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Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier   

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The Jet City Vintage 20W tube head is based on their popular JCA20H. The 20HV version is a simple, single-channel amp. Completely re-voiced, it's a b...Read More

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OVERVIEW

A simple to use 20W head with plenty of options.

The Jet City Vintage 20W tube head is based on their popular JCA20H. The 20HV version is a simple, single-channel amp. Completely re-voiced, it's a bit cleaner, a bit darker, and the power section has been opened up. In addition to the Presence control, Jet City has also added a depth switch based on Soldano's famous Depth control. They've also included a post-master effects loop.

FEATURES
  • Controls: Preamp Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Master, Presence, Depth switch
  • Solid state effects loop by Mojo
  • 20W
  • Three 12AX7 and Two EL84 tubes

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Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Jet City AmplificationVintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier
 
4.1

(based on 13 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

73%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (11)
  • Excellent sound (9)
  • Warm / comfy (9)
  • Portable (8)
  • Good power output (6)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Home studio (8)
  • Performances (8)
  • Amateur recording (6)
  • Professional recording (6)
  • Outdoor events / games (5)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (8), Professional musician (4)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Boutique Dynamics on a Budget

This amp is a great versatile one channel amp. It allows you to really work your guitars volume control and your picking attack to control overdriven tones. I also own the Original JCA20H -...Read complete review

This amp is a great versatile one channel amp. It allows you to really work your guitars volume control and your picking attack to control overdriven tones. I also own the Original JCA20H - I would say Jet City's description of darker and less gain when compared to the original JCA20H is pretty accurate. I AB'd the 2 amps and fine that with a traditional strat - the Vintage models gain max'd out equates to about a gain setting of 6 on the original. The amp stays clean at loud volumes (should work in small club settings). With the gain all the way up, and the volume at 3 - the room vibrates (2x12 cab greenback and g12H30). At this setting, you can roll volume all the way down to 2 and the sound retains presence and yet stays warm and interesting. Pick attack is expressed very well also - just a very mature amp. This kind of versatility is just not there on the original Jca20h - I would always back down the gain to 3 and turn the volume to about 7 or more for clean then re-adjust for dirty - 7 on the gain and 3-4 on the volume. Also, Adding gain increases volume more than the original JCA20H. Its voiced darker but still stands out when jamming over music, the depth circuit really pushes air when on neck pickup and volume greater than 3 - you may need to balance with volume roll off of decide to turn the depth off altogether. The amp will cover blues, country, classic rock, and maybe jazz. With a good overdrive you should be able to approach high gain. I would not buy this amp for metal or if you mostly play high gain music (you will need a pedal on most of the time). The EFX loop seems to be ok - I noticed that I had to turn up the level on my reverb and delay a little more as to using in front. If I could change one thing it would be just a tad more gain - taking the amp past grit and approaching crunch. I am still experimenting with tubes and overdrives - OCD works fairly well.. I would give this amp 4.5 stars overall - just a tad more gain and a little more flexibility in the tone knobs could take it to a 5 for me - provided the amp dynamics are not effected. However, when you factor the price its hard to ignore just how much the amp delivers for not a lot of money.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Updated Review after using this amp 4 a few weeks, TOO LOUD

If you scroll down a ways you'll see my initial review of this head and I stand by most of what I said. It's a great sounding amp head. It's very Marshall sounding and...Read complete review

If you scroll down a ways you'll see my initial review of this head and I stand by most of what I said. It's a great sounding amp head. It's very Marshall sounding and though i've never owned a Plexi, from what I've heard from them on Youtube and on stages, it has those characteristics. Add an overdrive pedal and it sounds great. I play in a cover band and we cover everything from the 70s through the early 2000s. And it works. HOWEVER - and this is a big HOWEVER... it's too LOUD. How loud is too loud for me? Well, I've been running a 50w Marshall 2204 with a 4x12 for 15 years and it's never been a problem to get good tone at a lower levels. Say 3 on the master volume. But on this, I ran it through a 1x12, a 2x12 and a 4x12. All too loud. For whatever reason Jet City amps tie the gain and master volume together. So if you turn up the gain, you can barely use the master. If you turn up the master, you can barely turn up the gain. I had the gain on roughly 7 and I kid you not, I couldn't push the volume higher than 1 when playing live with my band in a bar setting. Ear blistering. To make matters worse, there is no creep with the volume like most amps have where - it's either no sound or way too loud. Adjusting was nearly impossible because if you even move the volume a hair up or down it's flat out too loud or nothing there. As an experiment I cranked it to 10 and it seems like it didn't get any louder. Like all the volume is instantaneous. It's too bad to because I really liked this amp and thought I found a keeper but it's just too much. I had similar problems with the Jet City 50 watt head I had and the 20w Jet city I owned and got rid of. Nice amps. Great tone. Useless in the basement or on the stage.

