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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Comments
  • Andrew May 22, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I have had my Pignose for 20 years and I just cannot get rid of it. I even used it in recording for that crappy distorted speaker sound you were talking about. And FYI Frank Zappy used it ALL THE TIME\

  • […] 8 Best Portable Battery Powered Guitar Amps is out of the question, and it also means my beloved Pignose 7-100 Legendary Portable Amp stays at home on the shelf as […]

  • donna fairchild February 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    can a pig nose amp. be used for electric/acoustic guitar

    • Mike February 28, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Well, it could be used with an acoustic electric, but it’s not really geared for that. It doesn’t do great cleans.. more of a fuzzy distortion. So it will work, but doesn’t really make the sound most acoustic/electric players are looking for..

  • John September 15, 2016 at 2:11 am

    I have a small collection of the 7-100 and would certainly like to find some older ones to add to my collection. its preamp out just makes it a great all around Amp. I did a mod on a couple of my 7-100’s external speaker and was shocked putting it into my marshall.
    I will attempt to mod another 1 with a spicific bass speaker with hopes in having a very small portable bass practice amp.

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