Trash or Treasure: Peavey Blues Classic
This all-tube 15" combo from the mid-’90s was produced for just a couple years, but helped develop an amp series that lives on.
I bought this Peavey amp back in the 1990s as a more affordable version of a Fender. (Let’s face it, I was broke.) Doing some quick internet research tells me Peavey still makes amplifiers, specifically the Classic Series, but I can’t really find anything about my Blues Classic. Can you tell me anything about it and what it’s worth today?
Chad in South Carolina
Thanks for the question! I remember those days and the always difficult choice of trying to afford decent equipment or pay the bills. The good news is you happened to find an amp that was a relatively good bargain then, and still is today. Yes, you are correct that Peavey still produces the Classic Series, but let’s go back a bit to explore Peavey’s history and how your amp came about.
Hartley Peavey grew up in Meridian, Mississippi, and after spending time in his father’s music store, he began building his own guitar amplifiers while in high school. In 1965, Peavey decided to go into business himself and founded Peavey Electronics in his parents’ basement. He initially only built PA systems, but after rapid company growth, Peavey began building guitar and bass amplifiers in the 1970s.
Circa 1973, Peavey developed a line of Fender narrow-panel tweed-inspired amps, appropriately called the Vintage Series. These amps utilized 6L6 power tubes and relatively obscure 6C10 preamp tubes. The Vintage Series eventually evolved into what we now know as the Classic Series, with most of the amps utilizing traditional 12AX7 preamp tubes and EL84 power tubes. This is somewhat of an unusual combination, however, since it uses both American (12AX7) and British (EL84) tubes to make a unique sound. Think Fender meeting Vox.
Your Blues Classic has 50 watts output, a single 15"speaker, and the American/British tube combination of three 12AX7s and four EL84s. Italso has two channels, spring reverb, a master volume control, and an effects loop. While there is no directrelative of this amp in Fender’s lineup, it is somewhat similar to an early Bandmaster, Bassman, or a mid-’50s Pro, which all utilized a 15"speaker. Keep in mind that many blues/jazz players choose 15"speakers as they tend to not lose the treble/high-end tones, so it makes sense this amp was coined the Blues Classic.
You don’t see these amps very often, mainly because the Blues Classic was only produced in 1994 and 1995. That said, there are a lot of different Classic Series models out there. The most common/popular model is probably the Classic 30, which has 30 watts output and a 12"speaker, and is similar to a Fender Deluxe. Other models in the series include the Classic 20, Classic 50, Classic 100, and Delta Blues, and all are wrapped with tweed-style covering to project that 1950s look and music style.
When Peavey discontinued the Blues Classic in 1995, it retailed for $800, but you could probably have bought it brand new for about $650 with standard discounts. It’s worth between $325 and $400 in excellent condition today. It may seemlike the amp hasn’t held its value very well, but the reality is that the value hasn’t changed much in nearly 25 years. (The used value of this amp in the mid-1990s was probably between $325 and $400, too.) Most Peavey Classic Series amps are still very affordable today, including the models that were discontinued many years ago. And from what I’ve heard and read, these amps are generally favorably reviewed. Maybe that means it’s a hidden gem? I’m not sure, but it’s reassuring to me that there are still some legitimate deals out there.
Hartley Peavey continues as the CEO at Peavey, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2015. The company still offers a full line of guitars, amplifiers, and PA equipment, and continues to innovate within the industry. Like many other guitar and amp manufacturers, Peavey now outsources most of their production overseas, but their headquarters remain in Mississippi.