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65amps London Head
Overall Rating
Submitted: December 31st, 2006
by valvehead-xrhdD
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Sound Quality
I cannot get a bad sound out of this amp. The tone controls all seem to be within usable range. I got the "house special" G12H/Bluebell speaker combo. It delivers classic British tone dripping with even-order harmonics better than any other amp I've played. I play mostly vintage strats, save for a Gibson SG,. EL84s are sweet for a strat player since it doesn't take much voltage to drive the tube, making them VERY resposive. This amp is easily the most articulate amp I've ever played. I play blues, classic rock and some fusion/rootsy stuff. I'm using the VOX side with a Holy Grail and an Analog Man KoT v4 (for lead boost/tone shaping) for blues and it is heaven. I like the Marshall side for heavier work, with Barber Direct Drive SS for leads/boost, and the usual wah/univibe setup. Other distortion pedals just make the amps sound bad. Oh yeah, the Aphex Guitar Exciter increases the even-order harmonics (if you could imagine bettering perfection?) on both channels. I run it last in my signal path. This is the most musical amp I've ever played (others include Budda 18w SD II, Marshall SLP, Carvin XV212, '64 Ampeg RR) hands down. The high end on the VOX side is piano-clear and always rings like a bell - never harsh or brittle. The G12H gives the bottom end a sweet thrust for power chords and classic rock. The strats absolutely sing thru this amp, while the SG delivers a very rounded, creamy distortion that is never farty or sloppy. In fact, the notes seem to sag a bit, then snap and sting like an elastic. I used to swap my 12AX7's for JAN military-spec tubes to get this smoothness. Even after a year of thrashing, the tone is still very tight and snappy. They really nailed the right OT transformers! I've used another 2x12 cab built by Avatar and loaded with G12H/Vintage 30. It's louder and the highs aren't as piano-like, but it is awesome for the heavy sounds. I would not suggest trying anything other than Celetions with this amp since it is designed to work with them for that classic British tone. If there was an 11 for this category, that would be my rating.
No worries there. This piece is built rock-solid. Get an ATA flight case and away you go. I always carry extra valves, especially the EF86, which are hard to get decent quality. I've had it for a year and never had an issue with it.
General Comments
I've been playing for 35+ plus years and have the grey hair to prove it, but thanks to this amp, I'm still "smiling with all teeth" If someone stole it, I post a reward and go buy another one. I was looking for a '63 VOX AC 15 when I found the London, and honestly, the London sounds better. I chose this amp for its incredible clarity and articulation. It makes me change my strings more often simply because it sounds so damn good. It shows up every imperfection, no matter how small. One caveat to my review - I am not a fan of Fender/American tone. The 6L6 tubes sound great clean, but I do not like how they break up (sloppy, harsh, and farty). I have always been an EL34/EL84 player, and the closest I've ever come to solid state was Carvin's Xv212, so I am "biased" to the "British" tone. The amp draws a LOT of attention, from "cool-looking amp, what is it?" to "that sounds incredible, what's in it?" This is a player's amp that is sharp enough to share the stage with the rich and famous. You gotta play it to believe it. If in CA, drop them an e-mail via www.65corp.com If in Austin, head down to Resurrection Guitar to feast your ears on this marvel.
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