Bad Cat Classic Cat

One Volume control and one Tone control. What more do you really need if your guitar sounds good? That’s the beautifully simple logic of the 20-watt Classic Cat ($1,831 retail/$1,499 street), which sports a single Celestion Vintage 30 speaker (custom made to Bad Cat’s specs), a dual 6V6 power section, and a full-sized Accutronics reverb tank.

Plugging my Tele into the class A, point-to-point wired Cat, I was struck at how the amp sounded gloriously right, no matter where the Tone control was set. With both controls up halfway, the Cat purred with a muscular, bold clean tone that, while not exactly rife with top-end sheen, was far from dull or lifeless. When I cranked the volume—which should be more than enough to get you through most gigs—the Cat roared with a smooth, harmonically rich grind that sounded killer with either a Tele or a Les Paul. And in rather impressive fashion, the low end stayed remarkably taut and focused, as chunky low-string riffs bloomed with oodles of harmonic information. I was able to coax more overdrive from the Classic Cat by simply swapping the stock 12AY7 input preamp tube with a 12AX7. Doing this upped the amp’s grind considerably without sacrificing tone or dynamics. And the amp’s reverb is absolutely exquisite, allowing you to go from a subtle wash, to a tsunami of spring-driven lusciousness. Artfully bulletproof construction, gig-ready volume, and wonderfully dynamic tones combine to make this amplifier a joy to play. —Darrin Fox

Kudos Amazing, dynamic tones with giggable volume. Excellent construction.

Concerns None

Contact Bad Cat Amplifiers, (951) 808-8651;