Lee Jackson VL-1002 review by Ampeg

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (3 votes)
Ampeg: Lee Jackson VL-1002

Purchased from: trade

Sound — 7
I use this amp mostly with various humbucker equipped Gibson guitars on the gain channel, and mostly on the clean channel as well, but a strat does sound pretty nice as far as cleans go. It doesn't really suit my music style (because I don't really play rock) and it is not creamy enough for the blues I play. This is a relatively quiet amp, although if you turn both gain knobs up (yes it has two, and yes they are both on the gain channel, and yes they are stacked) it is very noisy and feedbacky. I cannot see a use for both gain knobs dimed. It is so overly compressed and saturated, and shows so little definition, it would only be useful if you wanted to sound like sludge. The gain channel is nice however when you keep both knobs below 66%, that is when it is JCMesque. The clean channel is not an actual clean channel as it does have quite a bit of gain, and you really can't keep it clean at higher volumes, despite the high wattage, due to you having to keep the gain knob so low on the clean channel and diming the master to get clean at a giggable level dirties up those cleans. I do plan to mod the cleaner channel to a clean channel though. And lastyly I have never heard distortion so brutal. Dimed it is literally terrible sounding, and I like brutal, my metal rig consists of a SPlawn Nitro and a Pro Mod ran in stereo.

Overall Impression — 8
I play metal and blues and this doesn't really match either genre well, but nonetheless it is good to have in my aresonal. I have played eight years, and have $40k invested in my studio at the moment, Splawns, Orange, Mesas, Gibsons, Wolfgangs, etc. If it were lost or stolen I would look for something that suits my styles better, or maybe I would get another. I guess I would have to find out how much I miss it. I love how solid it is built, I love the reverb, I love the overdrive, I just hate that the clean really isn't all that clean and it truely has way too much gain.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This amp is built like a tank. Its been around forever, the iron is the size of your knee, of course being a tube amp, the tubes will need to be replaced from time to time, but oddly enough it still has a few of the origional preamp tubes in there, 21 years later.

Features — 9
The Ampeg Lee Jackson is an all tube amp that was made in the early 1990's in the USA, it was engineered by Lee Jackson for Ampeg. The amp is not a very versatile amp, and it would not be realistic for me to use in any gigging situation I would be in, but I could see how a lot of people would love to bring this amp along on their next gig. It is two channel, with the first channel being a clean to light gain, and the second channel being a heavy gain to insanely overly compressed heavy gain. It has an effects loop, although I wish it was footswitchable. The reverb is independent of each channel, which really is a sellling point to me, because I like a lot of reverb on my cleans, and not quite so much on my dirt. The reverb is footswitchable, although, that is not necessarily useful to me. This amp is used as a moderate gain amp in my aresonal, it is very jcm800esque, with the gain set moderately, this is my current go to rock amp. This amp is also lockable (literally with a key), I could see this coming in handy for a lot of people.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is one of the best reviews I've read so far on the UG. I can perceive the reviewer's point of view, but, meanwhile his objective approach to an object he's currently using. Thank you, fellow, for this valuable information.
    I recently just picked up one of these amps, so far I love it. It suits my style, has enough gain to satisfy any metal/hardcore tone seeker. It has a unique frequency adjustment of 5 options. I would like more power at a lower volume level but I'm sure it will be fixed with mods in the future.