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65amps London Head
Overall Rating
Submitted: March 30th, 2006
by Dirty Dick
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Sound Quality
I mainly play a beautiful blue custom build Heritage H-555, with Bigsby, TV-jones TVtron plus in the bridge and a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat P90 in the neck, a bit like a Gretsch on steroids (had loads of them, but wanted the feel of a good Gibson with the sound of a good Gretsch) that actually plays well. To continue the 'Gretsch but not Gretsch' theme, I also use a Fender Tele-sonic with hollowed mahogany body and deArmond pickups (Fenders take on the Duo-jet). Apart from those, I use a Don Grosh Retro strat w/Suhr VLP-60's, a custom build Korina tele with SD custom P90's (my LP junior-clone) and a great Heritage Les Paul with SD 59's. So, All pickups and all types of guitars - all have their sweet spots on either channel and more than one per guitar/channel actually. The colour switch works very well for shifting the accent to less lows and more high mids and I like the way the amp was voiced with the tone controls on 10 - you simply roll back from 10 to tame the highs for overly bright guitars/pickups. Amp is very quiet. As for sounds, I used to use 4 different overdrive/boost pedals with my lightning for colour/tone and levels of dirt. I kicked two of my pedalboard in order to make room for an A/B switch and reverb pedal after hearing the amp dry. When I played with my band last night, I found myself not using either drivepedal (Durham Sexdrive and Xotic RC booster). Between the 'AC-15' channel with its switchable pentode boost and the rockier 'Marshall' channel, combined with the touch sensitivity of this amp and your guitars volume control - I could get any sound I needed! My Carl Martin Delayla XL slapback delay pedal sounded great, and my much used Hughes and Ketnner Rotosphere II for my fake organ sounds has never sounded better. I will add a reverbpedal for the occasional surf-vibe, probably a holier grail or the new T-rex tube reverb pedal. Talking about surf vibe, the tremolo throbs and pulses like a sick donkey when required, but can also blend in with the sound on a slow/low sensitivity setting - my Rocktron BIG SURF pedal is now obsolete and I will post it on ebay soon. I will probably keep my two drive pedals to add an extra clean boost (Sexdrive) and low level grit (RC booster) when the future situation asks for it but I honestly did not need/use them at last nights rehearsal. That is a true testament to the amps tones and versatility. This is definitely a low to medium gain amp, but it's the touch sensitivity in which it excels. You stroke the strings:it purrs, you dig in and it growls but never gets harsh. It also has great punch and clarity, but it never sounds flat or sterile - there is always tremendous depth in the tone and the way the notes bloom (Can you tell I like it yet?) For it's tremendous touch-sensitivity, it's different tones, it's depth of tone and the fact that there is no need to use pedals to get sufficient variety in tones, soundlevels and gain it definitely deserves a big fat 10!
I have no hesitation to gig this without a backup - just bring spare fuses and spare valves. Look at the inside of the amp on the pictures on the 65amps website to convince yourself of the bombproof build quality. Only had it a couple of days, so I will not give a mark here yet - I'll come back after the outdoor festival season to comment on it's reliability. I will put the head in a case/gigbag for protection and get a quality padded cover for the cab.
General Comments
I have been playing for thirty years, for guitars see under 'sounds' also play in an acoustic outfit and own a Tricone, A Gibson Sheryl Crow signature acoustic and a Martin Golden Era 00-21. I've had many amps and a large vintage guitar collection - sold all of them and just have 5 quality electrics to rival most of the collectors items I once owned. If it was stolen, I would get another one as soon as it was available - I would probably have to wait a while, because this Amp is certainly to become a future classic for sure and once the word gets round, the waiting list will grow rapidly. I love the looks, the touch sensitivity and the tones that are possible from this simple set-up. Nothing I hate, would love a reverb but that would probably compromise the stellar tones and/or drive up the price a lot. It is not cheap, but given the sheer quality of construction, the great looks and stellar tones - it's well worth the money - give one a try one as soon as you can.
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