Amps

My choice of amps has mainly been inspired by David Gilmour’s tones and setup. For years, prior to Airbag, we toured as a Pink Floyd tribute act and I wanted a similar tone as his as well as an amp that could handle all types of pedals, without colouring too much.

My first amp was a an early 80s Marshall 5210. A 50w solid state version of the JCM800, with a Celestion G12M-70 speaker in it. The clean channel was OK but the distortion was one of the best I’ve ever heard. I regret selling it although I probably wouldn’t have used it much.

Bjørn Riis Sound City

My second amp and first real stage amp was a Sound City 50Plus. Actually, the amp was provided by our keyboard player’s father together with a few other backline items. I had it for years and used it extensively during the Floyd tribute era and the early days of Airbag. It was a great sounding amp, with a lot of mojo but like most Sound City amps it had issues that worsened despite several attempts to fix them. I grew tired of all the maintenance and sold it.

The original 4×12” cab is still in my possession. It was originally loaded with four Fane Crescendo speakers (with dust caps) but these were dried out and very fragile. I replaced these with Weber Thames ceramic 80w speakers for a similar tone.

I’ve used many different amps over the years. Most of the Identity album were recorded with a lovely sounding (and loud!!) Fender Super Twin blackface. We didn’t have much clue at the time so we just placed an SM57 randomly in front of the amp and hit record. The solo on Sounds That I Hear was one of those occasions were we tried our best and it turned out pretty good. For a period in 2009 I used a Fender Bassman 100 top, which sounded really good. I used it on several gigs but replaced it later on with the Reeves. I’ve also used a Peavey Classic 30 combo during recording sessions.

Reeves Custom 50

I got the Reeves in early 2010 as a replacement for the Sound City. It’s an all stock standard model without reverb, effects loop or power scaling. The tubes are JJ Electronics L series, which are supposed to be a close match to the Mullards.

Reeves Custom 50. These are my main stage settings - including the linked input (the guitar is plugged into the upper bright).

Reeves Custom 50. These are my main stage settings – including the linked input (the guitar is plugged into the upper bright).

Most of the All Rights Removed album was recorded with a split between the Reeves and a Leslie 760 rotating speaker cabinet. It’s also featured on The Greatest Show on Earth and Lullabies in a Car Crash, although mainly for lead tones. It’s also been my main stage amp for local gigs (I never travel with my own amps due to flight costs).

I’m incredibly pleased with the Reeves and it’s a very powerful basis for my pedals and tones. Like the old Hiwatts it can be a tad dark so I’ve linked the bright and normal channels for a bit more presence. I mainly keep it at the very edge of break up. It’s clean but the tubes are pushed hard, which makes the tone very punchy, with a bit of compression.

Laney Lionheart L20

Prior to recording Greatest Show on Earth I figured I needed a smaller amp for recording. One that was easier to tame. I’ve always had a thing for that classic Marshall sound and the Lionheart is kind of a hybrid between a VOX AC and a JTM45, with a dash of a Fender Bassman. Classic tones and a very versatile amp.

Laney Lionheart L20. These are my main stage settings (HI input, bright mode).

Laney Lionheart L20. These are my main stage settings (HI input, bright mode).

It’s a two channel amp and I always use the clean channel set on bright. The drive channel sounds really great though and it’s always fun to crank out a few Sabbath riffs with it! The amp is all stock but I changed the original TAD tubes with JJ Electronics for a bit more headroom and punch.

The amp’s featured extensively on Lullabies in a Car Crash and it’s also been my favoured stage amp on our recent local gigs. I also use the cab with the Reeves. The original Celestion G12H speakers are replaced with a pair of V30s for a bit more warmth.

79 comments on “
  1. DIMITRIS says:

    Nice work as always, Bjorn! Good luck with your album!
    I’ve never had a chance to hear a Hiwatt close, and I own a Lionheart. With the Lionheart settings above you make it sound something like Gilmour’s Hiwatts?

    • Bjørn says:

      Thank you, Dimitris! You can make the Lionheart sound somewhat like a Hiwatt but it’s really two very different sounding amps. The Lionheart is perhaps closer to the old Marshall JTM45 and Fender Bassman, although not quite… :) The Hiwatt has more mid range and less low end. The idea with the settings I’m using on stage is to get a warm and fat sounding clean tone as a basis for my pedals. In that regard, it’s a similar tone to the Hiwatt.

