1000 1500

The retro-pop-meets-shredder sum of the Kingbolt's parts—the like of which we don’t see often—is quirky and eccentric without looking goofy.

Since taking flight in 1997, Reverend Guitars has garnered a reputation as a player’s company. With a lineup of instruments that include signature models of artists like country picker Pete Anderson, jazz/blues virtuoso Gil Parris, and avant rocker Reeves Gabrels, Reverend has always focused more on functionality than flash. At NAMM 2013, the Kingbolt was introduced as part of the company’s Bolt-On series, and it targets a heavy-metal/hard-rock market that the company has never really explored. Like most Reverends, though, it’s a solid performer that inhabits a unique place within its target market rather than aping established standard bearers.

Read MoreShow less

The GS30C combo from Albion is targeted to the guitarist looking for a boutique amp that bridges the American/British tone divide, but may not have the budget for one.

Apart from having one of the most rock ’n’ roll names on the planet, Steve Grindrod is best known for his impressive curriculum vitae as an amp builder, with almost four decades spent in R&D at Marshall and Vox. In 2008, he was snapped up by the Wharfedale company, which launched Albion in 2009. Albion’s first amps were essentially tweaked Wharfedales, but Grindrod’s own designs began emerging not long thereafter.

The latest of these is the Gulfstream series, a Chinese-built line of 6V6-driven amps dressed in boutique-style livery and designed to deliver American/Brit channel-switching features at a value price. The Gulfstream comes in 15- and 30-watt versions and can be purchased as a head or combo. For this test I checked out the 2x12 GS30C combo.

Read MoreShow less