• Reeves Custom 50 review

    I recently got my hands on a brand new Reeves Custom 50 amp. Being a fan of the classic Sound City and Hiwatt tone it’s hard not to have noticed all the raving reviews. I was both shaking with anticipation and a bit sceptic when I received the package. Would it live up to the hype? Would it out conquer my beloved Sound City?

    OK, let’s start with a rough history lesson. Reeves Amplification is named after Dave Reeves, the man who designed the old Sound City and Hiwatt amps. Dave started out in the mid 60s as a technician at Mullard. In 1966 he founded his own company called Hylight and designed the first line of amps for Sound City in London. In 1968 Dave cut relations with Mullard and Sound City, brought with him his original specs for the amps and Hiwatt was born. Dave Reeves created a unique amp that soon would be the favourite among many British bands in the 70s including Pink Floyd, The Who and Jethro Tull. Dave passed away in 1981. More on the Hiwatt history here.

    Reeves Amps started out in 2003. Hiwatt was rapidly drifting away from their own legendary high quality status and Reeves wanted to bring back Dave Reeves’ old specs and attention to detail. Around 2005 they finally broke through with a new line of Custom 50 and 100 that soon got serious recognition among guitarists. Reeves are located in Cincinnati, USA, with an exclusive worldwide distribution through their web site.

    David Gilmour is spotted with his first Hiwatt as early as August 1969, only a couple of months after the amps were introduced (to the mass audience). They’ve been he’s main companions ever since producing the basis and foundation for his crystal clean tones. The Hiwatts featured in David’s present rig was bought by his long time technician Phil Taylor in 1974. More on David’s Hiwatts here.

    The Reeves Custom 50 feature Partridge replica transformers (reverse engineered from original Partridge transformers), dual channel pre-amp with 4 inputs (2 normal, 2 bright) and controls for normal volume and bright volume, bass, middle, treble, presence and master volume. The back panel feature two speaker outputs, switchable 4, 8, and 16 ohm impedance switch and a 100V, 120V, 230V, 50/60Hz voltage selector. The output stage features 2 EL34 tubes and the pre-amp 3 12AX7 preamp tubes and 1 12AT7 phase inverter.

    So, why a Reeves? You all know how much I love my Sound City 50 PLUS. It’s been with me since I started playing guitar some 20 years ago. It was starting to show serious signs of aging and I was beginning to get tired of constantly having to overhaul it. It wasn’t an easy choice but I had to let it go. I didn’t want to spend all my savings on a ’73 Hiwatt and I sure wasn’t going to buy a new one. After much research and helpful recommendations I decided on a Reeves Custom 50.

    I really hate reviews that appear to be just an ass licking promo. I mean, come on! Isn’t there something you can put your finger on? Now I find my self in a slightly awkward position… I can’t think of anything wrong with this amp! I could end the review right here but I’ll try to carry on without sounding too biased.

    This amp is loud! I dialed in the usual settings, cranked a chord and I felt like Marty McFly being blasted through the room! I soon found the sweet spot and started to explore the amp with the old Sound City cab loaded with 4×12” Weber Thames 80w speakers, my main Strat (Fender CS69 neck and mid and Duncan SSL5 bridge pickups) and Evidence Audio cables… no pedals at this stage. I also linked the inputs (patch cable into upper normal and lower bright and guitar into upper bright).

    There’s no doubt that the Reeves Custom deserves its place in the Dave Reeves family tree. It has that typical mid range presence, with all the headroom you’ll need, tight punchy lower end and silky smooth highs but also capable of producing the warmest tube overdrive imaginable with the right settings – spot on the old Sound City and Hiwatts. Of course, its exterior with the black tolex, the familiar font used for the logo and the chicken head knobs reveals its roots. Compared to my Sound City 50 Plus, the Custom 50 has slightly more mid range that smooths out high gain effects and the natural tube drive. It’s also a lot tighter and cleaner in the sense that there’s no flabby bass or strange hissing or buzz. It’s dead silent. The Reeves projects military precision in its purest sense. You can really feel and hear the quality of the craftsmanship. The tone is incredibly honest and transparent revealing every single detail in your playing forcing you to really concentrate on your technique!

    Plugging in my pedal board brought even more life to the amp. I was a bit afraid that I had to spend weeks if not months breaking it in but the amp is already incredibly responsive and dynamic. The Tube Driver just melts when you find that sweet spot between the pedal and the tubes. The amp works effortlessly and the tubes adds a warm natural compression to the tone. With a huge grin on my face I hit the Muff and the amp starts to show some serious strength. I closed my eyes and pictured David standing in front of his wall of sound at the Oakland Coliseum in May 1977 delivering the greatest tones known to man!

    Don’t get fooled by this amp’s loudness though. It’s easy to dial in any tone you want. Setting the channel volume to about twice the master will give you a crystal clean tone with no break up. Increasing the master to around unity or more produce a warm natural tube distortion capable of some deadly tones! I like to find the spot right before it breaks. I want to be able to strum a chord and not being entirely sure if I heard overdrive or not. That’s when the tubes start to work with the pedals and the guitar. I also link the inputs for a bit more presence and clarity.

    It might be obvious but I think it’s worth keeping in mind that this is not an amp for Metallica tones or small living rooms. All amps, and high wattage tube amps in particular, require some level of volume to sound its best. This, however, is relative to size. If you set a 100w tube amp at 2 it will still be too loud for your living room but too low for the tubes to start working and blending with pedals. The result is often a thin, harsh tone. However, a 5w tube amp, like the Fender Champ, can be cranked to 10 and still be within a reasonable level and you’ll have the tubes nicely heated. Be sure to get an amp that fits your needs and setup and don’t be too blinded by what David’s using. See the Buyer’s Gear Guide: Amps for more tips.

    Reeves Amplification offers superb customer service, super fast delivery and not least safe delivery. The amp was packed neatly with the tubes taken out of their sockets and placed in bubble wrap. This amp will stay with me as long as I’m playing guitar. No doubt!

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208 Responsesso far.

  1. Nino says:

    I Bjorn. Did you have sound city 50 plus L50 or B50? Do you know the difference? I know a guy that has one to sell but he says it’s got a little background noise.. Do you think it can be fixed? He’s asking me 500€ for the sound city 50 plus more a framus 2×12 with fane speakers.. Do you think it’s a good business? Thanks for your time

    • Bjorn says:

      I’m no expert on the Sound City amps. Mine was a L50 but I’m not certain what the difference is. Depends on what type of hiss and hum you’re talking about. These amps are notoruously noisy. It’s part of their nature.

