Five New Tube Terrors

October 20, 2005

But for all the great leaps forward in technology, it’s still pretty hard to beat a tube combo with 30 to 50 watts of power, one or two 12" speakers, and a spring reverb—

especially if you’re a club player. This roundup focuses on five new tube amps with street prices that vary from $630 to more than $2,900. They differ significantly in design and features, but are all intended to fill the needs of blues and rock guitarists who primarily do their thing on small stages.

There are plenty of other amplifiers that meet these criteria, of course, but this sampling of boutique and production models proves that no matter how large or small your budget, there’s a tube amp that’s right for you. We tested these combos using various Fender Strats and Teles, a Gibson ’68 reissue Les Paul, a Gretsch White Falcon, and a PRS McCarty.

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