REVIEW > JACKSON AMPWORKS
jazz tones to perfect ’70s crunch and
everything in between.
The NewCastle comes dressed up in a
sumptuous, carefully applied skin of cop-per-and-cream leatherette, accented by gold
piping and metallic accents. The opulent
look of the material is a little incongruous
with the simplicity of the amp’s circuit, but
it adds an elegant, custom-made feel that’s
complimented by the super-solid 13-ply
Baltic birch cabinet. Nice and light at 20
pounds, the head makes a cool mini stack
when paired with the Jackson 1x12 dual-ported cabinet.
The NewCastle’s front panel is dead
simple: a pair of knobs for volume and
tone, plus a single input. Around back
you’ll find speaker jacks with impedance
selection and power and standby switches.
A quick peek at the guts reveals top-qual-ity construction and components, including Mallory capacitors, Carling switches,
and Neutrik jacks.
The amp feels alive with harmonic complexity
and a blooming character that makes you
want to linger on simple chord arpeggios—just
listening the amp and guitar ring with a tasty
stew of fundamental notes and overtones.
The closed-back speaker cabinet is home
to a Celestion Alnico Gold speaker, a pair of
vertically oriented, forward-firing ports, and
a beefy steel handle that’s recessed for easy
stacking. My only quibble was with the softness of the cabinet covering, which feels and
looks great, but seemed delicate enough to
scratch easily in transport.
The closed-back cabinet has tremendous
bass presence, even at low volumes, with
the kind of wide dispersion you’d expect
from a much larger enclosure. With the
amp’s tone knob at noon, I ran through
some intricate, early Pearl Jam-like clean
rhythms on the Les Paul’s neck pickup
and found that the amp’s strong midrange
and super-tight bottom end combine as a
sweet baseline voice. Here, the amp feels
alive with harmonic complexity. Its blooming character makes you want to linger on
simple chord arpeggios and listen to your
guitar ring with a tasty stew of fundamental notes and overtones.
Turning the Key I plugged in a Les Paul and set the volume knob to 9 o’clock to assess the amp’s clean tones and was surprised by the NewCastle’s output. The little 18-watter acts more like something in the 30-watt range.
Rock Out. Rock On...
“Thanks so much for the
String Saver Saddles.
I have them on my stage guitars and
this past summer while touring with the
Guess Who, I never broke one string!”
- Randy Bachman
Bachman Turner Overdrive,
The Guess Who
Dramatically Reducing String Breakage Since 1987
PREMIER GUITAR JUNE 2012 151