Design, value, and functionality
I purchased this amp because I wanted something like an older amp, but without the issues that usually have to be resolved to get a recordable, giggable piece of work out of 40 or 50 year old gear. I didn't know what to expect, to tell you the truth, but I liked that it had 6v6's and 15" speaker, and the dual chasis arrangement found in amps of yesteryear. Not many 15" combo's out there are being released right now.
Immediately upon opening the box (very well packed for shipping) I was struck by the impressive design. The pictures are enticing, but to have the real deal in front of you is damn exciting. It was heavy, and well constructed. The simplicity and layout are refreshing.
I plugged the telecaster in, had the volume at noon, used the Guitar input, Bright setting, and was surrounded by a clean that had grit, character, and shimmer. This is not a scooped EQ setting. As noted elsewhere, this is not a typical Fender amp. Even on the bright, which is very bright, you get a good dose of midrange with a tight low-end undertow. As the speaker gets worked more, the better everything is sounding. This speaker can handle a lot.
Pushing to the Dark setting, I had even more pronounced midrange, but the lows were still tight, and the amp still clean. More of an old, vintage vibe there. In fact the amp stayed clean until I was about 80% up the dial, which I really liked. Plugging into all three inputs, the character of the amp is still there, , but you get varying shifts of that essential character. Cranked all the way, this amp sounds fantastic. It can be a little much in a living room, but in large room, the amp is able to fill up a lot of space and is not harsh when pushed. Leveling off the telecaster volume and or tone control a notch allows a really sweet tone that is more fuzzy, not fizzy. All the way up it has a relatively noise free character, it does not buzz excessively at all, and the sound cleans up really nice under the Guitar controls. A Les Paul got the amp to break up quite a bit quicker; around 11:00 on the dial with low output humbuckers. This amp is loud! You can gig this thing, especially if you are in a small combo. Great for country, blues, jazz, and hard garage bands. But I was also able to get a great early Black Sabbath sound working with my Tele tone control!
The tremelo is nice and deep as you turn the dial, though it won't pulse super fast. The speaker and tubes are not bad, and I am finding that each guitar I use, whether a Teisco Spectrum, a Jagstang, or Kay archtop, I find a really interesting niche to explore. Harmonica and lap steel sound great, but have not had a chance to hear an accordian, yet. I can't express how much fun this amp is to play through. Sounds great up and down the dial. I hope Fender continues to explore their Pawnshop line, especially if they keep giving us quality offerings like this.