january 2012

Ampeg’s new GVT series, which offers a power range more suited to clubs than Yasgur’s Farm, honors this oft-forgotten part of the company’s legacy with authentic vintage rock tone and styling.

When rock venues began to include bigger arenas and festival grounds in the late ’60s, the clamor for more potent guitar and bass amplification became as deafening as the amps themselves. Few companies skipped a chance to cash in on the big amp movement, and Ampeg, a company that had built well-regarded amps for years, stepped up with its own line of high-decibel bass and guitar amplifiers. The monstrous SVT bass amp packed a then-unprecedented 300 watts of all-tube power, and their 100-watt V series heads (also available in combo form with more modest output under the VT moniker) were adopted by many high-profile performers—most notably the Rolling Stones, who used V series prototypes on their historic (and infamous) 1969 world tour.

Ampeg’s new GVT series, which offers a power range more suited to clubs than Yasgur’s Farm, honors this oft-forgotten part of the company’s legacy with authentic vintage rock tone and styling. And like the V and VT amps of old, they are an interesting option for players looking for something outside of the typical Fender and Marshall spheres. The GVT52-112 reviewed here is a 50-watt (switchable to 25 watts) 1x12 combo that covers a lot of tone territory.

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In the case of Leo Fender and G&L, a 1969 Tri-Sonic R&D prototype covered in 20 years of dust, dirt, and grime.

Some of the best seek-and-find gear stories start somberly by someone passing away and their family and friends having to sort through the deceased’s arachnid-filled attic or overflowing garage. This story has already graced PG’s “Guitar of the Month” [“1965 Fender Jazz,” June 2010]. But what do you find in the most heralded guitar builder’s workshop when the head luthier in the sky comes calling? In the case of Leo Fender and G&L, a 1969 Tri-Sonic R&D prototype covered in 20 years of dust, dirt, and grime.

“It was in ’91, one week after Leo’s funeral, and I was cleaning out Leo’s lab when I found it in a small loft just to the left of the front door of his shop,” recalls Gabriel Currie, a G&L employee at the time who was working in the neck department. “I found the slab body and the original templates dated ‘1969,’ and I showed what I had found to the plant foremen John Rodriquez and John McLaren Jr. I asked if I could keep it and they looked at each other and nodded—it was mine and the first thing I thought was, ‘Shit, I have to somehow finish building it and hear how it sounds’ [laughs].” And that’s exactly what he did.

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Even though it’s based on what’s been one of the company’s biggest hits, this version uses semi-hollow body construction and a Fishman Powerbridge to expand its sonic potential.

Since opening as a custom shop in 1976, Schecter Guitar Research has evolved considerably over the course of its history. While the company may be best known these days for its associations with heavy rock and metal artists, Schecters have found favor with players as diverse—and musically demanding—as the Cure’s Robert Smith and Beck. Schecter isn’t afraid of tinkering with formulas either, and over the years the company has offered everything from sustainers and 10-string instruments to grab the attention of adventurous players.

By that measure, the Hellraiser Solo-6 E/A may look a little conservative on the surface. But even though it’s based on what’s been one of the company’s biggest hits, this version uses semi-hollow body construction and a Fishman Powerbridge to expand its sonic potential.

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