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Author Topic:  Solutions/Advice for Running Steel and Guitar into One Amp?
Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 20 Mar 2018 8:05 am    
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The Twin Reverb is the only amp that is iconic in both the steel guitar and electric guitar universes. You don't have to sacrifice tone one way or the other. One channel for steel and one for electric guitar with separate EQs. Also, a common mod for Twins is a half power switch to cut out two of the 6L6s for smaller rooms, making it a true one solution amp. Another easy mod adds that beautiful Fender reverb and trem to both channels. Put some wheels on it or get a cart if you don't like the weight.

I see older silverface Twins all day long on Craigslist for as low as $600. The are the best value going right now for vintage amps.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post  Posted 20 Mar 2018 8:12 am    
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Tim Whitlock wrote:
Put some wheels on it or get a cart if you don't like the weight.

That works till you get to the stairs... Whoa!

Has anyone tried putting lighter-weight neo speakers into a twin? Does that work, or ruin it?
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Josh Braun


From:
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 20 Mar 2018 8:22 am    
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Jim Cohen wrote:
Tim Whitlock wrote:
Put some wheels on it or get a cart if you don't like the weight.

That works till you get to the stairs... Whoa!

Has anyone tried putting lighter-weight neo speakers into a twin? Does that work, or ruin it?


I posted above, but it may have got lost (lots of responses).

Yes, putting lighter speakers works great. I LOVE the Travis Toy speaker in my 72 silverface twin.

You can also just put in one neo speaker and drop the other speaker. The ohm mismatch isn't something to worry about imho - but you can always pull two of thw power tubes. I did the latter because I'm _always_ mic'd so I have enough headroom even with 2 power tubes pulled. YMMV.

(forgot to add - dropping a speaker also makes it easier to carry if you balance the remaining speaker with the transformer. The amp really is a lot more manageable to carry without the awkward weight imbalance)
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post  Posted 20 Mar 2018 8:27 am    
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Josh Braun wrote:

I posted above, but it may have got lost (lots of responses).


Indeed, you did. I should have gone back to re-read Page 1. But thanks for the reminder. Sounds like a good solution to me. What's the final weight of your amp now?
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Dale Foreman


From:
Crowley Louisiana, USA
Post  Posted 20 Mar 2018 8:29 am     Amps
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I'd recommend a Vegas 400 with Fox mods and the new Travis Toy 15 inch speaker. I'm about to order two,TT-15's, one for my Vegas and one for my Nashville 400..
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Josh Braun


From:
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 20 Mar 2018 8:32 am    
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Jim Cohen wrote:
Josh Braun wrote:

I posted above, but it may have got lost (lots of responses).


Indeed, you did. I should have gone back to re-read Page 1. But thanks for the reminder. Sounds like a good solution to me. What's the final weight of your amp now?


Unfortunately, I'm not 100% sure on the final weight (just due to not having a scale). But if a "standard" speaker if ~15lbs (jbl d120?), my sole speaker is just ~7lbs, meaning I've lost ~23lbs from the original, fully loaded weight. And, it's easier to carry by the handle (though I have rollers - those are still required imo).

That's a pretty substantial weight reduction!
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post  Posted 21 Mar 2018 2:36 pm    
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Quote:
The Twin Reverb is the only amp that is iconic in both the steel guitar and electric guitar universes


He's been using a Deluxe Reverb.

A Twin would be complete overkill if he's just looking for a little more headroom.

The reason Twins are SO cheap is very few 6-string players want them. I haven't seen a Twin...any high powered tube amp - used at a club except in a metal band in at least 15 years.

Most venues are simply unsuitable for Twins and similar amps - especially if the amps are mic'd. A Twin turned up to 2 or 3 almost always sounds thin and reedy compared to a Deluxe Reverb at the same volume level - the speakers can rarely be pushed to full frequency response.

That's why a Vibrolux Reverb or similar would be my first choice as a step up in headroom. Even a Pro Reverb or Super (or similar in volume, like a Vox AC15) might be "too much amp" for most gigs.
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post  Posted 22 Mar 2018 8:58 am    
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I have a few Standels that fit the bill perfectly. An all tube 50L15, a hybrid Imperial, and a solid state Custom XV. All considerably lighter than a Twin Reverb.