Reviewed by 13 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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3.0

Great tones but two show stoppers

By metricman

from Barker, Idaho

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Good Warmth
  • Portable

Cons

  • Poor Effects loop
  • Too much noise

Best Uses

  • Practice
  • Small Gigs

Comments about Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

I bought this amp for use as a amp I could grab and go to practice with without having to fire up my main rigs. With this amp cranked to almost 20 watts it is able to fit in to the mix just fine since we mic through the PA. We are a cover band so I really need an effects loop that works well. Unfortunately the loop just doesn't cut it. I have seen this before with other inexpensive tube amps but I was really hoping that this one would work out as I liked the sound of this head. With the distortion cranked moderately high delays sound pretty mushy to the point that its better you not use it. Secondly, with the master at about 2:00 oclock and the gain at 3-4 the amp is just way too noisy, I tried higher quality pre-amp tubes to no avail.

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5.0

i would buy again..

By rex

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

great amp..not very heavy..sounds great.. love it

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4.0

Great Value.

By Teleman

from Tulsa OK

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Portable
  • Powerful

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Home Studio
    • Performances

    Comments about Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

    Excellent tone and power to weight.

    Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

     
    5.0

    Great amp but needs retubed and biased.

    By Jack

    from Waynesburg Pa.

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Excellent Sound
    • Good Warmth
    • Portable
    • Powerful

    Cons

    • No reverb

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

    This may be my favorite amp out of the ones that I currently own as well as ones that I no longer own. I have a Marshall JCM 900, 2 Marshall TSL's, Fender Hot Rod Deville ltd 4x10, Fender Hot Rod Deville 2x12, Fender Blues Jr, Jet City JCA20H. I like the sound of all of my amps. I have had a lot of other amps in the past but that list is too long. I always bias and retube my amps even if they are brand new. This amp will need that but at the low price it can be had for I think it is worth doing. I run mine on the clean side and get my O.D. and distortion from pedals. This amp will bark when the gain is pushed. The depth switch is great with single coil pickups I turn it off when using humbuckers. This amp will get stupid loud and it does have great tones. It's like any other amp you have to take the time to dial it in. This amp may be capable of heavier sounds with the right pedal. I run a reverb pedal in the effects loop when reverb is needed. I wish I could find a way to get more of these without my wife finding out. I truly like this amp that much.The guys I jam with have high wattage amps and I have no trouble keeping up with them. This is not a low volume late night bedroom amp. I will have no problem with volume using this amp for live shows.

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    (5 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    Updated Review after using this amp 4 a few weeks, TOO LOUD

    By Jimbo

    from Minnesota

    About Me Experienced

    Ask me a question

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Excellent Sound
    • Powerful

    Cons

    • Too loud for a bar band
    • Too loud for the basement

    Best Uses

      Comments about Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

      If you scroll down a ways you'll see my initial review of this head and I stand by most of what I said. It's a great sounding amp head. It's very Marshall sounding and though i've never owned a Plexi, from what I've heard from them on Youtube and on stages, it has those characteristics. Add an overdrive pedal and it sounds great. I play in a cover band and we cover everything from the 70s through the early 2000s. And it works. HOWEVER - and this is a big HOWEVER... it's too LOUD. How loud is too loud for me? Well, I've been running a 50w Marshall 2204 with a 4x12 for 15 years and it's never been a problem to get good tone at a lower levels. Say 3 on the master volume. But on this, I ran it through a 1x12, a 2x12 and a 4x12. All too loud. For whatever reason Jet City amps tie the gain and master volume together. So if you turn up the gain, you can barely use the master. If you turn up the master, you can barely turn up the gain. I had the gain on roughly 7 and I kid you not, I couldn't push the volume higher than 1 when playing live with my band in a bar setting. Ear blistering. To make matters worse, there is no creep with the volume like most amps have where - it's either no sound or way too loud. Adjusting was nearly impossible because if you even move the volume a hair up or down it's flat out too loud or nothing there. As an experiment I cranked it to 10 and it seems like it didn't get any louder. Like all the volume is instantaneous. It's too bad to because I really liked this amp and thought I found a keeper but it's just too much. I had similar problems with the Jet City 50 watt head I had and the 20w Jet city I owned and got rid of. Nice amps. Great tone. Useless in the basement or on the stage.

