Once you’ve spent time hauling a Twin or a 4x12 cab up a narrow flight of stairs or down into a basement club, it’s easy to appreciate the value of a cleverly designed, portable amp rig. The Stomp-Head is part amp, part pedalboard, but mostly a handy way to cut down on chiropractor bills. At its core, the Stomp-Head is a 3-channel, 90-watt (switchable to 40 watts) head that offers nearly any type of tone control you can imagine. Each channel offers independent volume and gain knobs along with a 3-band EQ. Add in bright/dark switches, a boost control, and a noise gate, and it’s clear the Taurus offers a complete amplification package.

Thanks to the glowing 12AX7 tube on the front panel, the headroom on the clean channel was impressive, but lacked that warm round punch I’ve found in more traditional amps. The most useful application of the clean channel was in mix mode, where all three channels are active and you blend their sound with their respective volume controls. I found channel 2 perfect for low-to-medium gain classic rock jams—from the Stones to the James Gang, it’s all there. The majority of gain lives over on channel 3, where a handy midrange switch allows you to quickly and accurately tune the mids to achieve everything from old-school Metallica rhythms to more modern lead sounds. If you don’t rely on too many pedals and want to get a wealth of rock tones, dig into the Stomp-Head.

Test gear: Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul Custom, 65Amps 2x12 cab


Extremely convenient. Punchy classic-rock sounds.

Anemic clean channel. A bit of a learning curve.

$1,299 street

Taurus Amplification, Stomp-Head 5.CE


Ease of Use: