Today we have an Egnater Tweaker 15watt head and cab to suss out.
Starting with looks, the Tweaker is a fairly compact unit, a bit smaller than your average 15 watt tube amp (smaller than a Laney Cub Head or a Marshall Class 5 etc). With its black tolex and beige coloured grill cloth it has a ‘Vintgey‘ look about it.
Egnater Tweaker 15watt Tube Head and Egnater 1 x 12 Cab
The head cab itself has some pretty cool design features, like how you can easily change valves from the back (good idea!). Also on the back, the Tweaker has a pair of sockets for its series effects loop and two more for loudspeaker cabinets, along with an impedance changer so for versatility and for people who like to ‘mix and match‘ it is well designed.
The effects loop is great, for your delays, choruses/modulation so you can crank the amp and not get distorted delay or modulation which sounds horrible! I will add upfront that this amp is not cheap, retailing anywhere from $500 to $750 here is Australia and it is Chinese made, although made under Egnater’s strict conditions.
A local guitar/amp retailer told me that they don’t stock them and need to be ordered in on request as they are perceived to be pricey for a Chinese made amp.
Okay let’s check out the wide range of versatility you can get. Some material I am using here is technical or specs and I will be using stuff from Egnater etc for the ‘dry stuff‘.
The Tweaker technically is a single channel amp, with controls for gain, three-band EQ and master volume. However that’s where the simplicity ends!
There are also five small toggle switches on the front panel that really do give a wide range of tones. It is marketed as being an amp that if you fiddle with it, you can cover most grounds musically and I would say this is true to a degree. So if you don’t want to ‘tweak‘ then the Egnator Tweaker may not be for you, unless once you find that ‘sweet spot‘ you just leave it.
Big things are happening for the guys over at Big White Monkey Amps this year. As far as I know, they are bringing out a brand new range of Chimps, getting a new website sorted and looking to start some more new products that are currently being kept under wraps at this stage.
Last week we were lucky enough to get our hands on the brand new model Chimp head, which is the upgraded version of the older model Kong.
Before I go into specifics on the upgrades I have a couple of videos I would like to show you.
In this first video, Darren runs the amp through it’s paces using a Fernandes “The Revival” with Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s pickups. The speaker box is a Fargen 1 x 12 with a Celestion Vintage 30 speaker.
Recently on YouTube I was having a conversation with a guy about how Darren dials in the Marshall JCM 800 settings to get his great Rock tone, so yesterday I asked Darren to do a couple of videos explaining how he finds the amps sweet spot for getting a great Rock sound out of the Marshall JCM800 combo.
In this first video, Darren goes into a fair bit of detail on the process he goes through to find the Sweet Spot when he dials in his amp. He also explains the difference between the treble and presence and how to get a good balance between the two.
In this next video we go from using the fender Custom Shop Fat 50s single coils in my Fernandes “The Revival” to the Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers in the Fernandes Gold Top “Super Grade” Les Paul.
Here is a pic that I took straight after shooting the video, the Marshall JCM 800 Settings are the exact same settings on the two videos you see above.
Okay, So I like a nice subject line to capture the interest, but seriously the AC30 has killer tones, and is being used by such greats as ‘Snowy White’ (man he makes the AC30 weep) ‘The Edge’ (come on, admit he has done well on one!!) as well as many others.
Heavy as an ox, with quite a range of tones that you can squeeze out of it, like its smaller brother, the AC15, the AC30C2 is definitely worth reviewing. The original VOX AC30s came out slightly later than the AC15s, and it was around about 1965 when people were starting to use them.
If I could have only 2 or 3 amps, then this is definitely on the list, and possibly my ‘desert island’ amp!
We all have those ‘why did I sell it‘ type of amp regrets, and for me, I really did love the tone and the vintage look of my AC30C2. Now I have personally had one for 12 months without a problem, and other reviewers also mentioned that although made in China, they held up in quality to English made units. But I say it again, perception is a powerful thing.
