A lot of you may be too young to remember the '70s, but you know most of the great songs (like "Stairway to Heaven" and others), all of which were driven by strong guitar work - even if there was an occasional B-3 or electric piano thrown in at times. But then came the '80s with their synth-heavy tracks and guitarists... well, guitarists were often relegated to backing up the synth player.

Fortunately, the '90s brought us back to reality and a peaceful co-existence between great guitar sounds and synths. And the best thing about the '90s - particularly the last few years of that decade - was the fact that it became easier than ever to get a terrific guitar tone without taking out a huge loan or winning the lottery. And the amp that started this tone revolution was the AxSys 212 from Line 6.

Today, classic guitar sounds are within everyone's reach. True, you still need a good guitar, but a superb amp that will give you all the sounds you'll probably ever need is more affordable than ever.

So if you're a gigging (or even a "hope to be gigging real soon") guitarist who needs (or just wants) a variety of great vintage tones, the Flextone II Series from Line 6 may just be the amp you need, regardless of whether you're looking for a 1x12, or 2x12 combo, or 2x12 mini stack.The best part is, if you're already familiar with vintage amps (and what guitar player worthy of toting a cool ax isn't?), dialing up a sound on the Flextone II is amazingly simple, and there's a lot less to haul out to the gig.

All Flextone II amplifiers feature: 32 great sounding Amp Models (24 legendary amplifiers, plus eight killer Line 6 originals) and 16 digital effects, along with 16 selectable cabinet models to mix and match (try, for example, the Modern Hi Gain amp model through the 1x8 Small Tweed cabinet - yikes!).

Thanks to Line 6's patented TubeTone modeling, all the Flextone II series include a truly incredible collection of guitar tones, modeled from a group of specific, much sought-after amplifiers. The TubeTone Amp models were actually developed from in-depth studies of over two dozen different amplifiers, including: a 1952 Fender Deluxe; 1959 Fender Bassman; 1964 Blackface Fender Deluxe; 1964 Vox AC15; 1964/65 Marshall JTM45; 1968 Marshall "Plexi"; 1986 Marshall JCM800; 1994 Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier; 1989 Soldano SLO; 1987 Roland JC120; 1996 Matchless Chieftain; a classic 1960s Arbiter Fuzz Face fuzz box; and eight custom, don't-exist-anywhere- else-on-this-planet amp models created by Line 6 that are great additions to any guitarist's tonal palette.

Straight out of the box, Flextone II gives you 4 channels of fully programmable sounds, plus another 32 channels with the addition of the optional Floor Board foot controller. This enables you to keep a full array of sounds immediately available. And thanks to enhanced power amp dynamics (that most other "modeling amps" can't deliver), you get more of the spongy, sparkly and spanky dynamic goodness you crave.

What's more, brand new Line 6 ToneTransfer capabilities lets you design your sounds on a POD and transfer them directly to your Flextone II via the built-in MIDI ports. Or, you can transfer tones the other direction (cool, huh?). Combined with their ToneTransfer Web Library and the included SoundDiver POD software, you've got instant access to hundreds of great tones.

Uh oh . . . Inspiration striking you at 3 AM? Tired of the neighbors leaving flaming packages on your doorstep? Have no fear! Flextone's headphone out automatically silences the internal speakers and gives you full, rich guitar tone delivered direct to your ears.

Flextone II allows you do customize almost every aspect of your sound, including replacing the default amp and effect settings with your own. It has more control options than ever before over effects parameters, as well.

You get simple "grab-and-go" operation: There's no menus, no parameter screens, no cheat sheets needed to remember functions - just grab a control and dial it up. It's as plain as the . . . uhh, knob on your amp.

All Flextone II XL and Plus combo amps feature Live/Studio Mode switching/Balanced XLR Outs. It's an amp! No, it's a direct box! Wait. You're both right. In live mode, it's a great sounding guitar amp with the bonus of balanced mic level XLR outs to feed the mixing board. In studio mode, you get the advantage of all the ground breaking A.I.R. technology of the award winning Line 6 POD through those same balanced outs running at pro +4dBu levels.

From studio to stage, bedroom to ballroom, and from the garage to the Grammy's - your Flextone II will let you rehearse, record and gig without any second thoughts about getting your sound, no matter what.

Flextone II (60w mono / 1x12" / $899.99 list). The most economical of the new Flextone series. It's powerful enough for rehearsals and live gigs, compact enough for small studios and use as a practice amp while offering a full range of classic amp tones. Both your ears and your back will thank you.

Flextone II XL (100w stereo / 2x12 / $1199.99 list). Want a little extra oomph in a combo? The XL has the power, it has the speakers, and it has the will to use them. This baby will fill a hall with great Line 6 sounds - and still won't clean out your bank account!

Flextone II Plus (60w mono /100w stereo / 1x12 / $1049.99 list). With a "dual mode" power amp section that delivers 60 watts mono through a 1x12" custom designed speaker and kicks out 100 watts stereo when the extension cab is plugged in, the Plus, allows the capability to bring only the amp itself to smaller gigs, jams, and recording sessions, while being able to take along that Flextone Cab to larger venues (Flextone II Plus with Cab is about 6db louder - or more than twice as loud for those of you who left your sliderule at home - than the Flextone II by itself. Stack the Plus and Cab for extra low end response or separate the two for a wide stereo image (not to mention the fact that your other band members will be able to hear you a lot better and be much more likely to notice your amazingly incredible playing.

For those of you looking for a head only (as in the amp without any speakers), you can easily rule the world with the stadium-ready, 300-Watt, 40-pound Stereo Flextone HD head ($1199.99 list). It's just the thing for when absolutely deafening isn't quite enough! The HD includes a series / parallel switchable effects loop, plus groovy built-in panel light so you see every control on a darkened stage.

While we're on the subject of Line 6, I also want to mention that the company just released their latest version of the best-selling POD. It's called, aptly enough, POD 2.0 ($449.99 list). If you've been frustrated trying to get great guitar tones running direct, either live or in the studio, and you want a wide variety of classic and modern guitar tones with convenient effects built in, then you want a POD 2.0.

Line 6's revolutionary A.I.R. (Acoustically Integrated Recording) Modeling accurately captures the tone and feel of speaker cabinets, microphones, and even studio room characteristics for an amazing recorded sound on everything from the most prestigious pro setup to a multitrack cassette. It sounds like a great amp miked by a great engineer in a great studio.

All POD family products feature award winning Line 6 Amp Models that emulate an all-star collection of legendary amplifiers. There are 36 user memory locations so you can create your own customized collection of killer sounds. Organize them to match your set list, your session needs, or any doggone thing you want. After all, geez, it's your POD! There are stereo Balanced or Unbalanced +4/-10 TRS outputs, so you can plug it into anything from your home stereo to a really expensive mixing board. A separate stereo headphone output will keep your neighbors (or your spouse, for that matter) from staging a counterattack when you're writing that first big hit in your apartment in the middle of the night. As a bonus, you also get a built-in chromatic tuner, because playing out of tune just isn't cool. An Amp / Direct switch allows POD to be optimized for different applications: Select Direct when running POD directly into a mixer or recorder. Select Amp when using POD as a tone-shaping front end for another amp. There's also Line 6's ToneTransfer Web Library, which is constantly expanding. The sounds you collect transfer seamlessly between POD, POD Pro, and Flextone II series amps, so wherever you go, all your sounds can make the trip. As if all this wasn't enough, Line 6 also includes a CD which contains Emagic's SoundDiver software (for PC or Mac - a $199 value) for expanded feature access via MIDI. You can get at additional effects parameters, do strange things with the wah functions and lots of other fun stuff.

There's also a new POD Pro rackmount package ($799.99 list) with all the connectivity today's demanding recording professionals need, like 24-Bit AES/EBU and S/PDIF digital outs, as well as dual-mode analog XLR connectors.

One thing I want to say before I'm out of space is that the folks at Line 6 are always looking for new ways to deliver the sounds that today's guitar and bass players want and need. This is not a company that's happy to turn out a great product and then take the rest of the year off. Nope, they are constantly looking for new and better ways to get you the tone you need at a price you can actually afford. So call your Sweetwater Sales Engineer today for information and special pricing on the Flextone Series, POD 2.0 and POD Pro, plus all the other great Line 6 products like their ultra-cool Stomp Box Modelers!

- Jim Miller