Unveiled for the first time at NAMM 2003, the Ashdown Custom Shop Classics range of 3 tube combos, one tube head and a selection of cabinets provides a 'start point' from which players can specify different preamp designs, tube sets, speakers and covering materials to create their own bespoke guitar amplifiers. The Cotton Club head, Cotton Club Blues 1x12" combo, Speakeasy 2x12" combo and Tremoverb 2x12" combo each feature different 'standard' preamp designs, any one of which can be specified in any of the other amplifiers. Moreover, the customer can also specify a tube or solid-state rectifier, the former resulting in a more aggressive tone and the latter, a softer, 'jazz' sound. In addition, preamps featuring Voicing switches enable the user to select six different tube wirings, delivering a range of tonal characteristics from light rhythm to dark blues.
All Custom Shop Classics share a fixed bias 28 watt tube output stage and, once again, guitarists have plenty of choice. The 'standard' configuration of 4 legendary and now increasingly rare 6V6 tubes can be replaced by 2 x EL34s, 2 or 4 x 6L6s or 2 x 581. And with an Ashdown PCB converter, the B9a tube holders can be converted to larger Octals, enabling 4 x EL84s to be fitted.
Simple circuit topology provides the shortest signal path from input to output and all amplifiers are point to point wired by hand using turret tags for the DC supplies. Polypropylene coupling capacitors are employed throughout, along with carbon resistors in favour of inferior metal oxide devices. High quality smoothing capacitors are used generously to minimise noise and all tube bases are ceramic as opposed to the mass produced plastic type. Right down to the hand crafted ply wood cabinets, phenolic knobs and even a product identification plate which can be engraved with the owner's name, it's quality all the way.
Standard speakers are Celestion Vintage 30s in the 1x12"s and a mixture of Vintage 30s and Greenbacks in the 2x12"s. However, once again, any suitable speaker configuration can be chosen by the customer.
Naturally, customers can also choose between a variety of cabinet coverings, pipings and grill cloths, making their own, hand-built Ashdown Custom Shop as much a personal visual statement as it is a sonic one.