  2. Alex Mircica (Gunslinger) says:

    Love the new site Bjorn!

    Well done, your hard work is appreciated and admired, proud to call myself a fan of your playing.

    Amps- What happened to the Laney Cub Cab? Sold? Replaced with Blues Jnr?

    • Bjørn says:

      Thanks a lot for your kind words, Alex! I still have the Cub :) I also got a H&K Tubemeister 18 recently, which sounds really great :)

  3. Pasqual says:

    Hi Bjørn ( Yes! i’ve found the ø ! ),
    Have you ever tried the H&K Statesman EL34 Head? Great sounding amp with tons of headroom on every amount of volume. Clean stays clean and the gain channel is great for progrock in general. Very useable effectsloop! I’ve purchased it for a small amount of money and i love it!

  4. Jeff says:

    Love the new site Bjorn! Great work, as always. While much like you, David is my biggest influence, I still love Maiden and other forms and tones too. Along with the Gilmour rig, I have an EVH setup as well as the old reliable R N’ R Marshall and Les Paul stuff. Thanks for sharing the other side of your style and sound as well. Excited for the new solo stuff. Will it be on vinyl? Really like the new site.

  5. Pasqual says:

    Tubemeister sounds great! Have fun with it!:-)

  6. Adrian says:

    Hey Bjorn.

    It’s really cool looking through your gear and the changes you’ve made to some of it. It’s a great learning experience for someone like me, who came to the site with only a rudimentary knowledge of amps and associated parts.

    I’m thinking about getting a Laney Cub Combo as a lightweight practice amp, just something that would be easier to carry around than my current Hot Rod Deluxe III. You get some great sounds from your Cub Stack in some of your gear reviews. I was astounded by the tone you got from it in you BYOC large beaver video. Do you still use it? What are the specs on it, have you changed much (tubes/speakers)?

    • Bjørn says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Adrian! The Cub is still one of several amps in my home studio. It has some very nice tones and I use it occasionally. I replaced the tubes with JJ Electronics, which I always do on new amps. The speakers are also changed for Weber Thames, which are very close to the old Fane Crescendo speakers used by Hiwatt etc.

      • Adrian Doyle says:

        Hi again Bjørn,

        It’s been a couple of years since I messaged you. In that time I’ve gotten my hands on a Laney Cub 12R combo. It’s a fantastic little amp, and exactly what I’d been looking for. It’s easily portable, and sounds fantastic.

        I’m now thinking about changing out the speaker to the ceramic Weber Thames you mentioned, but I can’t work out what impedance I should look for (2, 4, 8, or 16 ohm). I understand you have two in your cub cab. Which impedance did you get? Or would the cab and combo require speakers with different impedances?

        Adrian.

        • Bjørn says:

          Hi, the cab is 8ohm so you could either wire 2x4ohms in series or 2x16ohms in parallel. I think mine are 2x4ohms.

  7. Scott says:

    Hi Bjørn; excited for your new album. Curious if you went with the tubemeister combo or head?

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Scott! Thanks for your support! I got the head. It’s in my home studio with a Laney 2×12″ cab loaded with Celestion V30s.

  8. Robert says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I also own a TM18. Can you please show which setting you usually use ? I also have the powerbooster + pghoof. I wonder which channel you use ( clean or lead) in combination with these 2 pedals, and the amp-settings ( treble / bass / Mid / gain )
    see you next year in Helmond ;)
    thanks a lot

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Robert! I’m always using the gain channel. The clean is great but it sounds shit with gain pedals. I mainly use these settings: treble and bass 10:00, mids 11:00 (often set all the way up when I’m recording), gain 8:00 and master all the way up. See you!

  9. Robert says:

    Hi Bjorn Thanks again ! I Made progress yesterday, I tamed the beast at the end ;) Now I have the hoof and the powerbooster placed between guitar and amp. All the other pedals in de fxloop. And this sounds fine for me.

