65 Amps London
Format: 2x12 combo
Preamp Tubes: Two 12AX7s,
Trem Channel: Hi/lo inputs
with speed, intensity, tone, and
Colour Channel: Hi/lo
inputs with color, tone, bump, and
Master Controls: Cut control
Speakers: Celestion Alnico Blue
and Celestion G12H
Price: $3,295 (Also available as a
head for $2,695 street, or as a 1x12
combo for $3,195 street.)
Though 65 Amps hasn’t been around as long
as some of the brands in this roundup, since
founding the company in 2002 Dan Boul has
built an enviable roster of guitarists who play his
gear on the stage and in the studio—players
such as Keith Urban, Peter Frampton, and Rich
Robinson. The London and its formidable combination
of EL84-driven Vox- and Marshall-like
tones is one of the company’s most popular rigs.
Locke: This is a great amplifier. I could
do a gig with no pedalboard with this amp.
It’s got two channels—the first sounds like
an old 18-watt Marshall to me, the second
channel sounds more Vox-y. Both channels
are very touch sensitive, very responsive
to pickup and volume-knob changes. The
tremolo is very good, it’s deep but not
mushy. The footswitch has a great layout—
if you’re playing in the first channel, it
controls the booster. So instead of bringing
a boost or an overdrive pedal with you to
a gig, you can use this to get the gain you
need for lead playing.
It would be nice if they [made] a footswitch
where you can go between both
channels and the booster and the tremolo.
The amp’s tone is really robust, really
rich, with really good note separation and
clarity. You could go from playing regular
rock things to more complex chords—major
7ths and [other] things—and it never gets
mushy. It’s clear, it’s [got] good volume …
it’s loud, but it wasn’t ever painful or harsh.
You could do anything with an amp like
this—play whatever guitar you want, dial it in
and record or play a gig for anything from rock
to pop to blues. The 2x12 setup is great—a
Celestion Blue and a 30-watt Greenback,
which is great for recording because you mic
each side and you record them individually.
One thing that’s frustrating to see is
when an amp is stacked with the whole
kitchen sink in there—with reverb and
tremolo and boosters and switches—but it
only has maybe one or two really good, useful
tones in it. But everything here is really
useful—these are things you’ll actually use
in the studio or live.
Derrico: I really dig this amp. I
like the Colour channel and how you can
brighten it up and make it thin and sort of
brittle or warm it up. The second channel
sounds very Vox-like—good for Brit rock
’n’ roll and old-school rock ’n’ roll.
The tremolo’s killer, though it does take
a second to appear when you switch it on.
In a vibe-y sort of song, that’d be cool, but
if I want to change scenes in a song really
quickly, I want to turn the tremolo on and
have it be right there. Other than that, I
really dig the way it looks—the retro, old-school
grille is sexy. I think the chicks are
gonna dig it.
Trovato: I think this is an outstanding
amplifier. And it’s got all the ingredients
to sound great in several different
styles. I’d set it clean and then add gain
stages with external pedals, but it can do a
great distortion tone on its own. There’s a
really Vox-y channel and the other is really
Marshall-like, for lack of better words. It’s
heavy—hoo! So be prepared for that.
It has a great tremolo, and I really like
that when you use the footswitch for the
tremolo the effect comes in gradually, so it’s
not startling. It’s also a very defined tremolo—
it has a very wide spectrum of intensity.
The other thing I really like is that
everything is easily visible onstage. When
you walk back to the amplifier and look
at the controls, it’s easy to read. Once you
get used to the controls, there are a lot of
options, so you’ll have to take some time
to figure out what everything does. But,
that said, if you just go turn it on, it sounds
really good right off the bat.