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Popped into Guitar Center today, just to see what they thought was new. I learned a couple of things I didn’t know and had a good time playing some guitars I had wanted to try but never had. I’ve played, and owned, lots of gear over the last 55 years but I am continually amazed by the diversity of the equipment on the market today.
Orange Micro Terror
Have you guys seen this? This is the smallest serious amp, measuring only 5.3 X 6.5 X 3.74 inches, that I’ve seen but it sounds really good through a 1-12 Orange speaker cabinet. I was surprised to find out it’s a hybrid of tube and solid state technology with a tube preamp and solid state power amp. That would explain how touch sensitive it is and how smooth it sounds. It’s got 20W of output power and runs $149 but, you can’t complain about the portability!
Vox AC30 C2
Back when I was making my living as a musician, I owned a pawn shop AC30. It was a pretty sweet amp at the time but I unfortunately blew mine up with an Electro-Harmonics Power Booster! (Anybody remember those?) Never could fix it. I went to Fenders after that. Anyway, I played a bunch of guitars through a new AC30 with Celestion Greenback speakers. I really liked it but nobody has the dripping reverb of the old Fender amps. I’m a real fan of 6L6 power tubes, but I liked the sound of this Vox amp a lot. It sounded way better than mine did… at least as I remember it! If you’re amp shopping, this one is worth checking out at $999.
Epiphone Les Paul
I owned a ’52 Fretless Wonder Les Paul in the 70’s and 80’s (the Black Beauty), and I sold it after I got turned on to Strats so, I was anxious to try one of these as the reviews I’ve read have been mostly good. Okay, it played pretty well and had the Les Paul sound but the action was really high and I didn’t like the feel of it. I was a little disappointed because I would like another Paul but the price now is too much for me.
In fairness, though, I’m spoiled by that Ebony fingerboard and action so low that blowing on the strings would fret a note… well, almost! I think a good setup would cure the action and fingerboard feel issues but, a guitar is a subjective thing. One that feels good to one person doesn’t to another. At $399, the Epiphone Les Paul is a really nice guitar that has the Gibson volume pot coil splitting wiring, a really cool thing to find on a guitar in this price range.
I also played a couple of Gibson Les Pauls and didn’t like them either so I’m thinking I’ve gotten used to the Strat neck shape and the Paul’s is just too different to feel good in an hour.
Next time, we’ll explore some more stuff I played with, including an Epiphone Dot that I fell in love with and a Fender that turned me off!
This is Doug, the Stratkat. See you next time.