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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Louder Amp needed, but….
Louder Amp needed, but….
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98 posts
Jan 24, 2022
6:24 PM
Despite my best efforts, the current amp (Johnson Toledo 25R) is not hacking it in the band gigging scenario - loud drummers and old guitarists win the day. My RP350 pedal with Richard Hunter’s patch set into the PA works OK – but needs a PA channel that is not always available (too many backing vocalists?).

I want a louder amp, but finances and geography are against me. There are almost no custom/harmonica dedicated amps for sale in Australia, and when they do appear they cost thousands. So it’s looking at guitar amps – and a 59 Bassman Reissue LTD is close to three grand here. So I’m looking at used guitar amps at around 40W and less than AUD$1000. Two possibilities available in my price range at the moment are a Carvin Belair (2 x 12", 50W, 4 x EL84, 5 x 12AX7) and a Blackstar HT Club Vintage Pro 40 (1 x 12", 40W, 2 x EL34, 2 x 12AX7).
I know I might be trying to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, but does the gathered expertise of this list have any thoughts on which of these two would be the most appropriate to re-voice as a harp amp?
3429 posts
Jan 24, 2022
7:29 PM
I do not envy you your dilemma! I'm not familiar with those particular amps but some 13 years ago I was fortunate to have a replica '59 Bassman built. It was heaven if heavy. I was not gigging much at that time and it was too much to take out to jams so I sold it and stuck with a much smaller amp. In the duo I have not needed more than I have. Possibly a gain cutter tube in the pre amp section on one of those big amps would help but I've had squeal nightmares even with a 12au7 or whatever in P3.
Perhaps one of those 40-50 watt amps may be tamed with a pedal of some sort, Lone Wolf comes to mind.
For me, most seriously, I had to process the same thing you are. Loudass stages. The 40w Bassman performed very well when I did gig with it but for the most part the mean volume-thanks to the drummer and guitar usually- was just too loud. My hearing suffered as did my singing voice. I made a choice some 6 years ago that I was done with high volume stages. My duo with Jolene has been incredible. When we do amp up it's with a small 4 channel p.a. and one each vintage Silvertone 1482, 12w 12" speaker amps. For our purposes this setup works. WE do smaller venues and patios.
I wish you the best success Maka!
Music and travel destroy prejudice.




7044 posts
Jan 25, 2022
1:06 AM
I was in a sim Millar position about 10 years ago. Bassman was more than I was willing to pay but the Fender Deville was about 2/3rds the price and I figured if Aki Kumar could use one as the house harp amp at his jam, I could make it work. And it did, really well. I sold it last month for $500, sorry.
But maybe keep a look out for one, they’re big and heavy and loud af, and not cool so there’sa chance you might find one cheap ish
27 posts
Jan 25, 2022
11:11 AM
How about a powered speaker for your RP350?

Then you wouldn't need the PA channel. This would probably be way cheaper, and way lighter, and only needed if there's no available channel into the PA.

It's only an option if you are happy enough with that sound, though
John M G
452 posts
Jan 25, 2022
4:14 PM
I tried a Peavey Delta Blues 210 30 watt amp, that was not a success. A real long tail on the reverb, and even with pre amp valve substitutions I was never happy. I even bought a pair of Celestion Green Backs that didn't really help.
I now have 3 Laney 15 watt amps! two old model Cub 12R's and an LC 15R. They owe me less than an grand, sound great with harp. I have signal splitters so I can run one ,two or 3 amps for a full 45 watts plus I've also uprated the speakers (which do owe me maybe a grand!)
I got the idea from Brian May who used multiple Vox AC30's
The Laney Cub 12R's only weigh 11.5 kgs each. Easy to carry and make two or 3 trips to the car to get them on stage.
Just a suggestion.
3 posts
Jan 30, 2022
2:33 AM
Hello John M G

What technique do you use to connect 2 or 3 amps together ?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

132 posts
Jan 30, 2022
6:17 AM
Three 15 watt amps do not equal 45 watts. They may seem louder together than one 15 watt amp because there is more sound coming out, but they will not be in reality "louder", and no match for a maniacal drummer and/or guitarist. I'm sorry, Maka, I'm not familiar with amps that are available in Australia, but a powered speaker sounds like a good idea, or maybe even a small PA?
John M G
453 posts
Jan 30, 2022
8:00 PM
Hi Roger
I use a Lone Wolf Terminator as per the link below, plus an earlier version Morely ABY pedal
Morely ABY

Geoff The Grey Geeks calculator, SPL, Watts, dB
Using Geoff's calculator, 1 15 Watt amp with a 96% spl will give a max dB level of 107.8dB
3 x 15 watt amps with 100% spl will have 45 watts and a max dB level of 116.5
Not a complete doubling of the perceived sound, but only 1 dB shy!
One of my friends was a sound engineer with EMI here in Australia and he's got a dB meter and said he'd measure the increases.
I'm just having fun fooling around! The biggest draw back is the cost of the higher quality speakers, but the transition in tone is an amazing plus.

