Price paid: £ 500
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 8
My main guitars are a Squier Showmaster NLt I've heavily customised with a Tele neck pickup, Strat middle pickupand a PAF at the bridge. I also use a Fender CIJ Jazzmaster with Seymour Duncan pickups, so I regularly play both single coil and humbucker pickups through it. Moderate/high output pickups naturally Drive the amp more so there is quite a difference when using differnt guitars, something you don't really get with a solid state amp. I use this amp exclusively on the clean channel, which stays clean even at high volumes. You can adjust the treble, middle and bass settings via 3 knobs along with the master volume, reverb and presceence. It also has a little Switch you can depress that toggles Bright mode. This boosts the treble which is useful for adding more brightness to your signal to cut through the mix, without having to tweak the EQ. The distortion is a weakness on this amp, which is partly why I don't use it - I also just prefer the distortion from my RAT. I would suggest not buying this amp for distorted tones alone, unless you are prepared to buy a good distortion pedal as I find the distortion sounds to be muddy and furry with little clarity between notes. However, this amp is absolutely superb on the clean settings an provides an excellect clean sound for use alone or with pedals. Recently I've stopped using the amp's spring reverb, which is really good, only because I have a reverb pedal so I can Switch between dry and reverb sounds. The foot pedal has a channel select (clean/gain) and a second button for the 2 gain stages. As the reverb is not digital it does not have a footswitch for this, but I would find this useful if it did.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing for just over 6 years and I'm currently the 2nd guitarist (I dislike the title 'lead guitarist' because I stay equally in the mix)in a 4-piece band, currently playing acoustic-based songs adapted into heavier rock versions. The style varies from gentler clean songs to much heavier alternative rock sounds, and this amp can handle it all. This is mainly because the amp is run clean and I use a handful of pedals to determine my specific sounds. I would not be happy using the Drive channels of this amp instead of a distortion pedal because it is weak in this area. It makes up for this with massive headroom and pure, clean tube sounds at any (useful) volume. Apart from the weak gain channels the only other gripes I have with it is the limited footswitch options - I would love it to have switchable reverb and/or the ability to Switch the Bright setting on or off. Also, because it is a heavy combo, Fender should have provided handles on each side, rather than a single one on the top, it just makes it harder to carry. There's little difference between this and the 40W 1x12 HR Deluxe but I would recommend the Deville if you want a little more power/headroom. This is a pro-quality amp that is very reliable and easy to use. I have seen it in many a band's live setup and I think it will serve me very well for many years to come.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I 100% trust this amp. It has taken a few knocks in transit, had some wine spilled on it (she was sorry! ) but I treat it with the care and attention it deserves. It's really heavy but can be carried by one person over short distances. The amp has never boken, but I did replace the tubes about 18months after I bought it. The amp did not sound as good as I thought it should given other reviews of it and I did not think the tubes were totally healthy. I ended up re-valving the whole amp with a brand new set of balanced Harma 6L6 and 12AX7 tubes from Watford Valves for just about 60 and it was totally worth it. The tone sounds more open and alive, wheras before it was a bit dull and flat. My advice with a second hand tube amp purchase is to revalve the amp unless you know the tubes are fresh because then you know how old they are.
Features — 8
still trying to date my amp but I believe it to be at least 5 years old, and I've owned it for 3 years now. I decided to buy this amp after my band mate purchased a LTD Edition Hot Rod Deluxe (1x12 Celestion) and I realised how much better it sounded than the 80W solid-state Peavey Bandit 112 'Transtube' I was using at the time. That was a great amp, but lacked headroom and that tube amp sound so I wanted to get a tube amp that would last me indefinately. This is 60W instead of 40W and has 2x12 Fender Eminence speakers. Clean channel and 2 Drive channels - 'Gain' and 'More Gain', but I never use the gain channels - just run it clean with some FX pedals. 2x 6L6 power tubes and 3x 12AX7 preamp tubes. I use this amp for practice and gigs - it is my only amp and the only one I'll ever need. This amp is LOUD, I hardly ever turn it past 3 (goes to 12! ) and the clean tone is fantastic.