muletrane wrote:Hey all,
I'm curious about the whole preamp/power amp setup. What is the advantage? Seems like a lot to go through when you can just buy a twin. I have a showman clone that I built that I could mod. Would it be worth it to get a power amp? Why solid state amps? Would tube work ok too? Sorry for the newb questions. Thanks!
Well, it's true that a Twin really can deliver the goods. It's gotta be cleaned up and in good shape and obviously with the right speakers. Problems with a real Twin are that it's way, way too heavy when loaded with JBL's. Also, the Twin may actually be underpowered at 80 watts for some people. And for some people going for a post '72 Garcia tone, they find that the tube-preamp/SS Mac power-amp combination actually gets it more accurately. The SS power amp is gonna sound stiffer and cleaner, and when it does clip and distort, there's a character to it that's very distinct and clear. When the 6L6's in a Twin begin to distort, they get warmer and darker and compressed sounding. When a Mac clips, it's got a real punchy, firm, and "squirty" kind of distortion to it. It's the Jerry sound.
But really, if you have a good Twin with good tubes, the right tone settings, and learn to operate it right at it's power limits, that truly will give a fantastic Jerry sound. In many ways it's a more practical and playable approach. The McIntosh approach is pretty unforgiving and requires a very skilled sense of picking the strings and dynamic control. Power tubes are much more forgiving. Personally, I find that power tubes help my picking inconsistencies. But if I'm real warmed up and have been playing for a few hours and my hands feel more in the zone, then I find the SS (Solid State) Mac approach far more workable.
I remember back in '88 talking to Healy, and he said his preferred guitar rig was a real Twin.