Ampeg J-12T user reviews
- This is a classic amp!
The Ampeg Jet! 15 watts all tube, class A, point-to-pointm handwired (I think). With 12ax7s and I believe EL84s.
Super retro look, well it's a retro amp! Front panel: volume, tone, and tremolo.
There's been many types and variations of the J-12 so I'm not sure which one mine is but the fact that it has a tremolo feature on it must relate to the J-12T model in some way.
I can't remember what speaker is in it, but I believe it's the original, whatever Ampeg used for the Jet models in the early 90s.
- Probably the easiest amp in the world to use with just 3 knobs. It's as simple as an effects pedal!
Put the amount of volume you want, set the tone and turn on the tremolo on via the knob if you want to kick it in. There are 2 inputs, as there always usually is with Ampeg combos, one for guitar and one for 'accordian' I really don't know what the difference is, cause I definitely can't hear it.
The only thing is the plug is the older 2 prong style, mine was replaced with a standard 3 prong to eliminate shock hazards etc.
But this is as simple as an amp can get!!
- Great sound! This is a single channel clean amp of course so don't expect massive distortion sounds or high gain sounds. It's a 60s, 70s clean sound. Not too bright like fender, still thick but still jangly. Think the Beatles-esque cleans. Very smooth and lots of headroom!
Just for kicks I seldom max out the volume and get this disgusting crunch. It sounds like complete crap, it's hilarious! I never use it live, though I've also put some distortion and overdrive pedals through this to get some interesting voices.
Definitely not a gain amp however, if you crank the gain and boost it you will get a noisy and probably horrible sounding distortion.
Though it takes pedals well, generally! So if you've got some cool effects or a good distortion pedal you'd probably have a nice Ampeg version of a blues jr but with a more retro style and warmer cleans.
- Overall Opinion
- I really like this amp for what it is. It's so darn simple and sounds so great. With the right pedals you can get nearly any tone and it's all going to sound in the vintage ballpark, smooth and warm yet clear and full of life.
The cleans are the best point, they are the warmer alternative to a fender and are generally more jangly than twangy. I unfortunately didn't keep this amp and wish that I did. How many times have you heard that?
Anyway, good amp, good price. if you can find one used it's a good clean tube amp and practice amp or even gigging amp, 15 watts it more than enough for a jazz/blues or rock band.
- First, let me point out that I am writing this review years after this particular amp has been disncontinued. I got the one I own only a couple of months ago, and consider myself lucky to have it.
This is NOT a "feature rich" amp. It's basically an amp for someone who will play only blues and classic rock through it. No effects loop, no modeling, not even a bass and treble control. Heck, it does not even have channel switching, and you can't turn the reverb or tremolo off with a foot switch! If you want lots of bells and whistles, you are barking up the wrong tree. Stop reading now and get yourself something like a Line 6 amp- this is NOT the amp for you. Two inputs, quaintly marked "guitar" and "harmonica," and no other connections.
For those still reading, it's got what it needs- a treble-cut ("Tone") can smooth out nerve-grating highs when you need or want that, reverb is nice, and tremolo-equipped amps should ALWAYS have both Speed and Depth/Level controls- any amp or effects box that does not allow you to control both is not worth your time or money. 15 watts may not sound like much, on paper, but they ARE tube watts, which are louder than SS watts, and it is enough for most occasions where you would not mic the amp- beyond that, you have the PA and sound man to help you out.
- For a blues and rock amp, this little blue thing makes some sweet tones. Only one tone control means you don't lose time trying to get a good balance, just turn the tone control to where it sounds good to you for the moment, and play. The manual from Ampeg includes a nifty section on tubes- worth having the whole thing just for that section, and the section on the amp, it's self is good, too.
It does have it's issues. Tremolo can get very "bumpy" when turned up past about 6- to the point where you just can't bare it. There is a pretty easy fix for this- installing a cap across two of a tube's terminals can mitigate this- my tech did this, but I need to bring it back for a higher-value cap, as it helped, but the issue is still there. A cabinet buzz is too prevelent to ignore, although mine does not seem to have that particular problem- be sure to test for this if you are auditioning one.
- It would be a mistake to put too many pedals in front of this amp. Occasionally, I need my Tube Screamer to get the right fuzz/distortion, but usually, just going direct in from my guitar gives me the tone I want and need. Lots of Fender-ish chimy, clean tones are not to be found here, at least not in the example I have. But if you want power-tube overdrive at reasonable levels, this amp delivers. Blues and vintage rock guitarist, and harmonica players (I am both) should love this amp. Country-clean players may find it does not get quite clean enough, and metalist will hate it. Do not expect to play acoustic guitar through it.
