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Living in a New York City apartment, owning a tube amp above 10 Watts is a bit ridiculous unless you own a power attenuator. Nevertheless, over the years I've accumulated a few cool tube amps and a couple of solid state ones. Admittedly, the solid state amps get used more often as they are strategically located by the livingroom couch and in the kitchen.
Today was a nice spring day here in Queens, NY--and I used the opportunity to get the amps out and photograph them. In most cases I took the actual amp out of the chassis--enjoy the pics!
Hughes & Kettner Tube 50
This is a very cool modern amp, and I have the matching cabinet too. It has two channels, and 2 modes/settings per channel. You can go from a nice clean tone to a vintage tweed one and over to the distorted channel for a NWOBHM tone and a modern high-gain one.
I haven't pulled the chassis out, but this amp contains 3 12ax7 preamp tubes and 2 EL 34 power tubes.
Marshall JCM-800 50 Watt Lead
Stumped as to what this amp may be? :) Yes, it is a real 50 Watt JCM-800, but a modded one. Originally this was an early 80s 4210, a tube combo with a single 12" speaker.
It's been redone to a compact and great sounding head in creme tolex. Alas, I was unable to get it out of the chassis this time.
Looks like there are a couple of 6L6's power tubes present, and an assortment of preamp tubes.
I believe it's a 1984 model. You experts out there, you tell me.
Sovtek stands for "Soviet Technology" and as a Russian-American, I had to have one in my arsenal. This is a 1994 model made in Novosibirsk, Siberia. The MIG-60 is a 60 Watt monster that gets extremely loud. This is an amp that sounds horrible at low volume/wattage settings, but breaks up nicely at higher volume.
Pulling the amp out shows 2 EL-34s and 3 12ax7 type preamp tubes.
The best part is the point-to-point Russian wiring, mostly with leftover Soviet components.
Mean-looking CCCP (USSR) capacitors.
In the Marshall "valvestate" series of amps, this 65-watter was my mainstay while I lived in an 8x10 foot room in Manhattan and later in a studio in Queens. This is the 1999 model. Now relegated to the livingroom couch, this amp still gets a lot of hours on it. This is a 2-channel solidstate amp with a tube in the preamp. I think it sounds pretty darned good actually.
The 12" Marshall speaker sounds ok too; no need to replace it.
A shot of inside of the chassis..
And another shot of the neat circuit board and the 12ax7 preamp tube.
Can a little amp actually rock? Brother, this amp is the sh!t! Tiny little digital modeling amp, this "Guitar Digital Entertainment Center" comes pre-loaded with 50 backing bass/drum tracks as well as an onboard tuner. Turn the dial and you are changing backing tracks. My favorite feature is being able to change the key for any track, as well as being able to change my guitar tone and rhythm. As most modeling amps go, the majority of the tones are bleh, but there are a couple of good distorted tones and a couple of cool clean/ambient tones.
I opened the back to expose the generic 8" speaker. Some folks swear by changing it out. I may try it some time.
A shot of inside the chassis. Nothing analog here, just zeroes and ones.
One of my favorite settings: 12 bar blues in A with "brown sound" guitar tone. This is a good test for my vocabulary of Ace Frehley licks.
Update-April 2009: Installed Jensen Mod8-20 Speaker! Replacing the stock lifeless speaker for the Italian Jensen makes a world of difference. I was skeptical at first, but this $25 upgrade is definitely audible.
It's a solderless installation, too easy!
Hughes & Kettner 4x12 Speaker Cabinet
The Hughes & Kettner amp above came with a matching 4x12 cabinet. I think it's loaded with Celestions, but honestly I am yet to open it. It sounds pretty great.