Author Archives: Bob Dragich

Mercury Magnetics Fender Champion 600 Conversion Kit

Now It's a Champ!

Fender’s tiny Champion 600 is aimed at the guitarist who requires rich power-tube distortion at low volume levels. With just one 6V6 power tube putting out five watts, getting the little Champ to scream is no problem. Introduced after Epiphone’s similarly-sized Valve Junior, the Champ (more…)

Posted in Gear | Comments closed

The Mercury Magnetics Epiphone Valve Junior Mod Kit

Small Cha-Ching, Big Bling

Last year, Epiphone tossed a small pebble into a large pond with the introduction of its Valve Junior amplifier – and its launch caused a tsunami. Available as a stand-alone head or a 1×8″ combo, the Junior was as basic as an amp (more…)

Posted in Gear | Comments closed

PRS David Grissom Trem

"Swiss Army" Axe

PRS David Grissom Trem David Grissom is at or near the top of any list of significant Texas guitarists, having toured or recorded with artists ranging from Ringo Starr to the Dixie Chicks and Buddy Guy. He has also penned songs for Trisha Yearwood, John (more…)

Posted in Gear | Comments closed

76 Watts the Hard Way

The VG Low-Watt Boutique Tube Amp Shootout

For many electric guitarists, the sound coming out of an amp is just not happening until power-tube saturation enters the tonal spectrum, with the richness and warmth you just don’t get with pedals and preamp overdrive circuits. And there’s only one way to get the big (more…)

Posted in Gear | Comments closed

Allen Amplification Accomplice Jr.

Raw and Ready

Allen Amplification Accomplice Jr. First impressions of Allen Amplification’s new Accomplice Jr. begin to form even before you open the box – it’s so light you might think (as we did), “Did they ship just a head?” But our fears were (more…)

Posted in Gear | Comments closed

Blackstar Artisan 15 and 30 Amps

Boutique Tone, Bargain Pricing

Blackstone Artisan 15 Started a few years ago by a group of former Marshall employees, Blackstar Amplification’s Artisan series, comprised of 15- and 30-watt combos and a 100-watt head, is just becoming available in the U.S. The combos are two-channel amps, and they (more…)

Posted in Gear | Comments closed

Epiphone Valve Junior and Valve Special amps


Epiphone Valve Junior Through the years, a number of amplifier manufacturers have tried their hands at producing budget tube amps. The problem with the vast majority of these items was that they were not primarily tube amps, they were primarily low-budget amps. Their (more…)

Posted in Gear | Comments closed

Vox Cooltron Pedals

Look, Ma! No AC Cords!

We’ve harped on the fact before that there are so many great-sounding overdrive/distortion pedals on the market today. And regardless of whether they employ silicon or germanium transistors, guitarists generally feel distortion from a pedal should be produced (more…)

Posted in Gear | Comments closed

Walter Trout – Deep Trout


Walter Trout has had not one, but two, successful recording careers. There are the 10 discs he has released in the U.S., but like many American musical artists including Luther Allison, he is even more popular in Europe. Deep Trout is a compilation primarily (more…)

Posted in Music | Comments closed

Dr. Z Mini Z

We Don't Got To Show You No Stinking Headroom!

The Mini Z is amp builder Dr. Z’s (a.k.a. Mike Zaite) entry into the low-watt/single-power-tube practice/recording category of amps. Extremely compact at under one cubic foot in size, and weighing (more…)

Posted in Gear | Comments closed