Let’s take a look at some specs, that you can also find on VOX site too…
The amp is all Class A circuitry, 100% all Tube (3x ECC83 and 4x EL84 and 1 GZ 34) which can get loud enough to fill a stadium if miked up (thinking of the Edge!)
Two channels (they are not footswitchable sadly) with that fantastic clear ‘autumn morning‘ clean and the well known top boost channel. There is also a ‘Brilliance’ switch that is available on the clean channel (same as the bright switch in Fender).
Fairly normal EQ with treble, bass and custom/standard toggle. When in Custom mode it doesn’t affect your tone that much as in the ‘Standard‘ mode. You have the Master section for Volume and Tone, and the tone will be an overall voicing (more bass or more treble) not so different to your tone on your guitar!
The reverb on board is usable, very subtle and not as rich and lush as a Fender type of amp.
The tremolo (with speed and depth controls) is a nice extra feature. It features a cut control and most importantly a master volume!
There is an effect loop for your delays and modulated effects/chorus to go into (I love Effects Loops) with true bypass and extension cab output (as if you’re going to need an extension cab??)…
Hands up if you have never heard of the Vox AC15? Chances are, if you are a guitarist who appreciate a great tube tone, then you will know Vox, either for the AC15 or the AC30 (coming up next!)
Vox AC15CC1 Review
The Vox AC15 first came out in January 1958 (associated with JMI company) with the brand becoming popular when bands like the Beatles (The ‘British Invasion’) and the Shadows started to use them.
Fast forward a few years, chuck in some indirect advertising by people like the Edge and Snowy White (using Vox AC30’s) and you have a brand that is now solidly planted in the upper echelon of tube amp Royalty.
Known for their ‘jangly’ & chimey cleans that have a bit of a bite to it (especially when pushing an alnico speaker) they are regarded as one of the true classic amps.
They are great for cutting through in a band, and bond very well with a single coil guitar (my opinion and many other guitarists) but also take a humbucker guitar quite well, and I personally think it adds some presence to some guitars that can come across a bit dark.
Let’s look at some dry techy facts about the Vox AC15CC1.
In terms of tubes it features 2 x EL84/6BQ5 and 2 x 12AX7/ECC83. It has a silicon rectifier with passive SAG circuitry, which gives you 15 watts of power through a standard 12 inch Wharfdale or Greenback speaker. You can upgrade to the famed Celestion Blue Alnico (I have played all three and liked the Greenback a lot, although I do love an alnico speaker but you pay for it though!).
Okay, let’s check out something slightly different today, from the venerated Marshall, the Marshall Valvestate VS100R.
Marshall Valvestate VS100R
Now Marshall is loved for its tube amps, and sadly the MG range have tarnished any credibility they might have had in the solid state amp arena.
I say sadly because there are wonderful solid state amps and I will venture the Marshall Valvestate VS100R as one of them.
This particular model of Valvestate was made in England during the late 90s and is quite solidly built. Finished off in the usual Marshall gold face place, with black grill cloth and that lovely Marshall logo (come on, how many guitarists buy an amp for a brand image?? Come on, out of the closet you Fender, Marshall or Mesa fans!!).
The cab is made of a synthetic construction timber but as some amp makers have agreed, the particle board (with no voids) actually can sound really good. So no need to stress that it is not marine birch ply, which is not the end of the world.
Standard rubber and plastic handle, plastic corner protectors, all in black so some cost cutting in this area. However, if you are really keen you can get some metal protectors but a lot of gigging musos have rated this amp gigworthy so save your dough.
Okay, hands up if you have owned a Marshall? I would guess that most guitarists have at least tried a Marshall somewhere along the line, and for good reason! Marshalls are the ‘soul of rock n roll’, but whether you like the tone is another story.
Marshall Class 5 Combo
Today, checking out the little Marshall Class 5 Combo, another 5 watter to hit the market in what is becoming quite a competitive and heavily marketed arena. You all know Marshall’s history, but I must say, they just keep going.
An amp repairer once told me that the Marshall tube amps are generally quite good to repair, especially the old ones. Overall though, the Class 5 is a good looking amp, nothing too flashy, but a nice standard Marshall black tolex, with it’s lovely woven grey grill cloth with the famous white Marshall logo on Black tolex as a thin strip above the grill cloth.
