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New Amp Day (and new guitar too)


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After suffering G.A.S. for several months, I finally pulled the trigger on a brand new BC30 to either replace or supplement my Valve Standard. It was ordered from AMS on Thursday afternoon and arrived Friday afternoon correctly boxed upside down (to prevent gravity from loosening the tubes in shipment), finished beautifully with the tolex covering impeccable and the cream painted chassis flawless. I had hemmed and hawed over all the reviews scattered about the internet, both lovingly and scathingly posted. I was mostly concerned about all the mods described to tame the "piercing highs" produced by the units of the past few years, and comments about problem rectifier circuits & standby switches. I shouldn't have been worried. Either my sonic expectations vastly differ from many others, or Epiphone has resolved all of those perceived issues with the latest production run.


This beast was born in tone heaven. The five suggested settings (and various combinations thereof) run the gammut from glassy, chimey clean, to grit, to crunch, and even to metal. This, with stock tubes and speakers not even begun to be broken in. And I do mean beast; at 74 lbs. "built like a tank" takes on a whole new meaning. BTW. never put casters on a tube amp that doesn't already have them. To quote Dave Hunter from the Guitar Amp Handbook: "Whenever possible, avoid using castors on a tube amp, and don't add them to a combo that doesn't have them already. Those little wheels might seem like a great way of getting your 80lb Fender Twin Reverb across the 200-foot gym floor to the sock-hop stage, and they probably are; but roll it on out the back door, down the pot-holed alley, and through the gravel parking lot, and you could be taking months off the life expectancy of those expensive 6L6's. ....... a combo inside a professional-grade, padded flightcase with castors on the case shouldn't cause any grief..."


Even though I haven't had a chance to open her up yet, and don't know exactly what brand and/or type of glass came stock, I'm planning on trying several alternate tube swaps (more for fun than anything else, the current sound is very, very good). I really wonder what a pair of RI Tung-Sol 5881's or Gold Lion KT-66's will sound like pushed through those Lady Lucks.


Delivered alongside my BC30 came a new Fender Standard Telecaster in Lake Placid Blue. This is the ax producing all the great tone I've been experiencing for the last 36 hours. Fender Mexico has really gotten their act together lately and the hot standard Tele pickups are awesome. Still, not quite as chimey as my '51 Nocaster custom shop pups, but they do add a nice touch of grit right where it will do the most good.[cool] Enough with the Tele. Maybe a post on the Telecaster Forum later for this. But as for the BC30, I couldn't be happier. I don't think I've ever had $580 better spent.


Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you. I've gotten a lot of great information from this forum and wanted to let everyone know that the latest production of BC30's are incomperable. I now must slave away at breaking in the tubes and speakers of my new tone machine. What fun finding new and delightful sounds from just a bit of knob twiddling.


BTW: in my rig I use a Line 6 POD X3 Live feeding the front end, set up similar to having a Fender blackface as a preamp into the signal chain with a multitude of stomp effects available at the press of a toe. Although, I do occasionally give in to the temptation and feed her a modeling patch now and then. This amp takes the modeling in stride. I just start with the amp clean and, wow, the sky's the limit.


In conclusion, I find the BC30 to be not just a low priced alternative valve amp solution, but a contender in it's own right for any guitarist, pro or not, to have a tone monster at his/her beck and call.

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