I have never had a problem garnering excitement over vintage guitars, mainly because they have not only an appeal as playable entities, but also for their pure esthetics and good looks! In the case of amps, however, it’s always been hard for me to justify filling up my space with vintage amps, that get played through quite rarely, and are certainly not nearly as pleasurable to look at as guitars!
Still, there are certain ones that are great when they are displayed with the correct guitar to go with it, such as my ’52 Les Paul along with its ’52 counterpart in amp form, or some of those nice old Gibson and Fender “tweed” amps. But for me, it’s always been about the tone and sound I get through them that really matters.
I’ve been happy for many years with basically the same few amps at my disposal, and also knowing some real amp collecting “nuts”, I’m always able to borrow some choice pieces if I need to, such as I did on this latest “Toolin’ Around Woodstock” cd I did with Levon Helm. On that album, I employed about 4 different vintage amps overall.
For over 30 years, I had an original 1964 Vox AC-30 in my collection that I played and recorded through literally only ONCE! I felt that it colorated my sound too much, and didn’t really sound natural. It certainly sounded like a Vox, though, a very LOUD Vox at that, and it knocked a few pictures off my wall the last time I played through it!
I decided to make it as a partial trade item towards an acoustic guitar I had always wanted, and I found out that The Edge of U2 was ending up getting my amp! Well, that simultaneously made me feel good and bad, as I felt great that a player of his stature was going to enjoy it, but it also made me feel like I had never given this amp of mine the proper credit it deserved! Still, it was worth plenty of money in the trade, and I now have more room to move around in, and to fill up with more great guitars instead of amps!!! Quality, not quantity should be your guiding thought when you start cluttering up your place with these things. Be careful! Till next installment ...