VIDEO REVIEW: I have been a Marshall guy since… well, there is a picture on Facebook of me at age 17 with a JCM 800 1/2 stack in the background so… awhile. Over the years I have run the gamut of amps. Some were given to me by manufacturers in hopes of me becoming a rock star and others were borrowed, stolen or purchased. OK, two of those are true.
By Larry Hall
For the last five or so years in my gigging rig (Unauthorized Ozzy Tribute show) I have been using 2 Marshall JCM 2000 TSL 100,1 Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier and a Marshall JCM 900 100 watt head with 8 Marshall V 30 4 X 12 Cabs.
A few months ago I heard a buzz (haha, nope no pun intended) about 3RD POWER amps out of Nashville. Saw something about Katy Perry’s guitar player using one, Vince Gill has a couple and also Neil Schon. Checked out the website, and liked what I saw so I contacted the CEO, Jamie Scott, to inquire about trying one out. Jamie emailed me back and told me if I didn’t like it he would give me my money back.
So what the heck? I bought the HLH 100 watt head in white. It showed up, I plugged it in to a Marshall 4 X 12 and was just blown away by the raw power, rich tone, and extreme amount of gain offered. I was able to easily get Beck to Zakk instantly. Was in the unique situation to be able to compare the head to the Boogies and Marshalls as well. Far and away the BEST rock amp I have ever used. (For whatever my humble opinion is worth.)
I also own a VOX AC30, several old Fender Twins and a couple of Fender Devilles. Again, I was able to get even more laid back tones like the Twin and Vox both which offer a nice blues tone similar to the Devilles, as well.
The only down side is that it’s a single channel amp, so you can’t set up a pair of tones you like and switch them.
Some of the cool features it does have is a direct out that actually sounds good,a balanced fx loop, an option switch for “solo boost” and the switch has a control knob right on the front so you can actually decide how much solo boost you want!
Make no mistake, this is a hand wired boutique amp, so it costs a little more than a Marshall JCM 2000 or Mesa Boogie. But only a little more, unlike other high-end handmade amps.
I met Jamie in person at NAMM, where he showed me his new Switchback 3 X 12 cabinet. After a demo, I ordered 4 of these awesome cabs. These cabs are priced in line with Marshall and Boogie 4 X 12s with deeper, richer tone.
Though rectangular in shape, the Switchback 312 utilizes an internal triangular chamber to house three 12-inch Celestion Vintage 30 speakers, attaining the same output volume as typical 4×12 designs in a cabinet that’s 20 percent more compact.
The Switchback 312 also employs 3RD Power’s signature Switchback porting system on the back of the cabinet. A triangular port behind the speaker cluster gives the user a choice of closed or open-back sound, effectively doubling the tonal possibilities of whichever amplifier the cabinet is paired with.
• Proprietary Triangle Speaker Chamber
• Removable Vent Lid
• Recessed Molded Corner Handles
• Removable Casters
• Loaded with (3) Celestion Vintage 30 16 Ohm Speakers