But, tone and mojo are here, in spades.
- Overall Opinion
- The blue-diamond pattern tolex sets it- and you- apart, visually, as does the blue pilot light (I only wish the pilot was on the front, so it could be seen by the audience.) Few amps this size- both dimensionally and watt-output- have a 12-inch speaker (or even room to install one,) but this one does, which helps it bring the tone.
Not enough examples on the used market to establish a value, but I'd say if you can get one for around $150-200, after any repairs needed, you would be doing fine.
- Overall Opinion
- I bought this amp off music 123 about a year ago now (http://www.music123.com/Ampeg-J12T-i59888.music), and play it consistantly every night, so i have a good impression of the pros and cons of this amp. Very basic layout with 2x EL84s in the power amp in 'class a', and two 12ax7's for preamp and phase splitter duties. Controls for volume, tone, tremolo intensity and speed, and reverb. I bought it to step up to my first tube amp after owning a Marshall MG15DFX for 2 years...
Starting with a clean setting with the volume at 2, and tone at five and single coil pickups, you get a really shimmering tone that feels lively under your fingers. Adding a touch of tremolo present a great tone for airy fingerpicking work, and the whole feel extends itself to a great Jazz, Blues or Country style. Humbucker clean tones are not quite as impressive, but they still work well for smoother tones.
Winding the volume up to 5 or 6 starts to drive the valves just a touch, and because of the interaction of the tone and volume control, i feel the need to bring back a bit of treble, rolling the tone up to seven. This is a nice blues setting for some SRV style licks, but the bottom end starts to lose defination and becomes wooly when playing two notes less harmonically related than a fifth. Im sure a speaker upgrade would be a cure here. Even so, the overdrive present is quite pleasing and smooth, and humbuckers are welcomed here with open arms, smoothing out the tone further and ridding you of the overly present noise factor with single coils.
Pushing the amp harder still, and it begins to break up into nice distortion for lead work, but with the volume from 8 to 10, the bottom end justs farts out. Even with a single coil at the bridge and tone on 10, the lows are ill defined.
So far ive been playing dry, but both the tremolo and reverb sound good. The reverb could be a bit more lush, but its still good for the price. The tremolo is great, going from slight shimmer to over the top warble.
One invaluable item i have perchersed recently it a crispy cream treble booster (www.treblebooster.com), which brings the amp to life, curing the ill low end, and giving a really pleasing overdrive. One of my favourite tricks is to keep the treble boost set low, and max the volume for more power valve overdrive, giving sweeter distortion. A match made in heaven...
*Poor low end defination
*Average (but not bad) Reverb
Apart from that, nothing to complain about...
It seems solidly built, and should last along time, Although my specimen has a strange (faulty?) volume knob which gets much louder quickly between 1.5 and 2...
Overall, a great clean sounding amp, and nice breakup for lead playing. Without the treble booster (which i recommend very much) the lows really are quite mushy, but with the Treble Boost, this amp really sings...
This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com
- Power: 15 Watts Class-A
HP: 12 "Ampeg Vintage
Preamp: 2 x 12AX7
Power: 2 x EL84
Number of channels: one with two inputs
Controls: Volume, Ring (simple but effective!), Tremolo (speed and intensity), Rverb.
Dimensions: 48 x 40 x 25.
Weight: 14 kilos [b]
- Ultra basic. There's no knobs to turn 10,000. Plug'n play. What rock and roll!!
- Will not get folled again the Who is a Gretsh a Jet.
The sounds are very clear very beautiful, very crystalline.
The crunch is very beautiful, Submitted on 4 / 5 volume, even with my Jazzmaster. You can do everything with the mediator (go from a clear sound increasingly saturated by attacking more and more).
Rverb is the norm. At bottom, it makes the sound really Rockab '. With a blow of slats, it explodes carrment, happiness !!!!!!
Vibrato is a hot desire.
Y just missing a Switch for rverb and tmolo. (And possibly a master volume for my neighbors).
- Overall Opinion
- I have two years and I love it. At least as much if not more than my Champ Silverface.
The quality-price ratio is far from extraordinary (almost 900 euros !!!!) but nine AMPEG!
I probably would do that choice (though an AC 15 ....).
I put 9 passque now with the amps made in China, we can find the same quality for much less