9th chord funky rhythms, the tone is clear and
tight with no breakup. With single coils, I could
really hear the difference the Bright switch
makes. With the pickup in the bridge position,
I preferred to have the bright switch off for a
warmer sound. Adding distortion, I tweaked the
EQ slightly by bringing the middle and bass up.
This setting was perfect for country rock, and I
had a nice mix of twang and distortion.
I also tried the amp with a PRS Starla X guitar
with soapbar pickups. I brought the Volume
and Middle controls up and got a nice classic
‘60s distortion. With the soapbar pickups, the
high notes were fat with a lot of bite to cut
through the mix. Switching to the neck pickup, the overdrive was low and buzzy. With
Drop-D tuning, I played some heavy single-note lines that would satisfy any grunge fan.
I also played around with the 3-spring reverb
in the clean setting. It’s great for playing
‘50s-style rhythms, James Bond-style spy
movie riffs or surf music. The mix and balance
was good between dry and wet. The effect
didn’t overpower the signal at all, and even
when I turned it up all the way it was full without the guitar getting lost and drowning in
too much reverb.
With every guitar I played, the PRS 30 was
very touch sensitive. It had a lot of response
depending on how hard or soft I played. It
cleaned up nicely when rolling off the volume
of the guitar. I was able to play rhythms with
a clean sound and then give my leads a boost
by turning the guitar volume all the way up
for a semi-overdriven tone. The amp offers
a variety of different tones just based on the
velocity of your playing and the volume position on your guitar.
The Final Mojo
The PRS 30 is a good amp for many musical
styles, such as classic rock, blues, funk, R&B,
and country. As a standalone amp, it doesn’t
venture into high-gain modern metal territory,
so it probably wouldn’t be the first choice for
heavy metal guitarists. Also, some guitarists may
think there aren’t enough additional features on
the PRS 30 to make it their ultimate main amp.
Besides not having a high-gain option, there is
no channel switching for an instant change of
sounds, and there isn’t an effects loop. Overall,
the PRS 30 succeeds in producing an English
sound with an American twist. It offers classic
EL84 tones with some adjustments and tweaks
to the EQ section to give it a unique character
and a sound all its own.
you’re a fan of the classic
English EL84 sound.
you’re looking for an amp with high
gain or channel switching.
Click here to hear sound
clips of the amp in action at
PREMIER GUITAR FEBRUARY 2010 149