To celebrate Kendrick’s 25 years in the boutique amp business, founder Gerald Weber came up with this limited-edition model that combines his idea of ultimate clean tone with a high-gain channel that’s designed to give singing sustain along with the presence needed to cut through onstage. To create his sonic masterpiece, Weber started with a preamp section lifted from his BadAssMan and Signature models, tweaked it to sound even fuller, configured the inputs so that you could plug in to either or both channels, and put it all together in a solid-pine cabinet that’s covered in blue and white Tolex with gold and white piping. Enter the 25th Anniversary 4210 combo, which also features a four-6V6 output stage, tube/transformer-driven reverb, and a hand-wired circuit that is beautifully laid out on a thick glass-epoxy board with neat wire runs, high-grade components, and chassis-mounted pots, jacks, switches, and tube sockets. The gold-finished control panel (which is a metalflake powdercoat with epoxy lettering) has Clean and Lead Volume knobs, a shared 4-band EQ, and a Reverb control. Other than the three input jacks, the only other 1/4” connection is for the included reverb bypass footswitch. There are also two pin jacks on the bottom of the chassis for “Quik-Biasing.” Just connect your digital voltmeter to the jacks, and use a jeweler’s screwdriver to adjust the bias trimpot on the control panel until you get a reading of .055 volts. This feature makes it very simple to set the bias correctly when changing output tubes.
The two Fane 10" speakers help to keep the size and weight manageable, and with 40 watts on tap, the 25th Anniversary is a formidable stage amp with an abundance of volume and clean headroom, and the ability to digest humbucker and single-coils with no fuss (test guitars included a John Page Classic Ashburn and new PRS McCarty). The Clean channel is big and full sounding, and the 10" Fanes are a great match here, as little tweakage of the tone controls was needed to get stellar clean sounds with both of these guitars. The excellent spring reverb gives a nice halo of airiness when turned just shy of 3, and higher settings bring on increasingly more dimension—all the way up to surf-style slosh if you want it. When pushed, the clean channel kicks out a cool dirty rhythm tone too. Just remember that this rig is loud when you crank it up and there’s no master volume. Also, because the speakers connect directly to the Kendrick-designed output transformer, you can’t easily patch in a power attenuator. However, you can order the amp with a built-in power attenuator for an extra $250.
Plugging into the Lead channel uncorks the full gain potential of the 25th Anniversary, which is delivered with plenty of authority once the 6V6s start flexing their muscles. It was somewhat reminiscent of playing my old JTM-50 Marshall with a booster in front, although the Kendrick is louder and tighter, due in part to its diode rectification. By plugging into the 25th’s “Both” input, the Clean and Lead channels can be blended to taste, which is basically like jumpering the inputs on a 4-hole Marshall. To get distortion tones at a more practical volume in some situations, an Alairex HALO pedal worked great, allowing me to control the amp’s clean to dirty response using the guitar’s volume control, and then kick it over the top with the pedal for more sustain.
All considered, the 25th Anniversary 4210 is a stylish amplifier that’s crafted with a lot of attention to all the things that matter when it comes to tone and feel. It’s a great tribute to Kendrick’s dedication to tube amp excellence, and one hell of a mid-power combo for those who can afford it.
25TH ANNIVERSARY 4210
PRICE $3,495 direct. Optional padded cover $160
CONTROLS Clean Volume, Lead Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble, Presence, Reverb
POWER 40 watts
TUBES Four 6V6s, four 12AX7s, one 12AT7
EXTRAS Lead, Clean, and Both inputs. Antique pine cabinet. Tubedriven reverb with included on/off footswitch.
SPEAKER Two Fane 10s
WEIGHT 52 lbs
KUDOS Excellent clean and distortion tones. Hip look.
CONCERNS No speaker jack.