Supro’s Comet 1610RT just may be the perfect desert island amp – a high-gain, low-watt 1×10 combo that maybe doesn’t do it all, but does most everything you’ll ever need on your balmy isle paradise.
Think ’30s Gibson EH-150, ’50s Fender tweed Champ, or ’60s Supro Bantam. The Comet is a small amp with big ideas about tone, but it also has a couple of modern tweaks that will have you reaching for it before those vintage choices.
The assembled-in-the-U.S. Comet has a single-ended Class A power amp with one Sovtek 5881/6L6WGC power tube plus three 12AX7 and one 12AT7 preamp tubes. The signal runs into a single 10″ custom-voiced Supro CR10 speaker.
This is where things start to get even more interesting. The Comet has switchable power, letting you opt between six and 14 watts at the throw of a toggle. Plus, it features Supro’s highly lauded tremolo and reverb (yes, they’re tube-driven).
All this is handily packed into a small-yet-sturdy package that weighs just six pounds – ideal when you have to hop into the SS Minnow’s life raft and get ashore.
Plugging in a ’54 Gretsch Duo Jet and switching on the handy Standby, the Comet sounds good from the get-go. The high-gain design offers solid, in-your-face tone. It’s sweet and clean up until about 12 o’clock on the Volume knob, providing fine rockabilly and vintage rock and roll sounds. Twist it past noon, and it offers a hearty crunch seguing into soaring overdrive at wide full open.
At six watts, the Comet is ideal for playing in your home, your practice space, or the studio. Boost it to 14 watts, and you have more volume for stage use – or to play as loud as you want on your new island real estate. Either way, the amp boasts ample note clarity and lovely dynamics for recording.
The tremolo circuit is built in the preamp, before the reverb (can you say, “vintage correct”?), for wide, deep, resonate effects that range from a subtle accent to far out.
Supro also offers its 1700 1×12 Supreme extension cabinet loaded with a BD12 speaker. Stack them up, and you have plenty of stage oomph.
Oh, and how about the Comet’s looks? It’s dressed up in 1959 Supro finery: impossibly tough black rhino hide tolex with stylish white welting and a chic gold faceplate. The complete package.
This article originally appeared in VG July 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.