Suhr Hombre Review
Brownface Deluxe tones and beautiful bubbling tremolo distinguish this light but loud gigging and studio machine.
0:00 - Bright channel Vol 4 Tone 5, Telecaster bridge pickup
0:16 - Bright channel Vol 4 Tone 5, tremolo Speed 4 Intensity 7, Telecaster middle position
0:43 - Bright Channel Vol 7 Tone 7, Les Paul bridge pickup
0:58 – Same, Les Paul neck pickup.
A relatively accurate sonic replica of the early-’60s brownface Deluxe. Well built. Packed with dynamic and usable tones, and easily able to tackle 21st century gigs and studio work.
Some players will think it’s small and limited for the price.
Ease of Use:
While countless guitarists worship Fender’s tweed Deluxe and blackface Deluxe Reverb—the former for its gnarly, cranked-up overdrive, the latter for its versatile desert-island-amp capabilities—many knowing tonesmiths favor the model that marked the transition between them: the 6G3 brownface Deluxe of 1961-’63. Recognition of the amp’s club and studio capabilities drove the cost of original examples sky-high in recent years, but several manufacturers have filled the supply-and-demand gap with quality homages to the type.
Welcome the Suhr Hombre, the latest effort to scratch our brownface-Deluxe itch. It’s a 20-watt 1x12 combo for anyone who appreciates the original’s ability to bridge tweed and blackface eras. There’s more grind, and raw rock ‘n’ roll attitude than a blackface, but more headroom, low-end mass and volume than a tweed—a mix many players will find near perfect.
Externally, the amp stays true to 6G3 Deluxe styling and layout, with a solid-pine cabinet that measures approximately 21"x17"x9.5", light brown vinyl and wheat-colored grille cloth, and a dark brown control panel with brown cupcake knobs.
The control complement is simple and elegant. There are three-pairs of dials: volume and tone for the normal channel, volume and tone for the bright channel, and tremolo speed and intensity for the bias-modulated tremolo circuit that works on both channels. Around back, you’ll find a single power switch—there’s no standby—and a 1/4" jack for the included tremolo on/off footswitch.
It all governs a circuit that marries a tweed-holdover preamp stage (with a simple, independent treble-bleed tone network) to a very Marshall-like output and power section with a long-tailed-pair phase inverter and fixed-bias output stage. Together, they work to make the Hombre feel raw at the front end, but tight and firm through the power and output section—which keeps high volume tones from collapsing into a compressed mess. More focused output is aided further by a big, efficient 5AR4 rectifier tube. Three 12AX7s provide preamp and tremolo duties, and the 20 watts of output is, of course, delivered by a pair of 6V6GTs.
The Hombre’s design uses hefty hex bolts set into cup washers to mount the chassis to the top of the cab via clinch-style captive nuts, rather than the thinner bolts and chassis straps of the original. A sturdier vinyl strap handle is also employed. The circuit itself stays largely true to the 6G3 schematic, but is rendered across a military-grade printed circuit board with two-ounce copper traces and plated through-holes that are hand-soldered with quality discrete components, including Mallory signal capacitors and carbon-film resistors. Most of the tube sockets are soldered directly to this board, although the 6V6s have their own mini PCB carrying related components.
The speaker is a single 12" Celestion V-Type. This British-voiced unit might seem an unusual choice for a vintage-American-voiced amp, but the 70-watt speaker is known for its firm, well-balanced response. Altogether, the combo weighs in at around 35 pounds, which is a bonus for players craving lighter load ins.
Tested with a 1957 Fender Telecaster and a Les Paul-like Nik Huber Orca ’59, the Hombre sounds a lot like an original brownface Deluxe. And if anything, the Suhr has a little more punch and clarity. Some of these attributes are down to the fact that the Suhr is new, with freshly matched components and a more balanced and efficient speaker. But the recipe makes the Hombre a powerful performer with versatility that belies the simple control interface.
Most players rave about the sound of a cranked brownface Deluxe, which delivers a cool “mini-Marshall” approximation at manageable volumes. But long before you crank it up, the Hombre exudes impressively beefy, crisp, dynamic clean tones that bring the Telecaster and Huber alive. There’s real thickness to the voice, but with crystalline shimmer on top and midrange punch, without sounding hyped-up. The response is taut and immediate enough for low-string twang and speedy country picking on the Telecaster, but it’s never harsh or strident in the way an old blackface Fender can be. Add the tremolo—which has a round, warm throb that is utterly delectable—to taste and you’re in roots-rock heaven.
At these levels, the Hombre also handles overdrive pedals gracefully (I used a Tsakalis Six and JHS Angry Charlie ) and has a way of making them sound like an integral part of the circuit. A lot of players are likely to gig this amp with exactly this kind of setup, and with the right overdrive in the mix you can get a raft of sounds via just a single pedal and your guitar’s volume control.
But if you want to forego overdrive, crank the Hombre’s volume controls to about 12 o’clock with the Huber, or 1 o’clock with the lower-output Telecaster, and the amp exudes a chunky, thick, slightly gnarly au naturel overdrive—the kind of sound that makes you want to dig in and play all day. You should keep in mind that this is a loud 20-watt combo by the time you get it roaring. Even the upper range of the clean tones might rile the neighbors. Will it compete with a drummer? Yes!
If you’re dying for the vintage bark and roar of the original 6G3 combo with new-amp reliability, the Suhr Hombre delivers. It’s a portable, adaptable, grab-and-go machine that can span many styles from clean-toned indie to raucous roots rock. It sounds rich, robust, and sparkling—particularly with the beautiful bias tremolo in the mix. But for most players, the real joy is that there is nothing superfluous to get in the way of just firing up and playing.
Watch the First Look: