Amped!

It couldn’t have been easier. I found an eBay auction of the amp I wanted (a Line 6 Vetta II combo) for $200 less than it was going for on every other online site (and $900 less than retail). No one else bid for the monster, so I won the auction with my lowest offer! This was Sunday, and by Thursday all 85 pounds of the amp had arrived at my house. And, although I was at work when it showed up, one of my new roommates, Matt, was moving in that day and signed for me.

This meant I got to make hot, hot love to the amp just four days after winning it on eBay! Essentially, why I chose the Vetta II is because it seems to be my amp counterpart. Where I simulate NBA Legends in my Project: NBA Sim, the Vetta uses digital technology to simulate real and historical amps. I really want to write an in-depth blog that goes into excruciating detail about all of the cool features of this amp – but I’m still just in the beginning phases of understanding everything! The Vetta came with a 200-page user manual and I’ve only read far enough to know how to turn it on and shift through the pre-existing simulated amps.

So, in lieu of a features review blog, I will instead take a walk down memory lane and revisit all of the amps I’ve called my own throughout my playing career. (Fun note: only one was really mine!)

1. My First Amp
Model: Park 15-Watt (no, I’ve never seen a Park amp since)
Date Acquired: 12/25/1995
Method of Acquisition: Christmas gift
Date Divested: ca. Fall 1997
Method of Divestment: A loose guitar string on the guitar plugged into the amp touched the powered on computer monitor creating some sort of fatal shortout
Time in Use: ~2 years

Steve and I didn’t get into popular music until late. The summer before high school was the biggest push as we obsessively watched Mtv (I can’t believe that most of this consisted of Singled Out episodes inbetween videos) hour after hour, every single day. Being in such a musical familiy, it was to no surprise that we asked for (and received!) an electric guitar for Christmas of 1995.

The guitar was a Charvel stratocaster-wannabe and with it came the Park amp, which was capable of producing a deafening 15 watts. A puny amount with terrible distortion capabilities, but it did its job and introduced us to the world of guitar rock. This amp served us well through our initial fumblings with the instrument and into our only year of lessons. When we would arrive home from school, one of us would get the computer and the other the guitar. Half an hour later, we’d switch.

Eventually, this pairing became the amp’s undoing. I vividly recall how one day, while I was on the computer and the guitar simultaneously, an unclipped, loose end of a guitar string touched the monitor. Both the computer and amp shut off (though I was unharmed!) immediately. The computer rebooted just fine, but the amp never again produced any sounds.

2. The Gift That Just Kept Giving
Model: Squire 15-Watt
Date Acquired: Spring 1998
Method of Acquisition: Gift from Matt Hural
Date Divested: N/A
Method of Divestment: None; I still have it but haven’t used it in years
Time in Use: ~6 years (1998-mid 1999, mid 1999-Oct. 2001, Dec. 2003-Oct. 2005)

I was at my friend Matt’s house one day and he mentioned how he, just like every other 9th grade male, used to play guitar. I had never heard him express an interest in playing, much less actually owning a guitar, so I asked to see his equipment (keep your mind out of the gutter, readers!). Along with his electric guitar he showed me his small amp that was very much like the one I had destroyed a few months ago. As an added bonus he said I could use his amp since he wasn’t playing anymore. Score!

The intention was to only use this temporarily (I believe he even used that exact word) and I definitely agreed with him. It was a little more beat up than my first amp, and I wanted to trade up to something better eventually since I was in my own band (Patrick and the McNairs) at the time. Little did I realize this would be my go to amp for 6 years.

3. Easy Come, Easy Go
Model: Unknown 30-Watt
Date Acquired: April 1999
Method of Acquisition: “Borrowed” from Practice Room M8
Date Divested: May 1999
Method of Divestment: “Borrowed” from me after senior talent show
Time in Use: ~1 month

Towards the end of my senior year, I was asked to play guitar for a quick gig. With such a quick turnaround (I believe we had 2 days to rehearse), I just brought my guitar to school and used whatever amp I could find there. My band (which I dubbed Crabs after the first initial of each of our name) practiced in the largest practice space after school, M8, and I located a nice, 30-watt amp in there. It was in a corner of the room, collecting dust, so after the gig I liberated it.