  2. Eric says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I’m looking to buy a new amp to go with my Lionheart and there’s a Reeves Custom 50 for sale. How do the cleans compare to the Laney? I’m also looking at a Victoria Bassman Clone and a Super Reverb, but worried the SR wont handle gain pedals all that well.

    Thanks

    Eric

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Eric, sorry for the late reply. In case you haven’t bought a new amp yet… the Reeves is a Hiwatt with an overall brighter tone, more mid range and compression. I can get fairly close with the Lionheart on the gain channel, bright on, bass and mids 3 oclock, treble and tone at 9 oclock. The Lionheart gain channel is close to a Bassman/Marshall JTM but with more mids and compression.

      • Eric says:

        Thanks for the reply. I went with the Victoria Bassman . I like to play in stereo and didn’t want the hassle of buying another cab. Either way, I couldn’t be happier and the Bassman blows away the Kemper I sold it for.

  3. Alexis says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    I’m really after that Hiwatt tone, with headroom and clarity while still mid-focused. I love the Laney L5 Studio that I bought based on your recommendations, and it is now my main amp (associated with a 1×12 cab with a Celestion V30), and the Bugera V22 is still there for some “cleaner” applications.

    Still, I feel that a little “something” is missing in my tone. I think I lack a bit of headroom and top end clarity with the Laney L5. It is perfect for Vox and especially Marshall tones, which is great when I’m playing kind of Genesis or Mark Knopfler recent tones, but there’s something from a Hiwatt tone that I can’t nail. It’s a bit hard to explain, but I think that you can understand what I mean as you own both amps and can experienced the nuances/differences between the two.

    What are the options if I really want those Gilmour Hiwatt tones? I dug a bit on the Internet and on your website and firstly thought about the Reeves Custom 50 PS, in order to be able to use it at home. But, after reading a lot of articles about power scaling VS master volume as well as personal opinions, I’m not so sure if it is a good solution. That’s why I also took a look at the Hi-Tone amps and Ceriatone Hey What kit and Trinity Triwatt kit. I also took a look at the new Little D head Mk.II from Hiwatt. I already know what you (and some other guys here) think about the use of David name to sell something that he didn’t endorsed, and I’m also a bit sceptical about this type of marketing. But still, the few soundclips I heard are good, and the owners seem to be really happy with it. Maybe there are other options that I haven’t discovered.

    One other question is, how do the Master Volume of a Hiwatt interact with the bright and normal channel volumes? Are the normal and bright volumes sort of gain levels, and the Master Volume a true master volume (in a modern definition, just like the master volume of the Laney Lionheart for example), or is it something different?

    Thanks in advance for your answer and the time you give to your community Bjorn. Since I discovered your website I became a better guitarist, whether in terms of nailing David Gilmour techniques and tones but also in terms of knowing each piece of my gear, how they interact and what type of tones defines me.

    Cheers!

    Alexis

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Alexis, thanks for the kind words! The Lionheart, as you know, is not a Hiwatt. To me, although I know many will disagree, you need pedals to make a Hiwatt sound good. The Lionheart sounds awesome alone and even better with pedals but it’s not a Hiwatt. It’s more scooped and it can be hard to dial in that smooth presence without getting harsh. You can compensate to some extent with an EQ or pedals that has more mid range but that wouldn’t do much for the headroom.
      Power scaling is great if you want to use the amp’s gain stage to create overdrive and distortion. If not, then the PS is redundant and often misunderstood because it doesn’t do anything for clean tones. Just lower the master. The normal and brilliance volumes control the pre-stage of the amp, so you can use these to get a nice warm clean tone with a hint of breakup with the master lowered enough to keep your neighbours happy.
      All of the brands you’ve listed are well worth checking out. The Little D is, I’m sure, a great amp and I don’t advice against it. What I commented on is that is was marketed as a DG signature amp, which it’s not and people shouldn’t be fooled to think so.

      • Alexis says:

        Hi Bjorn!

        Thank you for the detailed answer. It is exactly that type of advice I expected, so now I know what I’m looking for.

        I think I will go for the Hi-Tone DG50 with a 2×12 Eclipse cab, as it seems to be a good match. 2×12 is enough for home use, and I have to deal with space in my room, haha! :D

        I was able to find a Rivera RockCrusher power attenuator at a bargain price. Users reviews and videos/soundclips I heard were convincing enough, especially for a clean sound coloured with effect pedals. So this way, I’ll be able to keep the amp full potential at home without breaking glass nor disturbing the neighboors! :)

        Now I have to wait until birthday to have a good reason to buy my dream amp! :D

        Cheers!

        Alexis

  4. LOUIS G AGE says:

    Since volume is an issue at home should an option be a HIWATT Signature Little D head. 20 and 0.5 w switchable should bring the volume down a bitTo practice with and play at home.

  5. Bjorn : I contacted Bill at Reeves Amplification. Sent him pics. He said that my Custom Reeves 50 was definitely an early UK amp (Hiwatt?) imported for Reeves. Not sure if yours is the same? Amp head cabinet has a single white piping across the front like Hiwatts do, not the double stripped piping as USA Reeves have. My front control face plate also has a script along the bottom saying : “Made in the Custom Workshops, England”. Back panel only has 8 and 16ohm options via two separate output Jack’s and no voltage selector. Sounds VERY good clean, straight in with no fx (so far). Amp came loaded with Winged “C” Russian EL34’s and four 12AX7’s, including the phase inverter.

    Amp was purchased new in 2005 by the guy I bought it from. Purchased at TrueTone Music in Santa Monica, CA

  6. Bjorn:
    Just as a follow up, my newly purchased Custom Reeves 50 has actual made in UK Partridge transformers, not the replicas that are in current production Reeves Custom 50’s……..the enigma thickens…?

    • Bjorn says:

      I know they used UK Partridges on the early models. Mine has them. I’m not sure about the other specs on yours tough… I’d send them an e-mail and ask. They’re always very helpful. Keep me posted if you get some info :)

      • Ben says:

        Hi Bjorn,
        I’m seriously considering getting the Reeves Custom 50 PS, with Power Scaling, since I mostly play at bedroom levels (I did read your post from awhile back regarding PS). I’m not so much trying to overdrive the power amp section, but rather keep the power amp tubes “at the sweet spot”, yet still be at respectable bedroom levels. Do you have any experiences with how well the PS works with on this particular amp? I know it’s not perfect at preserving tone (what is), but it seems to be a better option, tone wise, than an attenuator. I have a Rivera Rock Crusher Recording attenuator but rarely use it because even using the EQ, I’m not satisfied with what it does to my tone (I’m a fanatic when it comes to tone).

        Also, did you get the effects loop on your Custom 50 or did you find it not useful for Gilmour tones?

        Finally, I spoke with Bill at Reeves and he said that it is possible order a new Custom 50 with the Pete Cornish / Gilmour linked input mod already made at the factory.

        Thanks for all of your hard work and a truly amazing site!

        – Ben

        • Bjorn says:

          Hi Ben, sorry for the late reply. As you know, the PS is designed for getting overdrive and distortion from the tubes at lower volume. A Hiwatt or Reeves has a huge headroom so teh effect might not be as evident as say on a Marshall. I also assume that you want to use pedals for this. However, it will allow you to get more from the preamp and a bit of that crunch or edge of breakup for a more powerful platform for your pedals. Still, keep in mind too that the sweet spot is the combination between the heated tubes and the speakers being driven harder, which is something you won’t get from playing at an attenuated volume. For David’s tones I think the PS is redundant.

          • Arya Boustani says:

            Same experience! PS was not making things better. It sounded thin and brittle. The volume impact was negligible. I was measuring the voltage and current to the power tubes and it drops so dramatically with turning the PS counter clockwise that basically is a sign of starving the power tubes to the point that sacrifices the professional tone you are spending the money for. My drive like what Bjorn suggested is in the whereabouts of 3 o’clock which is pretty clean and loud enough for me. If you try PS in higher drive setting (let’s say 12 o’clock), PS may be a bit more effective but not toward making it sound like Gilmour, probably more like vintage Vox blast in the face and quite edgy sort of tone. After I tried different settings with different tubes, eventually I concluded to turn PS all the way clockwise (PS bypass mode) and just adjust my tone with the proper choice of pre-amp tubes, and relationship of input gain controls and tone stack.

            • Ben says:

              Thanks Bjorn and Arya! That’s exactly the advice I was looking for. Greatly appreciated!

              • Ben says:

                Hi Bjorn,

                One last question: why did you pair your Reeves with Weber Thames speakers instead of the Weber Ceramic FC12’s (which are supposedly a clone of the Fane Crescendo’s)?

                Many thanks!

                • Bjorn says:

                  I had the old Fanes with silver dust cones and found them a tad to flabby in the low end and they lacked a bit of sparkle. Obviously hard to tell whether that was only the speakers or the combination of the cab etc but I took a chance and the Thames sounded very close but they had that extra sparkle that I was looking for. Mind though that both are very bright and they have tons on headroom. If you’re coming from Celestion and similar, you will probably find them a bit too overwhelming.

                  • Arya Boustani says:

                    Same experience here. My Old Fane (70s) was very overwhelming in highs, and the 50W early 80s Fane (bigger dust cap) is more tame in the highs (not sparkly but good enough high freq clarity) but the bass is not as defined. My closed back cab made the bass a bit tighter. I paired two 50w Fanes with two Emminence Tonker in XY pattern. I get a lot of expression, definition, presence, and mid-range with this combo on a decent closed back cab with Reeves Custom 50. Bass is more than enough for my basement studio. The bass probably could be even more defined if I had the proper room with acoustic panels and bass traps.

                  • Ben says:

                    Thanks Bjorn. Interesting about the flabby Crescendo’s. Were yours actual old Fanes or Ted Weber’s newer take on them?

                    Currently I’m using a Fender Tweed Blues Jr with a 12″ Jensen speaker for my Gilmour tones (great amp, just still want to add a Hiwatt or Reeves to nail the DG tone). I know the Jensen speaker in it sounded like crap when the amp was brand new. After I finally got the speaker broken in it’s now smooth as butter! I’m assuming the Fane’s / Ted Weber’s will require a similar break in procedure.

                    I also have an Orange closed-back 2×12 cab loaded with Celestion’s (Vintage 30’s IIRC). I use it with an Orange head amp (not for DG stuff).

                    Any guesses on how my Orange Cab may “work” with a Reeves / Hiwatt head?

                    • Bjorn says:

                      The old Fanes were original mid 70s speakers, while I bought the Weber new around 2010. I’m mainly using my Laney Lionheart 2×12″ cab with the Reeves these days, which is loaded with V30s. Sounds very nice but they are noticeably darker than the Fanes/Webers so it depends on what you’re looking for. All speakers and tubes needs to settle.

  7. Bjorn:
    I just picked up a “Custom Reeves 50” used ($1,300 US) in very good shape but the rear panel is different than yours, with no ID/ Serial number or any data on which version it is. It has only two output impedance options (two jacks, no selector switch) and no voltage selector dial either. It seems like it might be an early version (?) Any info on what I have in my hands? Thanks as always!

  8. Peppefloyd says:

    Hi Bijorn, great amp. But you must do the linked input mod, easy to do and improve the sound noticeably. I have a dr 504 from 1974 and a 1971 dr103, boths modded.

    • Arya Boustani says:

      HI Peppefloyd, Can you explain what the mod is (web link?) and also what is the difference of before mod and after mod tone and response-wise? Is it a matter of taste thing or it actually makes the amp sound better or response better? and if so, what is the analogy? Thanks.

      • Peppefloyd says:

        you can find schematics on http://hiwatt.org/tech2.html, Gilmour mod is the one “Early 70s Linked-Input Preamp, rev 1.0”.
        The linked input mod improve the impedance of the input, in the schematic above is 500K. If you do the link with external patch cable, the impedence will be less than 68K.
        The four inputs of Hiwatts, are two at 1M and two at 68K.
        Reducing imput impedance, guitar audio signal will be cutted, specially on high freq.
        Cutting the guitar audio signal reduce input gain, and the sound will be less responsive, less snappy, less general quality.
        Pete Cornish modded all Gilmour Hiwatts in this way.
        Sorry for some errors on language, but I’m italian
        ciao
        Peppe

        • Arya Boustani says:

          Well, I emailed Pete Cornish for this matter about a year ago (or more) and he said the right way is to use a splitter attached to the 1/4″ cable going to the amp and put one in the bright and one in the normal. I found that helped with sounding less compressed and more responsive. Do you think that reaches the same goal?

