Soldano has a Great New Amp coming your way!

Want a clean amp pedal platform? Need a truly great clean sound for any genre of music? And you want it in an easy grab and go package? Soldano has you covered!

I dropped by Soldano Custom Amplification last Friday and got to see and hear their brand new amplifier! It’s a completely clean, straight forward design particularly for those looking for a pedal platform, or just a truly great clean tube tone. It’s called the Little Luck.

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The Little Luck is a 50 watt head based on the Lucky 13, but is a single channel clean sound only design. If you’re familiar with the Lucky 13 clean channel, the Little Luck is similar with a very rich black face Fender Bassman based tone.

The concept for the Little Luck began when Mike Soldano got a request from Prince for a completely clean pedal platform that was just as well made and reliable as his other Soldano amps. Prince was wanting a change from his usual high gain Soldano heads and wanted to do everything via foot pedals. Soldano built two such heads based around the Lucky 13 clean tone and put them in a couple of 100 watt Avenger chassis. These are the amps Prince used the last few years of his life and can be seen in his last SNL performance from a couple years ago.

Soldano ended up building a half dozen of these heads for Prince and then got a request from a session player in Nashville who had heard about the amps. Soldano sent him a prototype and soon came more requests and finally a decision to put the one-offs into production.

 

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I got to hear Mike Soldano play through it at both high and low volume levels and it sounds fantastic!

Simply put the huge 3D cleans were gorgeous, lots of harmonic content and swirl to the notes, really vintage sounding. Ideal for blues, classic rock, country, and of course anything else you wanted to play through it. Deep bass, warm mids, and soft yet sparkling highs. It almost sounded like there was a hint of reverb coming through the speakers but it was just the way the amp sounds–pure.

The Little Luck is a mini head around the size of the Hot Rod 25 and features a simple straightforward layout: preamp volume, bass, middle, treble, and master volume. Two 12ax7 preamp tubes and two 5881/6L6 power tubes. Seems to weigh around 20 pounds or less.

Soldano said the amps will be available through dealers and Soldano’s website http://www.soldanodirect.com very soon! They already have at least a couple dozen circuit boards complete and awaiting installation and the Little Luck, handmade in Seattle, WA, should be for sale for under $1500.

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Belated Studio update

Got everything painted! Initially I was going to use bolder shades of the primary colors but changed my mind and went with more Mediterranean takes on RYB. Still need to put up the acoustic treatment and the remaining white space will be covered in black fabric.

Re-wired the old lighting fixtures and replaced the fluorescent tubes with LEDs.

Finally got the epoxy to stay put on my floors! Yay! It was a long difficult process to properly prepare, and repair, the damaged concrete, but it came together and looks good. Some touch ups to preform later but overall it came out well.

Still plenty to do to make the space a little more comfortable, but, overall, it’s fully functional and looking good 🙂

 

Weber Gray Wolf speaker review

I’ve been a weber speaker player for over a decade. I heard about them after being frustrated by speakers like the v30 and similar, more modern Celestions, and not being able to get warmer Greenback-like sounds in a higher watt format at the time. My first Webers were a Blue Dog and Silver Bell pair. I emailed Ted Sr. and he couldn’t have been more patient or helpful with my questions. The speakers lived up to, and exceeded, my expectations and have served me well ever since.

I play several different genres, and am a professional musician, on stage and studio, and have played with an assortment of regional bands/artists ranging in styles like modern rock, funk, jazz, gospel, modern R+B and more. Like most musicians, I like to experiment with different sounds, especially via speakers. With some of my more recent work calling for a more modern sound than the warmer, vintage-inspired tone of the Blue/Silver and Legacy speakers I had been using, I decided to check out something new from Weber. I checked out the sound clips, got in touch with CJ, and ordered a pair of Gray Wolves (pre-rola, 100w, standard cap).

