Credit Crunch Shopping: How To Sound Like Your Idols…On The Cheap

In these credit crunch times, not everyone can spend lots of money on gear and, for instance, afford to buy a 1959 Gibson Les Paul! But that shouldn’t stop Jimmy Page fans trying to get a setup similar to his. Here’s some gear tips for fans of Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Beatles and many other acts – Get Some Cheap Gear! Check our list of cheap alternatives to more expensive products!

No Money to buy guitar...Can’t afford expensive gear? Try some cheap alternatives!

Yes, it’s still possible to get a great tone with affordable, non-expensive gear. Let’s have a look at some gear suggestions:

Gibson Les Paul Alternative: Vintage V100 Les Paul Copy

Jimmy Page playing an original 1959 Les Paul, and a V100

One of the most underrated guitars out there, is the Vintage V100. This baby rocks! Made in the same factory as the Epiphone guitars, they have all the features you’d expect from a Les Paul – set net, rosewood scale and a meaty, howling tone… they’re, of course, quite heavy, too! If you fancy a Les Paul but can’t quite afford the Gibson price tag, go for a Vintage! The Wilkinson hardware is great, too.

Available in several different finishes, the Vintage V100 are pretty cool indeed! Good for fans of: Led Zeppelin, Gun’n’Roses, Oasis, Cream/ Bluesbreakers-era Eric Clapton, classic rock in general.


Gibson J160E Alternative: Vintage VE660TSB

Gibson J160e, used by The Beatles and Pete Doherty

Gibson J160e, the real deal, used by pop stars such as The Beatles and Pete Doherty…

The Gibson J160E is one of the first acoustic-electric guitar models produced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation, and one of rock’n’roll’s most iconic acoustic guitars. But the Gibson J160e doesn’t come too cheap. First made famous by The Beatles (both John Lennon and George Harrison played one for most of the band’s career) the guitar is a must-have for any Beatles fanatic who plays acoustic. The guitar was also used by other Beatles-inspired bands in the sixties, and even the Rolling STones briefly used them. Now, a newer generation seems to be re-discovering the instrument: artists such as Kasabian, the Last Shadow Puppets and Pete Doherty have been seen playing one.

Vintage VE-660, a great Gibson J160e copy

…and the Vintage VE660  model, a really good copy!

Epiphone used to make a great copy, the EJ-160E, but newer versions are not as good as the original: slightly different colour, different scale lenght and lower quality than the earlier EJ160E. The best bet, then, is to go for the Vintage VE-660 TSB, which is cheaper,  looks the part and sounds great. You won’t be disappointed, and your wallet will thank you!


Electro Harmonix Big Muff Alternative: Behringer VD1 Vintage Distortion

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff and Behringer VD-1 Vintage Distortion

Well, the good old EHX Big Muff is not that expensive, but, still, maybe not everyone can afford to buy one – fair dos! If you fall in this category, why not try Behringer’s cut-price version, the VD1 Distortion? It’s got a pretty good muff-like tone. Another option, only slightly cheaper than the original Big Muff, is the Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff. Good for fans of: Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Arctic Monkeys, Mudhoney, U2, David Gilmour and any other Big Muff players.



Vox AC-30 Alternative: Vox VT30 / Laney VC30

Vox AC30 and the cheaper alternatives

If you think the Vox AC-30 is a bit too expensive for you…well, for one, it’s definitely worth the investment! It’s one of the coolest and most classic amps ever made. But ok, if you really can’t afford one, there are some cool alternatives. To start with, lets stay with Vox: the new Vox VT30 model has a sophisticated modeling technology combined with the VOX Valve Reactor power amp circuit that uses a 12AX7 vacuum tube results in sound quality that overwhelms the competition, and is a pretty good alternative. Like any modeling amp that has several different settings, you will get a few sounds that have nothing to do with an AC30…but the AC30 tone will be there somewhere, too! So, a good, cheap alternative.

Another good alternative to the AC30, is the Laney VC30 valve Amp. At under £400, it’s a really good priced all-valve amp, that tries to evoke the same vibe as the classic AC30. For the price, it’s pretty amazing! Both the Laney VC30 and Vox VT30 are good for fans of: Beatles, Rolling Stones, U2, The Libertines, T-Rex, Foo Fighters

 Fender Jaguar/ Jazzmaster Alternative: Squier Jagmaster

Fender Jazzmaster and Squier Jagmaster

The Squier Jagmaster is not a Jazzmaster copy, but an entirely new guitar, based on features from the Fender Jaguar and Fender Jazzmaster. The Jagmaster is the #1 choice for any guitarist who loves bands such as Nirvana and Sonic Youth but can’t afford the real deal. And for one reason – the Jagmaster rocks, in its own right! Perfect for fans of Nirvana, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead.



Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer Alternatives: Ibanez TS7 / Behringer TO800

Tubescreaming: Ibanez TS9, TS7 and Behringer TO800

Aah…there’s nothing like a good, warm overdrive pedal. And few are as classic as the Ibanez Tubescreamer TS9 and Tubescreamer TS808, as used by several artists including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Metallica and many others over the years. Yeah…very versatile, too! But not everyone can afford the £100+ price tag that the Tubescreamers cost. So…what do you do? Sit and cry? No! Because you want to rock…and you will rock with some cool, quite affordable alternatives!

The Ibanez TS7 Tubescreamer is the most affordable in the Tubescreamer family, but still has a very similar sound to the TS9 Tubescreamer, with the added “hot” mode for extra gain…it’s great! Even more exciting, is the Behringer Vintage Tube Overdrive TO800! An amazing value-for-money pedal, sound every bit as good as a pedal four times the price, and has a genuine, vintage warm overdrive tone. Simply fantastic value.



Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man Alternative: Behringer VM-1 Vintage Time Machine

Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man and Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine

The Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man analog delay/ chorus/ vibrato pedal is one of the best there is, but not every one can afford one. Just recently, Behringer release their own version of the famous delay pedal, which they named Vintage Time Machine VM-1. But…is it up to scratch? Well, according to all reviews and videos on the web, the answer is yes! The guitarist on a budget who can’t afford the classic, tasty Deluxe Memory Man, can safely use the VM-1 and know he’ll get some great delay sounds, too. Ideal for fans of: Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, U2

We could go on and on…and probably will, some other time! But for now, that’s it, folks! 

If you can afford to buy the original gear, by all means go for it – they didn’t become legendary pieces of gear, used by several of the biggest bands in the world, for no reason! But it’s refreshing to know that, for affordable prices, you can buy similar gear that will sound good, too.

And remember: it’s not just about the gear, but about the player! There’ll always be some good, affordable options for the talented player who doesn’t have the money to spend on the top of the range gear, if they know where to look. – it’s still possible to get a great tone on the cheap!

And, of course, Take It Away is a great way to help you to afford buying more expensive gear!


~ by dolphinblog on April 7, 2009.

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