Price paid: $ 680
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Sound — 7
The tones you can get are versatile. It has lush bottom end for full, yet clear sounding cleans. This bottom end translates smoothly into the high gain spectrum where it provides beefy breakup. For heavier music (metalcore and beyond) the Rebel 30 is a bit too fat, lacking in punch. However a Tube Screamer can easily fix this problem and turn this amp into a metal player's dream. Where it really shines, though, is it's leads. Solos higher up on the neck sound really amazing. Excellent dynamics and attack that personally remind me of John Petrucci. The overdrive channel can be used for some really good crunch sounds and clean breakup that responds very well to rolling back on the guitar's volume knob. SRV, Clapton, B.B. King are all here. Overall I think the sound of the Rebel 30 can be summed up in one word: rich. There's a lot of tone to be had through this amp whichever way you tweak it. I personally recommend a Tube Screamer pedal for high gain sounds.
Overall Impression — 9
I play alternative metal/rock and blues, and this amp is perfect for both. It has a lot of features - all useful - and a lot of good sounds to be had. That having been said, this isn't an amp where you can dial in a tone in a few seconds. It can take a while to coordinate every knob and switch to find that sound you're looking for. If you're looking for an amp that won't break the bank but will deliver dynamic, rich, and diverse sounds, and that has all the practical features a gigging player could want, you can't go wrong with the Rebel 30. It even has looks to die for.
Reliability & Durability — 5
I haven't had the amp long at all. It definitely seems to be constructed well. There is easy access to the tubes. I'll leave this at a neutral 5.
Features — 8
At first glance, the panel on top of this 1x12 combo looks like a "meat and potatoes" type of interface. It sort of is; Channel 1 (clean) has Treble, Bass, and Volume knobs. Channel 2 (overdrive) has Treble, Middle, Bass, Gain, and Volume. However, upon closer inspection there is an array of useful, tone-shaping controls at the player's disposal. Both channels have a Bright and Tight switch. The Bright switch changes the amp's voicing with a very noticeable high end boost - it is not just a "more treble" button. One can easily distinguish the Bright switch from the Treble knob. The Tight switch is a bit more subtle. It simply takes the fat bottom end and low mids and neatens (tightens! ) them up. Next there is the knob that allows you to switch between - or mix - the EL84 and 6V6 tubes. This is a very effective feature, especially when the amp is being pushed. Beside this are the two variable wattage knobs (one for each channel). At low levels these controls are less noticeable, but like the tube knob they become very apparent at higher volumes. They allow the player the option of playing at anywhere from 1 to 30 watts on either channel. They do effect volume, but mostly effect the texture of the breakup. These are very enjoyable to tweak! Finally, on the rear panel there are separate reverb knobs for each channel. The reverb is digital. It's nothing to write home about but unless you're particular about your reverb, it gets the job done. The Rebel 30 also has an XLR outlet on the rear panel which allows for silent recording via simulated speaker output. I haven't tried this out yet. All in all this amp is packed with good features. They are not marketing gimmicks or bells and whistles to pump up the price tag. Bruce really got it right here with efficient and very practical tools put into a very player friendly package. This amp is a workhorse.