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.

Related Posts:

Peavey Raptor Backstage II Electric Guitar and Amp Value Pack Review.

This review of the Peavey Raptor Backstage II Electric Guitar and Amp Value Pack is broken down into 3 main parts: peavey raptor backstage pack, the Backstage amp, and the Raptor guitar itself.

The Peavey Raptor is a good, basic but versatile guitar. Excellent for beginners with a tight budget.

 

Peavey Raptor Backstage Pack

The Raptor Backstage II Pack is an excellent way to start an aspiring guitarist on the right path. Not only does this guitar pack include everything needed to start playing electric guitar, but it also includes the Total Musician Series™ instructional DVD to help kick-start beginners.

Peavey Raptor Backstage II Electric Guitar and Amp Value Pack Review

What’s included:

  • Raptor® Plus EX guitar
  • Transtube® Backstage® amp
  • nylon gig bag
  • digital tuner
  • strap
  • extra strings
  • cable
  • picks

(and of course, the Total Musician Series™ instructional DVD )

Peavey Backstage Amp

Peavey’s Backstage amp is a 10-watt, solid state amp that uses their patented TransTube technology to emulate the sound, warmth and “push back” of tube amplifiers. The Backstage also includes a separate input for jamming along to your favorite tracks on CD or mp3 player and a headphone input so you don’t disturb the neighbors.

  • 6″ custom-designed speaker
  • TransTube® preamp with 2 switchable channels
  • Volume and TransTube Overdrive controls
  • 2-band (hi -low) EQ
  • Tape/CD input for practice
  • Headphone jack
  • 10W (RMS)

Peavey Raptor® Plus EX electric guitar

Peavey’s Raptor® Plus EX electric guitar is a 25-1/2″ scale solid body guitar that’s well constructed and comfortable to play.

Feature include:

  • Dual-expanding truss rod with wrenchless, easy access adjustment wheel
  • 3 pickups – 1 Humbucker, and 2 single coil (HSS) configuration
  • Tremolo bridge
  • Master volume and tone controls
  • 5-way pickup selector, hum canceling in second and fourth position
  • Dual action torsion rod
  • The HSS pickup configuration provides for extra versatility in tone.

Here’s an example of the Raptor sound during the solo of the Beatles’ Let It Be, so you can see what it’s capable of:

Related Posts:

Best electric guitar amp for beginners

Looking for the best electric guitar amp for beginners can be a daunting experience. With so many amps styles and features available it’s easy to get lost. Here’s a little advice I’ve compiled from personal experience and discussions with other guitarists about the best electric guitar amp for beginners.

Skip the modeling amps.

The first piece of advice about finding the best electric guitar amp for beginners is this:

If you’re just starting out and haven’t played a lick of guitar, then you should avoid modeling amps.

Modeling amps don’t make the best electric guitar amp for beginners, because it’s far too easy for an aspiring guitarist to get lost in the effects before learning proper technique. In fact, many of the standard effects on modeling amps today can make a person sound better than than actually are.

To some, this may seem like a great selling point, but ask any guitarist – hobbyist to pro- who’s played around and he’ll tell you that it’s much better to know how to play than to just sound like you know how to play.

Leaning on some effect like a crutch will only limit your playing and shorten you musical horizon.

When looking for the best electric guitar amp for beginners, look at straight, traditional amps and skip the modeling. Modeling amps a awesome though once you know the basics and have developed good technique.

How to Choose Your First Guitar Amp

The best place to start is with a small tube amp. This kind of amp is far less forgiving, leaving you nowhere to hide. It sounds counter-intuitive, I know. You’re looking for the best choice and here I am telling you one that will make things more difficult. But think of it as tough love – forcing you to confront your technique and learn the right way to play a chord or scale progression.

Once you get that down, the sky is the limit and your horizon will open up to a whole new world of effects and styles.

Beside learning the basics, avoiding modeling amps and multi-effect pedals in the beginning will allow you to focus on the few basic effects every guitarist needs along the way – Reverb, Chorus, Delay and Compressor. Reverb is a must, and most amps have onboard reverb effects. Once you begin to get the hang of playing guitar and wrap your head around those basic effects you can branch out to other effects and modeling amps.

