Journal: News & Comment

Monday, November 22, 2004
# 1:00:00 AM:


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NOTE: I have combined this entry and others into a longer article about guitar tone.

Sebastien, the guitarist in my band, has been playing the same Matchless DC-30 combo guitar amplifier for more than 10 years (it's on the left in this photo from 2002, and this one from 1994). It was extremely expensive when he bought it new—worth more than any car any of us had back in those poor days—but the investment was worth it.

He's never replaced the vaccum tubes that power the amp. The electrical cord connector has been wobbly for years. The amp has been shipped to Australia and back. After that, it was stolen and then found a year later. These days, it travels from storage to show and back again, over and over, with no maintenance whatsoever. And it continues to sound absolutely amazing.

Here's why it puts up with the abuse: Matchless amps are built like tanks, with the best possible components and classic, hand-wired designs. Other than the impossible-to-find and even more expensive Dumble amps used by the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Carlos Santana, I've never heard a better tone or seen more rugged performance from a guitar rig. Many others agree.


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