  9. Dave E. says:

    I was wondering if anyone had tried the Reeves C50 or comparable 20-50W amps with the Fryette PS-2, Power Station with integrated reactance load. The FPS has gotten excellent reviews for taming amp volume while maintaining that cranked tone and it does a whole lot more.

  10. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn, I noticed G12H30 55hz is very expensive. I was reading reviews and comparing it with G12M (Greenback reissue) 25 watt with 30 oz magnet. Looks like G12H30 sounds less pronounced but still rounder sound compared to vintage 30 and perhaps works better in the low volume compared to vintage 30. I thought I pick your brain if you can comment on G12M with Reeves Custom 50.
    Thanks a lot.

    • Arya Boustani says:

      No worries. Sorry to bug you. I will send you the update after I find the speaker that complements Fane for Custom 50 amp. Looks like G12M is not designed to stay clean. I’m looking to other options now. I will consider Eminence Tonker. I heard the examples and it is sort of in the Fane tone category I think.

    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t tried the Reeves with those speakers but based on the specs, I guess it should work nicely and probably deliver a more neutral tone, compared to both the G12H and V30s. I don’t have really have that much experience with different speakers and it’s always a matter taste and with what gear you use them with.

  11. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn, I thought I also ask you wether a closed back cab would be better for Weber Thames or Fane for Reeves Custom 50. That’s what C.J. (at Weber) was concluding but I thought you already have first hand experience for this combination of amp & speaker so I pick your brain. Thanks again.

    • Bjorn says:

      I like closed back cabs for the Reeves yes. Makes it sound tighter and more focused.

      • Arya Boustani says:

        Thanks Bjorn. That’s great. I can get G12H easily. I ended up ordering two matching vintage Fane 50 watt speakers from UK. They were very good price so I thought I’ll try them and I can always resort to G12H if they are too bright. I’m trying to find a balance between high freq harmonics to make overdrive overtones filling and fusing well together but without spiky or overly bright and out of control character.

  12. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn, Sorry I just heard back from Weber rep (C.J.) that C1225 is more like Greenback (low wattage breakup, etc) so it won’t be good for clean Fane-ish tone. BTW, I also have an Eminence Cannabis rex too. I don’t know how close they are to Crescendo tone but I’ll try. I’m looking forward to hear your comment about V30 vs. Weber Thames particularly for Reeves Custom 50.
    C.J. at Weber sent me the link to purchase them from US. They are not expensive (114 US dollars) although once I add the shipping fee and custom fee and Canadian currency conversion, it adds up :)
    Thanks again.

    • Bjorn says:

      See my other reply as well :) The Weber Thames are very different from the V30s. A lot more headroom and an overall brighter tone. The Cannabis Rex are very dark and, in my opinion, works better with brighter sounding Fender amps.

  13. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn, Thanks a lot for your reviews and comments. They have helped me so much to clarify things and make appropriate decisions especially recently. I hope I get a hold of you soon. I sent an enquiry regarding Reeves Custom 50 in your blog but don’t know where I posted it and wether it went through or not.
    Anyway, I had the opportunity to acquire a used Reeves Custom 50 recently which I’m thrilled with :)
    Thanks for your advice and review here. I love that fact that I can get a more brilliant sparkly tone or adjust it to get a more mid oriented and more compressed tone. It is versatile and shows the nuances of the picking and variations in string bending so well but with rich harmonics. Sort of mix of clean but rich (love the normal and brilliant both feeding the tone stack with the jumper) and works well with both dirt or playing clean. I have an old low wattage Fane speaker and a couple of higher wattage speakers in parallel. Most of the tone comes out of Fane and the lower frequency content comes from the higher wattage speakers just by the way the current splits. I have a feeling that since there is too much load for the low wattage Fane speaker, it creates a bit of harshness (too much high frequency accumulation). In the opposite side, it’s not enough current to the 2×12 higher watt speakers so they stay in the dull side and the open back peavy speaker cabinet is modded and doesn’t seem very good (loose bass, resonation issues, etc.) so I’m thinking of buying a cabinet with suitable speakers that compliment Reeves Custom 50. There is an Orange 2×12 cabinet with two Vintage 30 speakers available that I need to move on with it soon. Do you think those cabs and generally Vintage 30 is a good match for Reeves Custom 50? I read in the comments here that they have a nasal character and sort of accentuate high mid frequencies. It seems you prefer something with more flat response. Although I saw you used Laney 212 cab with Reeves Custom 50 in a couple of your pedal demos. Please let me know what you think. Is there any speaker that has more even response than V30 but still has good high frequency extension, sounding rich and open, doesn’t sound dull in low volume but stays clean at high volume? I also have possibility for getting 2xWebber C1225 that I can swap with vintage 30s in the Orange 2×12 cab. Do you think they are better fit for Reeves Custom 50?
    Thanks a lot,
    Arya

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Arya! Thanks for your kind words! My main stage cab at the moment is the Laney 212 with V30s in it. They sound great with the Lionheart L20 but I think the stock G12Hs sounded better with the Reeves. As you point out, the V30s can sound a bit nasal but it works with certain amps and for that Marshall character. The Reeves sounds better with speakers with a bit flatter mids response and more low end, in my opinion. I really don’t have that much experience with different speakers, so based on what I do have experience with, I’d go with a pair of G12Hs for the Reeves.

  14. Cody says:

    Hi Bjorn

    Thanks for all you do,i know it’s a lot of work. I just finished reading “knowing which pedals to use for your amp” and you mentioned that hiwatts are mid-rangey but in this article of the Reeves, which is a hiwatt clone you say it’s mid scooped. I’m very confused now. Can you clarify ?

    Thanks
    Cody

    • Bjorn says:

      Hm… The Reeves, like any other Hiwatt amp, are certainly not scooped. I apparently made a mistake there when I wrote the review some 6 years ago :) A typical Hiwatt Custom range, has a fairly flat tone, although some presence in the mids and upper mids in particular, which you can cut or boost with the presence control. It has a lot of headroom but enough compression, and combined with the mid range, to handle pretty much any pedal.