I acknowledge the allure of modeling amps is great – they offer a plethora of effects and amp simulation at a great price (often cheaper than a basic tube amp), but that temptation can end up holding you back as you learn to play.

It’s best to stay on the path of developing your skill and technique, rather than getting lost in a wilderness of fancy effects.

Best Electric Guitar Amp for Beginners

Here are some recommended amps that fill the need, and provide a solid foundation for your learning.

Tube Amps.

Vox AC4TV.

The Vox AC4TV is a 4W tube amp available in 2 sizes: ‘Mini’ with a 6.5″ speaker and a 1×10″ speaker version. Each is simple to operate and has a control for tone and volume, as well as a power selector switch that toggles between ¼w, 1w, or 4w. It’s a competent amp that’s plenty loud but not so loud you’ll wake the neighbors.

Vox-AC4TV

Its simple set of controls leaves you to focus on playing, but it also leaves room to grow as you master the basics.

One of the great things about the AC4TV is that it has an external cab out connector so you can hook this little bad boy up to external cabinets. Trust me – 4 watts can sound pretty loud when it’s driving a 2×12 cab!

The 10″ currently retails for around $249 new, 6.5″ is $199.

What makes the AC4TV one of the best electric guitar amp for beginners is its versatility. Here are a few demo vids, to give you an idea of the different tones available and the different styles they fit…

 

Rock demo

 

Pop/Jazz demo:

 

Clean demo:

 

And one last all around demo:

 

Blackstar HT Series HT-1 1W 1×8.

Blackstar-HT-Series-HT-1

Another great practice amp in the running for best electric guitar amp for beginners is the Blackstar HT Series HT-1. It’s a 1W tube amp with a single 8″ speaker. It features 2 channels (clean and overdrive), stereo MP3 / line input and external speaker output. It’s use of dual-triode ECC82 tubes provides the crunch and break-up characteristics of a traditional 100w amp at a much lower volume. It also has EQ, Gain and Reverb settings.

It provides a bit more in the way of controls than the Vox AC4TV and retails for $269.

Here’s a demo of the Blackstar HT-1 in action:

Solid State Amps.

If the tubes are out of your price range, here are a couple of great solid state practice amps without the extra bells and whistles to distract you. 😉

Peavey Solo 12w 1×8 Practice Amp.

Peavey-Solo-12W

This member of the Solo series from Peavey is a 12w 1×8″ practice amp and it features TransTube tube emulation (for a “real tube” sound), Master volume control, Lead gain control, 2 channels – Clean and lead, 3-band EQ, ¼” stereo input jack and a Headphone jack.

What makes this one of the best electric guitar amp for beginners is Peavey’s TransTube preamp technology which provides a realistic tube amp tone and response, with the price and stability of a solid state amp – the best of both amp styles. Loud enough to rock, yet the headphone jack allows you to rock in isolation without disturbing others. The line in lets you plug in a CD player or mp3 player to jam with your favorite bands. It currently retails for $79.99.

Orange Amplifiers Crush PiX Series CR12L 12W 1×6.

Orange-Amplifiers-Crush-PiX-Series-CR12L

This little devil is a 12w amp with a 6″ speaker and is the smallest on this best electric guitar amp for beginners list. It features dual gain controls, 3-band EQ, Master volume and Headphone out jack.

The Orange Crush is all about style and portability. It’s distictive look is due to the Orange basket weave Tolex, woven speaker grille, beading and legendary hieroglyphs (PiX) and of course the Orange signature ‘picture frame’ edging. It’s not as feature rich as other models, but that’s the point. It’s simple, portable and just a good basic combo amp. It’s also available in black (why?) and retails for around $99.

Here’s the promotional video of the Orange PiX line of amps, including the stripped down and portable CR12L:

Conclusion.

I believe that the best electric guitar amp for beginners is a straightforward combo amp, represented by the amps on this list. Avoid the bells and whistles of the fancier, feature-rich combo amps until you’re confident you have a solid set of playing chops. Then you can either move up to a modeling amp, or start adding effects pedals to your rig. The great thing about all the amps profiled above is that they provide a solid base for what ever effects you want to add to the mix later on down the road.

Related Posts: