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Champions of Chime: The EL84 Roundup

Champions of Chime: The EL84 Roundup

Goodsell Super 17 Black Line


Format: 1x12 combo
Watts: 17
Preamp Tubes: Three 12AX7s
Rectifier: GZ34
Controls: Volume, tone, gain, reverb, depth, and speed knobs
Speaker: RG-65
Price: $1,499 street

Richard Goodsell knows how to build great low- to medium-wattage amps, and though he’s made the most waves building unique interpretations of unusual circuits by Watkins, Valco, Supro, and Univox, the Super 17 trades in more familiar vintage-AC15-like tones.

Locke: This sounds a lot like a real vintage AC15. It’s very tight sounding. One of the things that you look for in an EL84 amp is the compression—the way that, when you hit it, it sort of attacks and then clamps onto what you play and blooms like a compressor in the studio would—and this amp is very good at that. With my hollowbody Gibson 330, there’s a lot of contrast between pickups without getting too bright or muddy on either.

The tremolo is a nice footswitchable feature. I only had the depth about halfway up, and it was really deep—there’s quite a sweep on the depth and speed knobs. I don’t use reverb amps very often—and you don’t often see reverb on EL84 amps—but it’s cool to have and you can get a cool surf sound out of it. It also packs a lot of punch for its physical size. It’s a very efficient little amp—a very powerful 17 watts and a good buy.

Derrico: I think what I like most about the Goodsell is the tremolo, it’s really organic sounding. I like how deep it is. Even though I didn’t have the depth all the way up, it was nice. It reminded me of something I could use if I were doing a Norah Jones song. The reverb is really nice and natural, as well. It’s a tiny amp, and it’s really loud for how small and light it is— and it looks killer, too.

Trovato: This small amp has a gain stage and a volume that I tend to push to the maximum. And the gain has to go way up before things really distort, but it sounds really good. I always like to set an amp up for the best clean sound and add any kind of gain or distortion using a pedal, so this amp would work well.

When I turn off the tremolo, I can hear this subtle pulsing through a hum on the amplifier. I think this amp is a little light or small sounding, and might not be quite loud enough or powerful enough to get over a drummer in a live band situation. I think it’s perfect for home recording, though.

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