The guitar amplifier industry has definitely experienced some big changes in the past recent years. While tube amps became way more affordable at some point, with companies like Bugera or Blackheart flooding the market with models at entry-level prices, the big companies followed to keep up in order to not loose market share. We also saw small 1 or 2 men companies slowly emerging as they came up with new designs and solutions for touring guitarists who want flexibility without changing into the world of digital solutions. Driftwood Amplifiers from Germany is one of them!
Purple Nightmare Master Section (click to enlarge)
More like “a dream come true” than an actual nightmare
Like many amp builders, Driftwood started out as a service point for amps & electronics in case you needed something fixed by a professional. After many years of experience in this field, they started creating their own designs, while taking into account what their customers would want to have in an amplifier.
At last year’s NAMM and as well at Musikmesse, Thomas Blug introduced his new company to the world: BluGuitar! He has been developing full-tube & digital amplifiers for almost 20 years, while also being a session player on numerous records. His most known achievements in the amp world include the Hughes&Kettner TriAmp MKII among other amps from the German manufacturer. But he also developed one of the most sophisticated digital amps back in the days, the Hughes&Kettner Zentera!
In the past couple of years, he was focused on the development of a vision he had. He wanted to create a compact amplifier with authentic tone and feel, that should be able to cover a wide range of different sounds, everything from vintage clean to modern high gain. Now this vision has become reality… and it’s more compact and light than anything else I came across so far!
The E651 Artist Edition is based on the inner circuit of the E650 Ritchie Blackmore Head, which is one of the best-selling ENGL amplifiers of all times. It also sticks out of the ENGL range as the most open-sounding and dynamic model, apart from the E610 Savage. In 2005, ENGL made a slightly different version of the E650, requested by long-time ENGL artist Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Bad Moon Rising).
It was equipped with EL34s in the power amp section and also featured a new and totally different 3-band EQ. Aldrich loved it and the rumor about this specific amp spread to other famous player like Gary Moore, Jimmy Page, Ken Hammer, Vivien Campell, Paul Stanley and many more.
Randall Amplification shows some new stuff on their official website, which is supposed to be released at NAMM in a couple of days. I am not sure if this is all the news or if Randall is holding the big surprise back until next week. Here’s what we know and see so far…
Randall EOD88 Element of Doom
The EOD88 seems to be inspired by the early days of Heavy Metal and the sound that was created back in these days. The 88-watt amplifier features a simple layout with 3 gain modes, but just one equalizer plus a built-in Fuzz circuit. The power amp comes with a big knob for master volume as well as Depth & Presence controls.
Randall EOD88 Element of Doom Head (click to enlarge)
Power: 88 watts
Tube: KT88 power amp /12AX7 preamp
3 gain modes
switchable Fuzz circuit
discrete Class A instrument level
2-button footswitch included
Limited Edition red tolex (according to Randall’s website)