Instrument amplifiers are obviously important to SC&S, as they are to any electric band; they're what actually moves the air that needs a-movin'. The band prefers tube amps (Sam is an admitted tube purist), which, compared to solid-state amps, provide a warmer, more-natural breakup to overdriven sound and are easier to push into interesting aural territory when using weird or extreme effects. As a general rule, the band leans towards amps with classic tones--one reason why Vox (the amp of The Beatles, REM, Queen, Wilco, and countless others) and Fender (the amp of pretty much everyone else) have such a presence in the various members' rigs. Here's some more detail about each player's amplification choices:
Sam uses two amps simultaneously live: a Vox AC15 CC1 and a Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue. He runs the Vox hotter for some warmth and natural breakup, and the Fender, which has more headroom, sparkly clean. This setup provides him with maximum sonic color. He also uses, having recently caught Vintage-itis, and being a life-long admirer of the strange and unique, two weird, older amps. They're both dated 1960, and he uses them for practice and recording. The first is a Magnatone 213-A Troubadour, which weighs in at 18 watts and features true pitch-shifting vibrato. Not tremolo; vibrato. These amps are getting pretty rare, probably due to their completely signature sound, awesome vintage vibe, and (did we mention?) true vibrato. The other old amp is a little Valco-made Supro Super. These Supro amps have become increasingly in-demand for their simplicity (Sam's has one knob, that doubles as an on/off switch), craftsmanship (it's completely hand-wired), and killer tone. Weighing in at a sweet 4.5 watts, the Supro begs to be turned up all the way, screaming with super-saturated all-tube distortion.
(All tubes in Sam's amps are JJ Electronic, ordered through Eurotubes, except for his Supro-- it has its original tubes from freakin' 1960, which sound surprisingly amazing.)
- Vox AC15 CC1
- Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue (w/ Weber speaker)
- 1960 Supro Super 1606 (made by Valco)
- 1960 Magnatone 213-A Troubadour (made by Estey)
- Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
The fact that most clubs mic amps these days means that the need for giant amp stacks has effectively disappeared. And with this in mind, John got by in his early days in the band one or another low-wattage semi-solid-state amps. But the tube bug bit him and bit him bad, which led to his acquisition of a big ol' Vox AC30. It provides him with some serious tonal power--and a more focused sound than two amps would, which is very useful for the purposes of lead guitar. He also has a tiny 5-watt Fender Champion 600 Reissue for recording purposes. With stock tubes and speaker, it has a papery, nasal tone when pushed--very easily--into overdrive (The Kinks, eat your hearts out!), and can clean up pretty nicely for such a small amp.
- Vox AC30 CC1
- Fender Champion 600 Reissue
Depending on the performance needs, Michael uses either his 1977 Bassman 50 and Acoustic 2/15 cab or his Ampeg BA115 (although sometimes he uses a backline amp or borrows another bassist's, for space-saving and time-reduction reasons). In the studio, however, he uses a number of amps, of which his Vox AC50 is often favored.
- 1977 Fender Bassman 50
- Late-1970s Acoustic 2x15 cab
- Ampeg BA115
- Vox AC50CP2
- Peavey TKO 80
- Raven RG20
MORE PICTURES COMING SOON!!!