Amp taste-tests, vol. ?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by RoscoeElegante, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

    Feb 19, 2015
    Hey, all. I hope this finds your thanks-agiving and loved ones well.

    So I'm in Chicago visiting eldest daughter, with teen sons in happy tow. (Despite this city's violence woes, it is SUCH a great place!) Mecca'd to Chicago Music Exchange for, I think, the fourth time in total, second time this year. The crowd there was a mild one, so I had quick entry to a booth to check some stuff out. I focused on three, using a Nash T-52 Medium Relic w/ Bigsby. No pedals.
    1. A true '65 BF Deluxe (not a DR, just the Deluxe version).
    2. A brand-new Tonemaster Super Reverb.
    3. A Carr Sportsman.
    Granted, there's no room-bloom there. The poor amps can't really breathe. Can't tell what the speakers' conditions are, etc. And I was so eager to play I didn't see if the Deluxe had an original or replacement speaker, etc. So this is inherently partial/skewed. That said,

    The Deluxe: A bit 60hz noisy/buzzy, but...glorious. Really ringing, in a singing, silver-bells way. Good sweeps on the controls, and very even across the notes/frequencies. I found the non-vibrato side quite a bit more oomphy. I got near my hearing's tolerance limit and sure enough, there was some handsome hair there.

    The TM SR: Stepped up the attentuation scale from 5, to 12, to the full 22, skipping the 1. At first, I was blown away. Rich, deep, wide, even. I heard myself say "Wow!" several times. Then...there was a tameness there that was stiff/new speakers, or some inherent over-evenness of the circuit, or both going on. It didn't have that wild animal under slippable control feel that even the modest Deluxe did. Maybe if I could've turned it up louder--I got to about 4, I think, at 22w--it would have opened up. Maybe the new speakers just needed breaking in. But it was pretty meh after a while, though its reverb was very nice for a non-tube thing. And, of course, its portability relative to a tube-driven version would be appealing if one were gigging it around. So this one I have to say could still impress me--and much leaves my itch to play a really rich and roaring Super Reverb unscratched, as that's something I've yet to do.

    Most impressive was the Carr. I said things stronger than "Wow!" when I got this thing going. A very versatile amp, too, with a really rich sweep in all its dials, and a very useful master volume. Just velvety as could be, with exceptionally dimensional mids, and it could twang or burn if you wanted that. I was amazed that a relatively wee amp could sound so big in so cramped a space. Very impressed!

    Now about the Nash. Kinda meh there, too. Newish strings on there, so I can't assume that it going out of tune pretty easily if I more than brushed the Bigsby meant much. But I was surprised that the bridge pickup was so spikey, with relatively little musicality. The neck pickup, though, was excellent. Round and rich, and very sensitive to where my attack hand was. The middle setting was its sweet spot. Sounded great with both pickups engaged. The neck was very good in terms of its shape, but almost too "worn" in that the scuffed off finish actually made it more rough than smooth. It would definitely need some steel wool if it came home with me. Good frets, decent tuners, good sweep on the controls, chunk-o'-tree feel kinda comforting. I'm a sucker for a light-to-moderate relic, as a guitar seeming beat-up makes me feel invited to dig in. But with its Bigsby/strings combination more trouble than fun, that Bigbsby much felt in the way.

    As always, the CME staff was just right. Helpful if you needed them, and let you experiment and wander if that's what you wanted to do. I saw considerably less vintage stuff this time than I did before the problem of which we shan't speak, but newly/recently made stuff seemed very plentiful. As always also, a very pleasant crowd there, and its Roscoe Village neighborhood is sweet, safe fun.

    So I'll be back, and I'll try to be more systematic next time in these uselessly subjective, too-small-a-data-pool accounts.
    JL_LI, uriah1, middy and 2 others like this.
  2. Mudder

    Mudder TDPRI Member

    Dec 16, 2007
    St Helens, Or
    Sounds like good fun. Carr makes a terrific amp.
    RoscoeElegante likes this.
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