  15. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn, sorry to bug you again. Do you happen to know the difference of 2-hole version (one normal and one brilliant) Hiwatt Custom 50 versus 4-hole version (two normal and two brilliant) by means of getting the DG tone? There is a local sale for a 77 Hiwatt Custom 50 (2-holer) for 1900 Canadian Dollars (1500 US dollars). It’s a lot of money but I need to spend even a few hundred dollars more than this for a used Reeves Custom 50. Unless you find there are advantages to a moderately used Reeves Custom 50 vs. an inherently ancient ’77 hiwatt custom 50 (and if the 2-hole makes a difference). Thanks.

    • Bjorn says:

      Four inputs allow you to combine the bright and normal channel for more presence and brightness. But, I’m not the right person to ask. There are a lot of different opinions, and technical differences, between the early and later Hiwatts. I’d ask around on the vintage amp forums to get an idea.

      • Arya Boustani says:

        Thanks for your reply Bjorn. I was wondering if you could get a 70s Custom 50 Hiwatt at the same price of your Reeves Custom 50, would you still go with Reeves Custom 50? And if so, why?

        • Bjorn says:

          The early era Hiwatts seems to be favoured over the later 70s ones. In any case, buying an old amp isn’t without risk so make sure you know what you’re buing and that you can fully trust the seller. Hard to tell what I’d choose but I’m very happy with the Reeves and doesn’t really miss anything toneswise.

  16. Dimitris says:

    I love early vintage Fenders, Voxes, Marshalls and Hiwatts. I don’t like modern high gain stuff…
    There’s something I haven’t understood about master and non-master amps though, I would like you to explain to me. All I mentioned where non-master, apart from Custom Series Hiwatts. Which means you crank the volume to get more or less compression and distortion.
    I ‘ve played some Blackface reissues to understand how this is achieved and I am to try some Vox and Marshall reissues.
    To the point…In a Hiwatt, or your Reeves, if you set the channels’ volume fixed to the point preamp tubes start breaking, is there a chance to set the master to a point that you get even more distortion?
    As a reference of master volume amps I ‘ve got a Vox AC15 C1. If I set the Channel Volume to a breaking point, there’s no chance to get it distort more, even with the master maxed. What I use to do is max the master first and get distortion by setting the preamp then.
    I know they are two different amps and if I want a true vintage style I have to play the non-master handwired version of Vox.
    Many amps I ‘ve played seem like their Master Volume only affects how loud they play and it doesn’t affect tone that much.

    • Bjorn says:

      I’m certainly no expert on the technical side of amps and there are differences between the differnt amp circuits and designs. On a Hiwatt and other amps with a volume and master, the volume will control the pre-stage and the master will control the output stage. Now, the pre-stage is producing the compression and gain, so depending on the design of that pre-amp stage, you can boost the volume for more gain and the master will provide the output volume you need. Obviously, they will interact. Again, on a Hiwatt you can set the volume very high and the master low, for a nice break up. David keeps the pre amp volume fairly modertate for a slight compression but maintaining the headroom. Lowering the pre amp volume even further and boosting the master, will provide more headroom. Depending on the amp, the two stages will sound different. A Hiwatt often sound thinner with more of the output or master due to the large headroom. You need some of that pre stage to get the compression and a nice balance between the two will provide the fattest tones. On a Marshall, you often get a fatter tone if you allow more of the output or master to come through. Anyway, there are lots of articles on the net explaining the differences and settings far better than I.

  17. Jay says:

    Hello Bjorn,
    Love the site. Any info on the hiwatt little d rig, and how does that compare to the reeves or original 70’s hiwatt tones?
    Thanks

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Jay. I’ve commented the Little D a couple of times. Please make a search here on the site and you’ll find my thoughts :)

      • matt says:

        Hi,i did a search and didn’t find anything…but am very curious about your opinion of the little d rig also. I already have a laney l5,friedman runt and h&k grandmeister but have always wanted a hiwatt. for some reason just finding out about this little rig now. I’m a home player only right now….just wanted to see if the little d is good enough to sell one of the others ,or is it that much different than what I already have. I also have a weber thames cab. I know you are a busy man,but you are the Gilmour guru and I trust your opinion over any others.

        • Bjorn says:

          It’s based on the Custom range, with a classic high headroom Hiwatt tone. A Hiwatt doesn’t sound like any of the amps you already have so I wouldn’t sell any of them based on tone.

  18. Chad from Dallas says:

    Bjorn,

    I am taking my time on purchasing the next amp and I mentioned before I am highly considering the Reeves. I came across a company called Hi-Tone. I haven’t seen any comments on your thread about it so if you already have, I apologize, but do you know anything about them. From what I read,they make a really nice product. I am interested in the 30/15 “DG” as I feel it would suit my venue requirements. I do know that I love your tones and you are a huge fan of the Reeves, so I just wanted to get any insight you may have on Hi-Tone and that model.

    Thanks,
    Chad

    • Bjorn says:

      Ive never played a Hi-Tone but I know many Gilmour fans are happy with theirs. The company is owned by dedicated people, including Dave Reeves son (Dave was the designer of Hiwatt and Sound City amps in the late 60s) and Mark Huss, who is the guru when it comes to vintage Hiwatts.

  19. Chad from Dallas says:

    Thank you Bjorn. I actually just joined a local upstart Floyd tribute and my tone was a key to getting the job. Your site has been a huge factor. I am running the black strat setup and use the soothsayer as my main pedal to get the Wallish tones. I have a whampler Euphoria behind it and all the effects come from a TC Electronics Nova System, that is in the loop. The Mesa with that combo sounds really amazing. It wasn’t the formula I had planned on, but man it sounds great. On a quick side note, I know getting the Another brick in the wall tone right is tough. To have the sustain and try to maintain the clean sound is hard to achieve. If I could recommend a pedal that does it extremely well it would be the Whampler Euphoria. Personally as a stand alone overdrive, I do not like it. The high gain sound I do not like at all. When you roll the volume up to 3 o clock and the gain to 9 though, it sounds amazing for the Another Brick solo . It gives you a nice fat clean sound, sustain for days and with a bit of compression and delay, really hit the sweet spot for that Another brick solo. Also behind the Soothsayer, I put the volume on 10 and the gain on 1 and it gives me great wall tones. Just figured I’d share the info.
    I am really thinking on pulling the trigger on the Reeves. My only concern is that I am dialed in really well right now. I know a change of amps could make my formula not work, as what I have come up with works for the Mesa. I am a bit hesitant to change anything about it, especially after landing the spot in the band. However, like all of us I am always trying to get it better….no matter how good it sounds today. Any thoughts?
    Lastly, I jumped in a buddy of mines car two nights ago. Keep in mind we are in Dallas,Tx. He was playing the All rights removed album. I gave it to him about 6 months ago. He said he can’t stop playing it. Take care!!

  20. Chad from Dallas says:

    Bjorn,

    I was wondering about the Reeves 50 combo. I haven’t heard much about it. DO you have any experience with it? I currently play a Mesa rectoverb 50. I am happy with it, but I would like to try the Hiwatt type of sound. Would the combo give me close to what the head does? I would prefer not to have the stack, but it it is a major difference, then I won’t cut myself short either.

    Thank You,
    Chad

    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t tried the 50w combo but it’s the same amp as the 50w head, which is what I have. Great amp and probably your best choice out there for replicating David’s tones… and a lot more. These amps has A LOT of headroom so no worry.

  21. Kris says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I just realized Reeves offered a PS version of the Custom 50. As I know you own both the Hughes and Kettener Tubemesiter 18 and the Custom 50 and use them for different purposes. At mostly bedroom levels what do you think is a better amp for Gilmour tone, the Reeves 50 PS or the HK Tubemester 18. I currently have a HK 18 as well , but am wondering if the Reeves Custom 50 PS would be worth upgrading to. Thanks

    • Bjorn says:

      Well, as you’re aware of the Reeves is considerably more expensive :) PS is really a way to get that tube overdrive or distortion on low volume levels, which you usually can’t on a single channel amp without playing insanely loud. Same goes for the H&K, although you can get that clean tone on the clean channel and dial down’t the wattage on the gain channel and get full distortion on low volume. My opinion is that unless you want the tube distortion from the Reeves, then the PS feature is useless because you can dial down the volume and get a nice clean tone on a neighbour friendly level. PS won’t do much for cleans. The Reeves is no doubt a finer amp and more Gilmour than the H&K but it’s a bit overkill for a small bedroom.

      • Kris says:

        Thanks for the info Bjorn, always appreciate your knowledge and insight. Have you heard/tried the Hi-Tone HT50 DG. Suppose to be very similar to the Reeves Custom 50. Guess the company has Glynn Reeves, the son of the late HIWATT founder Dave Reeves. Did a little research on the net in the forums, gear page etc. Seem pretty legit….. Wonder how it compares to the Reeves Custom 50.

  22. Erwan says:

    Hello all,
    I wanted to share my experience with my Reeves 2x12cab with Vintage Purple speakers. I found the sound was really to bright, even with the treble low. I don’t use this amp very often (I play in very small venue and my 22watt magnatone twilighter is just perfect for that). So I decided to speed up the Vintage purple Breaking in. I performed a fantastic cab acoustic isolation with all my pillows ( my wife was happy…) and used my Looper with the reeves at “high level” (master at 9) during almost 15 hours. The result is just… Great ! No more harsh, ice picky sound, very nice and obvious improvement.
    So, I Know it seems to be obvious, but guys don’t be disappointed in the first hours of use, just let the time to the speaker to break up and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
    Longue vie à Gilmourish !

  23. Brad Roller says:

    @keith if you complete your speaker let us know how it works! the rt-20 is hard to beat…but I had to see what the real deal was about. I was going to make my own also, similar to doppolas, considering I work construction finding a motor wasn’t the problem it was time for me. I found the motion sound and saved up for it and couldn’t be happier. I’ll try to make some good sound clips using it, maybe tonight. I may can email them to you and Bjorn, or if you’d like, Bjorn, you could use them in a review like you did with the article on the yamaha ra200.

  24. KEITH says:

    @Brad, unfortunately I’ve been super broke, and I used to try to go to the shop every weekend to buy a piece of gear, even it was just a pack of strings, or a cord, I was there every Saturday & or Sunday, but I haven’t stepped foot in my favorite shop in over two months, so I haven’t tried anything, but have kept up with all of your posts, and am anxious to try it. Right now I’m pretty happy with my RT-20, which I got in used, but mint condition for $130.00, but really want a real rotary speaker. I actually designed a rotary, based on the Leslie 147, but only about 18″ tall, and 1’x 1′ width, and depth. I’ve spoken with engineers and builders, and everyone who’s seen my drawings says it’s doable, but again, money is the issue. I definitely want to try the SRV, beacause it sounds like it’s in the ballpark of my idea, although mine is a bit odd, so I doubt they work the same, but a Leslie, that weighs under 30 lbs was my goal, and if I have read your posts correctly, the SRV is very small, and light, and I trust your ears after reading most of your posts! Glad I was able to explain the cabinet issue, take care.

    Peace to you, and all you Love, Keith

  25. Brad Roller says:

    @keith Actually Keith you were very clear about it. Thanks a lot man! I appreciate you taking your time and being so descriptive! I can’t wait to get this amp! Have you ever tried the motion sound srv-112? It works and sounds great! Highly recommended!

  26. KEITH says:

    @Brad, You can use both cabs, but you will need for the 1×12 cabs speaker to be the same ohmage as the rotary. The head handles 4, 8, or 16 Ohms, so if the rotary is 8 ohms, get an 8 ohm speaker for the cabinet, and using the two paralell outputs, ( one for each cab.), set the amps ohmage to 4 Ohms, if the Rotary is 16 ohms, get a 16 ohm speaker, and set the switch at 8 ohms. This applies to using both outputs which are parallel. If you choose to use just one of the outputs, plugging the cabinets in series, then two 8 ohm speakers would be 16 ohms. It can be tricky, because there are so many ways to configure speakers. However, the best course for the type of amp we’re talking about, that has two parallel outputs, and a swich for ohmage is to use one output jack for each cabinet, the cabinets should be the same ohms, then halve the ohm rating of the cabinet, and set the switch to that. So, two 16 ohm cabs, swich is set to 8, two 8’s, set to 4. I probably made it sound more complicated than necessary, but that’s how it works, Paralell you halve the ohms, series, you double them. I hope you can weed through my early morning too much info post, and get what I mean.

    Hope it helps, Keith ;) or just ask Bill hahaha!

  27. Brad Roller says:

    Hello Bjorn, I’m going to be selling my fender hot rod deluxe 3 soon to buy this Reeves custom 50 head with a 1/12. Is it possible to run the standard 1/12 cab with my motionsound srv-112 at the same time? I know you’d have to adjust it from either 8 ohm, 16 ohm or 4 but if the amp only has one output how could I hook up multiple speakers? Thanks for you’re advice and help!!!