Visually the Class 5 pays homage to Marshall’s revered mid-sixties ‘Bluesbreaker’ and 18-watt combos, with its black vinyl, ‘Plexi’-style top-mounted control panel and short front insert.
The piping here is gold instead of white and we have a salt and pepper grille cloth instead of the Bluesbreaker’s famous striped type. The control knobs are just Volume, Bass, Middle and Treble, so set it and leave it.
At the back you have a 16ohm speaker out and Headphones jack. Internally this packs two ECC83’s and one EL84 so let’s check out the sounds.
From the moment I unpacked my Big White Monkey’s Handwired tube combo, the VT-5, I was pretty impressed. But before I delve into my review, lets have a listen to this amp first with our resident Guitar Gas guitarist Darren putting it through it’s paces…
In the video above Darren was using a 1981, 100% original made in Japan Greco Spacey Sound SE 450 and a Big White Monkey Howler distortion pedal. Apologies also for the abrupt ending, I was told by Jeremy, the editor for this site that his missus rang while doing the shoot, the price you pay for recording a video on your phone. The video was shot using an iPhone 4 and the Fostex AR-4i Audio Interface for iPhone.
Now lets hear how she sounds with a Les Paul and a pair of Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers Humbuckers… Continue reading →
Before we get to the nitty gritty of my review of the Peavey Delta Blues Amplifier, let’s first have a listen to the amp and hear what Darren, our resident Guitar Gas, guitarist has to say about this workhorse from Peavey.
The guitar in the video above is an Aria Pro II Leopard fitted with Seymour Duncan Antiquities. When the amp is cranked in the video, the Pre amp section is cranked to full.
Before starting Guitar GAS.com I decided I wanted to try my hand at building guitar speaker cabs. The original decision was made quite some time ago when I managed to buy two sheets of 30mm MDF for $10.00 a sheet.
I originally arranged for a friend of mine to make them for me, he’s pretty handy with tools and he has done many years of cabinet making, he’s also a really good guitarist, so I rang him about the project, he gave me a quote and I agreed to go ahead with the job.
So over the course of the next few days and weeks we tried to arrange a suitable time when I could deliver the sheets of mdf so he could start construction, man it just never seemed to happen, then one day he suggested that I deliver the sheets to his business partners factory and he would make them there after hours. Great, were making some progress, so I delivered them, organized the dimensions of the cab, made sure he understood what I was wanting and waited for him to start working on them, I waited, I waited and I waited.
After three months of waiting I decided that I was better off getting someone else to make them. So I went round to pick up my sheets of MDF.
Mistake number one, Getting a mate to build my cabs.
After deciding to start looking around at local cabinet makers for some quotes, I also decided that MDF was no good. I did a heap of research and every man and his dog on just about every forum I visited said that you gotta use birch ply. So I had the bright idea that I had to have birch ply to make my cabs. Continue reading →
Alright let me be subtle with my introduction, I loved the two Peavey Classic 30s I had (and it’s now extinct brother the Blues Classic). Built like a Russian wrestler in very small swimming togs, the Peavey Classic 30 is loaded with extra features, and an overall well-regarded tone.
Hartley Peavey started Peavey in 1965 producing amps over time such as the ‘Bandit’, ‘5150’ (and subsequent ‘6505) and the Classic series coming out in the 1970s as the Vintage series. Although they tend to be underrated they are more influential and popular than most realize.
Hiwatt, a name that has a long standing reputation and may I say, like Fender, Marshall etc… are among amplifier royalty. With such users as David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Ian Moss and many others they are obviously a worthy company.
So let’s get stuck into my Hiwatt T20 Head Review. Starting out in the 1960s, they quickly became the amplifiers of choice for Jimmy Page, David Gilmour and the Who. In summary, Hiwatts are amps that are well known for a clean ‘Pure’ sound that provides a foundation tone that you then build on with pedals. Continue reading →