  10. Angus says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    After much speculation I’ve decided to sell my Marshall DSL 40C. It just breaks too often and it’s tone is quite harsh on the dirty channel and the clean channel is nice but a bit dull. So I’m looking for an amp around the same price as it, around $600. I’ll be playing at home and small gigs, do you have any suggestions? I’m thinking maybe a Fender Blues Junior or Vox AC15. I noticed you didn’t have a Vox on your amp gear guide on Gilmourish, does it not do Gilmour tones as well as the Fender? I might lash out and get a Hot Rod Deluxe III or Peavey Classic 30, but it’s still early days. I hope all is well, thanks for your help!

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Angus! I don’t think Vox amps are that suited for Gilmour’s tones. You can get nice tones with it but it’s a bit too scooped and aggressive for typical Gilmour pedals like the Muff and fuzz pedals. You can’t go wrong with the Blues Jr and the Peavey C30 is great too. – Bjorn]

  11. Edward says:

    Hey, Bjorn. I was wondering if you’ve had the chance to try a Peavey Valveking II Micro Head. I’m considering buying one purely for recording reasons. I already own a Peavey Classic 30 head that I love, but it can get really loud (something my wife and neighbors are not really fond of). If you have tried a Valveking Micro Head, how would it compare with the Peavey Classic? Is there a better alternative?

    • Bjørn says:

      Never tried it but from what I understand the Valve King series are versatile amps that should make a nice basis for your pedals. Peavey amps in general are a bit heavy in the bottom but I have a C30 my self that I regularly use for recording. You might also want to check out the Laney Lionheart amps. Great stuff :)

      • Edward says:

        Thanks, Bjorn. I was considering a Laney amp at first, but the Lionheart seems a little expensive for now (the 20W head is almost $900, I’m on a $400 budget). I remember that, on your Gilmoursih site, you really liked the Laney Cub 12 because it had a british tone similar to the Hiwatts and early Marshalls… but not as loud. Is the Laney Cub the same as the Lionheart tonewise? I acknowledge the fact that with the Lionheart, you can switch the gain stage on and off, but could I set the Cub to some Mid to High gain tones and get some punchy, clean tones with my guitar volume knob rolled back?

        • Bjørn says:

          Definitely. I think the Cub is a great budget amp, with a classic tone and it has enough headroom for pedals. You can easily crank the gain to overdrive and typical Marshall JCM distortion and it responds very well to your playing. Perhaps not an amp that I’d trust for gigging but excellent for bedroom and studio.

  12. Martin Henkov says:

    Hi Bjorn
    I have experienced airbag as warm up band for Marillion in Copenhagen …. Great experience:-)
    I have great respect for your work.
    Can you help with some inspiration to catch Steve Rothery`s tone from the late 80`ere?
    I thinking of the black squrier with EMG pick ups

    Sincerely,
    Martin Henkov
    Denmark

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Martin! We had a great time in Copenhagen :) What sort of gear do you have now? Are you planning on buying something new?

  13. Edward says:

    Hey, Bjorn. Edward here… again. Just wondering if you have tried Jet City’s JCA20HV. It is said that it’s voiced a little darker than the JCA20H. Let me know your thoughts.

  14. joao bicudo says:

    Hello Bjorn!

    I finally got a mexican fender standard strat and it soundh good to me, but i’m going to swamp them for 2 cs69 for neck and middle and a ssl-5 for bridge position, later i will change the plastic nut also.
    I have a 50w marshall jvm head but i intend to buy smaller wattage amp, like a 5watt or 10watt for bedroom practise.

    What are your opinion about these possible amps:
    Hiwatt T10HD
    Hiwatt T20HD
    Hudges & Kettner tube meister 5w head

    My pedals are: ( This is not the correct signal chain)
    EHX big muff tone wicker, bass big muff, stereo electric mistress, small stone nano, soul food
    Boss cs3, dd3, ch1
    Vox satchurator, time machine, big bad wah
    Proco rat
    Whammy pedal
    Crybaby wahwah
    Ernieball volume pedal
    Fulltone ultimate octave

    Most of these pedals i bought them following your website and it works very well even with my marshall, but at low volumes i struggels a bit because it dont have too much of headroom.

