The legendary Pignose 7-100 Portable Amp Review.

The Pignose 7-100 Legendary small portable amp might just change your life…

One of the best things you can do as a guitarist to improve your playing is to shake things up a bit. Change your routine. Change what you play or how you play it. Many times this leads to buying a new piece of guitar gear, which is OK – provided you don’t fool yourself into thinking it will make you play like a specific guitarist….

For example, buying an Eric Clapton Fender Stratocaster will not make you play (or sound) like Eric Clapton. It will make you sound like you, playing an Eric Clapton Fender Stratocaster.

But that’s not to say that changing guitar gear won’t change your sound. It absolutely will – if it’s different than what you currently use.

If you only ever play electric guitar, then learning to play on an acoustic guitar will change how you play the electric (and vice versa).

To that end, I am recommending you take a look at the Pignose 7-100 Legendary. It’s a small, portable amplifier with a look and sound all its own.

It’s a vintage look and unique sound, but it’s best feature is its simplicity.

Behold: The Pignose 7-100

pignose-7-100The Pignose 7-100 is a 5w, truly portable amplifier. It’s a solid state amp with a 5″ speaker and runs on 6 AA batteries or an optional AC adapter.

It’s small, about the size of a shoe box and weighs around 5lbs. You can even attach a standard guitar strap and sling the Pignose over your shoulder, for maximum portability.

It features a hinged design and can be played either fully closed, wide open or at any point in between. And if you have a buddy open and close it while you’re playing, you can achieve a sort of poor-man’s wah-wah effect.

It also has an open space inside that can be used to store the AC adapter when not in use. I don’t have the adapter and have opted for rechargeable AA batteries instead, so I use that cavity to store my guitar cable.

The Pignose 7-100 also has a preamp out jack which makes it possible to play the Pignose through a large and more powerful amplifier (or PA) or straight into a mixing board.

pignose-7-100-inside.jpg

Pignose 7-100 Inside View

But what makes the Pignose 7-100 standout as a way to shake up your playing and get you out of your rut is it’s super-simple feature set. It has exactly one knob on the whole thing. That’s it.

Oh, and it’s shaped like a pig’s nose. Very cool.

Turn it to the the right until it clicks, and it’s on at very low volume. Volume increases as you turn the knob further to the right, but the tone changes with it.

You see, this is where the Pignose 7-100 gets interesting…

Why I recommend the Pignose 7-100

The Pignose 7-100 has a distinctive look and sound that is like no other. It’s stylish and funky, and playing through it is bound to change how you play and how you think about playing.

Here’s why…

How to use a Pignose 7-100

I know a lot of players who never touch the knobs on their guitars. I’ve even seen instructional videos that claim the control knobs on a guitar should never be touched. They say to leave them all – volume, and tone for all pickups – on 10, and just adjust the settings on the amp. They claim that anything less than 10 will simply rob your tone and make you guitar sound crappy.

That’s complete and total bullstein.

Those knobs are on your guitar for a reason! Truly great players know this, because they took the time to learn it.

This is why I love the Pignose 7-100 so much. It sounds like total crap, if all you do is crank it to the max and do the same on your guitar tone and volume knobs. But dial those back, and you get some sweet tone for a 5″ speaker.

You see, the Pignose 7-100 is really a teacher. It practically forces you to learn to play more dynamically, and use the knobs on your guitar to achieve good tone. It’s a different way of thinking than many are used to.

How to get a clean tone from your Pignose 7-100
  1. Turn the volume to max on the Pignose 7-100, and the volume on your guitar to just above off.
  2. Turn the volume on your guitar to max, and the volume on the Pignose 7-100 to just above “on”

From there, you can increase the volume on the guitar and/or the Pignose 7-100 to get more overdrive and (eventually) increasingly fuzzy distortion.

Yeah, crank everything to the max and it will sound like an amp with a blown speaker. But learn to control the subtleties of your tone, and you will be rewarded with a great sound and a remarkably responsive little box of sweetness.

Here’s an example tone Demo:

Pignose 7-100 Blues demo

Here’s a really good demo of the blues possibilities (WARNING: the volume in the beginning is low, but gets LOUD when he starts playing..):

Conclusion

Are there better all-around amps that are just as portable? Sure. The Roland Micro Cube and Vox Pathfinder are two solid contenders, but the Pignose 7-100 is it’s own creature. It looks different, sounds different and plays different.

If you want something that’s easy to carry from place to place and different enough to help you break out of any rut you might be in, then the Pignose 7-100 Legendary portable amplifier fits the bill.

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Comparison: Fender Mustang Amp v1 vs v2

Since I posted Fender Mustang 1 vs 2, a Comparison, Fender has released another version of their popular Mustang series of modeling amps; the v.2.

Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of emails about the differences between the original Fender Mustang (v.1) and the newer v.2 and how they compare. Rather than copy my replies to everyone individually, I figured i would just write a post about it and be done. 😉

Difference between the Fender Mustang v1 and v2

The new v.2 models have gotten minor upgrades to the control panel, but otherwise look very much the same.

The new v.2 models have gotten minor upgrades to the control panel, but otherwise look very much the same.

Here’s a brief overview of what’s new in the Mustang v.2:

The V.2 is physically much the same as the V.1, except the outer covering is now tolex and the control panel has a more “modern” look.

The new Mustang V.2 series includes five new amp models, five new stompboxes, and pitch shifting (only available when you connect your amp to Fender Fuse).

New Amp Models in v.2

The five Amp Models are:

  • Studio Preamp
  • ’57 Twin
  • ’60s Thrift
  • British Watts
  • British Colour

I know the ’57 Twin was/is available as a download from the FUSE community page for the v1 Mustang series, and it was very popular. Fender probably decided to include it in the presets for that reason.

“’60s Thrift” is code for Silvertone amps, “British Watts” is the HiWatt, and “British Colour’ is an Orange amp style.

New Effects in v.2

Five New Stomp Box Effects:

  • Ranger Boost
  • Green Box
  • Orange Box
  • Black Box
  • Big Fuzz

And, like the Mustang V.1, all effects and amp models are tweakable when connected to the FUSE software via USB cable. Unlike the Mustang V.1, some of the new effects require an expression pedal (sold separately) to fully use.

Fender Mustang V.2 Demo

Final thoughts

The Fender Mustang series of amps is easily one of the best on the market. Not everyone will enjoy all the amp or effects presets, but with the Fender FUSE software you can tweak to your heart’s content. I long ago replaced most presets with my own versions and some I downloaded from the Fender community site. I’ve gone through a couple of sets of presets since I got it, and that’s one of the best things about it – whenever I find myself in a rut, or looking for a new sound, I can change my amp to suit my needs.

Fender FUSE is not hard to use (it provides an excellent visual simulation of your sound rig), but if you’re not comfortable with computers it’s probably not a big selling point. But for those who welcome modern technological tools, FUSE is a huge plus. With it, you can tweak just about every aspect of the Mustang.

So, is the Mustang v.2 worth the extra money?

If you’re looking at a Mustang III, IV or V, then the answer is yes. This is due mostly because the v.1 versions of those amps had a bug that is know as “FIZZ” among their grumpy owners. V.2 solves the FIZZ problem.

Note: The Mustang I and II models never had the FIZZ issue, so the only reason to buy a v.2 over a v.1 for those models is for the new effects or amp models.

Eventually, the v.1 versions will all be sold, so you won’t have the option of choosing. But until that happens, you can still snag a v.1 for much less than a v.2, and if you’re not hot for the new effects or amp models and are looking for a Mustang I or II, you can get a sweet deal.

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