    [Not entry sure about this. Ask Reeves. They’re very helpful – Bjorn]

  28. KEITH says:

    @Wojtek, I have done a lot of reading about the difference between the various HiWatt clones, and I’d check with Bill at Reeves on pricing, or Destroy all Guitars, his only official distributor. Of all the clones, from the schematics, and info I’ve seen, the Reeves is closest, Dave Reeves, and Bill Jansen were friends, and Bill went through tons of research, and had the dicontinued transformers, and components reverse engineered to early ’70s HiWatt specs, and his service is second to none. My Local Sam Ash had a ’73 DR 103 in the shop for sale, and I really only heard a very slight difference in sound, and the DR had all NOS Mullards, which was the diffence IMO. If the Reeves is more than you can afford, the best, second choice in my mind would be Dave Reeves’ sons clone, the HeyWatt, which uses the reverse engineered Heyboer “Partridge” Transformers commisioned by Bill Jansen at Reeves. Shoot Bill an email, perhaps he can give you a better price than the local distributor!

    Peace, Keith proud Reeves custom 50 PS owner!

  29. Wojtek says:

    Hi, I would like to ask you for opinion on the following. I was aiming to purchase Reeves Custom 50 from EU dealer, however once I got price ->2000euro I started to think on the Hiwatt SSD 504.
    Could you please let me know which of those to would be better for Gilmourish tones?
    Thanks,Wojtek

    [I’ve never tried the SSD504 but whether or not you hear a big difference between the two depends on the speakers, your guitar and how you’ll be using the amp. I couldn’t be happier with my Reeves Custom 50 and don’t think it’s possible to get closer to the original early 70s Hiwatts but don’t expect huge differences. One thing though… Reeves has excellent customer service. Hiwatt does not. – Bjorn]

  30. Gábor says:

    Hi Bjorn, Hi Brad, Hi Gilmourish Friends hunting for a nice tube amp, with great headroom, and nice mids.
    I have to tell you that after some month of not heavy bedroom usage probably I have to change the OEM tubes of my brand new HIWATT Custom Little D head…
    There is some swirling noise, I hope that tube set improvment should be enough..
    This is a shame from my point of you..I am dissapointed indeed..
    God bless us, the witnesses of marketing manipulations..
    I hope that Reeves shall notice this market gap, and launch a smaller gilmourish head and combo, supplying better,bedroom and home studio guitarists..
    There is no question, my HIWATT Custom Little D will stay, but I should solve some early renovations :-(
    Cheers:Gábor

    [Hope swapping tubes solves the problem. Amps are often delivered with low quality tubes to keep the price down. These should be replaced immediately. Tubes should also be delivered packed separately and securely when you buy an amp. Otherwise they can be damaged. – Bjorn]

  31. howard says:

    hi bjorn,
    did you have fitted the effect loop to your reeves custom 50’s head????
    i live in a detached house, do you think the custom 50 head would be too loud for me, l like all the feature the amp offers, so could i just get away with it at low volume,

    all the best, howard

    [No effects loop. I run all the effects into the front. It’s a very loud amp so you might want to consider a lower wattage one. Still, it doesn’t lose much tone on low volume. – Bjorn]

  32. KEITH says:

    Stephen, I need you to send me the instructions for bypassing the PS, and adding the standby switch. I’ve always had a feeling that it somehow keeps the amp from reaching it’s full potential, and I really hate not having a dedicated standby. No matter how you turn everything down, you can tell there is still signal bleed when turning the amp off. It does give me the ability to get the advertised, “Live at Leeds” crunch at less than full throttle,( which would make your ears as worthless as Townshends are!), but I think I could get just as close with an overdrive. A schematic would be wonderful!

    Thanks, Keith

  33. KEITH says:

    @Brad W. If you are looking for something strictly for bedroom, and studio use, and want tons of clean headroom, plus the versatility to get a plexi sound, I strongly suggest playing through an Ibanez TS 15 H head, and their cab, or your choice of cabinet. When it first came out, I bought, the head, and cabinet for a little over $400.00, and love it,( much more after changing to JJ’s, which requires no biasing, plug, and play!). Unfortunately, Ibanez screwed up badly by trying to put out a 30 watt combo, and it is a completely different, and poorly made amp. I got 3 30 watters before getting my money back, and buying my Reeves. However, the 15, switchable ti 5 watt head, cab model is bulletproof, and not only is it the loudest 15 watts I’ve heard, it is clean to full volume with the JJ’s. Then it has a +6db boost, that adds volume, and at full volume a little grit, add the face mounted Tube Screamer TS 9 and additional tone knob, and ab’d against a 50 watt plexi in mint condition, ,hrough the 4 greenback Marshall cab, the only difference was tge Marshall was very slightly louder. Ibanez made a nearly perfect amp in the TS 15H, but ruined their amp sales by trying to nake a 30 watt in the same price range, and cut so many corners quality wise, the 15 didn’t get the attention it deserves. I’ve played through nearly every amp made over 35 years, and the little TS15H is a beast, with beautiful off white Tolex, and just change the tubes, and I’d put it up against any amp in the 5-30 watt range. Don’t take my word for it, play one, with the knowledge that $30.00 worth of tubes, make it 3 times the amp it is with the stock Chinese tubes,( that are so small, the JJs barely fit!), and you’ll be a beluever. As soon as I finish tracking the first song on my record, I’ll post it, as the guitars will be recorded through the Ibanez, instead of a two year old Custom 50 PS! Definitely worth a test drive if you’re in the market for that wattage in a crystal clean amp, with balls to boot. I could go on about that little beauty for hours!!! And, now that Ibanez screwed themselves, they’re going for a song!

    Peace, Keith

  34. Stephen says:

    lol Too kind, but Keith is right the NOS Mullards were a worth while investment in tone. The amp was always a great amp but now the Reeves has the 100% Mojo I have been looking for in an amp. I am running the Bias just a bit hotter than normal but not too far above to cause the tubes much extra distress. It’s like a warm bell cutting through the air on a crisp fall morning, sweet but clear as I have ever heard from a guitar amp.