    I would like to say that i apreciate very much all of your work and research that help us very much in the search of the “tone”, gilmourish tone!
    Because of you, and your site, i raised my knowledge in ways that i never thought that even exists! I learn to like pinkfloyd even more! It’s really quite amazing how they create those tones and effects with less material that we have today for our disposal.

    Thanks,
    Joao.

    • Bjørn says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Joao :) Sorry for my late reply. The Hiwatts are great. Classic tone and works nicely for bedrooms and your pedals will fit well. The H&K is also a great amp and I got the 18w myself. Actually, the 18w is better I think as it got a lot more headroom than the 5w and it also got power scaling down to 1w. It can take just about any pedal you throw at it but you need to use the gain channel, which still has tons of headroom.

  15. howard davis says:

    hi bjorn,
    what cabs and speakers are you using at the moment, truely a great site,

    all the best, howard,

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Howard! In my home studio I’m using a Laney cab with 2×12″ Celestion V30s. In our rehearsal studio, which I use for most of my recordings, I have a 4×12″ Sound City cab with Weber Thames speakers and a Laney cab with 2×12″ Celestion G12H speakers.

  16. hi Bjoern, I play the L20h also. could you tell what kind of tubes you changed? Preamp or poweramp?

    and which JJ Tubes did you take?

    Thank you very much,

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Kai! I’m using JJ Electronics on all my tube applications. I swapped the same value as the stock tubes.

      • I followed your suggestion and swapped out the TAD tubes out of my newly acquired (used, $525 US) Laney L20H head and it was a huge improvement in terms of tone/sound. Then….I swapped the JJ 12AX7 out of the v1 position for an NOS 1960’s GE 12AX7 I had laying around from my Tube Driver experiments…and holy crap….what an improvement there as well!!! I would strongly suggest testing different New Old Stock 12AX7 tubes in that V1 position; it really is a noticeable change in the amps tone, for the better in this case.

  17. howard davis says:

    hi Bjorn,
    do you play your reeves custom 50 amp with 3 12AX7 preamp tubes and 1 12AT7 phase inverter or 4 12AX7 preamp tubes

    all the best, Howard,

  18. Angus says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    I’m after that classic marshall plexi sound but I’m not really into the amps marshall are making these days and I can’t afford to buy an old plexi. Are their any other amp brands that you think make good marshall clones? I don’t really care about clean sounds just a nice marshall crunch sound, I don’t want anything over 50w either as it will only be used in the bedroom and in small gigs.

    Cheers for your help!

    • Bjørn says:

      Actually, the Marshall SL5 is well worth checking out. Great clean tone and the crunch is very versatile. Check out the new Laney Lionheart Studio 5w as well. Great Vox clean channel and a classic Marshall drive channel. You might also want to look at some pedals, like the Wampler PlexiDrive.

  19. howard davis says:

    hi Bjorn,
    please may I ask, are your speaker cabs open back or closed back ???? what would you say is the differents between closed and open backed cabs sound/tone wise ????

    all the best, Howard.

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Howard, I use both. How a cabinet sound and project the sound, depends on the material, size etc but an open back cab usually sound a bit bigger, more open and perhaps even more organic as to how it reflects the speaker. They can also sound a bit flabby in the low end. A closed back cab sounds more focused, with a harder mid range and low end.

  20. Giovanni says:

    Hi Bjorn! Would you define the Laney Lionhearts (especially the L20 and the L50H) quite bright amps with quite a pronunced low end, with a decent amount of mid range (so, a mix between a Vox AC30 and maybe a Fender Bassman 59(an early Marshall like the Bluesbreaker) and with dynamic and clear (but still quite warm) clean sounds (in both of the two channels), that could handle pedals well? Especially… Do you think a Lionheart amp would pair well with pedals that have a quite dark and warm character (for example the Buffalo FX 18v Power Booster, the Electronic Orange Moon Vibe MKII and Binson Echorec-type delays/echoes like the Gurus Echosex 2…)?
    I’m asking all this questions because I’m very interested in buying a Lionheart (probably the L50H) :)
    Thanks a lot!

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi! Yep, that’s a very accurate description. They’re quite bright, but you can easily make them very dark and they have a nice amount of mids as well. Goes very well with most pedals. Check out my recent reviews on YouTube, I’m using the L20H for all of those.

