Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On the Board- Epiphone Blues Custom 30

A couple months ago, I had a revelation. I decided, fairly suddenly one day that it was time for a new sound. The 1964 Fender Bassman that I had been rocking for a couple years was a great head- a GREAT head- one of the best I’ve ever owned, but suffice it to say that was trying to squeeze blood out of a rock in terms of tone. Our good buddy Tone Freq suggested that I have a go with one of his favorite amps, the Epiphone Blues Custom 30. In all the years I’ve known the guy, I’ve known him to be wrong about only two things: 1. George Clooney being the best Batman and 2. Cheesecake not being a desert island food… ok ok, to be honest, I’m not sure he really believes either of these things. In fact, He probably hated Clooney as Batman and I’m sure he digs cheesecake. That having been said, this can only lead us to one conclusion- Tone Freq is never wrong. The Blues Custom 30 proves this- he suggested it, I tried it and SCHWING… You get the idea.

First, I would point out the topical coolness of the Blues Custom 30: 30 watts of all-tube, two channel, class AB, vibe. It has a fantastic retro-inspired look that just screams “hip” (if an amp can scream such a thing). These are all fairly obvious features up-front. The killer look is not the only thing that sets this puppy apart from the rest of the pack though. One of the most unique features of the BC-30 is the Switchable output. Plug it in and feel free to switch between 30 watts RMS in pentode class AB, and 15 watts RMS in triode class A- Very nice. Speaking of output, another interesting touch is the multiple speaker outs that range from 4-16 OHMS. This allows for placement of attenuators or alternative speaker cabinets and adds a huge element of flexibility. Another way the BC-30 can play the versatility card is rather obvious- two channels. The first channel’s tone is going to range between sparkling clean tones and gently subtle overdrives (when it’s feeling frisky). The second channel is where you gain-heads will want to spend most of your time. Using various gain, drive and volume controls, it’s possible to pull more cool tones out of this thing then you can imagine. Steady, fat rhythms meld with searing punchy lead tones on a channel that could potentially be its own amp all together.

Epiphone is no stranger to quality. Throughout its history, the company has made it a point to put quality first. Internal features such as DC voltage filaments on the preamp tubes for low-noise operation, genuine tube rectification from a 5AR5, for a dynamic, responsive playing feel and tube-powered, transformer-driven genuine spring reverb prove that the quality is second to none. On top of that- this thing is quite heavy, which usually alludes to good quality (in my book at least). At the end of the day though, internal components don’t mean much if you can’t really hear those components at work, right? Well, Epi has this covered too. They partnered with Eminence, world renowned speaker maker, to come up with “The Lady Luck”, a proprietary 12” speaker exclusive to the Blues Custom 30. It’s a solid speaker and is very well balanced and sounds fantastic.
I've even heard tale that people try to special order these separately, but it cannot be done!

The long and the short of it is this- If you need an amp that will perform when you need it to, look great and above all-
sound awesome, look no further. Anyone who's into combos will undoubtedly agree that this one is a MUST try... nay- a MUST own! Check it out gearheads!

Epiphone Blues Custom 30


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Blues Custom looks great, but I was disappointed by the lack of an effects loop. Is there something that compares to this amp on terms of tone, price, and features that has an effects loop other than the Fender Hot Rod series and fender blues deluxe series?

February 2, 2009 at 10:11 PM  

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