a bit muddy—even with a kick in the treble and midrange—lead
tones brimmed with attitude, exhibiting a girth and crispness reminiscent of Jimmy Page’s Led Zeppelin II sounds or Paul Kossoff’s
dry, husky Marshall tones. And when I laid into a full-step bend
with a little finger vibrato, the Les Paul and Studio2 sustained as if
I were letting a faucet run.
Dialing up the Master and Gain on the amp gave me predictably
more aggressive results with the wide-open Les Paul. But when I
rolled off the volume on the mini humbucker-equipped Strat, the
Studio2 took on the clear, airy chime of a Fender Princeton or
Champ. Dialing the Strat’s volume back up to almost 10 found the
Studio2 blooming into beautiful, compressed AC15 territory—
perfect for some Revolver-era George Harrison-style playing.
Backing the Gain and Volume down to 9: 30, moving the Master
between 12 and 2 o’clock, and mixing in a little more bass,
midrange, and presence turned the Studio2 into a sweet Keith
Richards-/Black Crowes-style chord machine. I tuned the Les
Paul to open-G and ran through a sequence of stabbing riffs and
discovered that this rhythm-rocking zone is one of the Studio2’s
secret strengths. Big chords blooming with harmonics and sympathetic overtones rang in beautiful detail and leapt out of the
Studio2 with an enveloping quality that made the amp feel way
bigger than its actual decibel output.
Just as Jeff Bober intended, the Studio2 is as versatile a low-wattage amp as you’re likely to find. About the only thing it’s
missing is the headroom for hot, clean country picking or loud
’n’ clear jangle—though you can achieve a serviceably clean tone
with crafty manipulation of your guitar’s volume knob. But clean is
not what the Studio2 does best. And whether it’s conjuring mid-rangey, Vox-style snarl or the hot-and-gritty sound of a humbucker
driving a ’60s plexi Marshall, the Studio2 can serve up the goods
in full harmonic splendor without deafening half the populace.
As it’s name suggests, the Studio2 is a perfect little monster for
recording. The big sounds it produces at lower decibels expand
microphone and recording space options. And the way it can
effectively become a crackling, kicking baby Marshall stack at
a third of the volume is nothing short of amplifier alchemy. The
amp’s personality varies significantly, depending on the pickups
driving it. For me, a humbucker-equipped Les Paul with tone and
volume controls wide open seemed to be the Studio2’s most
natural mate. But with so much tone massaging capability, you’re
certain to find startling, amazing, and very useful tones no matter
what guitar you call your main squeeze.
Harvest Fine Leather bags are now available in
North America at select dealers and online.
PREMIER GUITAR NOVEMBER 2010 245