New Amp: Bugera V5

Ever since I sold my 1966 Fender Super Reverb amp in 2002 (ish?) I wondered when the itch to play electric would sneak up again. That happened earlier this year and prompted the purchase of a Chinese-made Epiphone Casino and something to play it through (see above). I bought the non-vintage Casino so I could hot-rod it and turn it into something resembling a 60s era Gibson ES 330. I didn't just get a 330 because they typically run for $2500+.

Back to the amp. The V5 is a tube amp that can play nice at a wide range of volumes. My old Super Reverb would start to break up (a good thing) at about 7-8 volume. At those decibel levels, my upstairs neighbors would have been calling the police on a daily basis. With the Bugera I can turn down the wattage to 0.1, drive the EL84 power tube, and play away without putting any new cracks in the walls. And if I need to, I can get plenty of volume out of the full 5 watts.

The tubes sound great, especially paired with the P90 pickups on the Casino. I'm still playing around with levels and getting the best sounding clean tones as well as crunchy. With the gain at 5, the amp sings nice and clean. Push the gain to 8 overdriving the preamp tube, and it starts to produce some good fuzz even at low volumes: perfect for a practice amp in a condo.

There is a headphone jack on the back - I haven't seen many amps with this feature and it's a nice touch. The reverb is digital but does the job; I keep it about 4. The only downside to this combo is a lack of brightness (Fender amps jump up and smack you in the face with brightness!). I've been reading that an inexpensive tube replacement can help so that's an option for the future.

After about a 14 year break from playing much of anything, I'm enjoying getting back into it. And now i'm having a blast being plugged in again.
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