Download Example 1
Clean1 - Neck Pickup, Reverb at 11 o'clock, Gain at 2 o'clock
Download Example 2
Clean2 - Bridge Pickup, Reverb at 9 o'clock, Gain at 12 o'clock
Download Example 3
Overdrive3 - Bridge Pickup, Reverb off, Gain at 2 o'clock
All samples recorded with a Gibson SG and a Shure SM57.
Thanks to the battery-powered wireless age and growing popularity of hybrid vehicles, mining of lithium has become a booming worldwide industry. Lithium, the lightest of all metals, is also used in medical equipment, fireworks, nuclear weapons, aircraft, and, at last, battery-powered, tube-equipped guitar amplifiers. Grid 1’s debut amp, the G1, is a revolutionary device. Based out of Vallejo, California, the company hopes to bring good guitar tone to areas unreachable by extension cords. In the G1, one could argue that they’ve started with one of the most difficult challenges—building a loud, battery-powered amp with a tube preamp.

The Big Picture
The G1 is a surprisingly lightweight (40 pounds), two-channel 2x12 combo with a preamp that uses a pair of unusual, mid- 20th century 1U4 portable-radio tubes. The 60-watt, class D digital power section is fed by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that will retain its charge for more four hours. This relatively small, lightweight battery rests in the bottom of the cabinet, nearly invisible, and it can accept anywhere from 90 to 240 volts—which means you could charge it anywhere in the world without hassle. A small LED on the battery changes color to indicate whether it’s charged or charging. The same idea applies to the power jewel light on the front panel.

The standard G1 comes with beige Tolex, brown piping, and tweed grille cloth. The amp looks sharp, though on the unit I tested, the piping was loose on a few cabinet corners. For guitarists who enjoy custom gear, Grid 1 offers a variety of grille cloths, as well as hardwood cabinet upgrades that include beautifully stained maple, elm, bamboo, birch, and mahogany. The amp’s lack of speaker output jacks means you’ll have to do a bit of rewiring to use your favorite extension cabinets. But here’s a handy feature: The G1 includes an effects loop, and its Send jack doubles as a direct out. This allows you to mate the distinctive 1U4 preamp tubes with an external tube power amp of your choice.

The Tones
Volume-wise, the Grid 1 was able to amplify my Gibson SG loud enough for small- to medium-sized venues—and with very little noise. The open-back cabinet comes loaded with two Eminence Red Coat neodymium speakers, and the included two-button footswitch allows you to toggle between the clean and overdrive channels, as well as switch the G1’s analog, solid-state reverb circuit on or off. I was only moderately impressed with the reverb tone, which tends to sound brittle and unnatural. However, each channel features an independent reverb level so you can set up contrasting sounds— like a thick, clean ’verb and a barely wet overdrive—and switch between them.