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Post new topic Why use a combo amp for steel?
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Author Topic:  Why use a combo amp for steel?
Rick Contino


From:
Brattleboro, Vermont
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 5:00 pm     Reply with quote

Ever since I hung my MB 200 head off the side of my steel seat I've never gone back to using a combo. It is absolutely key for me to have all controls at my fingertips to tweak between and even during songs. Having a separate cab also allows me to place the speaker at the ideal 10' from me.

I've since sold the MB and built a separate head for my tube amp.

Seems time like a rack or head is the best way to go for a stationary seated steel player. Why are there still so many combo users out there? Is the combo an intentional choice or just the default?
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Paddy Long


From:
Christchurch, New Zealand
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 5:32 pm     Reply with quote

I use a rack a lot, but on a small confined stage a Combo amp can be quite useful. I have both so it depends on the venue a lot.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 5:59 pm     Reply with quote

One advantage of combo amps, of course, is having built-in effects, which the MB200 doesn't have. What do you use for effects, Rick, and where do you put them? Pedals on the floor?
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 6:36 pm     Reply with quote

1. You only have to carry one amp.

2. I tend to like the standard Fender/Peavey half-open-back dispersal pattern better than the typical head/closed-back-cab configuration for steel.

3. Double-down on #2 for guitar, which I usually play.

4. I really like Princeton/Deluxe/Vibrolux/Twin Reverbs, a 4x10" Bassman, and a Session 400 a lot for most anything, and pick the amp based on what stage volume I'm gonna need.

5. These days, I'm using a Fryette Power Station (which fits in a laptop case) for guitar/steel gigs. Bypass for steel, engage with preset volumes/tones for guitar. So the amp volume is generally pretty cranked and I can get enough control with a Sarno Freeloader and the Fryette to do anything I need.

6. Did I mention, you only have to carry one amp?

I have a few heads/cabs - '68 Showman, Little Walter 50W, THD. They're nice, and I use them sometimes. But I tend to gravitate back to my old Fenders or Session 400.
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Dave Meis


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 8:54 pm     Reply with quote

I agree with Dave above on points 1,2 and 6, and I,too, like the semi-open back. I have an array of combos for different guitars/venues, and I also have rack/cab and old BF Fender piggy-backs, but the combos are my go to. Easier to move one thing. Less wire, less mess, smaller footprint.. and, when I crank it up, I hear a 'dynamic' when the speaker is shakin' the tubes! Smile
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 7 Mar 2017 7:58 am     Reply with quote

In addition to the reasons Dave listed:

Depending on whether or not you use a solid-state or a tube amp, a bad speaker cord can wipe out the amp. No chance of that with a combo setup. (You also never forget the speaker cord.) And on most all the gigs I play, having my speaker 10 feet away would mean it's either off the stage or behind the drummer. Oh Well
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Dick Wood


From:
Springtown Texas, USA
Post Posted 7 Mar 2017 8:32 am     Reply with quote

For me it's about getting into and out of the club with as few a pieces as possible. I set the tone and maybe adjust the reverb and I'm done for the rest of the night.

I did the rack thing which got old with 5 pieces to deal with.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 7 Mar 2017 8:54 am     Reply with quote

Short wire goes from guitar to volume pedal. Long wire goes from volume pedal to amp. Plug amp into power. Done! Simple. That's why I prefer a combo amp.

I position the amp about 3 feet behind me on the right, so I can reach the controls if necessary.
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Mike Archer


From:
church hill tn
Post Posted 7 Mar 2017 9:21 am     carry Reply with quote

man I don't want to carry all that extra cabs and rack around

if you got a good back that's great I don't

mike
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Rick Contino


From:
Brattleboro, Vermont
Post Posted 7 Mar 2017 11:27 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback, fellas!

I would never carry around a heavy or bulky rack. Having a 6 rack and heavy cabs makes no sense to me.

For a while I had an MB200 head with reverb and delay pedals velcroed on the top of the head. I stuck the head in the back of my compact 15" neo cab to carry. On some gigs I wouldn't bring a separate seat so I could carry steel in one hand and amp and cab in the other without breaking a sweat.

Now I use the same lightweight cab with my tube amp head, which has on board reverb.

I get the point about the Peavey or Fender amp being a discrete unit. Personally, if I loved the amp that much I would still separate the head and build a lighter cab, but to each their own.
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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post Posted 7 Mar 2017 12:29 pm     Reply with quote

A lot depends on the gig. I once played a gig for 5 years straight and rarely carried my amp home. Having a Walker Stereo Steel as a wall of stereo sound for that gig was awesome. I'd also have a combo amp at home I could carry out for fill in gigs.
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Olli Haavisto


From:
Jarvenpaa,Finland
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 1:43 am     Reply with quote

Everything within reach, combo amp, effects.
All fit on the steel case for the right height.
Pretty compact?

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Bill L. Wilson


From:
Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 8:17 am     Split it Up. Reply with quote

A Twin w/JBL's is just to Heavy. So, I built my own cabs.

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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 9 Mar 2017 2:54 am     Reply with quote

interesting question.

Why use a combo amp...??

well, it's an amp and a speaker in a single box . If it's easy to transport and sounds good, why not ?

I personally now carry TWO small combo amps to most gigs. A PV Nashville 112 and a Fender Blues Jr. Both very lite-weight and both serve a totally different purpose. One is 100% dedicated for Steel the other is 100% dedicated to the Telecasters. Totally different sounds. No more fighting an amp to seek the sound I am looking for, for either Steel or Telecasters.

On the larger stage gigs I carry a Fender HR Deville, it covers both the Steel and the Telecaster just fine. On the larger stage STEEL only gigs I carry a Nashville 400.

I guess the bottom line is, we bring what we want to use and are comfortable with. An amp is a tool, it's probable that ONE amp does not cover all situations.

PS: I also own a GK MB200, very workable with the Steel ,but for the Telecaster, not so much. Great Bass amp though.
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Ray Thomas


From:
Goldsboro North Carolina
Post Posted 10 Mar 2017 12:04 pm     Mb500 Reply with quote

MB500 mounted on left side of seat, effects on right guitar leg, easy to adjust anything any time, speaker approx 6 feet behind

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James Phillips


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 10 Mar 2017 7:26 pm     Reply with quote


All I need for most pub gigs, and smooths out the sounds from the digi pedal.
I'm mister analog ,but they have come a long way with the amp modeling.
..,Oh, and a chair Winking
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Rich Upright


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 11 Mar 2017 7:42 pm     Reply with quote

I carry 2 amps because I run a stereo delay, ping-ponging the wet & dry signal between 2 amps. Doesn't work with gigs where the amp is miked, but for what the gigs pay in Florida, they're lucky I even bring the steel at all!
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