This is a thread for all those guitarists Googling its title, like I did a short while ago, wondering whether they should get a valve amp. Let’s help them make the right decision. Twelve days with my JVM-1 head, my first valve amp, and 2061CX cab, which I bought as a gift to myself for giving up smoking 2 months ago, about 30 years after my first cigarette. I started playing guitar when I was at school, and soon found myself playing at parties and a local bar with a five-piece band of schoolmates. We played punk-rock music, and sounded a lot like The Sound, but with a female singer. Soon after finishing school, though, life led me in a different direction, well, more than one actually, but all away from music. Picking up an electric guitar again more than 20 years later, at the age of 40, was, among other things I tried, a way to keep my mind and hands busy after losing my dad and girlfriend to cancer in the same year. Although I eventually bought a Gibson Les Paul Traditional, which I could only dream about when I was young, when it came to choosing an amp I chose a solid-state, although still analogue, one. Reading all these things online about valve amps requiring regular and costly maintenance, needing also to be played loud to actually sound good, continuously wondering whether your valves ‘sound’ as good as the last time you played, I just felt I couldn’t be bothered with them, especially in the psychological state I was at the time. So, after reading/watching numerous online reviews, and playing every solid-state amp I could find in music stores, I decided to go for SansAmp gear, which I’ve been really happy with, and still believe that Tech-21 offers the best tube-amp emulation you can find at reasonable prices, as well as exceptional customer service. Seven years later, feeling better I guess, with the appearance of the 1-watt amps, as, in the case of someone who mainly plays to backing tracks of his favourite songs at home, I have no use for a more powerful one, I decided it was time to at last get myself a valve amp, and got the JVM-1. After playing through it for 12 days here’s what I’d like to share with you: 1. Although rather inadequate for gigging as you will hardly get any clean headroom, do not underestimate a 1-watt valve amp. Through even one efficient speaker it can be really loud, and certainly too loud for home use when cranked up. 2. The JVM-1 has more gain than I think I’ll ever need, and I do like lots of gain. 3. The JVM is supposed to have the most brutal and ‘in-your-face’ tone in the Marshall range, but to me it still sounds really warm and sweet at every gain setting. This may of course have a lot to do with the 2x12” Celestion G12H-30 speakers in my 2061CX cab, while I’ve certainly noticed quite a difference for the better after breaking them in according to the Celestion guidelines. 4. At even high gain settings, especially when the master volume is also fairly cranked, I can hear the sound of every string when I play chords. 5. At any gain setting, my tone is rich, fluid, round, powerful, and really pleasing to my ears. 6. I can hear things I didn’t even know were there. I don’t know if they’re overtones or whatever order harmonics, and I don’t care, but they’re really there. 7. Being able to control my gain level (tube saturation) through the guitar’s volume knob is just amazing. 8. Sustain is excellent, and musical feedback very easy to create. And that’s not only when I use my Gibson Les Paul, but much cheaper guitars too. They all sound more ‘expensive’ through a valve amp. 9. The sound of even my beloved Tech-21 SansAmp gear can get a little ‘grating’ to the ears at very high volumes, while my JVM-1 at close to deafening volumes remains tonally pleasing. 10. Even when I play quietly at night, which basically means only listening to my preamp tubes working, I’m still very happy with my tone. 11. With my JVM-1 I play more, and feel happier, both during and afterwards. 12. As for any disadvantages that tube amps may have, the tone you get out of them far outweighs them all. No, I’m not going to sell any of my Tech-21 gear. Apart from really loving its sound, it’s helped me go through some very hard times. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my JVM-1 is warmed up and waiting.