GH50L Review

manufacturer: Laney date: 07/06/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Laney: GH50L
The GH50L is a single channel master volume style head with footswitchable gain. It is capable of a huge variety of sounds, from sparkling clean through powerful crunch to full on monster tones and everything in between.
 Sound: 9.2
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Reliability & Durability: 8.7
 Features: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (6) pictures (2) 13 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.5
GH50L Reviewed by: killingmoon45, on november 08, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 730.17

Purchased from:

Features: Manufactured in 2006. Extremely versatile head. Works well for blues and rock and with the addition of a good distortion pedal, perfect for metal. This is a single channel amp with an extra gain stage through the Drive Switch and level. Kind of acts like a second channel, though the Drive is on the noisy side. The only feature it lacked is reverb, a Holy Grail fixed that. I use this primarily at home now but will be using it Live in the next few months. This amp is more than loud enough for medium to large venues, especially through my 4x12 cabinet. // 10

Sound: This head is basically a Marshall on steroids. Same basic sound, same responsiveness and same level of raw power but at a price tag mear mortals can afford. Clean channel/dirty channel are one in the same. Alter your guitars volume and tone controls and your pick attack and you can get everything from rockabilly spank to Zakk Wylde squeals. I use 3 guitars with this amp. #1, Les Paul Classic with dual humbuckers, #2, Fender Fat Strat with a bridge humbucker and dual single coils and #3, a DeArmond M72 with EMG81 and EMG85 active humbuckers. The head is noisy. With no signal, there is a very noticible hiss at anything above 2 on the master and gain settings. Turn on the Drive and that hiss increases with each step up. Prescense also adds to the hiss. Once you start to play though, the hiss vanishes. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've never gigged with this amp so it's hard to say. So far, it seems to be reliable but until it's been on the road with me for a while I won't know for sure. I would never gig without a backup, no matter what the amp or Who made it. Customer support is slow, very slow. I emailed them about the hissing and they emailed back 3 days later asking if I had bought the head new? Duh! My local guitar shop, where I bought it, looked it over for free and no questions asked. They found nothing wrong so I guess this head is just hissy... Finding authorized anything is difficult as this amp is made in England and their website only lists distributors. The warranty is for 1 year but they extend it to 3 if you mail in the warranty card within the first 90 days. // 6

Overall Impression: I've been playing for 4 years, own Fender and Marshall amps both solid state, tube and tube/solid hybrids. If this head were stolen, I'd probably go to jail for what I'd do to the thief. I would definitely replace it but would likely go with the GH100L next time. I love the simplicity of the head, the overall sound and the build quality most. My main dislike is the hiss. Honestly, this head sounds better to my ears than the Marshall JCM800 or the Super Lead. I wish it had reverb built in, don't use it often but it's nice to have. Still, I bought a Holy Grail so that's not really a problem. // 8

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overall: 9.5
GH50L Reviewed by: Johnny Blade, on june 17, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 779

Purchased from: Music Focus

Features: This amp was made in 2004. This amp is 1 channel only, but you can still get clean tones by lowering the gain and raising the volume. It dose have FX loops as well. It would be nice to have some reverb though. I bought this amp head with a Laney GS412IS straight cabinet with 4 80watt mono speakers, not the cheaper clestion speakers either these are the proper English made HH Invader speakers which sound much better than the Celestions. Bought the whole lot for only $1025 Australian. // 9

Sound: I am currently using a Gibson Tony Iommi SG (tuned to C#) and an Epiphone Custom SG (tuned to D), pickups are Gibson Iommi Humbuckers. Playing mostly Black Sabbath this amp is perfect, Iommi using Laneys himself. It is noisy when you turn the Drive right up, but I generally I have it set about 7 and then there is no terrible hissing noise. This amp is mainly made for playing metal and rock. You can get nice Zeppelin tones, Cream and even Pink Floyd. The distortion in this amp is so good, no need for a distortion pedal, although I still use my Vox treble booster when playing sabbath stuff. This amp also sounds good in a bigger area playing solos with a long delay time. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I could depend on this amp, it seems very reliable. I would use it at a gig without a backup. Has never broken down yet and I don't expect it to. // 9

Overall Impression: This amp is a perfect match for my style of music. I am currently in the process of writing my own music and this amp helps me alot and because I can get the exact sound that I want that inspires me to keep writing. I have been playing for about 6 years now and own a couple of other smaller combo amps. If something happened to this amp and it couldn't be used anymore I would definitly buy another one. I love the sound that I can get from this amp, I have been searcing around for about 3 years to get it. I was originally going to get a Laney GH100TI (Tony Iommi Signature) amp head, but was put off by some reviews saying that it was no good. I guess also that I don't want to mimic Tony Iommi, I mean he is a god but I would also like to write my own music. // 10