      • Giovanni says:

        Thanks a lot! In your opinion what are the main differences in terms of tone/sound between the L20H and the L50H, apart from the number of tubes in the final section?
        I can’t decide between these two amps! I mainly play at home (I don’t live in an apartment, anyway) but, since I have very friendly and quite deaf neighbours I’d choose the L50H over the L20H in order to have more headroom and cleaner, less compressed sounds! About the superior volume of the 50 watt head, I think it won’t be a problem, will it? Well, there’s not so much difference in terms of volume between a 50 watt tube amp and a 100 watt one, so I guess it would be the same between a 20 watt tube amp and a 50 watt one?

        • Bjørn says:

          Wattage is always relative and these amps are VERY loud. If you’ll mostly be using it at home, then the 20w is more than enough. You might even want to look into the new 5w studio model. It’s been a while since I tried the 50w and I didn’t do a A/B comparison with the 20w but from what I remember the two amps are very similar. Obviously, the 50w got more power and perhaps a bit more headroom but they’re very similar.

  21. Greg says:

    Bjorn,
    Have you any experience playing the Hiwatt little d? If so is it overkill for a bedroom and where would you compare it to the Lionheart l5t?

    • Bjørn says:

      It does the classic Hiwatt tone very well. Lots of headroom and mids. Mind though that although marketed as a David Gilmour amp – even a signature amp if you read between the lines – it’s got nothing to do with Gilmour and it shouldn’t be confused with being a clone of his old Custom heads. I’ve also read that some complain about noise and bad parts. The Lionheart is sort of a Vox meets early Marshall. It’s perhaps better suited for a bedroom kind of thing but the Hiwatt should do the job nicely as well, if you mostly rely on pedals and keep the volume low anyway.

  22. Greg says:

    Both the Lionheart L5t and the Hiwatt Little D are beautiful and I’m sure sound excellent. David Gilmour aside, which one would you recommend for a bedroom setup?

  23. Bernie Heerey says:

    great sounds as usual bjorn is there any difference in the laney L20 combo with its single speaker and the head with two speakers as i am thinking of an up grade from my laney cub. Is the Lionheart a mids voiced amp like the cub or is it more variable than that. Thanks for your time.

    • Bjørn says:

      Two speaker cab, will give you a bit more volume and headroom. The Lionheart is a much more versatile amp, compared to the Cub, I think. The clean channel is somewhat similar to an AC30, while the drive channel has more of a mid rangy early Marshall JTM kind of tone.

  24. Adam Duarte says:

    Hey Bjorn! I recently bought a Lionheart 5w combo. This week my band hit the road and I brought it with me. We play in smaller venues, so the amp’s volume set around 11:00 is already plenty of juice (these things are LOUD!). I had some trouble getting a good tone at first (too much low end), so I set mine to match yours in the picture above (hi input, bright on, etc.). Instantly, I had a sound guy telling me that my tone was far too shrill and tinny, so I backed off the tone to around 11:00.

    I’m still having trouble with low end, however. For a lot of my bigger leads, I’m using a Tube Driver with a Buffalo FX Patriot—but without the Tube Driver boosting it, it sounds way too boomy. And with the Tube Driver, it seems to be way too much gain.

    My settings on the Patriot are pretty much everything at 12:00, and for the Tube Driver I have the Output – 3:00, Hi – 10:00, Lo – 8:00, Drive – 8:00

    Anything here that seems to be the obvious problem to you? Or any recommended fixes?

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Adam! The picture is just a random one I took for the page. It doesn’t show my settings and yes, it would be too bright. I use the drive channel, set all clean. This provides a bit more mid range and an overall more focused and tighter tone. Try this: drive channel, bright mode, drive 1.5 (or as high as you can, without any breakup – depending on speakers, pickups etc), volume as desired, bass 6-7, mids between 7-10 depending on what pedals I use, treble 3, reverb off, tone either off or a hair below 1. This works nicely for my setup and pedals. It’s fairly dark but I always set my gain pedals up for a slight boost, so the tones cut nicely, with a lot of presence. Keep in mind too, that you want to adjust the settings on your gain pedals to match the amp. This is not a Hiwatt, so I often use less gain and low end, compared to what I’d use with a Hiwatt/Reeves. Hope this helps.

