You may think the title to this post misleading. There are no lightweight, solid state amplifier heads made specifically for jazz guitar. But there are an increasing number of high-powered light heads that could be used for jazz and more. This is a survey of what I’ve found available online.
|Make||Model||watts||Weight lbs||Width||Height||Depth||CH||Outs||Reverb||Est. Price Online|
|Acoustic Image||CLARUS 606 IA plus||350||2.5||7||2.5||7.75||1||?||no||$600|
|DV Mark||Micro 50||50||4.19||7.87||2.5||8.7||2||2||yes||$300|
|Quilter||101 Mini Head||50/100||2||8.375||3.125||5.5||1||2||no||$300|
This is an acoustic amp head designed for violin, bass and other acoustic instruments including archtop and other acoustic guitars. There is an effects loop but no onboard effects or reverb.
The DV Mark head is fairly new. It has a fan which has been a problem for some on the Little Jazz combo from DV Mark. But the few reviews I’ve seen for the head indicate the fan rarely if ever comes on at low volumes where it would be a nuisance. The amp has reverb and can be overdriven. It is not a modeling amp.
Quilter has a number of amp heads, all solid state. The MicroPro Mach 2 and Aviator Gold combos are both available as an amp head without a speaker cabinet. They have also had a number of variations on the Tone Block model. I’m just presenting two of them.
The Quilter 101 Mini Head amp has five Voice settings that correspond to the expected popular classic tube amps such as black face, Tweed and British. However, these do not represent modeling of the amps but rather an attempt to capture their character. The amp is 50 watts except for the Jazz and Surf (Fender Black Face) settings which produce 100 watts maximum. The Master knob is calibrated in watts output so you can avoid overpowering the speakers you have connected.
The ProBlock 200 head has 200 watts power and includes reverb, a missing feature from the 101 mini head. However it does not have the five selector voice setting and the controls are not intuitive to guitarists familiar with classic amps. There would be a learning curve which might be worth the effort but it is unlikely you’ll dial in your preferred tone without some work.
Yamaha has a pair of solid state amp heads that seem versatile, including being a possibility for jazz guitar. However, I think their target is rock, blues, country and everything else. Their amps are bigger, heavier and more expensive than most of the others but do have some nice features. The main difference between the two models is the HD is essentially two THR100H models in one unit. Two completely independent amps for each of your two channels.
This is a modeling amp. Among unique features is in addition to choose the general amp model, you have the ability to select from different tube types (6V6, EL84, KT88, 6L6GC, and EL34) and amp class (Class A and AB).
Great Great Article. Thank you!!!
I’ve been really trying to decide between the 3. Each have their own features. But I love the fact that they each are nice and light and as I get older and have a bad back; that’s really important to me now.