12 beautiful boutique amps
29th Aug 2013 | 14:30
Two-Rock Custom Reverb Signature
Oft-mentioned in the Dumble lineage, this is the Cali brand’s most famous amp. John Mayer and Matt Schofield appreciate their loud, clear, majestic tone.
Mesa/Boogie Lone Star
The original boutique guitar amp brand, Boogie still makes world-leading, no-compromise valve amps. The Lone Star has been a Texas-inspired, do-it-all fave for many years.
Orange Custom Shop 50
Hand-built in England, this is as tonally devastating as it is wonderfully built. All-out rock tones from mild break-up to huge, crunching gains: unique, brilliant and well priced.
Matchless King Cobra
Matchless’s genre-defining DC-30 is the obvious choice, but we also love this. In short, it’s a DC-30’s EF86 channel with reverb and tremolo. Utterly astonishing.
Carr The Bloke
Steve Carr’s amp punches harder than an irate Klitschko. It’s a crunching delight for strong rock and blues-rock, in a distinctly boutique enclosure. Stunning build, too.
Fender '57 Bandmaster
Fender makes amps as meticulously as anyone. This 3x10, 26-watt reissue plugs the gap between a ’57 Deluxe and ’59 Bassman. It’s the sound of Townshend on Who’s Next?.
Bogner Goldfinger 45
Eccentric and enigmatic, you say? The man behind this four- 6V6 chameleon certainly fits the bill! You get two vintage- inspired channels, and a neat approach to effects loops.
Divided By 13 JRT 9/15
Created by Fred Taccone, this offers a mix of EL84s and 6V6s for a superbly capable, mid- power tone machine. Built one at a time in California, seen on pro stages everywhere.
Dr Z Maz 18 JR
You’ll scarcely believe the volume and headroom from two EL84s and ‘18’ watts. Hand-made in Ohio, Z artists include Brad Paisley and bluesman Buddy Whittington.
Jackson Amp Works Atlantic
The latest version of this diminutive tone monster gives you varying options of EL84 and EL34 valves for a huge variety of classic-voiced clean and drive sounds.
Cornell Design Your Own
What’s more boutique than having your own amp made? Brit Denis Cornell offers a custom-spec option on his amps, hand-built in the UK. Clapton likes ’em, after all.
Hughes & Kettner Puretone
You may think the German brand is all about technology. Well, the Puretone is one of the most visceral, stripped-down EL34 rock heads we’ve ever played: true fact.