VA-167 CHICAGO BLUES TONE TWIN
The VA-167 is a mash-up of two old-school amps, specifically a 1940’s Valco Supreme 510-1 and its Gretsch G-6155/56 variation. The juxtapositions continue as the art decoinspired cab—based on a 1942 Oahu cabinet—sports hand-painted pinstripes, aged tweed, and brown ostrich skin covering instead of the original mother of toilet seat, yielding a fanciful yet funky blues aesthetic. Plus, the cabinet’s five “shelves” light up bright red like a Christmas tree. The leather handle looks great, but it’s stiff and painful on your hands in transport. Tonally, the VA-167 is as old school as advertised. With a Telecaster, its sounds are smooth and milkshake thick. Even with the Tone control cranked, the tones exhibit a burnished warmth that you rarely hear in modern amplifiers. As you crank the Volume, notes begin to pop out of the speaker with a hint of refined grind. Even with its darker character, the bottom end stays wonderfully coherent while the treble response is as warm as can be with absolutely zero spiky transients. That being said, if you want to cart the VA-167 to a top 40 gig, you may want to think twice, as there really isn’t enough shimmer to slice through a bandstand for a funk jam or Beatles tune. However, with the L5, the tones were spot-on period-correct for a Louis Jordan jump blues or a driving swing rhythm à la Freddie Green. Not many amps can do that.
CONTACT Vintage47 Amps, (707) 480-6511; vintage47amps.com
MODEL VA-167 Chicago Blues Tone Twin
PRICE $1,495 direct
CONTROLS Volume, Tone
TUBES Four JJ 6V6 power tubes, two NOS GE 5Y3 rectifiers, Sovtek 6SL7 and NOS GE 6SQ7 preamp tubes,
POWER 24 watts
SPEAKER A Brown Soun 12" hemp cone
EXTRAS Removable rear speaker baffle
KUDOS Old-world art-deco aesthetics with old-school tone to match.
CONCERNS Subdued treble response.
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