Here is my AC30 cabinet (formerly housing my 93 AC30) loaded with a vintage Celestion Blue and vintage Celestion Greenback. I typically prefer the greenback with a dynamic mic, and the blue, generally a brighter speaker, with a nice ribbon mic to smooth it out.
The 65 London has a Celestion Blue and a G12H Anniversary. I usually throw a mic in front of the G12 speaker with great results.
The Benson upright cabinet has two newer Celestion Greenback speakers in it (are you noticing a trend here yet…?) I love how punchy and tight this cabinet sounds.
2 years ago Casey introduced me to Chris Benson. I played his “Monarch” amp and was really impressed. That means a lot to me because I never like amps under 30 watts (minus low watt amps for studio use). I always need at least 30 watts to get the clean sound I’m looking for, so we decided to come up with an amp design together that met my needs and also fit into his product line. I’m really happy with the outcome. Chris also custom voiced mine with a dark switch and tuned it to my taste. He’s a stellar dude, an incredible amp designer, and I’m happy to have contributed the few things I did for this amp. If you want a killer new amp, Benson is making some incredible ones.
This is my favorite amp that I’ve ever played. It’s a ’93 AC30 that belonged to my good friend Jason, and one day he decided he was ready to sell it to me. I had it converted to a head to make it more useful in our studio. Chris Benson (of Benson Amps) did the conversion and also went through it, really working some magic on it. It came back sounding better than ever. I tour with this era of AC30’s all the time and have really fallen in love with them over the years, so I’m really stoked to have one of my own, let alone one that sounds this good. All the early 90’s AC30’s sound stellar for the most part, they just sound a little different from amp to amp, so it can take some searching if you're as picky as I am. These sound really close to the 60’s top boost AC30’s but are cleaner, and a little more reliable… I’m quite happy with it.
This was my first real amp. I worked for months and months to buy it. I saw Drew from Switchfoot playing them, and after hearing them live knew I had to get one. It’s a 2007 model and doesn’t have the master voltage added. I think that means it sounds better. I’ve played a bunch of newer amps from 65 and really prefer my early model. This particular London is great for low-mid gain dirty amp tones. The only challenge is finding an EF86 tube that’ll stay working for more than a month. When she’s got a good one, it’s one of my favorite amps ever. It’s the kind of amp that makes you want to plug right in and just play. It takes pedals really well too!
This amp started life as a preamp for an Akai M7 tape machine. Some guy turned it into the sickest little 5 watt tube amp you’ve ever heard. I found it at a pawn shop in Vancouver, WA called The Briz. It’s probably my favorite pawn find ever. The next day we were in a drum shop and found a vintage speaker for it, and the two just work so perfectly together. I use it to practice or to record those “small amp having seizures and blowing up” tones.
This was another pawn shop find in Vancouver. It’s really great at getting really crappy tones… One of those things that sounds awful in just the right way.
I’d been wanting a tube reverb unit for ages and found this one for a good price down in the Bay Area. We were on tour in San Francisco around the time I found it so I convinced a runner to take me to some random dude’s house to pick it up. As it is with many Craigslist finds, the guy was a total weirdo, but also very kind. We settled on a price quickly and I left, alive and a very happy customer. I’ve been practicing my surf rock riffs ever since.
For some reason, any time I’ve used a delay that has a tape setting, I generally end up using that sound. I bought it having never played a real EP-3, my logic being that if I liked the emulation so much I’d love the real thing even more. Plus it’s the model that Jimmy Page used so… Needless to say, I was very right in my thinking. Nothing beats the sound of a real tape delay. Nothing. I’ve used it on a bunch of guitars and even a drum bus or two for some drum freakout weirdness. It’s a super inspiring unit to use and hear. Parts almost seem to write themselves. It’s one of my favorite things to use in the studio so I wanted to share it with you all here.