REVIEW: DV Mark Frank Gambale Combo 112

Frank Gambale is an innovator. Whether solo or with Return To Forever, or even collaborators like Virgil Donati, Gambale’s sense of melody and tone is matched by his ferocious technique. Widely known for refining and popularising – hell, let’s just say it, inventing – sweep picking as we know it, he demands an amplifier that can accurately reproduce the attack of his right hand and the nuance of his left at the same time. That’s no small task, and Gambale put the good folks at DV Mark through their paces before signing off on his signature amplifier. “It’s been a bit of hard work to get it right, but good things take their time,” Gambale says.

The result is the Frank Gambale Combo 112. This little amp features a solid state clean channel, a tube overdrive channel and a solid state power amp, and its power is rated at 80 watts at 16ohms or 250 watts at 4ohms. Read More …

REVIEW: Hayden Mini MoFo

You’ve gotta love an amp with a name like the Mini MoFo. This, of course, comes from the same minds who created the Ashdown Little Bastard bass amp (which I loved when I reviewed it last year), Ashdown being the sister company of Hayden. And what a mofo this is! The Mini MoFo is a little 15 watt scrapper of a guitar amplifier which comes in its own carry bag and is very ruggedly constructed. It looks and feels like it’s ready for business.


The Mini MoFo cranks out 15 watts of Class A juice from two EL84 power valves. There’s also a trio of 12AX7s. It’s a single channel amplifier with a footswitchable MoFo mode for more gain (and the footswitch is included, so yay). There’s a Stealth switch for reducing the volume for rocking out at home, which is a very handy and much appreciated feature for a family man such as myself, but when it’s time to crank it on stage the Mini Mofo can get stupidly loud. Controls are MoFo (the aforementioned extra footswitchable gain), Gain, Middle, Bass, Treble, Presence and Master. But wait, what’s this? There are two inputs, ‘US’ and ‘UK,’ which alter the basic character of the amplifier to an astonishing degree! In fact there are four cascaded gain stages here which offer everything from classic clean to ultra metal and anything in between.


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REVIEW: Paul Reed Smith PRS 30 Amplifier

Although they’re one of the most popular guitar brands in the world, Paul Reed Smith isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think of amps. But even so, the PRS 30 and its other US-made counterparts aren’t entirely unprecedented. In the early 90s they released a respected line of solid state amps, and more recently they’ve launched a line of boutique amps (including a Custom Amp Designs division led by Doug Sewell).

By the way, a new PRS SE line has also just been announced for those who can’t afford the US models. Can’t wait to check those out. But first, let’s look at the PRS 30. It’s a 30 watt amp designed to offer an English sound with an American twist. The construction method utilises thick PC boards for consistency, and all of the pots, jacks, power tube sockets and switches are mounted to the chassis. Shielded wire is used at various critical points for the best quality where it counts. At its heart are a quartet of EL84 power tubes, while the preamp section features two 12AX7s and two 12AT7s. The controls left to right are a Bright switch, Volume, Reverb (3-spring Reverb with medium decay), Treble, Middle, Bass and Master Volume. Around the back you’ll find an extension speaker jack in parallel with the speaker out jack.

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]Buy the PRS 30 from Musician’s Friend.[/geo-out]

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