Syracuse.
I was planning on getting a 15W Fender Blues Jr, but here's the deal. Fender and Vox amps ship with crap speakers, which means that you have to replace them right away or you just flushed your money for crappy tone. A friend of mine who is also a worship leader did this and it sounds great, but to get the tone it is loud. That's not a problem at his site, but where I lead, stage volume is critical. So I started to look for a new option.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a representative for Egnater Amps nor have I, or hope to receive anything from them for free.
I saw the Egnater Rebel 20 amp in an ad in a Musiciansfriend.com catalog. What first caught my eye was that you can dial it from 20 watts down to 1 watt and anywhere in between. Not only that, but the Rebel 20 has both EL84 and 6V6 tubes and you can mix the two with one knob. The half-stack comes with a closed back 1x12" cab with a custom voiced Celestion Elite 80 speaker. It also has a switch to make the highs sing and a switch that tightens up the low end. Pretty nifty right? Well that's what I thought, but I wanted to check it out first, because most of the time, hype goes before the fall.
So I went to guitar center to play around with a Rebel 20 with my Epiphone Sheridan II (since if I got one, that's what I'd be using). I also took my friend who's a tone freak with a G.A.S. problem (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). Here are the findings:
1. This amp can get LOUD. Way louder than its size would indicate.
2. If you like loud crunch, this amp is for you. Awesome overdrive with a myriad of tone possibilities that were easy to dial in right away.
3. The bright switch is awesome, but the tight switch seemed to cut too much of the bass, which I like to have to in the mix.
4. A good clean tone (i.e. clean when played subtley, broken and dirty when playing harder) was hard-er to dial in, but once we got it, it was flippin' sweet!
5. The wattage dial W-O-R-K-S!!! We dialed back the watts to the point that we could have a normal conversation while I was playing without sacrificing the tone! The amp even retained the aforementioned "clean tone."
So my mind is changed and I'm going to be picking one up as soon as I can. At $850 for a head and cab the price is great too. I was very impressed with this little power house. More so with its versatility. To be able to get great tone with a 12" cab at such low volume levels is (without trying to sound repetitive) impressive. I think that this amp will be an all-around player from Sunday morning service to teen camps, to regular gigs. My sound tech is going to dance in the streets!
Sorry the ridiculously long post, but this amp seems to provide an solution to the problem that is old as worship music itself.
I think before one of the Psalms it says:
"To the leader: turn down those lyres and get rid of the drums. Play some Psalms that we know!"
I use the Tiny Terror. It has incredible tone, breaks very predictable no matter what level I am playing at. I use it on the big stages with my band, FOCUS (www.focuspraise.com) and in the smallest of churches when I am honored to share in a worship experience at any of Michigan's smaller houses of worship. It just maintains a level of excellence that sets a standard for me.
The price was decent, and it is truly an expressive amp. I also spent the extra money to upgrade the transformer set with the Mercury Upgrade (called the Holy Terror Kit). It took the tonal possibilities beyond my imagination. I generally play it on 15W for larger venues, 7W for the smaller ones.
Couple in the fact that I can carry it in one trip to the car - WIN! I sold my VOX AC30 w/ 4X cab to purchase this amp. I have not regretted it one second.
First off - tubes mate. I've tried borrowed amps that were solid state and they really don't' cut it. We had a Peavey Chorus 2x12 that was by all estimates a good amp but I couldn't take it's tone. I also don't think direct inputs or amp bypassing sounds good for electric guitar as your tone really suffers.
A Fender Blues Deluxe or Hot Rod Deluxe is great in that it has a decent blackface tone, can overdrive if you want and has plenty of clean headroom if you want. Blues Juniors are a bit dark for worship in my ear. Some guys mentioned Vox and Divided/13 and such - great amps if you can afford them. I currently play through a Vibrolux Reverb or a Brown Princeton (Allen Repros) myself. I started with a Hot Rod Deluxe then went to a Mesa F50 then to a Laney VC30112 to my Vibrolux.
Low wattage amps are nice, but decent ones are more expensive than a Blues Deluxe which can be had for under $400 used. Plus, you don't get enough clean headroom with the little guys. I've seen pros touring with Fender Blues Deluxes.
Most folks think that tubes are most useful when you play overdriven. I disagree. The warmth of the clean tones outshines solid state amps all day long.