Denmark’s Carl Martin has built a following with its PlexiTone series of overdrives and effects pedals used by stars the world over. The company recently introduced the Roadie Bandmate 15, a 15-watt Class A amp with matched EL84 power tubes, a Celestion Vintage 30 speaker, and built-in spring reverb.
At 41 pounds and boasting clean aesthetics, it offers rich top-end along with rugged tonal splendor. And while it breaks up mightily when pushed, at low volume it delivers an edgy rock cleans desired by guitarists with no use for jazz tones.
Using 12AX7s the Bandmate 15 provides masculine base tones for favorite pedals. It shines as a plug-in-and-go blues-rock machine for recording or for lower-volume gigs with a disciplined drummer. A straightforward amp, it has Volume, Bass, and Treble controls, a Bright switch, and Volume and Tone knobs for the reverb. A rear-panel input allows the player to turn off the reverb.
With the EQ maxed, the Bandmate 15 gives a bright-but-scintillating sound with lively colors and sparkling harmonics. Using this as a starting point, dial the Bass and Treble knobs counterclockwise to warm the tones. Getting a good sound is quick and easy as long as you’re entrenched in the world of blues and rock; the Bandmate 15 has an earthy punch with lots of personality and sizzle, and emphasizes the attributes that make Stratocasters special, while humbucker guitars take on a gruff, ballsy power when the Volume knob is cranked.
The amp is a dream come come true for guitarists who ride their guitar’s Volume control; vintage-style saturation for angry solos gives way to smoother grittiness for cleaner rhythms with snarl and teeth. An extremely loud 15 watts, the Carl Martin Roadie Bandmate 15 is the way to go if you need portable old-school tones.
This article originally appeared in VG December 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.