I'd have to say if you're youngish and have a decent back, I'd go with a Bassman, no way I could move it around these days! Good luck with a solution though. I know what you mean about over loud guitarists though ;-)

Last Edited by John M G on Jan 30, 2022 9:25 PM
2284 posts
Jan 31, 2022
7:46 AM
If you are continuing to place yourself in such loud band situations, take care of your hearing and get concert ear plugs to protect yourself.

I prefer bands that use reasonable stage volume with the PA taking care of the sound Front Of House. I have encountered bands that don't get it, and of course we all want to play. Unfortunately I did not use ear plugs until I had already lost some frequencies due to playing nn very loud situations.

It is unfortunate that your band can't spare a PA channel to help you compete with the stupid loud volume and be heard FOH. Then you could use your amp as a monitor facing you from in front or from the side so the band can hear. You could then mic your amp and let the PA carry the load FOH.

The big tube amps mentioned above can cut, but are heavy, expensive, and to get good tone are really too loud for most indoor venues. They are one trick ponies.

Since you already have and use an RP350, I suggest using a powered speaker, keyboard amp, or small PA with sufficient power to cut through the mix to the FOH since you don't have access to a regular band PA channel. Look for a powerful Class D amp to avoid loading in really heavy gear.

When buying your gear you should consider whether you might play smaller venues in a smaller band or duo. Consider the capability for your gear to act as a PA so you can play acoustically or sing, or host one or two others in a small venue. If the gear you get can be useful in musical settings other than the loud band, you will get more use from it.

You can still use your smaller amp as a monitor in the loud band situations, placing your small amp in front facing you or from the side. Put the very loud powered speaker/keyboard amp/PA so it is not behind you in order to avoid feedback problems. In front of you or to the side will best protect you from feedback problems. Put yourself in a quite zone with regard to your loud gear.

Doug S.

Last Edited by dougharps on Jan 31, 2022 7:59 AM
99 posts
Jan 31, 2022
3:01 PM
Thanks for all the advice.

Running the RP350 into the PA (or a powered speaker) is OK, but still lacks ‘something’ to my ear. I just like a ‘good’ amp.

The ‘child bride’ (of some 38 years wedded bliss) noticed my frustration and suggested if I needed a hammer, why was I looking at bricks? I continued the analogy with ‘hammers cost too much’, and got ‘if you want a hammer, get a hammer’. After adding freight (and international freight is unbelievable at the moment) and then applying the crap exchange rate for the Aussie dollar against the US dollar, I showed her the total cost, and she said ‘just do it’ (too many Nike ads?).

So I’ve ordered a HarpGear HG35. It weighs only 32lb (a lot less than a Bassman) and has a line out for those occasions when 35W through two 10” Webers is not enough. And it will be playable straight out of the box – no re-tubing experiments required.

So it turns out the secret to getting a louder amp was marrying the right woman nearly 40 years ago!

I’m now like a kid before Christmas, waiting for the new ‘toy’ to arrive. It could be a long few weeks!

Last Edited by MakaInOz on Jan 31, 2022 3:15 PM
31 posts
Jan 31, 2022
3:49 PM
John M G
454 posts
Jan 31, 2022
5:07 PM
Way to go, Like you I looked at the HG35 but freight and exchange rate killed it for me when I was looking.
Your wife sounds as good as my wife, it was only when I had about 6 amps she started asking questions!
I'm down to 3
3430 posts
Jan 31, 2022
7:29 PM
Wow, nice! There was a time my DW did something similar and I ended up with a replica '59 Bassman.

Previous to that I had a Peavey Delta Blues 210 for a time and it worked pretty well. I ran it with an extension cab too. But the 2 10's did a pretty good job.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.




26 posts
Feb 05, 2022
10:50 AM
Does your Johnson amp have a line out connection? If so, you might try running the signal into an inexpensive solid state keyboard amp for more volume. However, all line out circuits are not created equal and some work better than others.

But, guitars and drums can always drown you out if they want to. The best solution is of get some volume discipline in the band.
799 posts
Feb 07, 2022
5:41 PM
She's a keeper.

284 posts
Feb 09, 2022
6:25 PM
Glad you got what you wanted. For future ventures you might keep a lookout for an Aussie built Sonola accordion amplifier. They were built 1968-75 at Ron Pearce Music in Adelaide and make great harmonica amps.

751 posts
Feb 18, 2022
8:28 AM
i have "Peavy Classic 50 4x 10"----I call it a fake bassman. It works for me when loud

In the states its s900 new--- But it has couple things Bassman doesn't---Spring reverb and dirt channel"

I use to use dirt channel, but it was 2 dirty.
I use a 'mojo pad' from lone wolf into clean channel----the mojo pad backs signal off, so u can turn up main amp louder ---- it also drives main amps tubes harder.
Found one here ---but much more than usa???


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