      • Adam Duarte says:

        Using the drive channel has definitely helped. I adjusted the settings as per your recommendations today and had a chance to play around with it a little. You’re right—the tone is definitely a lot tighter, if a tad dark. With my EMG DG20s, I was really hearing a lot of that 80’s/90’s Gilmour coming through. Once we take the stage again I’ll probably need to do some more tweaking to the volume/drive levels, but for now, this is a noticeable improvement! Thank you! :)

  25. Stef says:

    Hi Bjørn,

    I’ll have to change Hp’s (Celestion Vintage 30) from my 4 12″ N.O.S (Name Of Sound) ,I’d looked at Weber’s site ,and they say that the Ceramic FC12 is the most close to the Crescendo tone ,so I don’t know wich ones to choose between those and the Ceramic Thames 12 (I’m using a Rivera TBR 1SL Head ,who have a very “fender type” clean channel ,even if it is loaded by EL34)) ,an idea ?

    Thanks for all ;)

    • Bjørn says:

      I haven’t tried the FC12 but I think they’re newer than the Thames, which were the only Fane models they had when I bought mine. I guess they’re voices to even more accurate specs. Not sure I would have Fane type speakers with a Fender sound though. Might get very bright and uncompressed.

  26. Matthew Wiebe says:

    Hey, still using the lionheart?
    How would you set it for plexi sounds?

    • Bjørn says:

      Yes, that’s my main amp. It’s not as mid rangy as a Plexi but you should be able to get something in between a JTM45 and Plexi I guess. Try this: gain channel, bright, gain and channel volume as desired, bass and mids full up, treble off and tone around noon. Adjust to match your pickups and speakers.

      • Matt says:

        Thanks, how would you set it for a jtm45 type tones?
        Have you ever used an ocd with this amp? I tried one, but never really sounded good. Like it was too much pedal for the amp.
        Have you found that with other pedals too?

        • Bjørn says:

          I guess the settings would be a good start for all kinds of early Marshall tones. I use an OCD all the time and it sounds great… to my ears at least :) The thing about the Lionheart is that you need to use the tone control based on how loud you play and how the EQ is set. I usually back it off all the way but I play really loud, which creates the top end that I need. For bedroom volume levels I usually open up the tone a bit to around noon. The OCD should fit any amp setting but always match the pedal with the amp – never use settings that you seen from other rigs if it’s not the same amp as you have :)

  27. Matt says:

    So the amp on any settings would be good for marshall? Clean channel or drive channel played clean? Or adding some hair to become marshally?
    I should maybe get an ocd again, I tried it only on the clean channel now that I think of it. It was never smooth enough for me, really aggressive and sharp top end. Didn’t do the smooth keith urban lead tone I want.

    • Bjørn says:

      I mainy use the gain channel, with either the gain backed down for cleans or up for crunch and distortion. The clean channel is closer to a AC30, although with more mids and low end. The balance between the normal/bright switch and the tone control is the key to get the right tone and EQ of this amp.

  28. Chad says:

    Bjorn,

    I just recently became aware of this site after being on Gilmourish for many years. At this point I am as interested in your tones as I am his. You have taken the influence and made a sound of your own. I genuinely hope I have an opportunity to hear it live one day! I have created my tone from many hours of reading your reviews and the terrific comments involved with them. I currently have a black strat with the black strat setup. My other strat has the DAllen Echoes set in it with a rosewood neck. I love them both. I am playing a Mesa Lone Star classic with a Soothsayer, and Butler Tubeworks Real Tube as my main drives. I have a Butler Tube driver, but the other one sounds so good, I haven’t switched them out yet. I boost the Soothsayer with a Wampler Euphoria. I also use the Euphoria as a clean boost for Shine on solo 1 and Brick 2 solo’s and in Combo with the Lone Star it sounds incredible. I use a TC Electronics G-System for effects. Overall, it does a great job and with the eq, boost and noise gate along with the 4 drive loops, it makes covering and quickly changing tones very easy.

