Category Archives: Amplifier Features

The Overlooked Upgrade: Guitar Output Transformers

One of the common questions we receive here is, "How can I get my (fill in the blank with your favorite brand name) reissue amplifier to sound like the original?" Often times the question will contain additional information of what had been done already. "I’ve replaced the preamp and power tubes and gotten it biased, but it still sounds cold and brittle…"
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Weber Speaker Upgrade for Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue

Fender Deluxe Reverb ReissueWe’ve often discussed at LegendaryTones the fact that your tone can often only be as strong as its weakest link. With amplifiers themselves, often the weakest link turns out to be the speaker used. When thinking about the individual cost of the speakers and comparing that with the other individual components that make up an amplifier, speakers turn out to be one of, if not the most, expensive pieces used. So what does this often translate to for manufacturers looking to cut costs? You guessed it – throw in cheaper speakers.
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Celestion Speakers Explored

The old adage, "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link" can definitely be applied to the topic of speakers. Worn or mismatched speakers in wattage or impedance (ohms) are one thing, but different speaker designs also provide dramatic changes in tone and response for guitarists. And this is an area that is all too often neglected.
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Hiwatt Reissue Custom Shop 4×12 Cabinet & Weber Thames Speakers: Learning About the Hiwatt Fane Sound

A Brief Early History

As Marshall quickly grew in reputation as the new king of high-powered guitar amplification during the early 1960’s, Dave Reeves, who had been an employee of Mullard as well as a contractor for Sound City in London, began working on his own amplifiers that aimed to take the amplification construction quality and tonal designs to new heights. Reeve’s new Hiwatt amplifiers were born via his company, Hylight Electronics.
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My Love/Hate Mesa/Boogie Story, Part II: The Roadster in Review

boogie_3Although Mesa first released its Roadster series of amp heads and combos in 2006, it wasn’t until 2008 that I finally tried one. Playing it in the store, I was impressed enough to make the purchase. Based on my playing time since then in various environments, volumes, etc., and coupled with the many experiences of other Boogies I’ve played and owned through the years, to me the Mesa Roadster is THE best amp Mesa has ever produced. No contemporary multi-channel amp I’ve ever played previously had delivered such a consistently great range of tones across each of its channels – suitable for any style of music and user-friendly with any guitar.
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My Love/Hate Mesa/Boogie Story, Part I: Drinking the Boogie Kool Aid

Take a journey with me while I reminisce back to the beginning where my love for Mesa Boogie amps began. During the summer of 1984, I was a wide-eyed 12-year old teenager who was passionate about the hard rock and metal music available at the time. From the bands that had broken through to my US ears from overseas such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and the Scorpions, to the Los Angeles rock and metal scene with bands like Van Halen, Motley Crue, RATT, Dokken, and Quiet Riot, to even further underground metal acts at the time including Metallica, Slayer, Obsession, and Venom, there was a LOT for my young ears to take in and listen to. Just about every dollar of money I earned for chores around the house went toward buying new records (yes,on vinyl) or guitar and music magazines including Circus, Hit Parader, Guitar for the Practicing Musician, and Guitar World.
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Interview with Marshall VP Mitch Colby on Marshall HW Series

Mitch ColbyRecently at the past 2004 NAMM show, Marshall formally unveiled its latest line of amplifiers – vintage recreations called the Hand Wired series. For many vintage amp tone enthusiasts (myself included), this was just the move that we had hoped Marshall would someday make.
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Vacuum Tube Basics

While digital modeling has caught the attention of many players today, tubes and tube amps are far from dead. And even with the new digital modeling technology, which indeed is designed to try and emulate the sounds of world-famous tube amps from the past and present, there seems to be a resurgence in the number of tube amp options that are out there. One of the strengths of a good tube amp is its ability to respond to the dynamics of a guitar player’s picking attack when a tube is being overdriven. In addition, no solid-state or digitally modeled amplifier sounds as good as a tube amp when played over a loud band. In fact, it is at loud volumes where tube amps really come alive, while solid state and digitally modeled amps will often become thin and have harsher high-frequency emphasized tones.

Since tube amps and tubes themselves are certainly here to stay, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about vacuum tube basics. This article’s purpose is simple: to discuss what tubes do, describe the different tube types and how they each sound. Afterward, we’ll discuss briefly about what to look for when shopping for tubes and getting them installed.
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