So I have the option of getting a late sixties, blackface wired Dual Showman head w/ reverb, for around the same price as the SMS Classic and a used SS poweramp. Which should I go for? ALSO, I've been running from my guitar to a little Vibro Champ XD, then to a Hot Rod Deville. I think it sounds better this way, other than just going to the Deville. Is this because there are only two preamp stages in the Deville? I know that there are three in the SMS. Please help!
That's tough dude... it's hard to go wrong.
Well, though the variations will be different, they'll give you two different sounds. To compare it to Jerry's tone through the years, the blackface would probably be more like pre-hiatus Jerry, capable of getting super beefy and dirty sounding, whereas the SMS and SS power amp would give you (I think) a little more option to go either way, with more late 70s or 80s sounding Jerry stuff or a really very convincing 60s sound without being truly the sound of like 8 6l6 tubes or however many it is in one of those big old heads.
If it was me I'd go with the SMS. Best of both worlds and a lot of room for variations outside of the specifically Jerry style -- makes an incredibly beautiful sounding jazz amp. Also, Brad's an awesome guy and I like paying for his work. And, because it'd be made after it was ordered, it will presumably need less upkeep and will be more reliable than a 40 year old amp.
But, like i said, I feel as though it's impossible to go wrong with these two things as your choices. I doubt you'll be unhappy either way.