Small Amp With Black Panel Cleans?

Forest Lemon

Strat-Talker
Mar 10, 2022
220
Western NC
I'm looking for a small amp (5-10 watts) that has those nice Black Panel cleans, either combo or head. I don't need much volume since I only play at home, and will primarily set the amp for edge of breakup and use pedals from there. Budget is about $600-700.

So far the Gries AA764 head looks like An amazing option. However, does anyone have other suggestions?
 

GhostJam47

Strat-O-Master
Apr 21, 2021
940
Seattle
A Quilter Aviator Cub is technically 50W, but it's solid state, so size and weight are about what you're looking for. Sounds greats at very low volumes, esp. when set up as you described. Price is right at your budget.

I don't think you'll find an amp that better fits your criteria (unless you are dead set on tubes).
 

JustABluesGuy

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 3, 2016
1,948
Somewhere
Are you looking for “blackface” type cleans? For mid scooped, Fender type cleans on a budget, the Ibanez TSA 15 is great. I have the head version.

You say you are looking in the 5-10 watt range, and it is 15 watts, but it’s not a loud 15 watts. According to someone in a group who claimed to know the circuit, it’s designed with some sort of limiting to NEVER break up. It’s a totally clean platform designed for the built in TS circuit.

Apparently they are kind of popular with jazz guys, or were.
 

Forest Lemon

Strat-Talker
Mar 10, 2022
220
Western NC
The Quilter amps look pretty interesting but I'd like to stick to tubes with this amp. I have a JC-22 that covers the solid state needs pretty well with pedals.
 

soulman969

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 5, 2016
5,956
Fort Collins, CO
I love my Quilter Superblock US! Tiny but mighty!
Until this past weekend when I picked one up and played though it for the first time I would not have believed a SS amp in a pedal could ever have nailed classic Fender tonality as well as this one does. Superb features and sounds great and any volume level.

For $300 new along with a 1x12 cab with a speaker of your choice you can a very lightweight easy to transport guitar rig. I'd suggest either an Eminence Cannabis Rex or a JS 1250 for a complimentary speaker. All well within your budget.
 

Stratoskater

Fuzz Meister General
Feb 8, 2011
11,502
Naked in NC
Killer amps but a ways out of my price range unfortunately.
You can find used for right around $1K. I tried a vibro champ Reverb and a 75 vibro champ. The trem on the 75 was magnificent but the speaker was flabby and worn out and the vibro Reverb was very nice but the Gremlin really got me. May be the 12 inch speaker and tweed Deluxe size cab vs smaller cab and speaker in the vibro. The vibro Reverb is a killer amp so I’m sure you’ll love it if you go that route.
 

HighwayStar106

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 5, 2018
1,928
United Kingdom
Are you looking for “blackface” type cleans? For mid scooped, Fender type cleans on a budget, the Ibanez TSA 15 is great. I have the head version.

You say you are looking in the 5-10 watt range, and it is 15 watts, but it’s not a loud 15 watts. According to someone in a group who claimed to know the circuit, it’s designed with some sort of limiting to NEVER break up. It’s a totally clean platform designed for the built in TS circuit.

Apparently they are kind of popular with jazz guys, or were.
They did a 5 watt one as well. I have one, it’s a good little amp but I find the clean sounds a bit lifeless.

A Super Champ or Vibro Champ XD could be a good option too. I have an SCXD and for classic Fender cleans on a budget I don’t think you can beat it.
 

JustABluesGuy

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 3, 2016
1,948
Somewhere
They did a 5 watt one as well. I have one, it’s a good little amp but I find the clean sounds a bit lifeless.

A Super Champ or Vibro Champ XD could be a good option too. I have an SCXD and for classic Fender cleans on a budget I don’t think you can beat it.
I knew they had a larger (30 watt) but didn’t know about the 5 watt version. For cleans I like to have a few more watts on tap. I found it sounded best with the boost engaged and the TS circuit disengaged.
 

Forest Lemon

Strat-Talker
Mar 10, 2022
220
Western NC
Thanks for the input everyone. I've narrowed it down to the Vibro Champ Reverb and the Gries AA764 at this point. However, I emailed Dave Gries with some questions and he was super friendly and helpful, and this circuit sounds just like what I want.
 

Forest Lemon

Strat-Talker
Mar 10, 2022
220
Western NC
I just placed an order for the Gries AA764. Mr. Gries has been incredibly helpful and answered all my questions immediately. While the '68 VCR was really tempting, the quality components, 3 year warranty, and 3 band EQ of the AA764 head sold me.
 


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