    All in all I am very happy with the tone, but I have to say I am at about 97% of the 100% I want to achieve. They say the last 10% takes 90% of your time and effort. That being said, I was wondering if changing the speakers in the Lone Star would get me a tad closer. I was thinking possibly Weber Thames. Or possibly anything else you might think would be a good fit.

    I have also been considering a Reeves Custom 50 or High Tone. Today though, I came across a brand called Ceriatone. They make a model called a Hey What and it is modeled after the DR. 504. There is a guy here locally selling one for $575 US, which is considerably cheeper than the Reeves or High Tone. Are you at all familiar with this company or the amp? I know sometimes low price sacrifices quality, but is that the case here.

    As Always, Thank you,
    Chad

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Chad, thanks for your kind words! 97% is pretty good :) Try to define what’s missing before you buy more gear. A new and different sounding amp is great but the issue might not lie there. The Lonestar has that Fender tone and although very versatile, it may lack some mid range and compression compared to a Hiwatt. I also recommend reading my latest feature on Gilmourish regarding using volume and gain as a part of your tone. I don’t think Weber Thames would fit the Lonestar. I think you would find them too bright and hard to drive properly.
      As for Ceriatone. Years ago I ordered a Marshall JCM800 head and it sounds absolutely killer. I’ve only heard positive things about that brand.

      • Chad says:

        Bjorn,

        Thank you for responding. I have a local amp builder who can make the Ceriatone for a killer deal. I think I am going to give it a shot and I will let you know how it turns out.

        I had already read your excellent latest tutorial. I always read them. You are an excellent teacher man.

        As far as what exactly the last 3%…maybe it is actually more like 7% of tone I am looking for, I can not exactly pinpoint what it is. Part of me thinks it may be the G-system. It is great and for doing a Floyd tribute, it allows me to change tones fast and seamless, including the drives. I feel like it possibly might be slightly blanketing my tone though. I think what I am hearing that I would like improved is the openness or transparency. There are so many variables, I understand that and I have been thinking I might need a buffer after and before the G-system.

        What I do know is that your tone and what Kit Rae does on the Reeves, sound like what I am trying to find. Your Laney tones as well, sound great. It doesn’t matter what pedal you are demoing.

        So at this point, I am thinking it is either time to change from the G-system, to analog effects pedals. I would also need a good programmable looper. The other option is to change amps. I plan on trying a new amp with my current rig first. At this point it will be a Reeves, Hitone or Ceriatone.

        Thoughts? Once again, thank you for your time!

        Chad

        • Bjørn says:

          Well, the amp and guitar is the most vital part of the tone but obviously, the effects and how these are set and combined also have a huge impact on the tone. Could be a number of reasons why you feel you are missing something but keep in mind too that unless you have an exact replica of Davids, mine or Kits rig it will not sound the same. Also, I dont think you should be 100% satisfied with your tone… what’s there to chase then?

  29. Chad says:

    Great point Bjorn. Never thought about it like that!

    Cheers!!

  30. Chad says:

    Bjorn,

    I finally pulled the trigger on a Reeve’s Custom 50. It is the ps model in a 1×12 combo. I wanted to get the head and 2×12 cab, but I came across a killer deal and had to jump on it.

    I have a few quick questions, Do you think the combo will still produce the same big sound. If not, would you recommend a particular cab/speaker combo to go with it?

    Secondly, this one happens to have the buffered loop. Is there any reason I would not want to use the loop for my effects?

    Last thing, I have had some time to really listen to your album. Great job man. The tone and the playing are superb!

    • Bjørn says:

      Hi Chad! I haven’t played the amp so I can’t really tell but a 1×12″ will have less headroom compared to a 2×12″ or a full 4×12″. The amp will drive the single speaker harder. The amp has a lot of headroom so how soon it will break into distortion depends on the amp settings, pickups and pedals. Again, the more you drive the amp the more it will distort. I don’t think it will an issue in a bedroom, studio or smaller venues though. The loop is meant to be used if you intend to use the amp for distortion. That way you’d want modulation and delays after the pre amp stage. There’s no reason to use the loop if you’re using pedals for dirt and have the amp clean.

