Saturday, August 21, 2010

Experimentation Day

Today I visited Ethan at his beautiful new house and played through a bunch of amps. Ethan has a gajillion* amplifiers and guitars.

I played through a Les Paul with P90's and a Les Paul with mini-humbuckers. They don't exactly sound like either of my guitars, but that's cool. We listened to amps. Lots of amps.

Ethan has fixed up a bunch of very cool guitar amplifiers. He's got an old Rickenbacker amp which is essentially the same as a Fender Deluxe. It was awesome 'cept for the tear in the speaker. He's got a '65 Ampeg which sounded amazing - all chime and... well it just sounded like 1965. And his '65 Vox Cambridge was exactly what you'd expect from a '65 Vox. (When I originally published this I thought the Cambridge was a '64 but it ain't, it's just exactly as old as I am. In better shape though.)

But the amp we were looking for was what we thought a second Tyrannosaurus Mouse amp should sound like. I have my Lil' Dawg Mutt, which is basically a Deluxe front-end with a Champ power section, and it sounds awesome. What I want is that second amp which would be cleaner - sounding and which I'd play at the same time.

Beverly Road "Q" - train stop.
Our final four were all amps from the early to mid-60's. They were a Fender Deluxe Reverb, a '62 Princeton, A '66 Princeton Reverb, and a '61 Tremolux. The Princeton and the Princeton Reverb were the amps which Ethan had done the most "fixing up" to. All the amps sounded simply awesome.

What I found most interesting is that my favorite amps had a very smooth response across the guitar and a sort of "three dimensional" sound. You could hear beyond the speaker like the sound came from a few feet behind the amplifier. The Princeton Reverb and the Tremolux were the most smooth and three dimensional. We cross-patched the channels in the Tremolux head, which seemed to give it an even better sound (even more "smoove" and 3D I felt).

My feeling was the Princeton Reverb was the best - sounding for my needs. Which didn't mean that there weren't a dozen more amazing freakin' amps, but they'd be #1 for different applications.

And one day I'll write what my thoughts are on touch sensitivity...

On the way home I took this picture of the unique Q/B train station at Beverly Road in Brooklyn.
*That's a bit of hyperbole, he only had a kabillion of 'em.


  1. For whatever it's worth, the Vox Cambridge Reverb is actually from '65, so I guess it sounds like a '65 Vox would sound.
    The Princeton (which actually belongs to my wife) is a '62. The Tremelux, a '61 and the Princeton Reverb, a '66.

    And it's not a kabillion, I believe it's merely scads.


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