I don’t remember the specs on this amp, nor do I have a picture of it apparently (the closest you’ll get is this one where I appear to be plugging into an amp hidden by the keyboard during a rehearsal). This amp lasted with me for about a month, finally being used during the senior talent show in another ad-hoc band (this time, Wang Lowe and the Freeballers). As poetic justice would have it, I left the amp in a hallway backstage overnight only to discover it had been liberated from me the next day.

4. The Saddest Amp
Model: 1996 Fender “Evil” Twin 100-Watt
Date Acquired: October 2001
Method of Acquisition: Purchased on eBay
Date Divested: December 2003
Method of Divestment: Sold on eBay
Time in Use: 2 years

For the first two full years of college (including my time living in the Shack making music with my band, Bras) I reverted back to Matt Hural’s amp (#2 on this list). It was really only a temporary thing to begin with, replacing the very first amp I owned (and shorted out), and now having it as my only amp in prime playing time began to get really old, really fast. Finally, by my junior year of college, I had enough money and enough space (now that I was in my own room in an apartment) to invest in a nice, tube amp and i set my heart on the Fender Twin (or Evil Twin since it had the non-default red knobs).

I remember engaging in some heavily contested eBay auctions and didn’t win an amp until my third or fouth try, but soon I was the proud owner of a Twin. Sadly, no experience with this amp ever reached the anticipation of owning it. It turned out to be way too loud for my needs – I could never crank it over 1 in my apartment and I wasn’t happy with the distortion sound at all. I used it for some practices with a drummer over the summer, but still never got over 3 (and tube amps usually need to be cranked to sound the best). When I moved into my senior year apartment, I barely used the thing and eventually hocked it for rent money. I bought it back again, but quickly sold it for good on eBay (and it showed up to my buyer broken by UPS – still my only negative feedback on eBay).

5. Frenchie
Model: Crate 30-Watt
Date Acquired: October 2005
Method of Acquisition: “Gift” from Richard
Date Divested: N/A
Method of Divestment: Neglected
Time in Use: 2 years

Once again I fell back on using Matt Hural’s amp (#2 on this list). As you can guess, I didn’t play a whole lot. It was also no surprise that I started to favor my new acoustic when I purchased it at the end of 2004. When I moved from my mom’s house in Woodbridge, VA to Arlington, VA (the legendary Pink Sock), my friend and bandmate, Richard, informed me he was going to be visiting Europe for a month-long vacation (current length of that “vacation:” 20 months and counting) and left his 30-watt in my care.

Even though it’s way better than the Hural amp, it’s not so great itself. Richard’s had it for years (the picture I’m using is from the Shack which was 2000) and the distortion is starting to wear thin. Also, about every 15 minutes, the guitar cord connection gets loose and you hear nothing but feedback until you jiggle it. The amp served me decently as I began to start to play a lot again moving into the New Jersey house, but I knew it was time to finally get something good.

6. Vetta II
Model: Line 6 Vetta II
Date Acquired: June 2007
Method of Acquisition: Purchased on eBay
Date Divested: N/A
Method of Divestment: N/A
Time in Use: 1 week and counting …

The relationship has just begun, but it’s already starting to blossom. I’ve played for 2 hours almost every day since I’ve received the Vetta and I’m still just scratching the surface of its features. Now, what would be amazing is if I find out how to simulate these previous amps using the Vetta custom tone option!

Comments:
  • Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 at 09:31 | #1

    The first amp was not aquired on 12/31/1995 but 12/25/1995
    #2, Matt Hural’s amp, currently resides in my basement in Arlington

  • Friday, June 29th, 2007 at 09:31 | #2

    You found a Line 6 Vetta II for $200?? Are you friggini’ kidding me?

    I’ve got a Line 6 Flextone II here that I’ve practically never used. It’s so sweet, poor thing. You know it’s just dying to howl at the moon or something.

  • Friday, June 29th, 2007 at 09:32 | #3

    Steady now! I got it for $200 less than what it was going for everywhere else online. Ok … cat’s out of the bag: I paid $1500 for the thing

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