The combo amp is pretty standard equipment for guitarists of every music genre and skill level. Their compact and rugged design, and often reasonable purchase price, are sure to keep the combo amps going strong well into the future. So, what’s the best Rock guitar combo amplifier? Well, in this post, we’ll concentrate on combo amps that were designed to play Rock and Heavy Rock. Of course, we want the clean sounds to be clear and lush, but the gain, crunch, and distortion are going to be very important elements to this discussion, because of their emphasis in this style of music.
The music in this genre also often switches from a clean tone to a heavy distortion and then back again sometimes several times in a single song, and at a moment’s notice. This means that we are probably going to be looking for a two-channel amp (one clean, one distorted), preferably with the ability to switch channels using a footswitch. Because most people would probably agree that tubes sound better than solid state even in a modern Rock context, these amps will all be tube amps.
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Eric Clapton, B.B.King, Buddy Guy, and Muddy Waters all got plenty of miles out of their combo amps. This list of great combo amps for the Blues is just scratching the surface. The combo amp is the perfect partner for the blues guitarist, especially since they are most often easy to transport. Combo amps are usually lower wattage which means that you can drive them harder without turning your neighbours into enemies. Continue reading “What are the Best Guitar Combo Amps for the Blues?”
Vox has dusted off one of their flagship models for yet another reissue that offers a great blend of classic features and modern upgrades. The 12″ Celestion G12M Greenback speaker is probably the most notable improvement. You can expect some serious mids and tons of headroom from this speaker. As has been the case for many years, the “Normal” and “Top Boost” channels offer some variety for the overall voicing of the amp. Both of these channels share the master volume and “Tone Cut” controls. This is particularly cool because it means that the Tone Cut control operates on the power-amp level, not the pre-amp. The result is a true tone shaping of the overall amp voice, not the input.
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Few would argue that most amps fall into one of two categories; 6L6 (tweed) and EL34 (British). There are certainly a few other options out there, but for the most part, it’s a two-party system when it comes to power tubes. There are a few amps out there that can accommodate either tube type, but you need to know how to bias an amplifier, or pay someone else who knows how to do it. This is like a health-club membership: you’ll pay for that feature, but you will never use it. THD Flexi-50 50W/20W does double duty and you do not have to be a rocket scientist to switch hit.
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The Line 6 Vetta II is extremely well designed, well made and sounds fantastic. At 150 Watts, there is more than enough volume and headroom. Whether you plan to use the Vetta II for live performance or recording, the feature set provides plenty of tools for you to sculpt your sound as you wish.
The Line 6 Vetta II is literally two amplifiers in one. At first glance, one might say: “Well, it’s just a stereo amplifier,” and this is true. But more importantly, it is designed so that you can have two completely different sounds going on at once. Of course, you’d probably choose two sounds that are somewhat alike, but in theory, you could have a clean Fender Twin sound and a cranked Marshall Plexi tone combined into one. The combined sounds become one named and saved preset. This is amazing. Just imagine all the possibilities.
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This rant is about the much-overlooked Music Man RD-50 Head. I must admit that, for a long time, I didn’t even know this thing existed. If you can believe it, I actually found one in a pawn shop on 7th Ave and 23rd Street in New York City. These kinds of things don’t happen quite so much anymore, as Guitar Center and Sam Ash have pretty much put everyone else out of business.
But in this case, there I was in this pawn shop, surrounded by cameras and cheap jewelry, when I saw this little mini head, with that familiar Music Man logo on it. I scratched my head: “…this ain’t an HD-130… what the hell is this little thing… I didn’t know that Music Man even made a head this small…”
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I’ll admit that I really resisted this stuff, I really really did. In principal, it just goes against everything I believe in. But then again, when the “Frying Pan” guitar was first put out by Rickenbacker, I’m sure it was met with the same disdain. Same for the solid body electric, the Flying-V, The Explorer, the Parker Fly, etc. So, I decided to lighten up and just try the Cyber Twin SE, and as it turns out, there’s a lot to enjoy.
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