The shipping box reads “Delicate Instrument,” but don’t let that fool you. The Kendrick 2210 is delicate in same way that a surgical scalpel or nitro glycerine are. With explosive power and tone to carve up amps twice its size, this amp is at home in a recording studio or small- to middle-size club.
Last year I mentioned to Gerald that I liked the sound of his amps but my problem was that I live in New York and don’t need a big cabinet, a mess of power, and a hernia trying to haul an amp around. I told him that I thought the original Fender Super was the perfect size for an amp. For playing in the city it was small enough and loud enough to get the job done.
Gerald sympathized and said that he was working on several additions to the established lineup. At the 1993 Greater Southwest Guitar Shown in Dallas Kendrick debuted the 2210 and 2112. Playing the 2210 for a few minutes left me wanting more. Early last fall Kendrick shipped me a blond 2210 with an oxblood grille cloth. A very pretty little amp. Weighing in at 40 pounds, it is very well built, yet manageable while navigating traffic.
The 2210 is a 40 watt amp paired with two 10″ Blackframe speakers housed in a 3/4″ solid pine cabinet. It’s the same amp as the 2410, powered by two 5881s with a quartet of 7025/12AX7s as preamp tubes. Like its Kendrick cousins it has two channels: one normal, the other bright with separate volume and a common set of treble, bass, middle, and presence controls. It also has an effects loop and an extra gain stage (with a separate 12AX7) for leveling the effects loop or to be used as a gain boost. The extra stage gives you 12 to 15 dBs of volume.
After admiring the little blond it was time to crank her up and see just what she could do. Unfortunately after turning it on there was an obnoxious hum with an intermittent sputtering crackle. I immediately called the factory and spoke to Terry Oubre (Kendrick’s guitar virtuoso). Terry quickly figured out that the first preamp tube was the culprit.
He said to replace it with the 7025 from the effects loop. This did the trick. I was impressed with the response and speedy diagnosis of the problem.
Using my trusty 1979 Anniversary Strat I ran the amp through a variety of musical changes. At first I favored the bright channel. Starting with the volume between 3 and 4 it displays an even, clean percussive sound A la Robert Cray, with a little bit of bite. Cranked up consecutively from 4 to 7, the bark and bite become more pointed. From 8 on up to ‘things failing off the shelves,’ (12 actually – one better than Spinal Tap) you get an increasing depth of distortion and compression. If you intend to run the amp above 9 you will have to roll back the bass and middle to get definition. The bright channel is roughly 3 to 5 dBs louder than the normal channel and between the two inputs of each channel is another 3 to 5 dBs of difference.
After shaving all the little hairs out of my middle ear I returned to the normal channel. Sitting back and slowing down the pace I noticed the smooth warmth that exudes from the amp. Playing partial chords and bluesy lines lets the charm of the amp shine through. With all the tone controls at 5-6 the amp has a warm, even sound; by rolling back the bass and middle to 4 and boosting the treble and presence to 7-8 the top opens up and gives enough top to cut. Fluttering chords and ringing finger-picked arpeggios give pause to the delicate instrument claim.
If you desire more breakup and distortion and don’t want to crank the amp up, use the extra gain stage. When used as a lead boost and cranked-up over your rythym settings you’ll get instant in-your-face attitude. Or if used as a third preamp stage it thickens the sound nicely. It’s not going to distort like a Marshall but you can get that cardiac arrest sound that Neil Young favors.
Also do yourself and the amp a favor, get a cover for it. Kendrick has covers available for all their products.
If you are looking for an amp to enjoy at home or at the local club, the 2210 is definitely one to look at. If you’re visting one of the shows at which Kendrick displays, please do youself a favor and pop inside the sound booth and take the 2210 for a ride. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Whether dressed in the traditional tweed or in the Tolex of your choice, this amp covers a lot of ground and makes playing fun.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s april ’94 issue.