Phansford, no problem with vintage amps, it's the few I've come across were in bad shape or really expensive.
Yeah - some of them can be pretty rough. I like the small watt stuff and I'm a cheap SOB.
If you keep your eyes on Craigslist, you typically can find one within reason. I have purchased all but one of my vintage amps off CL. What I like about CL is I can typically call the seller and ask questions, I can test the amp, spend time looking at it, then buy it on the spot (no shipping)
If you are really concerned, You could also ask the seller if he'd meet you at your amp tech's so they can take a gander. Gibson did an article on buying vintage amps
. I re-read it occasionally to reinforce what I need to be doing when I am buying a vintage amp. The 11 steps haven't let me down yet. I need all the help I can get - If I knew half of what guys like 63Supro, Retroverbial, Rebsoul have forgotten..... I'd be a genius.
Also realize the vintage dealers asking price isn't necessarily the selling price
. I bought my 1956 Harvard for about $500 less than asking price. (ebay, paypal, shipping fees eat those guys alive - offer cash, not a credit card, and you'll get a lot of room to work. Calculate those fees sometime. Cash is king)
I just thought with these VSA amps you would get old school vibe with a new amp.
That's exactly why I bought the Vintage47 Oahu Suitcase. Faithful Valco recreation. Lots of mojo in the amp. I like that the owner of the company called me when he shipped my amp. And has been kind to answer unrelated questions I've emailed (I had bought an old 12" Quam speaker in a wood cabinet off of shopgoodwill.com - David Barnes know all about the speaker and provided a ton of information. I use it with the Oahu)
The small boutique amp companies survive on word of mouth and reputation. Read the reviews if you can.
I'm still in the hunt for a vintage Valco.
(Anyone see Storage Wars a couple of weeks ago where Barry found an Gibson lap steel, 1927 National, and a late 40's/early 50's amp. That's the kind of amp I'm looking for