To me, they all sound better than a Twin even for guitar. The germanium transistors used in their early solid state amps have a much different character than what you find in the later Peaveys etc... Much more friendly in the mids and highs.

They can be a challenge to find but well worth the effort. I'd recommend anything from the 50's til mid 60's. i.e Custom XV, transistorized Custom, Imperial, 83L15V. The all tube models will cost a lot but any of the hybrid or early SS models will be a bargain at what they've been selling for.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post  Posted 22 Mar 2018 9:24 am    
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Brett, are those Standels two-channel?
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post  Posted 22 Mar 2018 10:09 am    
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Jim Cohen wrote:
Brett, are those Standels two-channel?

Yes, they are all two channel. The 50L15 only has one set of bass and treble controls though. For the transistor preamp models, the ones with bass/treble and volume/contour are the best imo.
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 23 Mar 2018 1:04 pm    
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Jim Sliff wrote:
Quote:
The Twin Reverb is the only amp that is iconic in both the steel guitar and electric guitar universes


He's been using a Deluxe Reverb.

A Twin would be complete overkill if he's just looking for a little more headroom.


That's why I mentioned the half power switch mod. My Twin measures around 33 watts running on 2 6L6s and 66 watts with all 4. Covers any situation - I don't even need a dirt box for the 6 string (not that I use a lot of dirt). I stand by my opinion that the Twin is an excellent value on today's market and a great solution for guitar/steel players. You can get Twins for much less than a Deluxe or Vibrolux.
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Bobby Nelson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 24 Mar 2018 3:23 pm    
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At that little gig I played a few months back, the leader (singer bass player) brought a BF Bandmaster head, with an old 4' tall Kustom cabinet (4x12? 2x15? I don't know). He played a bass fiddle through the main channel until the bridge blew up on him, and then a P-bass. Through the channel on the left hand side, the fiddle player plugged into. It was a small room but still, I was amazed at just how much sound that thing pushed and they both sounded great. I'm not sure how powerful a Bandmaster is, and frankly, am too lazy right now to look it up but, it really delivered the mail that night. It's hard to beat an old Fender for almost anything.
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Bobby Nelson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 24 Mar 2018 3:42 pm    
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The Twin's weight is an issue for me at my age - although I wasn't all that crazy about the weight of a Super Reverb in my 30's either. I plan to have rick Johnson build me a pair of split cabs to solve the issue.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2018 1:22 am    
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As double duty players, iF we are not carrying an amp that satisfy's BOTH needs, which are not the same, maybe similar but not equal, this is a very tuff scenario to resolve.

It isn't just so easy to say, grab a Twin or a lessor dual channel Fender amp. Nobody can define "whats best" or "you don't need this or that".

Nobody can say "I use an X so thats what you should use ".

I have been experimenting with several amps as of late. I don't need a ton of volume but I do need the headroom for the Steel. I don't own any two channel Fender amps anymore , sold them all. So trying to navigate a SINGLE channel amp for both has become a chore. Task, game, whatever.

It does appear that the closest I can come is with a Fender 40 watter, with an AB pedal, but the amp EQ settings for the Steel and Guitar are different.

Last week I used an LR BAGGS Venue Box for the Steel, I dialed in what I felt was a reasonable tone for the Steel, EQ ahead of the amp, while the amp was dialed in for the guitar. The Blues Deluxe offers enough clean headroom and LOW end for this gig and it has the EXT Speaker jack which I need. I place an ext spkr on the far side of the bandstand. The Morley AB ped swaps the instruments.

I have done this on LARGE BAND GIGS with the HR DEVILLE with reasonable success. But I don't really want to carry that amp either ! Unless I am on the big stage or an outdoor venue.

I sold my Twin two years ago. Early on in my journey, I used a TR for near 30 years, the same one !
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Jim Fogarty


From:
Phila, Pa, USA
Post  Posted 29 Mar 2018 6:53 pm    
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Ok....just as a follow-up.....I can tell you thing I just tried that WON'T work.

http://www.quilterlabs.com/index.php/productpage/micropro-mach-2-12-inch-hd

I bought a Quilter MicroPro Mach 2 Combo with the 12" Heavy Duty Speaker. With 2 channels at 100 watts per side, I thought it would perfect.

