The triumphant return of a classic bass amp inspired by another classic bass amp.
In the world of boutique bass gear, original Matchless Thunderman amps are the stuff of legend. The 45- and 100-watt models produced in small numbers in the late ’90s have a tone and a removable latching head design influenced by the famous Ampeg B-15 flip-top combos of the ’60s. Engineers and session musicians prize these amps for their rich, velvety studio tone, which requires little tweaking after hitting the console. And while these amps don’t pack the mammoth power of an SVT, gigging players love how they spread the low end evenly throughout the room, creating the effect of a much bigger amp. Unfortunately, originals are as rare as hen’s teeth and often carry a hefty price tag, which makes the reintroduction of the Thunderman all the more enticing.
The new Thunderman is a meticulously hand-assembled head that share some traits with the original 45-watt model. This time around, however, the amp is packaged in a stylish, vinyl-covered head shell, and comes stock with EL34s rather than the original’s 6L6s. (There is no longer a flip-top option.)
A Real Head Case
The Thunderman’s attractive looks, sturdy build, and straightforward controls are textbook lessons in simplicity. The burnt sienna covering (other colors are available) and brightly lit Matchless logo capture attention from across the room. You can really feel the amp’s quality and workmanship when carting it around by its leather handle.
Inside the head shell is a completely point-to-point hand-wired circuit. Two 12AX7 preamp tubes feed into a class-A power section for a total of 45 watts. A 5U4G rectifier tube provides warm, bubbly sag.
The simple controls—response (gain), volume, bass, treble, and brilliance (presence)— may lack the wide-ranging versatility that modern bassists are used to having at their fingertips, but the clean layout makes it a cinch to dial up great tones on the fly. The back panel houses a rotary impedance knob and a series effects loop. There’s also a compression switch—similar to the one on the original Thunderman 45—that engages a solid-state rectifier, tightening low-end response for slaphappy playing styles. You can really feel the quality and workmanship of this small, 55-pound amp when carting it around by its leather handle.
Thunder and Lightning
Wielding a Fender Jazz Bass with the amp running through a 1978 Sunn 2x15 cab, I set the EQ controls flat and the response control at around 9 o’clock. I was greeted by a warm, balanced clean tone with spanky highs. The midrange was very responsive to changes in attack, alleviating my initial concerns about the amp not having a dedicated midrange control. Harder fingerpicking caused the midrange to bloom with a gnarlier and more aggressive edge. Switching to a lighter attack relaxed the mids and eased the focus of the highs, effectively morphing from a classic rock tone to a smoother R & B sound.
The ranges of the Thunderman’s EQ and response controls are quite wide, offering a diverse palette of warm tube tones. The EQ controls are interactive—adjusting one affects the others. Turning up the treble, for example, not only adds highs, but decreases lows. Interactive controls can be frustrating on amps with many EQ knobs, but here there’s not much of a learning curve. I easily dialed up myriad tones ranging from bottom-heavy Jack Bruce-style boom to tight, warm James Jamerson-inspired thump.
Turning the response knob above 3 o’clock offered a bit of grind if I wanted it, but the control was much more effective for loosening or tightening the amp’s overall response. The tone was more focused and the lows carried less when at settings below 11 o’clock, but the sound gained sustain and breadth when I raised the control to 1 o’clock and beyond.
The compression switch is one of the Thunderman’s most useful features. It evens out volume with respect to pick attack. Particularly nice is the fact that it doesn’t completely squash the amp’s dynamics, as outboard bass compressors can do if set improperly. It allowed my sound to rise and fall ever so slightly in response to softer or harder picking, without a trace of unwanted coloration. The trade-off is that the level drops slightly. There are no available adjustments for the function, so you’re stuck with the preset configuration. But thankfully, it’s near-perfect.
The new Thunderman marks the welcome return of one of the most coveted Matchless amps. It captures the tone, feel, and majestic low-end spread that make the originals so remarkable. The tone is to die for, and the amp’s robust build and classy looks make it reliable and eye-catching. The simple EQ layout makes it easy to dial up great tones. The built-in compressor can even out the volume bumps of heavy picking. Bassists looking for maximum power may need to look elsewhere. But if love the warm, gooey tones that only a low-wattage tube amp can provide, the Thunderman is right up your alley.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.