Ampeg GVT-5H 5W Tube Guitar Amp Head

Head/Combo: 
Head
Price Paid: 
$350
Condition: 
New
Country of origin: 
Not sure
Tube Type: 
6V6
Features: 

  • Dual power modes: Full power – 5 watts RMS, Half power – 2.5 watts RMS
  • 12AX7 preamp tube
  • 6V6GT power tube
  • Solid state rectifier
  • Baxandall treble and bass tone controls
  • Speaker outputs: 1 x 16 ohm, 2 x 8 ohm and 2 x 4 ohm
  • Void-free 15mm plywood cabinet
Pros: 

It has the classic Ampeg sound in a small, inexpensive package. The controls are as simple as can be. It's well made and light.

Cons: 

I bought this amp for a specific recording project to obtain classic 70s Ampeg/Rolling Stones type sound. That clean chirpy bark you hear on things like Brown Sugar and all over Sticky Fingers. I also wanted to get a scuzzier fuzzier sound that is more associated with bands like the Stooges and the New York Dolls.  What I didn't want this time was a British EL34 or EL84 type sound. I have that covered with my other amps.

Well the Stones sound is defintely there -- the amp is voiced correctly -- but you have to run it full out and/or maybe use a little bit of pedal boost as well to get it. This amp is very clean sounding will not distort much beyond that on its own. You can get there with pedals, but the GVT 5 is just NOT very versatile (like an Orange Tiny Terror for example). While I bought it primarily for recording, if I have to gig these songs down the road, I'd have a hard time getting any sonic variety in a live setting with this amp. To get truly scuzzy tones, you'd need something like a fuzz or distortion pedal.  I need an amp to be able to get there on its own. This doesn't.

Biggest drawback is the lack of a gain knob to drive it harder. i.e, there is no Master Volume type of control.

Second biggest drawback is the the lack of a midrange knob.

Sound Quality: 
3
Reliability: 

N/A

Customer Support: 

I contacted Ampeg and asked them about the level of distortion you're supposed to be able to get out of the GVT5, and they hemmed and hawed a bit suggesting I likely have to use a pedal to get anywhere near dirty. 

Summary: 

This amp got me almost where I wanted to go, but not quite. I am retruning and exchanging it for the GVT 15 watt head. Not that I need more wattage, but for $150 more, you get the following improvments:

Gain and midrange controls. Product videos show a higher level of Gain on tap for this amp.

Reverb

Effects loop.

Overall Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)