GA5H review by Harley Benton

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (6 votes)
Harley Benton: GA5H

Price paid: £ 65

Purchased from: Thomann

Sound — 7
Here was the rub for me: Baring the issue I state below, the sound was OK but nothing exceptional. For a cheap amp at as little as 65 (head version) it was/is exceptional though! and has a real valve tone - without any doubt but is warm and warmer - no valve compression that is usable. So, it just wasn't as good as other amps I acquired subsequently or actually already had when played A/B against them. So I returned or sold-on and invested elsewhere. My Pignose G40V (2x6L6 3x12AX7 40W with cascade gain and presence) was a million miles better and that was only 180 new and marginally bigger in physical stature... what's more, the Pignose was even way better than a Fender 59 Bassman LTD I had also just bought and so that was even sold-on! (was just too loud and bulky and the Pig had exact same sound and more!) But I give the GA5H a 7 for an honest albeit pleasant valve tone.

Overall Impression — 10
I hold a soft spot for these as were ridiculously cheap originally and a much nicer tone than any comparable solid state rubbish at same price point! As they are built by the same manufacturer as the Epi VJr is nothing untoward with them, but even the Epi has long had its day now what with so many cheap, excellent-build tonal amps for just a bit more money but offering a lot more usability. However - for the pocket money price for a box of valves it gets a well deserved 10.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The first combo came with a massive dent in chassis so went back on the advice of the excellent vendor - Thomann but the replacement had a low hiss, which was prob just a valve, but as was under warranty and free carriage to return I did and took the money. Later the head version was released and at only 65 I thought was so cheap was worth getting even though I had already discounted the reason for having one as stated above! It was as I expected and had no faults. Later I sold it for a 20 profit on eBay and put the money towards a Tweed Deluxe, so you can see where I am coming from! Is no reason this should be any less reliable than any other valve amp and with a simple circuit should be fixable - or parts obtained very cheaply from second user pool - gets an 8.

Features — 10
I got both the combo and subsequently the head version both in 2007/8. Spotted these were same as the Valve Jr. and took advantage of an even better deal! Vol, tone and a couple of valves in a fibreboard box and lashings of cream tolex and that's it. Nice design though, overall aesthetic is nice in that ivory tolex nonethelss and beautifully finished - better than my Fender Supersonic! The Harley Benton is only available from online German vendor Thomann. But for valves and portability and a price less than a cheap pedal - Hell, I have to say its a 10.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    bananahammock wrote: i feel so stupid, i just read through my above comment thinking "wow this guy knows what he's talking about" then realised it was me, makes sense really, i do think that stuff. LOL
    Same has happened to me.