Okay - after more trials and disappointments (I won another auction but the seller never responded) I DO
finally have an amp. It's another Trace Elliot, a pre-Gibson TA60CR sold to someone in 1997 (the original warranty receipt was tucked in the back when I unpacked it from Elderly Instruments). While this has the same wattage as the newer TA50R I originally bought and returned, I'm hoping that its larger drivers will perform better in a band situation. The manual says
Plus at this point I have a band to test it with - I've joined a new group, The Rescue Party, started by songwriter/instrumentalist Myke Weiskopf. His last project, Science Park, received favorable reviews from the Boston Phoenix and other sources. I enjoy his songs, which are not standard I-IV-V-I, and so far (one rehearsal) the group sounds remarkably good.
Since we're rehearsing 3-4 hrs every other weekend for now, it doesn't make sense for us to rent a dedicated rehearsal space. Myke thought we could rent a room at the BU School of Music, but that fell though (good time rates, but ridiculous insurance premium demands!). Last week we worked in the dining room of the drummer's girlfriend's condo (low-hanging chandelier!), but fortunately I've been able to arrange hourly space with JamSpot, a new business on the Cambridge/Somerville line near Inman Sq. They are not officially open yet, but as soon as the contractors finish (maybe early December) it will be a great rehearsal complex renting fully equipped rooms by the hour. Thanks to Rick and David of Shelley for giving me a reference to these guys!
And an FYI: do not buy ANYTHING at Guitar Center without first going to the website MusiciansFriend.com and printing out the prices of any gear you might consider buying. Guitar Center WILL match the on-line price (they are the same company), but only if YOU show them the web price. So far everything I've bought from them has been $12-$50 more expensive in the physical store. But on the other hand don't just order it online unless you meet their criteria for free shipping (over $299), because you will pay state sales tax in Mass. plus shipping, wiping out most/all of your savings...