Nope.

It's design issues, and just stupid,IMO.

1) The 2nd "channel" only has a single sweepable EQ knob. That would fine, if it worked ok, but with either guitar or steel I couldn't find a setting that sounded even decent.

2) The volume on that 2nd channel, even with the gain cranked, is FAR lower than the 1st (main) channel. It just doesn't put out enough volume.

3) Finally, the overall clean headroom isn't near what it needs to be. The guitar sounds pretty good through the 1st channel, but to get it up to live band levels, you need to dime the master and keep cranking the input gain. When it's loud enough, it's breaking up a good bit.

I A/B'ed it against my '73 Deluxe Reverb and it wasn't even close, clean volume wise. That's why these wattage ratings on digital power amps are so bogus. My 22watt Deluxe was burying the Quilter 100 watts.

Frustrating! The thing sounds and feels good......but the weak 2nd channel and lack of "oooommmph" make it useless, for me, for this application. If it wasn't so pricey, I'd keep it for guitar.

Thinking I need to slowly find the right donor amp and build a 1x12" "Twin Reverb" in a light cabinet. My Deluxe is already 45lbs, so if I can keep it close to that, it'll be workable.
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Bill L. Wilson


From:
Oklahoma, USA
Post  Posted 29 Mar 2018 8:48 pm     If You Want Real Power.
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A split Twin is the answer. The head weighs 52lbs., the 15” JBL’s 37lbs. apiece, the 12” EVM 12L’s 23lbs. each. Not light weight, but definitely easier to move around. Just used it with the 12’s on a gig last night, hauled it in with my little cart, sounds great for guitar and steel. IMO you can’t go wrong with a Fender Twin for higher power gigs.
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Tom Cooper


From:
Orlando, Fl
Post  Posted 30 Mar 2018 1:56 am     Guitar and steel
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I just use my Frenzel DP1 octal preamp with dual input into any clean amp. Each channel has volume control. I think one of the higher models has individual eq also. I just just eq on my pedal. The little tube pre is great. Works for me. I use it every weekend for Gretsch and Lap Steel. F setting is great for steel and M setting for guitar.
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Jim Fogarty


From:
Phila, Pa, USA
Post  Posted 31 Mar 2018 3:42 pm    
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Ok.....after all that, the Deluxe Reverb sounded pretty good with both guitar and steel, last night.

I had the steel in the Normal channel with a Digitech Polara reverb, set to a nice Plate reverb.......and the guitar into the Vibrato channel.

It was medium sized room, with a loud rock band. I was mic'd through the PA, but didn't use any of myself through the monitors.

It worked well, but that was about the extent of clean headroom I could get.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 1 Apr 2018 12:39 am    
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Jim Fogarty wrote:
Ok.....after all that, the Deluxe Reverb sounded pretty good with both guitar and steel, last night.

It worked well, but that was about the extent of clean headroom I could get.


And sadly, thats the issue with DR's and Steel Guitars.

Great amps, to a point, then quickly deteriorate to a NOT SO GREAT amp ! Smile
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Dyke Corson


From:
Fairmount, IL USA
Post  Posted 1 Apr 2018 4:21 pm    
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I have been fighting this battle for decades. I find if I use a amp modeling multi-pedal for my strat (currently a Line 6 PODXT Live) along with a small Rolls mixer I can just turn up and down my guitar as needed. For Steel I use the Wet Reverb out to a channel in the Rolls and the Line 6 in another channel. Run the output of the Rolls to this little 112 combo with Brad's V8 in front of a Quilter 101 and a NEO-12. It weighs about 30lbs (Rick Johnson cab). I'm always trying different stuff, but keep coming back to this. I think running the Line 6 into the V8 gives it some added tube-vibe warmth. The key is setting the V8 and Quilter to get the best steel tone, then using the Line 6 EQ to compensate for a good strat (or tele) sound. With this Rolls mixer I can even run two amps in stereo if I want, but I usually just bring one. Gain staging is tricky cause I'm sending a mixer to the V8 then to the Quilter, but I've got zero hum and it sounds great with a band that plays at a REASONABLE stage volume. Sounds great in the studio too, I get lots of compliments, and it looks cool. Thanks to Rick Johnson and Brad Sarno for all the help with this ongoing project!


