Read the January issue for FREE!
more... VideosGearAmpsTube ComboReviewsEL34Low-WattJune 2009Cornford

Cornford Roadhouse 30 Combo Amp Review

I could not resist the urge to grab a 1959 Les Paul Standard that was lurking nearby and plug it in—I could have played that combination all day. Back with my LP Custom, I experimented with the gain settings, and I found that this control was very active. Most of the higher gain started to come on about three quarters to full on. Lower gain settings yielded a nice sparkling tone similar to a Vox AC30 or 50—great for Strat-type tones. The Roadhouse loves single coils as well as humbuckers, and the Boost control really put it over the top. It’s got a very controllable gain that cleaned up when I lowered the guitar’s volume. This also worked even on maximum gain settings.

This amp is extremely touch-sensitive; the tone controls were my fingers. On some amps, a note picked firmly and then softly produces different volumes. On a good touch-sensitive amp such as this one, it produces a different tone. The same thing occurred when using the Strat, which was a simple American Standard model. Sparkling notch-position tones to heavier Robin Trower-type tones came easily. The power section with the EL34s really had just the right amount of sag to it. It remained tight on the low end for percussive faster passages but was still bluesy enough for soulful Billy Gibbons licks.

A single-button footswitch is provided with the amp. I found this to be very useful, because I could put the master volume on full up and treat the boost like an onboard Tube Screamer, which worked out well. The effects loop is the standard series type. It worked well with most of the pedal effects I tried. If you want to use another preamp, the effects loop can be used as an input for that as well.

The Final Mojo
I found the Cornford Roadhouse 30 combo to be a great amp for those looking for a professional-quality tone without the weight. It’s a small package with a big tone, and it would serve the needs of almost any type of guitarist. Whether it’s blues or screaming, harmonic-laden riffs, this amp seems to do it all very well. It is very pedal-friendly—overdrives, rangemasters and other types of boosts work quite well. 
Buy if...
a reasonably priced, lightweight screamer is what you need.
Skip if...
you need high power and a 4x12 cabinet for your style of music.

MSRP $1499 (combo); $1399 (head) - Cornford Amplification  - -
Comments powered by Disqus