GA5H Review

manufacturer: Harley Benton date: 01/13/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Harley Benton: GA5H
Guitar head, 5 Watt (class A), 1 channel, 1 volume and 1 tone control, 1 x 12AX7 and 1 x EL84 tubes, speaker outputs 4, 8 and 16 Ohms.
 Sound: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
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 Users rating:
reviews (2) pictures (2) 11 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
GA5H Reviewed by: adamshakermaker, on december 05, 2007
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Price paid: $ 113.46

Purchased from: Thomann

Features: The Harley Benton GA5H, guitar head, 5 Watt (class A), 1 channel, 1 volume, and 1 tone control, 1 x 12AX7 and 1 x EL84 tubes, speaker outputs 4, 8 and 16 Ohms. Made in 2007 this amp is just an Epiphone Valve Junior with a tone knob added, they make them in the same factory but badge these up as 'Harley Benton' for Thomann. It's a very simple but brilliant little amp, the front panel consists of the input jack, a volume knob, an EQ knob and the power Switch. The only thing I would add is a headphone output. // 8

Sound: I use this through my Marshall Valvestate VS102R 2x12 with a tube screamer clone and it's just awesome. It breaks up with the volume at around 4, anything over 8 with a humbucker sounds very overdriven and British. When using my strat through it I can hear all the shimmering highs I was missing with solid state amps. The EQ really alters the tone of the amp, I can't understand why they don't use it on the Epiphone VJ. With the amp at full volume through a 2x12 cab it is very loud and could easily be heard over a drummer. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Solid. I have heard of problems with the combo version but the head seems bullet proof. It looks really classy with its cream vinyl finish. The feet and the corner protectors are attached with self tappers and are going knowhere, all the knobs and inputs feel very durable. I would gig this without a backup. // 8

Overall Impression: I think this amp could cope with any style of music, it just depends on what pedals you use. If you look at the other small tube amps out there this wins hands down for value. It's only 62, that's half the price of the Epiphone Valve Junior and the Fender champ 600. It's easy to mod as well, for just a few pounds more and a few hours with a soldering iron this GA5H can be turned into something sounding like a 1000 boutique amp. Don't let the fact it's only got 5W of power fool you, this little fella is loud! If it were stolen I would buy another, at this price I might even buy two. // 9

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overall: 8.8
GA5H Reviewed by: 59bassman, on january 13, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 65

Purchased from: Thomann

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 7

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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