HRI Denver – Boulder Area Ampfest Recap
Just over a week ago I had the pleasure of hosting the Huge Racks Inc Denver – Boulder Ampfest. This was 7+ hours of tonal ecstasy for those of you who are guitar gearheads. It was amazing to hear everything in one place, side by side. It was also amazing to meet so many wonderful people from the Denver/Boulder and greater area. Now that I think my ears have recovered, I can’t wait to do it again!
01 – Fargen – Dave DeMichaels 80’s Shecter strat.mp3 — this was a Fargen’s version of a Deluxe with more power. Great sounding clean amp with single coils. LOVES pedals. Dave is a gigging musician and his setup is 100% utilitarian and does the job very well. I think the mic was a little far off the cab on this one so the tone isn’t has in your face, but you get a good vibe for what the amp was all about.
02 – Budda – Tom qatcat and his Budda rig with Tylers.mp3 — Tom is a monster player and is was cool to hear him rip through the tones on his Budda Rig (combo and extension cab). He had two Tylers – one was a Landau with the “secret humbucker” which was really, really bright, and the other was a Burning Water. Hear Tom play that Burning Water later in the day through the VH-inspired rigs was just awesome! Big ups to a man that loves Ty Tabor riffage as much as I do!
03 – Suhr Badger – Pete Lacis.mp3 — I demoed my Badger (as well as switched off to use Eric “Solo-Act’s” Badger as well to see if we noticed any differences. I used my Suhr Classic Swamp Ash with Braz Rosewood Board and V60lp’s – I tried to demo the power scaling here (and got a little clipping as a result on the audio track) — its just a great amp. If anything, I think Eric’s may have sounded a little thicker and darker whereas mine was a little clearer and punchier, but that may be my imagination! FYI – the Badger was demoed through a CAA 1×12 with an Eminence Governor.
04 – Ceriatone – NomadGtr Steve and an alder Suhr Classic with Rosewood Board.mp3 — One thing I learned this day was that Steve and I have very similar tastes in our Suhrs! It was a treat to hear him play through his super toneful Ceriatone (before it started to freak out with a tube problem – hence why the clips are so short). During this clip Steve played through his Suhr Alder Classic with rosewood board. The interesting thing about his Classic was that while he had V60LP’s in the neck and middle, he had a V60 in his bridge. After hearing him play through this rig, I handed Steve my Suhr Alder Classic with V60LP’s and a one-piece maple neck to hear the difference……you’ll hear that in clip 5 next.
05 – Ceriatone – NomadGtr Steve and an alder Suhr Classic with Maple neck and Ceriatone.mp3 — as discussed above, after hearing Steve through his Suhr Alder Classic with rosewood board and V60 in the bridge, I handed him mine with one-piece maple neck and V60LP in the bridge to hear the difference. Very cool to hear this stuff back-to-back.
06 – DRZ SRZ.mp3 – I know very little about this amp, but man was it packed full of tones! I’ve never heard such a versatile and aggressive DR. Z. The amp was demo’d by Brent, who was introduced to us all by Chris. Brent is a Grosh afficianado (brought a LOAD of guitars for us to try) and chose a few favorites to demo this amp. That Grosh hollow-body still hanunts me!
07 – Bludo Drive Marshall Flavored Dumble Clone – Kevin.mp3 — Kevin was another guest introduced to us by Chris. Kevin and I also have some similar tastes in guitars and amps (his new korina BX3 still haunts me!). In this first clip, you’ll hear Kevin play his new Marshall flavored Dumble Clone built by a local Denver tech. He played his new-to-him Grosh with mahogany body and maple neck. FYI – this demo (as is the next several) features Chris’ EVH 5150 III cab.
08 – Bludo Drive Marshall Flavored Dumble Clone – Pete Lacis.mp3 — After Kevin played for a little bit, he said “Does anyone have any experience with Dumble style amps? Otherwise you’re going to hear VH licks through this thing!” Being that I’ve played the “brown Dumble” at Ultrasound and have played a bunch of other D*-Inspired amps in the past, I decided to step up to the plate with my #1 Suhr Mahogany Standard in tow.