The Gray Wolf is every bit as good as what you hear from weber’s sound clips. Even better. Front loaded in my Soldano 4×12 the speaker has tons of character and texture, thick mids, big thumping bass, clear highs, but never sounds harsh or thin. It’s very much as Weber describes it: clean it’s eerily similar to my 50w Blue Dog, just beautiful (even with high gain amps not known for cleans!), but with more bass and just a tiny bit of hair to the tone when I dig in. When used with crunch the GW begins to distance itself just a little bit from its cousin. It’s much hairier in a pleasing way, a little more of a modern sound and feel, yet it can still easily do the vintage thing just as well as the Blue.

High gain is where the Gray Wolf really sets itself apart from the Blue Dog, Silver Bell, and Legacy speakers that I’ve used and loved for years. All of the previous Webers I own are fantastic speakers and sound great with any genre or amp that I play, but they all have a very strong vintage vibe. While there’s plenty of room to EQ what you want, that vintage tone and feel isn’t always what I’m going for (like for some modern rock or metal sounds). The GW takes the good things about those Weber speakers (as well as the good things about speakers like the v30 or h30) and blends them together in a modern sounding package. The most amazing thing is that the different aspects seem to come out on demand, almost becoming a different speaker when called upon!

When you dial in a high gain, modern rock sound the wolf unleashes the dirt without getting compressed, stiff, harsh, or bright at all! It really opens up high gain sounds, making them sound less compressed while still as dirty as you want, and again absolutely zero of the harshness or overly bright aspects one might find in a v30 or h30 type. The gray has the bass of a great h30 or 1265 type, but with much more punch and thump like the Silver, the clean chime and fat mids of a Blue, clear midrange but absolutely no harshness or honk, and tons of texture/character like a great Greenback or Weber Legacy with a touch of h30 on top. And the best part is how the speaker seems to change up depending on what you need as you play, like a mind reader! I can’t stress that enough, it is an ideal do-it-all British speaker!

Using high gain amplifiers like my Soldano SLO the Gray Wolf is exactly what I wanted. Gorgeous Blue Dog-like cleans, big low end thump, fantastic crunch and otherworldly high gain. From fast sweep playing to laid back R&B lines, choppy funk to chunky metal riffs, these speakers brought it! With all my amps, I could set the EQ anywhere and be guaranteed good sounds with clarity and punch, but no overly bright or harsh aspects whatsoever. I also took some time out to see how it recorded. I quickly put an SM57 just outside the dustcap and it recorded beautifully! Very similar to what you hear from Weber’s own clips: great lows, thick mids, excellent clarity. No hunting for the right mic position, no hassles at all.

One last thing, a shout out to CJ and the rest of the Weber folks. They have always been a joy to talk to and do business with. CJ got back to me about my questions in a little over 24 hours (must have been busy, it’s usually much faster–LOL). Weber states a 7-10 window for the speaker to be built and then shipped and mine were shipped the morning of the 9th day (which included my request for extra break-in time!). The speakers were well packed, double boxed, with retainers to hold them in place and they included some cool swag 🙂 Again, just a pleasure to deal with, every time and this was no exception!

I’ve owned and played a lot of different makes and models of speakers from Celestion, WGS, Eminence, etc. Most of them are fine, but just that – fine. They get the job done, but they aren’t anything special, nothing to get excited about.

Webers are something special. And if Brit tones are what you’re after, especially is versatility is at the top of your list, pick up a Gray Wolf.

An Important Update

Caryn A. Tate's Blog

It’s been quite a while since you’ve heard from me. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have seen my occasional posts that I was working on a novel for NaNoWriMo, or letting you know I had a new boxing article published on Boxing.com. But for my fictional work, there’s been a lot of radio silence, and I’m writing this post to explain why.

I’ve had ongoing health issues for the past several years. For longer than I care to admit, approximately 12-15 years, I had increasing levels of pain and fatigue that began to drain on my creative energy on top of everything else. About two and a half years ago, I finally got what I thought was the medical help I needed from a rheumatologist who had a hunch that I had ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis. I was treated with potent, immunosuppressive drugs…

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