YOU MIGHT REMEMBER THIS STEVEN FRYETTE DESIGN FROM WHEN IT HAD A THREE-LETTER NAME ON the front. Well, the Pittbull is back and it’s better than ever. Don’t be fooled by the tame twochannel appearance. This puppy is a ridiculously flexible, full-featured amp that seems to offer up more cool tones the longer you play with it. According to Fryette, “The Hundred/CL is not so much a ‘clean channel/dirty channel’ affair as it is a two-channel ‘do whatever with either’ kind of a thing.” And that’s what we did. I plugged into the Green channel and set it for clean, i.e. Gain low, Volume high, and the Normal/Hi Gain switch set to Normal. That created a pristine, bellacious sparkle that was alive with harmonics. It was bright, but I could easily mitigate that with the Treble knob, or the Presence control on the rear panel, or by inching up the Gain knob, which darkened the tone in a cool way. (That seems to be a recurring motif with this amp: If any tone is too this or too that, you can make it right it in a number of different ways, all of which somehow sound inspiring.) I dialed in some more Gain and got a delicious semi-dirty tone that was completely touch sensitive. Switching from Normal to Hi Gain poured on the sustain and harmonics, but I could still get a glassy clean tone by rolling the guitar’s volume back a hair. Yeah! Engaging the graphic EQ provided even more possibilities, as did hitting the Edge button— a frequency-dependent gain boost. Every sound was a winner and the only problem was trying to decide how to set this channel.
Rather than decide, I kicked on the Red channel, which does have more gain as well as a different voice. This side offers great clean tones too, but that’s not what we were after. With the Gain at noon in Normal mode, we got a huge power-chord chunk that was muscular, focused, and incredibly dimensional. It was also unfailingly dynamic, cleaning up magically with a softer attack. Switching to Hi Gain produced a crushing, seething dirty tone with a positively massive low end. Cranking the Gain knob gave up beautifully thick, rich distortion, with gobs of sustain, but miraculously able to deal with almost any voicing I threw at it. When I turned on the graphic EQ, which was set to a smiley face curve, it was game over. This was one of the biggest, tightest, heaviest tones I’ve ever heard, and it made me feel all-powerful and humbled at the same time.
The Hundred/CL blasts out an incredibly loud 100 watts, but it’s very quiet. It does a lot more than what’s detailed here, but who cares? It does the most important thing and the only thing that really matters: It sounds amazing no matter how you set the controls. Can’t ask for more than that. Well Done. —Matt Blackett
Steven Fryette Design, INC.
(818) 846-4000; fryette.com
MODEL Pittbull Hundred/CL
PRICE $3,149 retail/ $2,399 street
CONTROLS Front panel: Channel Select, Gain, Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass; switches for Boost, Normal/Hi Gain, Edge, Shift (Red and Green channels), Global graphic EQ, Master Volume. Rear panel: Ground switch, switches for Power Amp Mute and Power Amp Dual-Class, Impedance Select, Line Level control, Effects Send and Return controls (parallel and series), Effects Level switch, Effects Level/Mix, Presence, Depth.
POWER 100 watts
TUBES One Tung-Sol 12AX7, three 12AX7AC (Chinese selected), four premium matched Mullard EL34 output tubes
EXTRAS Hi and Low inputs, four-button footswitch
SPEAKER FatBottom 4x12 Straight cab w/Eminence- made P-50-E 50-watt speakers; $1,499 retail/ $1,099 street
MAXIMUM MEASURED VOLUME 124dB
WEIGHT 53 lbs (head)
KUDOS Huge range of gorgeous clean and dirty tones. Very flexible. Unreal low-end response.