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The Peavey 5150, originally created by Eddie Van Halen and a team of enthusiasts at Peavey, is a world renowned amplifier hailed as one of the best by EVH fans and metal aficionados abroad. When run through a Marshall 4×12 though, this king of valve amps doesn’t get much smoother.
For those of you who don’t know, this amplifier has become a staple of the modern metal movement since it’s conception back in 1991, and for good reason. Its superb chunkiness and smooth lead abilities make it the simple go-to amp for metal heads that need something reliable and brutal. Its 120 watts are backed by its 6L6GC power tubes that provide dominant low end and sparkling highs. Both the lead and clean channels have simple three-band EQs, which are really all you need, alongside the standard pre and post gain.
One thing I cannot stress enough about the 5150 is its articulation. If you’re a sloppy guitar player who needs gain to cover up your mistakes, this amp is not for you. Going from a digital hybrid to a full tube head, the 5150 has improved my playing tenfold because every sound you make is truly amplified.
The clean tone that comes from a 5150 is extremely full of life with plenty of headroom. I have argued with most guitarists about this, and what they always tell me is that while getting a sick lead sound, the clean tone isn’t even viable. Reason being is that the pickups on their Jackson soloist are wound so hot achieving a good clean sound is a bit more difficult. Running my Seth Lover wide range pickups, my clean tones are absolutely gorgeous. Flipping my pickup selector to the neck pickup really brings forth some awesome jazzy tones that even the best archtop players would argue it a great sound. Dial in the pre-gain at about 6 and you’ve got a stellar breakup to make your strings shimmer.
The Marshall 4×12 paired with this 5150 is the 1960a model. This 4×12 blew me out of the water when I first heard it plugged in. The huge bottom end and fat midrange this cabinet provides really seals the deal. The sound is thick, warm, and bright…everything you could want in the sound of an electric guitar. Some will speculate that their custom-ordered Splawn cabs and Orange slants are the best around. Really though, you don’t need to spend that kind of cash to get this kind of serious tone.
From beautiful breakup to high gain, this rig has it all. I absolutely love the bell-like tones, and I can’t get enough of the vicious raunch. If you keep an eye out too, you’ll only have to spend $745 to get it. I did. Believe it!
Video Demos of this Setup:
Steve Krantz is a music enthusiast that resides in Mount Pleasant, MI and plays guitar in the progressive punk quintet Day In Day Out.