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overall: 9.3
GH50L Reviewed by: N_I_N-621, on october 02, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: eBay

Features: This amp is a single channel (with on/off overdrive), 50 watts, all tube (just enough for me, don't need anything more than that). I run it through a Carvin Sx series 2x12 cab with Celestion 70/80 speakers (the same speakers that come in the Laney matched cab for this amp). Not quite sure what year it was made. I play many different genres of metal, mostly thrash and death metal. Handles both very well, but if you're one of those Who like to play with scooped mids, look elsewhere. // 9

Sound: I run an early '90s ESP with a single EMG 85 bridge pickup, and the combo works great for what I want. Not too noisy (EMGs are great for that), not sure how versatile it is, since I don't change my settings much after I find one I really like. it's a bit hard to describe the sound, but basically I put it at bass: 10, mids: 7, and treble: 6. The amp is a little trebly for my tastes, but rolling off of it a bit fixes that. The Clean channel is OK, but it does distort quite easily (but hey, if you want clean get a Fender). The distortion is quite nice, not quite as tight as what I was looking for, but still great for what I play. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I have used it once in a gig, and it held up fine. The tubes are a little old (were old when I got it), so I'm going to change them out soon. They currently have (and come stock with) EL34 power tubes, but I got a pair of 6L6's (you can adjust the bias for those instead of the EL34), which supposedly will give it a more modern sound, but this is yet to be seen (or heard). // 10

Overall Impression: If you play metal and like your mids, this is a great amp for you. Match it with some EMGs, or high output Dimarzios/Duncans this baby will scream. Considering that it was a pretty blind buy (didn't get much info off of eBay), the amp was a steal. If it got stolen, I'd probably try to do something about it, but seeing as I've had stuff stolen before and never seen it again, not much you can do. It would be nice if it had 2 channels, but it's not really a big deal. I actually have gotten used to simpler setups and find them easier to use in live situations. Not much to hate about this amp, it's pretty much got everything I'd need in an amp. // 10

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overall: 8.8
GH50L Reviewed by: JaykeSucks, on february 09, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 1200

Purchased from: Southern Music

Features: Resonance Switch, presence, bass, mids and treble controls, master volume, gain knob and a "Drive" stage. It doesn't have many features, but it doesn't have too few either. It's a single channel master volume amp... you don't really need much more from one than that. Reverb would be nice though. // 7

Sound: Sounds absolutely fantastic! Straight from the shop with stock tubes, master volume only on 1, it sounded great. Very bright, but if you just roll the treble back a little that solves that. Being a single channel amp, if you want to go from clean to super-brutal at the flick of a Switch, the VH100R might be more for you. You can go from clean to heavy Drive though, by rolling the "gain" to 2 and the Drive all the way up, and footswitching between the two. If you aren't using it like that, the distortion channel is MASSIVE. Thick, crushing tube gain. Sound wise it's one of the most versatile amps I've ever played, considering it's single channel. From Lynyrd Skynyrd through to Meshuggah, this amp can do it. Recommend a change from the stock tubes, though. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Never had a problem with it. It's heavy, and it's built like an absolute truck. I don't see anything going wrong with this amp period. Well constructed, and the tubes are housed very safely. I'd definitely gig it without a backup, and I have numerous times. It heats up quite a bit when you play with high gain for too long though, but I usually set it up with a little clip-on fan blowing on the tubes to cool it down a bit. // 10

Overall Impression: I love this amp to death. If it got knicked, I'd definitely buy another, or save up and get the VH100R (4 channel version). Only thing I'd change is the whole reverb thing. It'd be nice if it had one, but even without it, it's definitely worth buying! I gig, and I play in a ska band, a progressive death metal band and a jam-rock band. This amp covers it all flawlessly. // 9

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overall: 8.5
GH50L Reviewed by: crazytjeuh, on august 31, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 700

Purchased from: Guitar Shop

Features: Don't know the year of making, sorry. This amp is extremely versatile. I've seen metalheads, rockers, jazz and fusion people use this amp. Me myself I try to play as many styles as possible including: Classic rock, fusion, metal and blues and believe me, it does it soo well! This is a single channel head with a footswitchable extra gain stage wich basicaly makes it 2 channel with shared EQ settings! I wish it had reverb, but I use my cheap Behringer DD400 so I'm not complaining. For the rest this amp has everything! I'm not in a band, I'm using it at home and it works just fine. A good tip might be to not get the matching 2x12 cabinet, it has Celestion 70/80 speakers in it and I don't mean they are bad, they're just not right for this amp. The amp is very bright and it's not a bad idea to roll back the treble and presence! The 70/80's are bright speakers so you should look for something darker or something to taste! It has plenty of clean headroom, I build an isolation box for the cabinet so I can crank it way up! The power amp distortion is really full and rich on this one, but stays really clean also. Even with gain on 4 it doesn't distort alot! You get a very warm tone and OOMPF if you know what I mean! I give it an 8 because it has all the feautures you really need, but comparing it to todays amps they all have like in build attenuator, noise gate, reverb etc... // 8

