Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 10
This amp is a tone beast! I primarily play a PRS McCarty and an American Standard Telecaster and this amp lets me fill all of my sound needs. I play a wide variety of music with my cover band ranging from The Beatles/Clash/Tom Petty to U2/Green Day/HIM/Black Crowes. I can hit any sound I need with this baby. With each channel having a gain boost it's really like having four amps in one. On the first channel you can dial up some really great dirty overdriven Marshall-esque tones and the gain boost really makes the amp scream. I use the boost primarily for a little extra oomph when I'm playing a solo but for regular playing you have to be careful of your gain settings because you can easily get a lot of feedback. It's a really hot channel but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The second channel is like heaven for clean sounds. With the notch filter engaged and mid cut you can get a great early Fender tweed sound. Without the filter engaged the amp sounds eerily like an old blackface Fender. With independent volume and master controls you can really get that singing clean sound with just the right amount of bite when you attack it. I compared this with a Fender Twin and Twin Reverb reissue amp and as much as I like the sound of those amps the Rivera, for comparable money, just seemed much more versatile. As the lead guitar player in a cover band I have to be able to emulate a lot of different amp sounds and this is the best Tool I've found yet to do that! I can get anything out of this amp from that spanking-clean Bassman-style sound to the loud Mesa/Boogie style overdrive. This is truly a great little box!
Overall Impression — 9
Much like when I bought my Paul Reed Smith guitar I decided it was time to stop buying okay equipment and upgrade to something truly nice. I've been playing for almost fifteen years now and this is easily best thing to happen to my tone. As much as I love my PRS and my Tele it wasn't until I got this amp that truly knew what those guitars were capable of doing! Without a doubt this is the best money I've ever spent on an amplifier and wouldn't hesitate to do it again if something happened to this one (after I stopped crying, of course). Compared to the other amps I also considered and auditioned (Fender Twin/Twin Reverb reissue, Vox AC30) this just seemed be the best fit for what I wanted. That isn't to say those other amps were bad; far from it in fact. I would love to have an AC30 or a Twin Reverb but for my needs and requirements this seemed the most practical route. I actually bought this sight Unseen online and it is without a doubt the best eBay purchase I've ever made. Before I bought this the only Rivera Amp I'd ever played was the Fandango and that was at a small shop in Kelowna, BC a few years ago but it left such an impression I gambled on this. I whish my gambling was always this successful! I used my Marshall VS65 for years and while it served it's purpose I didn't realize stepping up to the Rivera was like upgrading from your Volkswagon to a Porshe. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to recommend this to another gear geek or gigging musician.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I generally play 2-3 time per month and I've never had any problems with durability. This is the first all-tube amp I've ever owned. In the past I've always had solid state or hybrid amps like the Marshall VS65 which is now my backup. I have a few knicks in the red tolex covering but that's just because I'm clumsy when I'm loading in/out my stuff.
Features — 8
The Chubster 40's features make it an incredibly versatile amplifier. The amp comes with two independent channels. The first channel is generally referred to as the British channel since it voiced to give you that classic British (Marshall) sound. The second, or American voiced, channel is the clean channel that allows you to dial up some truly incredible clean sounds. Both channels have a gain boost feature which are controllable by push-pull pots on the amp face or from the three-button footswitch unit. The second channel also features a notch filter which is operated by a push-pull pot on the midrange attenuator. The footswitch is very sturdy and stage ready. The footswitch unit allows you to change between the two channels as well as activate the gain boost on either channel. The only thing that would make the footswitch better is if you could control the notch filter on the second channel but that's just me being a picky gear-geek. I play in a rock'n'roll cover band and this amp is the perfect gig companion. It puts out a massive amount of sound through that 12 speaker for a 40W amp. I play in pubs and small clubs and I've never needed more power. With the two channels and independent gain boosts it's really like having four amps in one! My chief complaints are that there is no headphone jack and no extension jack so you can't run through and extension cabinet if you do need more power.