09 – Bludo Drive Marshall Flavored Dumble Clone.mp3 — this clip features a few other attendees putting the Bludo through its paces.
10 – There is no number 10. Apparently as I was naming the files it became obvious that I can’t count. Discuss amongst yourselves.
11 – Cameron Jose Mod Marshall – Chris with VH Tyler.mp3 — And now the VH-inspired amp series. Chris (47SYD47) leads the discussion (and examples here) with his VH set up Tylers (which were SICK) and the 5150 III cab. I would say that from this point on forward things began to get expensive for everyone!
12 – Cameron Jose Mod Marshall – Pete Lacis with Les Paul.mp3 — after hearing the tonality of the Cameron Marshall, I had thoughts of Dough Aldrich and Whitesnake dancing through my head. The rest is history.
13 – Cameron Jose Mod Marshall – Tom qatcat vh licks of doom.mp3 — this is where some of the real fun started. Someone handed Tom his Burning Water Tyler (among some other axes I believe) and he proceeded to SMOKE the room with his “vh licks of doom” – it was sick, sick, fun to watch and listen to him play!
14 – Cameron Jose Mod Marshall.mp3 — you can tell the amps everyone dug because everyone wanted to play through them! Here are a few other attendees taking a shot at this beast.
15 – Cornford MK50H MKII.mp3 – Chris (47SYD47) continues our VH-inspired series through the Cornfor. This is one sweet sounding amp that loves to be loud. Wild the tone this thing gets being that it was 50 watts and has 6L6’s!
16 – Blankenship with variac – Chris.mp3 — Up to this point we were rocking the master-volume vh amps. Now the gloves are off and the the Variac is on! Just wished we knew about the Marshall Channel, as we were apparently playing through the VOX channel! DOH! This sucker roared!
17 – Blankenship with variac – Pete Lacis Basswood Suhr.mp3 — after hearing Chris through this amp, I had to try my basswood Suhr through it. This amp was a joy to play through.
18 – Blankenship with variac change demo – Pete Lacis Basswood Suhr.mp3 — the great thing about demoing amps with friends is that you can play and adjust an amp as the same time. During this clip, I vamp on a riff and have Chris play with the Variac to demonstrate how it affects the tone.
19 – Blankenship with variac – qatcat Tom with cable test.mp3 — No VH amp test would be complete without Tom riffing our heads off. During this clip we also begin to experience with different cables as well as put Tom through some of the effects on my pedalboard.
20 – CAA OD100 Clasic Plus – B3 – Korina – Pete Lacis.mp3 — For this demo I’m playing through my CAA 1×12’s with Eminence Governors. This was less formal a test because Kevin had to split and I wouldn’t let him leave without letting me try out his BX3 Korina through my complete rig. Here I demonstrate how I use a low-impedance volume pedal in the effects loop of my amp as a master volume (notice some audio clippage as a result).
21 – CAA OD100 Clasic Plus – B3 – Mahogany – Pete Lacis.mp3 — Same rig as above, but now I’m playing Chris’ (47SYD47) BX3 Mahogany as a comparison to Kevin’s Korina BX3. These guitars continue to haunt my dreams!
22 – Mojave Peacemaker – Steve Nomadgtr and others.mp3 — the amp fest was running long (we started at noon and it was around 6pm now) and we lost a number of people to their Saturday evening obligations. Their loss! Steve whips out his Mojave Peacemaker through his StoneAge 4×12 and just starts to melt faces. I’ve heard a lot about Peacemakers in that they vary wildly in quality. Well, this was a good ‘un! I think each of the rest of the attendees took a whirl through this rig.
23 – Soultone – Steve Nomdagtr and others.mp3 — last but certainly not least, this wicked head through the StoneAge 4×12 just killed. This was the other “power scaling” entry for the day and I was equally as impressed with it as the Badger. This was a great, great sounding head. Again, I believe the rest of us in attendance took turns at this amp.