Sound: I'm using a Cort G254 (H-S-S) and a Music Man Wolfgang with pretty high output humbuckers. Even with the Wolfgang it stays pretty clean with the gain on 4! (I always use the High Gain Input btw). A month ago I made an OD pedal myself and I must say it really complements this amp! I use it as a boost and leave it on all the time, when I want clean I just roll back the guitar volume. When I want to go Metal I hit the Drive switch! Some people say you can't go from clean to metal but you can with an OD pedal, and it doesn't need to be expensive! When I crank this baby up when using it for metal it obviously gets noisy but I think when you're on stage and there's like audience talking and clapping their hands (hopefully haha!) it's not a big deal. This amp is not as Low-Endy on lower volumes so using my isolation box fixes that! When you go past 3 or 4 it really starts to open up and you just want to go further! I give it a 9, but that's just my opinion on it. I've never been in a band situation with this so for that you should contact someone who is familiar with that! // 9

Reliability & Durability: Never had a problem with this amp, always sounded good. I give it an 8 because I've never been in a band situation with it but I'm pretty sure it would last VERY long! // 8

Overall Impression: I play Blues, Fusion, Classic rock and metal and this amp so far has done it all. To give some examples: Fusion Death Metal Heavy Metal If this was stolen I would do anything to get it back but if I failed, then I wouldn't know what to do. If I were to join a band I would maybe buy a used one since used GH50L's are pretty cheap. I love the fact that with and OD pedal this amp can just do anything. I love british voiced amps and Laney makes them more affordable! If I could change one thing about it, then I would make it less bright, rolling back treble fixes that so it's not too big of an issue really. There's no real favourite feature because it's a realy straightforward amp, you have the EQ, Resonance switch, volume, Gain and Drive and that's it! I compared it to amps like the Peavey 6505, Orange Rocker and a Marshall JVM combo. I chose this one because it could do anything the others could and it was cheaper. A 9 because I'm happy with it, and I don't think I woul trade it to another amp. // 9

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overall: 8.8
GH50L Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 06, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 600

Purchased from: Jimmys musc store

Features: Not sure when it was made. I find this amp to fit my playing style very well. With this amp I play modern punk rock, sometimes mess around with bit of blues, but just for fun and it has a great tone for that as well. The amp has one channel as such, but then it has a gain boost, that can Drive things wild. It has Effect loop, but I never used it. I like that it has several Ohm options for different speakers, has come handy when I only brought the head to a gig and used the venues cab. I use this amp at rehearsals, at live shows and for lots of studio work. It has more than enough power. If this amp is too quiet for you, get your hearing checked! It has all the usual knobs, high, mid low and presence and a resonance switch, volume, gain and a second gain for the Drive boost. I like my amps simple, so for me it is near perfection, but I am sure others would like to see more features here, so I'll give it an eight. // 8

Sound: I use Gibson Les Paul and an American Telecaster with this amp. With the Les Paul I plug in to the low input and it screams! With the telecaster I plug in to the high input and I get about the same amount of gain. The telecasters neck pickup sounds surprisingly ballsy with it. This amp sounds like what I always expected Marshall JCM 800 to sound like. It is a classic rock amp that just drives that extra bit harder when you want it to. The clean sounds are very nice as well, but I mostly have it driven and clean up with the guitars volume pot. I find it responds very well to your guitars controls. The Les Paul has no interference, but the single coils can be bit noisy. There is some hiss when the Drive boost is on and it gets louder with the gain (show me an amp that doesn't). I've had this amp for over an year now, it was in perfect condition when I got it and I still haven't changed the valves on it, so some of the hiss might contribute to it as well. I play in a punk rock / melodic hardcore band and I never ran out of distortion, but I am sure some metal guys would like to add a pedal on front of it and it would be fine. For me it delivers the sound I hear in my head. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I can and do depend on it. I play music as my job, but I still am not in position where I can have two amps with me at gigs, so I don't have a back up. It has never let me down. It is built very well, but as any valve amp, I would not drop it. // 9

Overall Impression: The type of music I use this amp for is as mentioned above Punk rock / melodic hardcore. This amp delivers for me! I have been playing guitar for almost 25 years and professionally 15 years. I have had several amps (Peavey, Fender, Epiphone, Laney) in the past, and Laney amps have always been the ones I've stuck with. If it was stolen, I would definitely find another one of these! I think for me it sounds better than Marshall, which I played several over the years. There are other amps out there I'd like, but they would not replace this amp, just add to the collection. // 9

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