Archive for Epiphone Blues Custom 30

The Loudest Gig On My Circuit by Gary McGill

Posted in Amplifiers, Epiphone, Gibson, Pro Audio with tags , , , on November 19, 2008 by gibsonproaudiolive

I play a 200 seat room in a small town 40 minutes south of London, Ontario where the owners, staff, and patrons, indeed everyone- just says “crank it”, and until getting my hands on the Epiphone Blues Custom 30, I could never do this particular situation justice.  The great thing about this room is the old, wide hardwood floor that enhanced the Sweet Authority of the BC 30. You know that Pete Townsend A major chord that we all do?  Well, just getting levels at the beginning of the night saw this little move pushing back the first couple of tables …Sorry, I grinned to myself, thinking this was going to be a great night. Sure, you say: “This is just a tube amp turned up, what’s the big deal?”  To explain, I’ve lived a somewhat fettered sonic existence for the last decade or more using a 90 watt European hybrid amp with one 12″ speaker and one 12ax7 tube, but mostly solid state. Compared to the BC 30 with two 6L6 and five 12Ax7 tubes, the old amp just didn’t cut it.  I spent years getting my quick PA tweakage down, and in my opinion, my weakest link was my guitar sound. Things are now complete for me.


So, with a volume setting of only about 2, in A/B mode, I work through my repertoire – The Cars, ZZ Top, Led Zep, SRV, Clapton, Joe Jackson, Men at Work, Peter Gabriel- dialing in every specific thing for each piece, surprising me at every turn.  The tone patch that I usually use for my David Wilcox numbers (not the talented American folkie, but the bluesy rockin’ Canadian guitar icon) were what came alive for me on this night.  Fat, juicy, full spectrum, all-you-could-ask-for TONE in what otherwise, in my old amp, was always this little Pignose type sound out of a 12” enclosure. In pushing the new amp to its limits on this night over four hours, I realized why the Blues Custom 30 was constructed so heavily. The levels, peaks and valleys that this baby produced demanded 11 Ply Birch!  Incidentally, the weight of the amp, flat on the hardwood floor, with no flight case in between, seemed to make a difference, I think. The crowd was watching every reaction to what I was getting out of the amp and on my breaks there were a few guitar players that wanted to immediately put this amp on their shopping list. I knew they were serious because they mentioned it in whispering tones, as their wives were sitting at the table!



Something Everyone Can Afford

A few years ago, I went in to our largest music store in town, and pointed at a new box that I hadn’t seen before built by a well known British manufacturer. The salesman that day said, “oh, that’s an 18 watt  class A amp.” “How much?” I asked. “About 2200 dollars” came the reply.  I’m a working fella, and I wasn’t going to entertain the thought.

Growing up, there was some kind of rule in our neighborhood that automatically put musicians in the league of tire-kickers at a used car lot.  “How many cylinders, and how many miles per gallon?” was the oft used query of the frugal buyer.  Akin to that, we always expected a certain “dollar per watt” which is hilarious knowing what we know now to be true. “How many watts?  How much?”-  “You gotta be jokin!” or…”hey, that’s not bad….”

That aside, over the years, there was this ‘brand building’ and accompanied snobbery which some amp makers were capable of merely because their products were in the hands of Hendrix, Clapton, Brian May, et al. Folks, I’m here to tell you that those days are gone with the advent of amplifiers like the BC 30.   “Something everyone can afford, that everyone wants to hear.” The folks at Epiphone are on to something.



Adventures at the Jam by Gary McGill

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 3, 2008 by gibsonproaudiolive

In my town there is a weekly jam on Saturday evening and everyone in the east end of the city comes out to crank it up and have a good time. I had never brought my own amp before, so I was never guaranteed a spot, but on this night I brought my trusty new Epiphone Blues Custom 30 –The Sweet Authority. No one there had ever seen this amp before. On this occasion, there were four guitarists playing at once, with me off to the side, near the exit door. The room itself has a capacity of about 120. I brought along my 1961 Melody Maker (customized beyond recognition with three mini humbuckers and a five way switch) and plugged in directly to the BC 30, with no effects except for channel switching and a bit of ‘verb.


My first solo brought stares of “what on earth is THAT?” The volume on the amp was nowhere near even “4”. The crunch was so sweet it just sung and filled the air.  On the first break, guys gathered round to ask questions, and I told them all that I knew about the amp, and it seemed after a while like everyone that night wanted to go out and buy one. After the break, the host let me sing a tune, so I had to take center stage half way out on the dance floor, with the amp was about 15 feet away, angled in a bit toward the center of the room. The song I picked to do was BB King’s “Caldonia” which put me into the mode of “clean rules”. I had to use a center position to get that plinky, in between sound that BB’s 335 is famous for, and the amp did not let me down in this area at all. I had my treble almost off, with my mids cranked. I played the verses with the guitar pot rolled back to almost half and gave full juice on the solos, and although it was just “volume hot”, I stayed in the clean channel.


Above the din of players learning to play with each other for the first time, this amplifier was transcendent, clear, and explicit in all that I asked of it. On the bottom end it was fat and juicy without being muddy, and way up top it did all the plinky business that it was supposed to, given the demands of the song. This is important to me, because when I cover something, I tend to want to really do it like the original artist. This helps me widen out as a musician myself.  When I was up there, I took note of the other gear that was in the back line. Beside me, there was a Super Reverb, in the middle of the stage there were two small Marshall combos, and at the other end there was a Peavey Vintage about the same size as the Super Reverb. I had the Class toggle setting on the back of the amp set to A/B, 30 watts. For the duration of the evening, even though I was courteous and generous in respect to supporting the other players when it came time to lay back, my non biased opinion, shared with the others both on stage and in the audience, is that the Epiphone Blues Custom 30 dominated the venue. Very cool.

Photo: Geri Risser

Epiphone Blues Custom 30 by Gary McGill

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 20, 2008 by gibsonproaudiolive

Epiphone Blues Custom 30  by Gary McGill

As an Epiphone endorsee, Gary recently received the new Blues Custom 30 to work into his live shows.  These blogs will track his use of various Epiphone instruments and amplifiers over the course of time.  We hope, through Gary’s keen insight , you can learn some valuable tricks, tips and just some good old fashioned tried and true info that you can incorporate into your playing.

When I opened the box and pulled the amp out, I was amazed at the sturdy construction; although simple and straightforward in its attributes, it is more meticulous than most in its detail, as well, in appointments and design.  Very retro and cool.

I plugged the Epiphone Blues Custom 30 in and commenced to putting this amp through every pace/application I could think of. Big reverb with rockabilly twang, fat bluesy tones with just a little bit of dirt, gargantuan crunch, and even A/B tested some of the same settings with different guitars.

I made a discovery: When other amps that I have rarely portray a marked difference in tonality, this particular unit came through and showed me tones that I never thought were even available to me on my main guitar, which I’ve had since 1991. The other great thing is purity and sustain that happens naturally with a Class A amplifier.

The speaker mass here commensurate for my immediate application is more than enough for some of those 1000+ tunes in my repertoire which may include ZZ Top, Green Day, Ozzy, Peter Gabriel, Motorhead, etc, but in times of delicate nuance, the Lenny Breau harmonic cascades and the pluckiness of Mark Knopfler are still there, ringing true in a way, certainly that I’ve never heard before at a gig with noteworthy (no pun intended) fidelity.


I am looking forward to giving an account of the performance of this amplifier through various situations and gigs, with different types of music.