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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 2 Apr 2018 1:17 am    
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Dyke, nice setup.

Without having a dual channel amp , we modify and experiment. I can use a 40 or 50 watt 1 x 12 tube amp , Carvin or Blues Deluxe with more than reasonable results. Both right at 40 pounds. The Fender offers a stronger bottom end so it gets the call more often.Both offer more than acceptable headroom .

I play a bi monthly show where I require an ext speaker placed on the opposite side far wing, so an amp with an ex speaker out is another requirement. The Fenders and the Carvins cover this requirement.


I dial in the amp for the Telecaster, ( easy ) then use the Baggs Venue for the Steel in between the V Pedal and the amp. The Venue is an excellent " EQ " Crafting" unit with both input level gain and output level control to avoid any saturation. Bass boost, two MID Range scoops , presence and treble. Generally the only thing I need to make any adjustments on are the low end boost and then pull out some mids.

The Baggs Venue by the way, has a built in tuner which is foot switch controlled. BIG letters ! The Venue also a has a Notch Filter but it is OFF. I use this unit for my Dobro gigs all the time, it also has a GAIN BOOST foot switch ( adjustable gain) which allows for Dobro under the music or on top of the music. This unit does a lot of things and very well.

From the AB box I feed a Delay Ped to the amp input. It all may seem a bit crazy but it's actually very simple.

I can place the AB /Delay on the floor but is' just as easy to have it sit on the amp right behind me, it's a very tight space I live in on this gig.

All this to re-create a two channel amp, go figure !




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Jim Fogarty


From:
Phila, Pa, USA
Post  Posted 2 Apr 2018 4:01 pm    
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So, in a fit of desperation I contacted Pat Quilter, before I just returned the amp, and he sent me a nice, long, detailed response, explaining some of the gain structure and eq things with the Micropro Mach 2 HD.

Apparently the 2nd channel is set-up to really only accept line/microphone levels, not instrument (how stupid...why not make it switchable?!?!) I tried what he suggested and threw just a simple Boss EQ pedal between my volume pedal and the 2nd channel of the amp as a buffer/line booster…..cranked the volume boost level of the EQ pedal and just tweaked the EQ a tiny bit, and the 2nd channel came alive. I think it might work, possibly. Close enough that I’m gonna keep the amp instead of returning it, and try it on a few gigs.

Still not TWIN loud, but much better.

Also, getting a better handle on the (weird) eq/gain setup of the 1st channel, for guitar. It’s not very intuitive at all, but there’s good stuff in there……clean and dirty.

Interesting. At 25lbs and real compact and sturdy, I’d be real happy if this could work.

I'll keep posting as I get a better handle on it.
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Josh Yenne


From:
Sonoma California
Post  Posted 6 Sep 2019 7:16 pm    
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not sure when this was posted but just saw it... this is why I generally never play both guitar and steel.. what I need from and amp is SO different.

I have some amp with the reverb ported to both channels.. helps... but I like low watt guitar amps... (like 5-12 watts) and you obviously usually need more for steel...

The BARE minimum for me is having verb in both channels (easy mod and I play ALL vintage fenders)

I also use VERY different amounts of VERB on the instruments... so i have to tweak when ever changing.. using a AB switch.. UGGGG... just tried that at a low volume gig... NOPE the steel and the guitar have a VERY different EQ...

I just have to bring two amps... thats it.. if the steel is great I hate the guitar.. and if the guitar is great.. usually not great for the steel.. uggg...

I had a Milkman half and half.. great amp for steel... but FIFTY watts for guitar... DEAR GOD no.. could never get it to work as a dual thing...

I did talk to tim about doing an amp with the ability to do different reverb amounts in both side... but it never got far.. but I bet he could!
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