65Amps uses a combination of vintage American Allen Bradley carbon composite resistors and modern 1% Mil-spec metal film resistors in their circuitry. The carbon comp resistors are used in the tone path, while the more stable 1% Mil-spec metal film are used in areas that do not affect the tone as heavily. This creates a unusually repeatable and predictable formula that 65Amps says provides the best of vintage tone and modern stability and safety. 65amps purchased over 350,000 vintage Allen Bradley 5% Mil-spec resistors from the military and can build in this fashion for years.
The Smooth switch is labeled with a “+” and “–“ on either side of the switch. In the “+” position, it acts like a boost of some sort and added a nice edge to the sound while increasing the gain. Both positions sound great, and if you’d like a little smoother sound, you can switch to the “-“ position and take some of that edge off. I found this very useful for matching guitars to the Tupelo. In particular, my Strat liked the sound of the “-“ position when using the bridge pickup.
Let’s not forget the tremolo! The tremolo is engaged either with the included footswitch or using the Intensity knob. The trem has a unique sound and a depth that I’ve rarely encountered on an amp. With the Intensity set at full and the Speed at the lowest position, it produced a thick throbbing that was syrupy and gooey. Bringing the speed up and backing down the Intensity took the focus off the effect, resulting in a beautiful swirl and depth that added richness and texture to the tone. The effect was so addictive I found myself leaving it on almost all the time, including soloing. It’s that good.
The Les Paul wasn’t the only guitar that loved the Tupelo. Over the review period I ran a Hamer Korina Special through it with devastating results. The tone was so raw and edgy that it ended up being the star of a track on my upcoming CD. An Ephiphone Sheraton matched nicely with the amp and gave off shades of tones that I hadn’t heard come out of that particular guitar before. As much as I loved the dirty tone, it was the semi-clean, backed-off volume knob sound that blew me away and had me playing for hours. A Richmond Dorchester with Lace Alumitone pickups and a Bigsby produced a glassiness and class, and the combination of the tremolo and a little dip of the Bigsby was right out of a David Lynch film. This could very well be my favorite sounding guitar with the Tupelo for cleans and slide.
The amp’s passive effects loop worked flawlessly with a variety of pedals and effects I ran through it. While I don’t usually use effects loops these days, it did bring up the point that if one is designed well there’s no reason not to use one for time-based or other effects.
The Final Mojo
While a lot of amps these days can do a lot of different tones through channel-switching and FX, the beauty of the Tupelo lies in its seemingly simple design. Even though there are only a few knobs and switches, each one of them serves up a potent range and, most importantly, allows the guitar’s personality to shine through. Throughout the review process, I found sounds in guitars I’ve owned for years that never had been heard before—a truly remarkable feat. With enough power to play at a club or in the studio, coupled with a master voltage circuit to cut down the volume when necessary, I’d say 65Amps really nailed it—again! This one’s a keeper.
portable, versatile, big American tone is what you’re looking for
you need more power (what? You’re playing the Enormodome tonight?)