It was 20 years ago that Kendrick introduced the model 2410, which was essentially a clone of the classic Fender tweed Bassman. At the time, the 2410 was also the first handwired all-tube combo to hit the scene in many years—a feature that quickly earned it the “boutique” label that’s so widely applied to small-production tube amps now. To celebrate this 20th anniversary, Kendrick recently released the Bad Ass Man combo, which follows the 2410 format in some aspects, but has been significantly updated to reflect what the Texas-based company has done over the decades to evolve the classic 4x10 combo.
The Bad Ass Man mirrors the original 2410 with its four 10" speakers, however, the new amp’s Blackframe 10s have NOS cones that were originally made for Jensen by a Chicago company (no longer in business) called Donal Kapi. The cabinet is made from solid pine that’s 175 years old, and the lacquered “nico tweed” covering is beautifully applied. The complement of controls (two Volumes and a set of Bass, Middle, Treble, and Presence knobs) is right out of the Bassman/2410 playbook, as is the pair of 6L6 power tubes with a 5AR4 tube providing the DC rectification.
From here, the Bad Ass Man goes its own way, first by having a spring reverb, and then by virtue of its three input jacks, which allow you to plug into the Clean or Lead channels, or both channels combined. Our review amp was also equipped with Kendrick’s optional power attenuator ($250), which, by manipulating two switches, can trim the output from a manly 45 watts to more merciful 15 watts to a miniscule three watts. A beefed-up power supply (filter caps and power transformer) is added to improve the dynamic response and bottom-end focus. Reliability is also enhanced by having diodes in series with the rectifier tube, so that you can keep playing even if the rectifier tube fails.
If this added flexibility over the 2410 template isn’t enough, then shift your focus back to the three input jacks we mentioned earlier and revel in the way they can accommodate players who want sparkling clean sounds, those who mainly need heavy overdrive, and guitarists who want to be able to blend the Clean and Lead channels to get just the right balance of definition and grind. And with its spacious sounding reverb, the Bad Ass Man can layer a coating of juiciness on anything you dial it up for. From super vibrant clean tones to tough, grinding rhythm textures, to high-gain tones that sound like an early Marshall that’s being hit with a booster pedal. I tended to favor the blend jack, which makes it so easy to get the perfect clean/mean ratio with singlecoils or humbuckers. This ballsy sounding amp is seriously loud too—a good reason to spring for the attenuator, which makes it possible to crank the output stage to a full boil without killing your ears or the room.
The Bad Ass Man is the baddest sounding 4x10 combo that Kendrick has ever made. If you’re a fan of tweed-era tones delivered by two 6L6s and a quartet of 10s, you’ll definitely want to hear this amp.
CONTACT Kendrick Amplifiers, (512) 932- 3130; www.kendrick-amplifiers.com
MODEL BAD ASS MAN
PRICE $3,495 direct; $3,745 as tested w/optional attenuator
CONTROLS Clean Volume, Lead Volume, Treble, Bass, Middle, Reverb, Presence
TUBES 45 watts
POWER Four JJ 12AX7s, one JJ 12AT7, two JJ 6L6GC power tubes, JJ GZ34S rectifier
SPEAKER Four Kendrick Blackframe 10s w/NOS Donal Kapi cones
EXTRAS Three inputs: Clean, Lead, Both. Quick-Bias feature w/meter test points and panel-mounted miniature 20-turn bias pot.
WEIGHT 52 lbs
KUDOS Ballsy sounding to the max. Excellent reverb. Well made. Attenuator is very useful.
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