  31. Chad says:

    Bjorn,

    Disregard my previous email. I left my Reeves at the practice studio and had the evening to go over and dial it in. I did not have to worry about volume! One of the most important things I have learned from you and all the posts and tutorials, is that there are no rules and really no right or wrong, when it comes to finding the tone we are looking for. I started my settings on the Reeves very similar to what you and Gilmour’s settings look like, based on your article on dialing in your amp. I have a Tube driver and M1 on my board, so I figured it would get me a sound close to what I have heard on the videos you have posted.
    When I went in the lab today, I though about what was missing and dialed in what I thought would make it happen. I also looked at the manual for the ps custom 50 and went by what it said, for the the most possible head room.
    What I ended up with was PS on 100%, Drive on 3 oclock, Presence at 12, mids at 10, treble on 8:30, Bass on 2, bright channel 8 and Normal on 10. When I hit the tube Driver and Played the solo for time, it sounded like I was in a stadium. The sound was huge and exactly what I had expected to begin with. I then proceeded to play the C Numb solos on the M1 and didn’t even need to boost it. It actually opened up more without boosting it. I will mention also, the TC electronics G-system works fantastically with the Reeves. Before I had to highly gate my sounds. I was able to drastically lower my gate and remove them all together on most of the tones. The G-system mods and delays sound lush and full on the Reeves.
    I have been reading about the Reeve’s for years on your sites and I must say I am more than satisfied. I am also glad I have learned so much from you. Had it not been for your many articles, I would not have had the patience or knowledge to try dialing it in the way I had and I am so glad I did!!
    Thank you man! My Floyd tribute plays its first paying gig next Saturday in an all day music fest. I am dialed in and ready to go thanks to you!

    Chad

    • Bjørn says:

      Glad to hear Chad and yes, whatever you read and learn should only be a guide. No rig sound the same so experimenting and adjusting the dials is crucial for getting the tones you want. Cheers and good luck with the show!

      • chad says:

        Bjorn,

        I have a problem that I wonder if you might have knowledge of. On my cleaner tones, I am experiencing what I have researched as cone cry. I can best describe it as a squak or almost unwanted pinch harmonic. It specifically happens on the first note on shine on. I play the note and it makes a shrill squeak. I’m pushing the amp, but not that hard. The master is on 2 o’clock and normal is on 11 bright on 9. If I go any higher, it gets worse. I have trouble shot quite a bit and it will do it plugged strait into the amp, so it is not my effects. My understanding is the Reeves has tons of headroom. Is this a problem you have ever encountered? Do you have any suggestions to remedy this?

        I did do a great amount of reading on speaker cone cry. It seems to often be an issue with single 12 amps. I have the 1 by 12 combo.
        Thanks,
        Chad

        • Bjørn says:

          I Chad. Hard to tell when I haven’t heard the amp but from what you describe it could either be cone cry or crossover distortion, although the later usually happen if you drive the power section really hard. I’m not that familiar with eitehr of these phenomenons but I assume that some rebiasing or changing the tubes could take care of some of it. Are you using any pedals when this happens?

  32. chad says:

    Bjorn,

    Thank you for the reply. I first noticed it when I was running my Wampler Euphoria as a clean boost for Shine on intro. I then plugged strait into the amp and had my reverb and delay still running through the loop. Same noise occurred. I then shut off the loop so it was just the guitar. Same result. It only happens above the 15th fret, more specifically around the 18th. I was able to tweak down the channel and drive and avoid the issue, but I don’t feel like I was pushing it that hard to have to do that. My Lone Star was doing it as well, which is what prompted me to buy the Reeves. Just to make sure it wasn’t my fat 50’s neck pick up, I tried 2 other strats. Same result. The factor that remains the same is 1 by 12 combos for both amps. In my research on cone cry that seems to be the culprit. At this point I am feeling like I made a mistake buying the 112 combo and should have purchased a head and can. I am wondering if buying a second 12 from Reeves would remedy the issue, although seems like it’s would defeat the purpose of having a combo. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. I will also add that the tones coming out of the Reeves with both the M1 and Tube Drives are incredible. If I can remedy the cone cry on my clean tones the amp would be perfect. I did also want to mention it is a 2016 amp and it came with NOS tubes.

    Thanks,
    Chad

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