Archive for Blackface

Latest gear I’m obsessed with…

Posted in Gear with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2009 by stevenreedkelly

 

fenderheadandcabnew02

A Fender Bandmaster Reverb - Similar to the one I got to jam on.

I have serious gear envy sometimes.  Here are a few amplifiers I’ve been crushing on lately…

Last week I went to practice with a new band.  The guitar player and drummer have a practice space out in Long Island, which is great because it’s not one of those pay-per-hour places that plague the boroughs surrounding New York (which are always booked when I try to reserve some time).  I had the pleasure of using an old Fender Bandmaster Reverb from the 70s – from the “silverface” era.  These amps are generally dismissed by guitar players because they were made during the time when Fender was bought by CBS and their products’ quality suffered.  CBS opted for different circuits and solid state rectifiers instead of tube rectifiers (although the amps were still tube-driven), which make the amps sound much different than the vaunted “blackface” era amplifiers Fender had previously been producing.

 

I gotta say, contrary to popular opinion, I thought the Bandmaster sounded amazing.  All I really need though is a good clean channel with some reverb – something most Fender amps do reasonably well, no matter the era.  It’s also been a while since I’ve been able to crank an amp up – and at only 40 watts, this one started breaking up nicely at high volumes (which meshed really well with the Tube Screamer I had running into it).  I don’t have a lot of experience with a lot of the different “blackface” Fenders, but I think the Fender Bandmaster Reverb is a super under-rated amplifier.  The good news about that is that you can still get a head for relatively cheap on ebay or at used gear stores.  I don’t know that I’ll ever need an amp this big in my life (at this point) but that’s something I’d seriously consider. 

markvcomboMy friend Jaydee and I went to Rudy’s Music after work on Friday to see a Mesa Boogie workshop (we heard they’d be raffling off an amplifier – a rumor that turned out to be false).  I was excited about the workshop because I own a Mesa Lone Star, which has been an incredible amplifier.  I couldn’t wait to tell someone from the company how much I treasured something that they made.  We got to Rudy’s a little late, but still caught about an hour of the Mesa sales rep’s presentation.  He went over a couple of their newer models, primarily the Mark V and the Electrodyne.  The Electrodyne model doesn’t do much to excite me, but the Mark V is like a guitar workstation more than a simple amplifier – I love this amplifier.  There are 23 knobs on the front of this amplifier (plus a 5 band EQ and over 10 switches).  To put that in perspective, a standard amp has between 6 – 10 knobs.  Each of the three channels has its own treble, bass and mid control.  You can tweak the amps power between 10, 45 and 90 watts.  Everything on this amplifier seems fully customizable.  At $2100, it’s a steal since you pay way more for a boutique amplifier with less features.  The best thing about the amp is that it doesn’t sound like a Mesa Triple Rectifier.  You really can get any sound you want out of it.  I like that Mesa is playing less to the nu-metal audience lately, their products are becoming so much more versatile.  Kudos to Mesa Boogie.  We also got some sweet free t-shirts from the workshop.

 

blankenship_amp

Blankenship Fatboy amplifier - horrible name, beautiful amp.

One more amplifier that I had the opportunity to see, but not play at Rudy’s.  This is the Blankenship Fatboy.  I’ll probably go back to the store to mess with it this week, as this one really looks like something I see myself needing in my lifetime.  See, I have this fantasy that someday I’ll have a room in my house where I can display my gear.  It’ll have dark cherry cabinets for the guitars, club green carpeting, a leather chair and a beautiful tweed amplifier.  In this fantasy, I’m also much better at playing guitar.  And I’m 60+ years old.

A guy can dream, can’t he? 

 

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