Piggyback review by Hartke

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (16 votes)
Hartke: Piggyback

Price paid: $ 220

Purchased from: used

Sound — 10
Ok to give you an idea of what I use this amp for.. I play my BC Rich Metal Master with it in a hardcore/metalcore band. BEFORE you jump my shit yes I am full aware this is a blues amp. Allow me to extrapolate.. basically the tones on this amp will cover your entire blues/rock spectrum. I was ripping out anything from Jimi to SRV to ACDC and Van Halen's lead tone. Legitimately I think this may be the most musical midrange I've ever seen in an amp much less a hartke(don't they do bass amps usually? ) for under 500 dollars. Now.. I did play a show with this amp just using its distortion and yes it was a hxc show and oh my god what this amp lacked in saturation it made up for in crunch... I changed more than one part that night just so I could keep chunking along. However... It simply wasn't enough. So i plugged my Rocktron Gainiac tube pre into the effects loop and ran my guitar straight into the input on channel 2. f--k ME my other guitarist plays a Peavey valveking and I had to turn down at practice. Tonally.... with the preamp its very similar to a Mesa but nowhere near as muddy. Actually with little to no effort on my part and however long he tooled with his EQ pedal my guitarist and I are now tonally matched beautifully. I love this amp and the only upgrade I plan... A tube power amp so i can get louder and crunchier. and of course a new 4x12 cab (although the matched cab does its job perfectly I just want to hear how much more thud it'll get xD) ---ps on its own I'd love to use this amp as a blues amp---

Overall Impression — 9
Without my preamp.. I'd still have hella fun with this amp. If you can pick one up.. I'd do it. If it was stolen.. I'd pay for a new one with the thief's guts. hahaha. but with the preamp... I basically got a mesa single rec. for 270. (extra 50 for the rocktron.) -----side note... running the preamp thru the loop means that you now control the volume with that preamp----

Reliability & Durability — 10
I could tell right away this amp was built solidly... The pots turn smoothly and quietly the input jack is a wee bit loose but nothing some epoxy or similar couldnt fix :p but I do gig it without a backup and we've never had an issue between us so I very much do expect this amp to hold up for years with little to no problem and if I ever do retire her.. she'll be my mainstay jam/blues amp for a long time.

Features — 9
I really don't know what year this amp was made in but from what I understand they were an early to mid or late 90s thing that never caught on... Thank GOD or this amp wouldn't have fallen into my hands for 220. This amp is a 2 channel 60w tube/state hybrid with a matching 60w 4x8 speaker cab. As far as I understood prior to buying this amp is that only the first channel uses the single 12ax7 in the preamp but I beg to differ... when you turn it on have it set to the second channel and you will see that you still have to wait for the tube to warm up for it to kick in so even if that channel doesn't rely on the tube it still has that tube warmth to the second channel. As the other reviews point out.. this amp is wonderfully built and the only complaint i have is the lack of midrange control for channel one and the huge volume difference between the two channels.. channel two decimates the first one. I'm honestly considering having someone look at my amp tho, one to settle my tube per channel debate and to check out the volume issue.. not a big deal as I only use the second channel tho.(you'll understand in a minute)

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I got it for 200 And I like it a lot! I use a boss metal-core pedal. It doesn't have distortion built in :p Thats Its only problem !