Amp Swap

I bit the bullet and went through on the trade that I mentioned a couple of days ago. I traded my Stulce head for a Genz-Benz Black Pearl 30 1×12″ combo (no speaker). Both amps are en route to their respective destinations as we speak. Dropping off the Stulce at the UPS store was kind of a bittersweet experience, but I think that I’m going to be pretty happy with the new amp.

The Black Pearl is based on the Vox AC30 and the Matchless SC-30. It is a 30 watt amp, and can be used in several wattage ratings. You can run all 4 output tubes and get 30 watts or you can run 2 output tubes and get 15 watts. You also have the option of running the tubes in pentode or triode mode (triode mode effectively halves the wattage). So, running the amp with 2 output tubes and triode mode yields 8 watts of output. There are several combinations and I’m looking forward to messing with it.

The amp has several other bells and whistles, like a built in footswitchable boost function. It’s not a second channel – it only adds a little more oomph to the signal. If you’re playing clean, it just gets louder. If you’re playing dirty, it saturates the signal a little more. You can’t go from crystal clean to all-out crunch with the boost function. It also has a 5-position voicing control which is supposed to help when you switch between single coils and humbuckers. It’s also got reverb, which I will probably never touch.

There are probably some other features that I forgot to mention, but all the bells and whistles don’t really matter if the amp doesn’t sound good. However, all the reviews that I have read seem to imply that this amp sounds great. Similar in character to the AC30, but much higher quality than the Vox/Korg Custom Classic line. I’m pretty excited to get it. It shipped this morning and it should be in my office on Wednesday. I will post a full report/clips ASAP.

Genz Benz Black Pearl

Does anyone have any experience with one of these amps? A guy over on The Gear Page offered me one in trade for my Stulce head. I watched a couple of videos and it sounds pretty great. I think it’s supposed to be based on the Vox AC30, but I’m not totally sure. I think I may bite the bullet on this trade unless I hear something really negative.

incoming: ’67 Silverface Bassman

I finally sold enough random stuff (speakers, pedals, xbox games, etc) to fund the purchase of a vintage Fender Bassman. This is the one that I picked up on eBay. Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk the seller into throwing in the snazzy rug. It really ties the room together, man.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to checking it out. I fully expect to have to send it off to an amp tech almost as soon as I get it. It will almost certainly need new filter caps and tubes, and (depending on which layout this is) I may have it rebuilt to blackface specs. That may not be necessary, though.

I’m not sure about what speakers to use. I’m going to use my 2×12″ and I still have a Celestion Greenback that I will probably keep in there for now. I’m not sure what else, though. I’ve heard that the Eminence Tonker is a good choice. Any suggestions? I’m planning on running this amp sparkly clean and using pedals for dirt.

Oh yeah, I’m still planning on selling my Stulce. You know you want it.

I’m selling my Stulce

Anybody want to buy it? =)

It’s a fantastic little amp, but it just doesn’t have enough clean headroom. It has an amazing overdrive sound, and it has a really tweakable tone stack, but it just doesn’t really meet my needs right now.

You’ve listened to all my clips and you know you want this amp. They run $1000 shipped right now, but I’m thinking something more like $750 shipped for this one. If you have an old Bassman, maybe we could work out a trade + cash situation. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested and I’ll get in touch with you.


I have been thinking about selling a few things and picking up a vintage Fender Bassman amp. The Bassman is a classic amp and you can pick them up for under $500. If I understand it correctly, Jim Marshall pretty much cloned the Bassman design when he made the JTM45, aka the plexi. I’m thinking about getting either the bassman or a Traynor YBA-1, which is pretty much another Bassman clone. The Traynors can usually be had for $300-400 depending on the condition.

Both of these amps are known for having really strong clean tones and take pedals really well. They’re also really loud if you crank them. However, my plan would be to use the clean tone as a platform for pedals.

I need a really versatile setup for the new band that I’m in. We’re going to play a pretty eclectic mix of tunes, and I’ll need to be able to go from twangy clean to modern rock tones. I like my Stulce, but it doesn’t really do either extreme particularly well. It has a great in between gritty clean and a nice classic rock crunch, but it doesn’t have a sparkly clean and it’s too flubby in the bass to handle high gain stuff.¬†Ultimately, it would be ideal to run two amps, but that’s not very practical. It would be great to run a clean Vox AC30 alongside a cranked Marshall (like a JTM45), but that’s pretty unnecessary at this point.

Anyway, does anyone have any experience with vintage Fenders, especially of the Bassman variety?