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Electric players shopping around for a totally solid state amp should check out Ampeg’s new GVT tube driven line. Instead of producing virtual tube sound, Ampeg has created the real thing that comes complete with half-power capability, Celestion® speakers and genuine affordability.
Just when you thought the latest guitar tendencies were headed toward digital modeling, up pops Ampeg with a series of amplifiers motivated by an analog, tube-filled past. And why not? After all, Ampeg is the same company that produced the legendary SVT bass heads and amplifiers of the 1970s.
Perhaps the late 70s band SVT, an old project of Hot Tuna’s virtuoso bassist Jack Cassidy, was paying homage to Ampeg’s classic creation with its name.
Heads, cabinets and combos, oh my!
Ampeg’s GVT line, consisting of new heads, cabinets and combos, has built a tube formula around 12AX7, 6L6GC and 6V6GT valves.
The five watt GVT5H and 15 watt GVT15H heads have solid state rectifiers, 1x12AX7 in the preamp and 1x6V6GTin the power amp.
Cabinet models GVT112E and GVT112EW come equipped with a single 12″Celestion Vintage 30 whereas the combos are outfitted with either 10″ or 12″ Celestion® Original Series speakers.
Combos, including the five watt GVT5-110, 15 watt GVT15-112, 50 watt GVT52-112 and GVT52-212, are all tubed with AX7s, 6V6s and solid state rectifiers.
Tone controls on each are matched as treble, middle and bass.
The combos and heads have Ampeg’s “Baxandall” equalizer circuitry which provides a wider tonal expression. Dual power modes allow the user to cut half the wattage, also something different.
How does the GVT line stack up against Fender?
The enduring Fender® Blues Junior guitar amp delivers 15 watts through a Special Design 12″ “lightning bolt” Eminence® speaker and a solid state rectifier.The preamp is loaded with 3x12AX7s and two classy EL84s on the power amp side.Of course the Blues Junior has Fender’s legendary spring reverb.
The Blues Junior lists for $699 on Fender’s website. Ampeg’s GVT15-112 carries a comparable 15 watt load by way of 2x12AX7s in the preamp with 2x6V6GTs in the power amp.The Ampeg model, which also has its version of spring reverb and loop effects, goes for about $599 online.
Pyotr Belov, the head of Ampeg’s latest tube products, describes the GVT15-112, as such:
“Ampeg’s GVT15-112 is the perfect all-tube gigging guitar combo, with tone and portability to spare. High-end 12AX7 and 6V6 tubes, a 15W / 7.5W design and a 12″ Celestion® speaker delivers the tone you need at any volume. Plus, you can really dial in your sound with an effects loop, spring reverb and flexible Baxandall EQ.”
The tube driven sound of the GVT line of products isn’t just a nostalgic flashback from the 70s. Ampeg has successfully matched vacuum tube warmth with a friendly price tag, likely to be a welcome choice for most guitar players.