The Grease Monkey is full of original tones with a classic rock base.
|Download Example 1|
Gibson Firebird (both pickups). Grease Monkey settings: Bass 5 o'clock, Treble 2 o'clock, Volume 9 o'clock, Shape #2, Cut from 6 o'clock, then 2 o'clock, then off.
|Download Example 2|
Ibanez RGA42. Grease Monkey settings: Cut off, Bass 2 o'clock, Treble 3 o'clock, Volume 1 o'clock, Shape #3
|Download Example 3|
Gibson Firebird (bridge pup). Grease Monkey settings: Cut 11 o'clock, Bass 2 o'clock, Treble 5 o'clock, Volume 11 o'clock, Shape 1, 2 and 3.
|Download Example 4|
Fender Strat (neck pup). Grease Monkey Settings: (first) Cut 3 o'clock, Bass 2 o'clock, Treble 3 o'clock, Volume 9 o'clock, Shape #2. (then) Cut 3 o'clock, Bass 1 o'clock, Treble 2 o'clock, Volume 12 o'clock, Shape #3.
|Download Example 5|
Fender Strat, neck then bridge pickup. Gradually increasing volume on guitar. Grease Monkey Settings: Cut 12 o'clock, Bass 12 o'clock, Treble 12 o'clock, Volume 10 o'clock, Shape #2.
|Download Example 6|
Gibson Firebird (bridge pup). Gradually increasing volume on guitar. Grease Monkey Settings: Cut 2 o'clock, Bass 2 o'clock, Treble 3 o'clock, Volume 11 o'clock, Shape #3.
|All clips recorded through a Marshall 1960B Cabinet, Shure 57 Microphone, Digidesign Pro Tools|
Nuts, Bolts and Monkeys
The Grease Monkey amplifier is designed for higher gain, and is built for players who want an aggressive sound while retaining dynamic range and extreme touch sensitivity. It is a 30-watt amplifier with four EL84 tubes in the power section and three 12AX7 tubes for the preamp. It is hand-built, with custom-wound transformers and hand-wired military-spec components. It also has selectable preamp gain response, which is a signature feature that allows for high or low gain settings at the flip of a switch. It is a non-master volume amp with zero negative feedback.
The amp has a unique, retro kind of look and features a powder-coated aluminum chassis, a control panel with chickenhead knobs, and braided silver piping. The black tolex covering is standard, although other colors are available by request so you can customize the look to your liking.
The front panel is simple and straightforward. Besides the power and standby switches, there are controls for Bass, Treble and Volume, which controls the loudness and gain of the preamp. There are a couple of cool tone-shaping controls on the amp that expand the variety of tones even further. The first is a Cut control that varies the presence in the power amp section, similar to what is found on the Vox AC30. It can also be switched out of circuit by turning the knob counter-clockwise. Also, a unique Shape function lets you select either Bright input, Normal input or Low input.
The Grease Monkey’s simple back panel consists of an AC input, fuse and three speaker outputs—one 16ohm jack and two 8-ohm jacks. An Input Gain switch lets you toggle from high or low gain.
So enough of the specs—let’s get down to what you really want to know. How does this amp sound? Well, in one word: massive. The Grease Monkey should really be called King Kong! I wasted no time in plugging a Les Paul in and powering it up, and this thing can get loud. Using humbuckers with the high gain channel, pure rock tone poured out of the speakers. In the live room of my studio, I had every snare drum in the room rattling, as well as some of the ceiling tiles! Guitarists who want to stay married or remain in good terms with their neighbors may want to use an attenuator with the Grease Monkey.
The chords that were ringing out were clear, tight and powerful. The highs never got too piercing or brittle. I did notice that the bass control also cuts the low-mids from the tone, but I was able to dial in a nicely balanced tone rather quickly.
The Grease Monkey has excellent dynamics and it’s amazing how nicely it cleans up when rolling off the guitar’s volume. With some amps getting a completely clean tone this way can be quite difficult, but it wasn’t a problem at all with the Grease Monkey. With the consistent volume and plenty of clean headroom, you can go from clean to dirty just by adjusting the volume on your guitar. That’s a definite plus for those guitarists who don’t want to bother with a footswitch or other pedals. In a live situation, you’d be able to control your clean and dirty tones from any spot on stage by just using your guitar’s controls.
The Shape control offers three distinct tones. I found that it was easier to initially have a clean sound on the amp to fully understand what the three shapes can do. You can clearly hear the difference between bright, normal and low inputs. Between the three shapes, there is a wide variety of tone that is suitable for many styles of guitar playing.
The Grease Monkey definitely has multiple personalities, and it can sound like a different amp entirely when switching from a Les Paul to a Strat. You can really take advantage of the amp’s Input Gain switch while swapping out guitars. The low gain setting felt better with my Strat, and I was able to get some really nice bluesy tones out of it. My favorite setting was with the Strat’s neck pickup and shape #2 on the amp.
The Final Mojo
Before trying out this amp, I heard it described as a cross between a Vox and a Marshall. It may have tones similar to those amps, but a Vox AC30 can’t roar like the Grease Monkey and a Marshall won’t clean up as nicely as this amp does. Whether you’re playing with a clean or dirty sound, there are plenty of warm overtones and nice harmonics coming out of the Grease Monkey.
It’s always nice to have tonal options in an amp. With the Cut control, two gain structures, three voicings in the Shape control as well as different combinations of volume and pickups on the guitar, you have plenty of tonal options to choose from. With the amp’s extreme touch sensitivity and dynamic range, 3 Monkeys have created a tonal monster.
you’re looking for an amp with a variety of tones and voicings.
you don’t need an amp with a lot of gain, or if you’re afraid of monkeys.
MSRP $2250 - 3 Monkeys Amps - 3monkeysamps.com
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Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.