Tone Report Weekly 203 - Page 18

AMPEG V4 AND V4B Most of the amps I have written about thus far have been closely related to other more famous amps, a “poor man’s” something-or-other. This is all well and good, as there just aren’t that many totally original circuits in the vintage tube amp world anyway, and it’s nice that there are other ways to get the most coveted vintage tones without necessarily owning the most coveted vintage amp. Ampeg’s V4 stands apart however; these American-made heads and their combo brethren are completely unique in the guitar amplifier world. They use 7027A tubes, as well as some weirdo preamp valves, and the circuit design and sounds are like nothing else you will hear. They are primarily associated with the Rolling Stones, who used them on a 1969 American tour after their own amps crapped 18 TO N E TA LK // out when confronted with America’s incompatible voltage standards. The V4’s primary tonal characteristics are warmth, clarity, and ballsiness. These amps are uncompromisingly loud, and they are massive in every sense of the word. You really have to turn them up to get the most out of them, like many great tube amps from the golden age, and they are ideally suited to big cabinets and lots of speakers. The 100-watt rating is fairly conservative, as they are capable of pushing 120–140 watts when cranked up and operating at maximum efficiency. V4s are not for the faint of heart, and their incredible physical mass also means that hauling one from the van to the venue will really work those core muscles. If you’ve read all of this and still are more intrigued than frightened, then the good news is that vintage Ampeg V4s (and the bass-oriented V4B, which is also a great guitar amp) can be had all day long for 750 bucks or so. Ampeg released a pretty happening reissue recently that is well worth checking out, as well. mars hall wh o? u n d errated vi ntag e am ps that kic k as s