hand, I certainly wouldn’t describe the
2x12 combo as “lightweight.” The speakers boast beefy magnets and the custom-wound transformer further contributes to
the V- 40’s heft. Though the V- 40 has several
weight-relieving features, such as an aluminum chassis and a custom pine cabinet, this
is a solid tank of an amplifier.
most amazing clean sounds I’ve ever heard.
The V- 40 dished out sparkling, well-defined
highs, an expressive, musical midrange, and a
robust-yet-open bottom end. In other words,
the V- 40 offers absolutely brilliant clean tone.
Switching pickups, adjusting the guitar’s
volume and tone knobs, and alternating
between flatpicking and fingerpicking elicited
an array of excellent sounds.
than rubber and plastic. In short, the V- 40
feels like it will stand up to punishment and
last forever. It would be nice to see all of the
push-pull functions included in a full-function
footswitch, but given the amp’s stellar sound,
that’s a small quibble.
Plugging my Gibson SG into the V- 40, I
began to familiarize myself with its controls. The push-pull Master knob lets you
toggle between the amp’s overdrive and
clean channels if you haven’t hooked up the
purple channel-switching pedal. Pulling out
the Mid control activates the V- 40’s Thick
circuit, which adds a very noticeable and
well-placed boost in the lower frequencies. Voiced somewhere between a mid
boost and a bass boost, the Thick control
gives the amp a throaty, guttural character—perfect for emphasizing riffs, hooks,
and melodic lines. I found the V- 40’s EQ
controls gave me a timbral palette wide
enough to cover jazz, blues, and hard rock.
Bringing up the clean channel’s gain produced a gorgeous blues tone with a punchy
attack, gritty sustain, and beautifully resonant decay. When I pulled out the Mid knob
to engage the Thick boost, the amp became
even more punchy and resonant, with a
noticeable growl emerging in the lower
mids. With these settings, the V- 40 reminded me of a vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb—
one of my favorite amps for studio work.
Having never played a Budda before, I
was surprised by both the V- 40’s clean and
overdrive channels. I’d recommend this topnotch, handwired amplifier to anyone except
metalheads. The clean channel will blow you
away and the overdrive channel may do the
same. This is an amp that every guitarist
should play through at least once.
you’re in the market for a
boutique tank with mounds
you’re in the mood for an
aggressively voiced amp.
The remaining two knobs, Drive and
Rhythm, set gain levels for the overdrive
and clean channels, respectively. Pulling
out the push-pull Rhythm pot activates the
amp’s Brite circuit, a top-end boost that will
be familiar to Fender fans and welcome to
anyone who likes bold, clean tones.
This comparison held even after I switched
to the overdrive channel. With the Drive at 1
o’clock, EQ at noon, and Thick mode activated, the V- 40 delivered a full-bodied overdrive
with a huge dynamic range. It combined the
low-end thump of a Fender with a smooth-yet-crunchy upper midrange. By making
subtle changes to the amp’s tone and gain
settings, I could ride the line between creamy
softness and punchy bite. The V- 40’s overdrive reminded me of my Tube Works Real
Tube rack and pedal distortion units. That’s
high praise—I own four of these devices.
Almost immediately after turning on the V- 40,
I hit pay dirt. Running my SG’s neck pickup
through the clean channel with low gain settings, noon EQ settings, and the Brite switch
activated, I was rewarded with one of the
On the basis of craftsmanship alone, this amp
is second to none. The vinyl covering meets
the piping at seamless, gapless edges. The
quality grille cloth is attractive and snug. The
handle is made of leather and metal rather
or use a mobile
device to read
this QR code to
clips of the amp
in action at