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Recently purchased a Blacktop HSH - Looking for a new amp


Quick intro - I am fairly new to guitar, but not to music. I have been taking guitar lessons now for about a year. I started learning to play guitar with a Seagull 25th anniversary solid-wood acoustic and have changed direction to electric (Fender Blacktop Stratocaster HSH). My main focus is with Blues, Rock, Hard Rock, and Alt Rock with an emphasis on Blues. I am not performing . . . (yet) but some day . . . With that said here is my question . . .
I bought this guitar for Rock and Blues as I thought the pup configuration made it versatile for both. I hope I made a decent choice.
I am looking for a new amp for my new Blacktop Strat HSH. My budget is around $600.00. Currently, I am using a Fender Mustang I, but find the sound not to my liking. I luv the idea of modeling amps but the sound seems flat, and just not dynamic. I find I use only one or two amp models, and these I have chosen to set to as clean as I can get, otherwise I seem to get too much distortion.
I am seriously considering a Marshall Class5 Head and 1x10 cabinet. I think the way tube amps work, I will get the tone(s) I’m looking for and this amp seems to provide a good value. I am looking to play clean to dirty blues, as well as rock. If I really want to modify my sound I can always get a nice peddle like the Zoom G3X or something. I figure I can get as much distortion as I want out of this guitar with these pups as is, for Rock etc. Whatever amp I get, it must have a headphone jack, as this will be used primarily as a practice amp and will allow late-night practices.
Is there a better choice, based on my suggested needs? PLEASE let me know!
Thank you for any thoughts!
October 9, 2012 @01:10am
Big Bottom Willie

Nothing against the Marshall; I'm sure it's probably a fine amp and you can't beat that tube sound. But I usually recommend the Vox Valvetronix amps to beginners as a great value in a starter amp. Realistic models of various amp types, and enough built-in effects to help tweak your sound to your liking. And fairly realistic tube dynamics courtesy of their proprietary Valve Reactor circuitry. Easy on the wallet, too. I believe they have headphone jacks as well as power level controls for more volume-friendly practicing; you might save some cash and use one of these to determine which particular amp sound you like before investing a load of money into a full-blown tube rig.
Hope this helps.
October 15, 2012 @11:37pm

Thank you for the info and advise! I will look into Vox Valvetronix. Appreciate the feed back!
October 21, 2012 @05:04pm

Thanks Big Bottom Willie...
I checked out a few Vox amps and really I like their sound. I found a very nice used AD50VT at a great price. This amp has an awesome sound and is in mint condition. I think the hybrid aspect of the Vox Valvetronix amps reproduces a much truer sound to my ears, while providing molding flexibility like the Mustang 1 solid-state amp I was using. The 12" speaker has a lot to do with the sound improvement as well I would think.
The Valvetronix technology is very interesting how it utilizes a preamp tube in the power amp section. Definitely a noticeable difference from a straight solid-state amp sound and how it reacts to your picking imo.
Again, thanks a lot for the advice.
November 5, 2012 @03:13am