A handwired Harvard post-graduate.
Terrific tweed-style tones. Bargain price for a good handwired amp.
Trem circuit produces pops/clicks at higher depth settings.
$1,163 street (as reviewed with Weber alnico 12A125A speaker)
Winfield Amps Tremor
Ease of Use:
The Tremor is a 12-watt combo from Arizona amp builder Winfield Thomas. It’s a near-clone of the Fender Harvard, a dual-6V6 tube model produced from 1955 through the end of the decade. Or maybe it’s more accurate to call it a tweed Vibrolux clone. That amp was simply a Harvard with a different preamp tube, plus the tremolo circuit that the new part permitted.
A couple of things about the Harvard: Its most famous user is soul session titan Steve Cropper. If there’s such a thing as a “sound of Stax” amp, the Harvard is it. Still, the amp was never especially popular, occupying an awkward middle tier between Fender’s entry level and pro models. It departed from its cathode-biased contemporaries with a fix-biased scheme—a design choice that tends to provide a little extra headroom and stouter lows.
Bigger and Browner
The Tremor’s main deviations from the original design are size upgrades: It has a larger output transformer (a 40-watt Weber) and an upscale 12" Weber 12A125 speaker in lieu of the original’s 10" Jensen. (Other 1x12 options include a Weber Blue Dog or Eminence Legend 1258, or a 1x10 combo with a Weber Blue Pup or a Legend 1058.) Cosmetically, it’s a tweed in brownface clothing. And the vinyl, by the way, is attractive and expertly applied. But note that the Tremor’s vibrato circuit is tweed-style, not the dual-tube “harmonic tremolo” of some Fender brownface models.
But the Tremor is most remarkable for the ways it cleaves to Fender tradition. This amp is truly made the old-fashioned way. Components are handwired on old-school grommet board. The assembly and wiring seem solid. Aside from an internally accessible bias-adjust pot and modern plastic tube sockets, this could almost pass for a late-1950s build. The same goes for the light, resonant solid pine cabinet.
Present and Accounted For
I recorded the first audio clip immediately after unboxing the amp and warming the tubes. I used my “Don’t make me come over there!” test: I maxed the amp volume, parked the single treble-cut tone control at noon, and sat across the room, controlling tones from the guitar (a DIY semi-hollowbody with humbucking TV Jones Filter’Tron pickups). As you’d expect from a tweed-style amp, the dynamic response is superb. You could play an entire gig with the amp set this way, regulating distortion from your guitar’s volume control.
Speaking of gigs: You’d probably need to mic this amp for all but low-volume performances. Still, the Tremor is more assertive than many amps its size. Tones are ultra-present, with crisp transients, lovely natural compression, and airy resonance. Between the fixed-bias design and the bold alnico Weber speaker in our test combo, the amp dispenses startlingly powerful lows. You hear some of that in the second audio clip, which showcases various amp settings.
More Shout, Less Screech
The bias and speaker design choices also affect the most controversial aspect of tweed amps: their high-volume performance. Whenever I review a tweed-style amp, some friendly reader inevitably points out how my high-gain clips sound like crap. Crap is in the ear of the beholder, of course. And with most tweed-derived designs, you shouldn’t expect creamy high-gain distortion. Think jagged Neil Young.
Here, though, the modest extra headroom and full-bodied speaker provide stouter, less fizzy high-gain tones. This isn’t, to use that popular and annoying phrase, “a clean platform for effects.” It’s pretty much the opposite. But players who a) love the presence and supreme dynamic response of tweed designs, but b) flinch at their potentially shrill high-gain tones may find the Tremor a satisfying compromise. My third and final clip adds effects: Plate reverb to soften the amp’s ultra-present attack, and a hot germanium booster at an aggressive setting. The note definition is excellent, considering how hard I’m slamming the amp’s front end.
The Tremor’s core tremolo sound (which is activated by the classy included foot pedal) is quintessential tweed—a beautiful thing! (The phrase at the start of the second audio clip is a good example.) That said, our review unit exhibited some issues with the trem rate and depth controls. While the depth pot sounds fab in the first third of its range, settings around 10 o’clock produced “beating”—audible popping/clicking speaker noises. The phenomenon was even more noticeable at higher depth settings. Is this a deal-breaker? Listen carefully on headphones and decide for yourself. (Responding to this point, Thomas says the tremolo was designed for smooth, click-free response, so it’s possible the clicking sound we observed was an anomaly induced by rough handling in transit.)
The Tremor captures a classic tweed tone while adding a touch of extra headroom and frequency range that even tweed traditionalists are likely to dig. It’s a fine recording amp, with crisply etched tones that’ll suit many mixes. It’s easy to feel like Steve Cropper at a 1960s soul session whenever you play slow arpeggios or strike a bright backbeat chord.
The ranges of the trem’s rate and depth controls are problematic for me, so interpret my “tones,” “build/design” and “value” ratings of 4 accordingly. (If you plan to use the trem only at modest settings, upgrade those numbers to 5. If you want deep trem, downgrade them to 3.) Also, this is an excellent price for a great-sounding handwired amp, and you can lower the cost further if you opt for a less pricy speaker or the $775 head-only model.
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Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
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- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
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.