The Peavey Classic 30 – Peavey’s Classic Tweed Workhorse!

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.

Peavey Classic 30

Peavey Classic 30

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Righto, time for specs to be dished out before tonal options are explored. One thing I like about the Classic series with Peavey is that they are still built in the USA and are not being moved to China (although I have played newer Peavey Bandits made in China that sound great too). So here are specs:

  • Made in the USA
  • 12 inch Blue Marvel® speaker (Actually not bad once BROKEN IN!! Nice for cleans…)
  • Four EL84s and three 12AX7s
  • 2-channel preamp
  • Pre- and post-gain controls on lead channel
  • Normal volume control on clean channel
  • 3-band passive EQ (bass, middle, treble)
  • Boost switch (actually is usable rather than being a ‘more suckful’ switch
  • Genuine Spring Reverb with level control
  • Effects loop  (Yeah!! You need this as the amp is like ‘bad ass’ loud!!)
  • Footswitch selectable channel switching and reverb
  • External speaker capability
  • Chrome-plated chassis
  • Classic tweed covering
  • Footswitch optional
  • 30 watts (rms) into 16 or 8 ohms (loud loud!)
  • Weight Unpacked: 39.50 lb(17.917 kg)
  • Weight Packed: 46.00 lb(20.865 kg)
  • Sick to the power of rad…

So I have done some copy n pasting, yes it’s true but both Peavey Classic 30s I had were ‘workhorse’ of amps, totally reliable, extremely tough with steel corners, grille to protect those valves, had a great clean tone and a pretty decent on board overdrive.

Now this review was done with the stock Blue Marvel speaker (that I had in my last C30 and sounded very nice once broken in). I have had a C30 with a Vintage 30 that I personally just didn’t like for cleans or bluesy OD. People claim great success with the ‘Weber Blue Dog’ (ceramic) or a nice Greenback but speakers are extremely subjective!!

Peavey Classic 30 Blue Marvel Speaker

Peavey Classic 30 Blue Marvel Speaker

Straight up though, I did have to use an attenuator at home (I use a simple ‘Glow Baby’ device) as it’s just too loud otherwise. So you can easily gig with this unmiked, and at high volume it sounds more filled out and juicy (hey, that’s tubes for ya’).

Peavey Classic 30 Guitar Amp USA upgraded speaker

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However we bedroom rockers often have to play at low volumes and this amp does sound great and definitely doable in the bedroom (the amp that is…). Now I mentioned the clean tone and I, being a believer that an amp needs a great clean tone as a foundation, was very impressed by this amp.

Rich and full, articulate but not ice-picky or mushy in any way, a very ‘Bassman’ strong type of clean with character. It contrasts to my Hiwatt T20 which is clean but pure, whereas the Classic 30 is strong, warm and clean. I miss that tone actually and the way it took any pedal so well.

Even, a David Gilmour fan site (extremely informative site done by Bjorn) mentions the Peavey 30 as a great amp for getting Gilmour tones with pedals. I loved the Accutronics Reverb, nice, lush and getting into that Fender type of territory very well. Reverb sounded great on both channels too.

The overdrive channel is pretty good too, and you can easily just use that instead of a pedal as it is pretty gutsy and gives a nice bluesy breakup. I think it would sound better louder and pushed harder but again, definitely much better than many Fender amps’ overdrive channel.

Peavey Classic 30 Controls

Peavey Classic 30 Controls

It gives a standard working OD and again, you can then use a nice germanium booster or another OD to give it more grunt and power. Another feature is the ‘Boost switch’ which adds a few db of volume and fattens up the mids, and unlike the ‘Fat’ switch on Blues Juniors, this actually sounds okay too (no offence to BJ lovers). I liked this to help push my OD channel into something a bit heavier, but also to give my clean a bit more juice and depth. I used it sparingly, but it’s still nice to have and hey, one more button!!

Well I won’t go on too much, but the amp is a great workhorse, and Peavey have a reputation for building amps that are like tanks, that sound great and have some extra features over more pricey brands like Fender.

People call Peavey the poor man’s Marshall, but I disagree, they have their own unique place and tones, and having been around since the 70’s I think they have earned their place by now! I would definitely recommend this amp over quite a few higher priced names! I want another one too…..(GAS is coming…)

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About strataminor

Born in Brisbane I am a bedroom guitar player, although having played in front of churches (tough crowd!!) for quite a few years so some understanding of band dynamics, timing, gear (private use compared to public use) and melodic structure, instrumental breaks (okay leather pants solos....) and of course amps! Besides from my love of guitar and the G.A.S that goes with it (hey email me I am always offloading gear!! lol) I love languages, and can converse in basic Japanese, and study biblical Greek. I live in Logan with my young family (so not heaps of time at the moment) and will be contributing gear reviews based on a lot of gear I have or still currently have.

1 thought on “The Peavey Classic 30 – Peavey’s Classic Tweed Workhorse!

  1. Dear Strata Minor,

    Came into my local music store today and quickly notice this used Peavey Classic 30 on the floor row. Never saw such an amp before, but had the strange feeling it was actually looking at me! Hahaha. I bought a Peavey digit reverb in ’92, used it a lot, still have it, still work like new. Built like tanks, like you wrote. So i grabbed a few guitars similar to what I use at gigs ((LP with humbuckers, Epiphone Wildkat with P90’s, etc) and put this amp through its pace. It was exactly like you described! And, i’ve been searching for an EL84 tube amp to fit my style and sound. I completed the trial with a Taylor acoustic on a clean amp setting. Maahvellous! A Karmic moment! If a tube amp can deliver a rich, emotional acoustic sound, it’s a really great amp, and one for me.

    I’m Googling for more info just doing due diligence before I commit cash to it. But your review really confirm what i’ve seen and heard. Thanks for taking the time to write and post it, a few years ago (!).

    PJ, Toronto, Canada

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