Paul Sanders’ compact and excellent pedal platform delivers much more than mere headroom. It also sounds awesome, all by itself.

Gibson 1958 Les Paul Reissue
0:00 – amp set Vol 45%, Tone 60%, Master 40% (edge of breakup) - voicing switch: Lean; neck pickup
0:11 – as above, bridge pickup
0:22 – as above, but voicing switch changed to Thick.
0:32 – as above, Xotic BB Preamp switched on
0:49 – pedal off
0:52 – Gas FX Drive Thru (low-gain overdrive) switched on
1:08 – switch to neck pickup
1:22 – guitar clean
1:26 – JHS Angry Charlie distortion pedal switched on, bridge pickup
2:02 – Amp re-set for more clean headroom: Volume 30%, Tone 50%, Master 60%, voicing: Thick; first neck pickup, then bridge pickup.

Working in a suburb north of Atlanta, Nolatone’s founder and chief builder Paul Sanders is a Naval Aviation-trained technician who’s crafted boutique tube amp creations since the early ’00s. Previous offerings aimed squarely at the Fender, Vox, and Marshall camps, albeit with plenty of Sanders’ clever design twists. But the Club Master explores new territory. It’s much simpler than most of his amps. It’s also designed from the ground up to deliver an affirmative answer to that ever-more-popular question: “Does it take pedals well?”

Master Plan
Nolatone’s 1x12 combo generates 16 watts from a pair of cathode-biased 6V6GT output tubes. There’s a pair of ECC832s (aka 12AX7s) for preamp and phase inverter duties—all JJs—and a solid-state rectifier plug that can be replaced by an octal tube rectifier if a little more sag is desired. The control panel is simple, with knobs for volume, tone, and master, plus a lean/fat voicing switch. The cabinet is made from solid pine and measures 18" x 16", with a front face that slants back from a bottom depth of 11" to a top depth of 10". Stylishly retro, it has a subtle widow’s peak at the top of the TV-front-style panel, two-tone bronco-and-black vinyl, and a cane grille cloth that conceals a 12" Warehouse Retro 30 speaker. It’s pretty easy to carry, at about 35 pounds.

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