Most of us have been so conditioned to accept 12″ guitar speakers that we forget there are good options. While traditionally employed by bassists, 15″ speakers have also been used by the likes of Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, Dick Dale, Chris Duarte, and pedal-steel guitarists to get seriously fat tones. Peavey keeps the 1×15 tradition going with its Delta Blues 115 Tweed, a tube combo with a Celestion Fullback.
The Delta Blues is a loud 30-watter with a swank tweed skin, leather handle, and chrome top panel. Despite the old-school vibe, this is a two-channel amp with a footswitchable lead boost, effects loop, and external speaker jack, all speaking to the needs of modern guitarists. The amp sports four EL84 power tubes and a trio of 12AX7s in the preamp, and weighs about 50 pounds. It also has two rear jacks for Channel/Boost and Reverb/Tremolo footswitches (the amp comes with a single two-button footswitch, but you can buy another to manage all four on/off functions).
Controls include a Normal volume knob in Channel 1, and Pre and Post volume knobs in Channel 2 to conjure the proper degree of overdrive. There’s also a passive three-band EQ, reverb, and a tremolo circuit with Speed and Intensity knobs. Buttons include Channel Select and Boost, along with Power and Standby switches to the far right.
Tested with a Stratocaster, the Delta Blues sounded fabulous, with a huge sonic girth and sweet high-end – no harsh trebles here, especially with the spring reverb kicked on. The clean channel was fine for all manner of blues, country, rockabilly, and classic and modern rock – basically everything from Howlin’ Wolf to the Alabama Shakes. Jump to the overdrive channel and things get feistier, with big, bruising power chord crunch, thankfully without any glassy screech. The tremolo circuit only adds to the fun. Adjust the Treble knob, as well as your guitar’s volume and tone, to find the perfect sweet spot. You will be impressed by the heavenly tones.
The power amp’s 30 watts of output is plenty loud, but if you need more volume for gigs, consider an external cab or PA. The only debit is that the plastic Channel and Boost buttons are a bit flimsy for long-term gigging. Otherwise the Delta Blues 115 Tweed is strong contender for your tube-amp dollar. Peavey has a true winner here.
This article originally appeared in VG October 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.