      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Tone machine

      By Grumpy Bear

      from Seattle WA

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Good Warmth
      • Portable
      • Powerful

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

        This is one killer little head...after you replace the cheap Chinese tubes. I prefer Tung-Sol's myself. They deliver a nice chime and bite. With a my G&L legacy it's that strat into a marshall sound pure heaven. Step it up to p-90's and it gives you that extra grit and bite but retains clearity. Give it the humbuckers and you got AC/DC up to some searing lead tones. It doesn't do metal...maybe with the right pedal, but not in general. It does what a great amp does. It lets each guitars voice come through with it's own color. The depth switch is a nice addition and a effects loop is always appreciated. And this thing is LOUD. Half the time I'm running it around 2 1/2- 3 for band practice. I set it for a touch of breakup at 10 on my guitar, add a couple pedals for od, fuzz, etc and your set. Takes pedals great. Roll it down slightly to clean it up, it's very touch sensitive and responds nicely to your volume pot. I'm digging this amp. I'd buy it again in a second.

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        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Vintage Marshall sound in an inexpensive, LOUD, package

        By Jimbo

        from Minnesota

        About Me Experienced

        Ask me a question

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Good Warmth

        Cons

        • Loud

        Best Uses

        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

        First things first: This amp is ridiculously loud. At 1 it's nearly too loud for playing at home. But this is no different from any low wattage tube head I own, or have owned. If you want bedroom volume get a 5w amp or better yet and iPad App. Now for the positives. Having owned the Jet City 50W head in the past, and for a minute the JCA22H, I can tell you this amp is, as advertised, voiced differently. But not too differently. Whereas the JCA20H is essentially a Soldano clone based on some hot-rodded Marshall or another, this version is also based on a Marshall, most likely a Plexi, minus the hot rodding. The immediate difference between this and the other Jet City heads is less gain. Break up, depending upon pickups, starts pretty early. I like it on 6 using my Les Paul (JB bridge pickup) and using a boost (Boss overdrive). It gets me into perfect classic rock/early 80s glam territory. Without the boost, it's VERY AC/DC at that setting. Punch another overdrive on top of the first and you can easily take on any 80s hair metal harmonic filled solos. I'd have to say where this amp shines in comparison to the JCA22H or even the 50 is the gain is more controllable all around. I own a late 70s Marshall 50w JMP and the sound is very, very comparable. That makes sense considering Joe Perry sort of inspired this amp. It's classic rock all the way. One thing that kept me from pulling the trigger on this for as long as I waited was the descriptions on the internet of this being a "Dark" amp. I'm not sure what that means but it isn't that dark. There's ample mid bite and it should jump out of a mix (I haven't played it live yet, but I will update when I do). It does get a little darker when you engage the Depth switch. The depth switch works nice for low volume and for a cleaner sound. Really rounds it out and makes if fuller. But when you are pushing the tubes and running the overdrive, the depth switch makes is too round if that makes sense. You lose your edge.

