So here it is... I'm edging towards the cliff...
I made the decision yesterday to get rid of my old Marshall Valvestate amp. I'm selling it 'as is', making sure the buyer understands that it's not in the best condition. It works 90% of the time, but the buyer should expect to have to get it repaired sooner rather than later.
Once it's gone I'll have no choice but to replace it. I've made the decision to go 'all valve'. I'm wanting that retro-mojo!
What I've not settled on is exactly what 'all valve' means in terms of price and output. I'm in two minds.
There's my 100% rational side which says that what I really should do is to start off with a small 5W jobby for home use and recording and rely on either using other people's amps at gigs or routing through a PA if one's available... at least for now. There are a few really highly rated 5W'ers out there which would be more than suitable for the job. Price range? Somewhere between £100-£300.
Then there's the completely overkill gluttonous side of me that says I should shoot for the moon, take advantage of a 0% credit deal (as I did to 'painlessly' get my Les Paul) and get one of the new wave of switchable boutique amps, like the Mesa Boogie Lone Star Special. With the LSS you can kick in a range of different valves, allowing you to drive anything from 5W to 30W and get similar tones at different volumes. All sounds great, doesn't it. You get wonderful tone, a classy badge on the front and the knowledge that you have an Aston Martin in your garage rather than a souped up Toyota.
But... would I ever drive that puppy at anything more than 5W? If I took it gigging, sure. Realistically though, would I ever want to lug something so heavy and valuable around. Would I dare risk it being damaged or stolen? Oh, I didn't mention the price tag, did I! For the 'free' credit option you're talking something around £1750, or £175 a month for 10 months.
But it would also be a 'future proof' investment. I'd probably be looking at keeping it until I pop my clogs...
Then there's the all important matter of physical size. Space is at a premium in London and switchable boutique amps tend to be bigger. Now, we're still only talking about a 1x12 combo, but even so. We could do with optimising the space in our flat...
I know what the right choice is... but is it the right choice?