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        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Pleasantly Surprised

        By Rock Dawg

        from Green Bay, WI

        About Me Professional Musician

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Good Warmth
        • Portable
        • Powerful

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Events
          • Home Studio
          • Performances
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

          I normally do not write reviews but I have to say, this was a great deal. As others have written, the cheap tubes, 3 12AX7s and 2 EL-84s, really need to be replaced before use.
          Once I replaced the China tubes with good ol' American tubes, the unit played great and was very easy to use.
          This Amplifier can be used clean by keeping the pre amp gain low at about position 2. A little bump up, and the amplifier drives nicely with grit.
          I needed an amplifier with an effects loop and was really glad to find out the loop in this amplifier works really well with my rig. Even with my 2 channel fender Supersonic amplifier I use some overdrive pedals to achieve just the right gain and tone, so using this single channel amp was no problem. Others have talked about rolling back the guitar volume control to clean up the tone and it is very easy to do with this amplifier.
          The 20 watts seems to be plenty of power for small clubs. I played a gig with it last week just to check it out and it did a great job in a medium size club playing classic rock without using a microphone in front of the cabinet. I used two different cabinets with vintage 30s, one was closed and the other open in the back. I think in a small club, a single closed cabinet with a vintage 30 speaker would be just perfect, at least for my Classic Rock Band.
          A short time ago one would have to pay seven or eight hundred for an amplifier like this. When I saw it, I just had to try it, if for nothing else, to have a back up to take to a gig. I am still shaking it down, but so far so good and since it only requires the 5 tubes to be replaced, there was not much additional cost.
          I see there are other much higher power heads available now for super low prices but there is something about a lower power amp like the 20 watt Jet-City head that gives you the tone you want at a lower more manageable volume.

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          (9 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Under The Radar Plexi-Like Amp

          By Agustus Gloop

          from USA

          About Me Experienced

          Ask me a question

          Pros

          • Clean And Gain
          • Clean Gain
          • Easy To Use
          • Excellent Sound
          • Pedal Friendly
          • Tone

          Cons

          • Low quality tubes
          • Size

          Best Uses

            Comments about Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

            Having owned the original JCA20H and finding it to be too gainy and bright, I took a chance on this version which is said to be cleaner and darker. I would agree with that assessment, though I certainly would NOT say this is a "dark" amp. It still has plenty of bite and clarity on tap.

            I liked the original JCA20H's gain, there was just too much of it. The HV is so much more usable across the entire spectrum. Loud-ish cleans are available, but there's also plenty of gain for rhythm players. I don't personally think there's enough on tap for lead guitar, but this thing takes pedals extremely well. I've run my entire board straight into the front end, and it's perfectly capable of handling dirt, modulation, volume, boosts, etc. Haven't tried the effects loop yet, but I don't see a need at this point.

            I went through the following amps before settling on this one: JCA20H (too bright/gainy), Ampeg GVT15 (great cleans, but couldn't find a good edge-of-breakup tone), Vox AC15 (ice-pick, even with the bright cap mod, and didn't take pedals well), Orange OR15H (brutally fizzy, but sat in a mix well; also hated overdrive pedals), Orange Tiny Terror (see: OR15H), Kustom Defender 5H (I actually love this little head, but it's not on the same level as the JCA20HV), Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (beautiful cleans, but too loud and no breakup available), and the Blackheart Handsome Devil (another great amp, but the gain tones on the HV are much better).

            The one thing I will say in the negative is that the stock tubes aren't great. I threw Tung Sol RI's in the preamp and JJ's in the power section and it made a noticeable difference for the better.

            All in all, if you're looking for a less-expensive but not cheaply made Plexi-style amp that does low to medium gain well and takes pedals like a champ, you could do MUCH worse than the JCA20HV.

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            (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Great amp....garbage tubes

            By Telewhacker

            from Champaign, IL

            About Me Professional Musician

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Excellent Sound
            • Good Warmth
            • Portable

            Cons

            • A Little Dark
            • No Channel Switching
            • No reverb
            • Ships With Garbage Tubes

            Best Uses

            • Amateur Recording
            • Events
            • Home Studio
            • Performances
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about Jet City Amplification Vintage 20W Tube Head Guitar Amplifier:

            Great little amp, especially at Stupid Deal price. Very simple and straightforward. "Blizzard of nails" Vox'ish tone for days. Tons of mids. Good low end. Amp leans a little on the dark side. Great with Fenders....might need an eq boost with dark guitars.
            The tubes it comes shipped with are the cheapest, most worthless tubes in existence. If you buy this amp, buy new tubes for it....don't even bother firing it up with the tubes it comes with. Yeah.....they're that bad.
            I love this little amp.

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