    OH I also went at Bypassed the PS. I never used it under full throttle and the fan is only in the amp to cool down the PS. With out it in the circuit I am also pretty stoked. I put in a standby switch in it’s place… much more practical. I left the unit intact inside for resale value but if you don’t find yourself using other values in the potentiometer between 0 and 100%, the Bypass is another thing I recommend :)

    Keith, the Mullard switch was not as bad as you might think. Of course it was money spent but I found decent prices from respectable dealers. I think anywhere from just under $400 to $500, you can retube the amp 100% with NOS Mullards. When you think of tube longevity that will go along way. I need some extra cash… I want to stock up before they all disappear. The 1960’s have come and gone and they aren’t making those tubes anymore ;)

    Cheers
    Stephen

  35. Brad W says:

    I agree, Keith, on most points. Thing is this 20 watt niche is not very crowded…basically the Trinity and I guess you could say the HI-Tone 30/15, and now this new rig. With Gabor’s review it at least causes one to consider this option. Though I’m not sure I like the idea of it saying “Little D” on my amp! I think I’m going for the Trinity.

    Cheers,
    Brad

  36. KEITH says:

    And Bjorn, I forgot to mention that Stephen sent me a recording of his playing a picked rhythm, bass line,( using the same guitar through a micro POG), and various toned solos played over the rhythm, and bass, all using a Infinity Looper, and just after retubing with the Mullards.The tones were amazing, as was his playing, and it truly sounded like it was multitracked in the studio. But the real reason for this post was the difference those NOS Mullards made. It is beyond the beyond, and sweeter, fuller tones I’ve never heard. One; of these days, I’m gonna make, he swap, but I need to save a lot of money :)
    Peace, Keith

    [Need to check that out :) – Bjorn]

  37. KEITH says:

    I’d like to throw my two or three cents worth into Brad’s post. I rarely consider the socio-political ramifications of gear purchases, although I do find unendorsed “Signature” models, and marketing in poor taste, and agree that if there is a choice between two nearly; identical products, most Americans will buy the American made product, so I suppose there may be some nationalist pride involved, but that too could simply be a choice based more on helping a struggling industrial sector in the States. However, I bought my Reeves for one Reason, I trust Bill a hell of a lot more than I trust MG, a company notorious for poor quality control, customer service, and complaints and allegations of straight up lying. Now, things seem to have gotten a bit better at MG the last two years, but , ( and this part is purely a personal opinion), I think buying a Reeves gets you far closer in quality of build, components used, and most of all tone, to an early ’70s HiWatt, than anything Musicground has ever badged as a HiWatt. And economically, buying a HiWatt in the States, is a waste of money as long as Mr.Jansen continues the unparalleled quality of his products, and customer service that is second to none at the time of this post. REEVES, IS IMO, THE REAL HIWATT!!
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, Keith

  38. Brad W says:

    Thanks for the review, Gabor!

    Bjorn,

    I find it very interesting the ethical and even political considerations that can go into buying an amp. The internet is full of postings on message boards regarding hiwatts and their clones with people talking about Music Ground’s shady past. All of that may indeed be true. And it also is a good policy to support the smaller “boutique” makers. Even Nationalism can weigh in the concept of buying locally. Here in the USA, faced with two products which are arguably identical, for most people, the one made at home will win every time.

    I also respect your opinion about “signature” marketing and making a cab look like a wem cab when in fact it no longer has any connection in design to the original. These things have to be considered, and these considerations are surprisingly personal!

    By the way, is it true that their bigger “David Gilmour Signature Series” is used without his permission? Doesn’t he have to sign off on something like that?

    Still, as a consumer, I end up being far more interested in whether this latest “Hiwatt” is consistently producing quality amps. They sure as shit are expensive! At those prices, they had better be damn good in order to allow informed folks to overlook whatever shady past they might have. So all that said, this little hiwatt head (hoping you will be able to get it without the cab) could really fill a wattage niche.

    Still, that Trinity Triwatt looks promising! And then the REEVES Custom 30 MkII. Doh! It never ends…

    My field of study is Cinema. Jean Luc Godard an Luc Moullet both said, paraphrasing, whether to use a tracking shot is a moral decision.

    Thanks again for the awesome site! Your solo stuff sounds kick ass!

    Brad

    [Hi Brad! Well, I can’t tell you what to buy or what moral or political aspects to consider. Ultimately it comes down to tone and what you feel is right. I do think though that it is important to let people know that these products are not some official signature models, which is what Hiwatt is trying to make us believe with a rather shady marketing campaign. I don’t care if people buys it but don’t think you bought a Gilmour amp and brand new WEM cab. It’s not. As far as I know, David’s management has also tried to sort it out legally but I don’t know how that ended up.
    Personally I try to support smaller companies. It just seems like they got the right attitude and devotion. The bigger you get, the more money you want to earn and the quality usually goes down hill… It’s not always true but I do feel that the bigger companies has lost touch with their customers and aren’t as devoted to their products and designs as the smaller ones. The whole “you should buy American” campaign is part an attempt to show consumers that US products are perhaps more expensive, due to higher costs, but you should support your country and community and the smaller companies. This alone is a good concept and one that I support. However, what they’re also telling you is that US products are superior to anything else and they also know that both among US and European customers, the US tag is highly respected. In my opinion this is a truth with many modifications and in many cases false. Marketing can be many things and it’s extremely difficult at times to know what to buy. My best advice is to do some research and in the end – always trust your ears. – Bjorn]

  39. Stephen says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I am not sure if you have tried this yet but I retubed my Reeves Custom 50 with Mullard Blackburn era tubes (in both the preamp and power stages) and WOW! It sounds fantastic and beyond the rich tone it is a bit on the lines of the “Sweet Spot” article. It has a lot to do with how the amp responds to the playing and gear but I am sold, do yourself a favor NOS your Reeves! It was well worth it.
    I Biased the power tubes a touch hotter to give me a bit more head room and the amp is singing now. I did not think that the Reeves could get much better but this amp is creamier than whipped butter now :)

    Cheers!

    [Hi Stephen. Thanks for the tip! I’m using JJ EL34Ls, which I believe are very close to the old Mullards. I’ve never tried actual Mullards though. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  40. RC says:

    Thanks just the same Bjorn… They seem similar “spec” wise with the added reverb circuit and boost function. I don’t know if that’s a benefit or not after reading your article on reverb… Had a long conversation with Cliff at DAG. He is very impressed with how clean the SC is… I want to incorporate my own “Gilmourish” sounds into my playing. If I went with the Custom 50, I can save a few hundred bucks for some more pedals!

    Thanks again, Rob…

    [There are different opinions on reverb but my point with the article is that reverb should be used with care knowing that reverb is used to simulate room, which you will get on a stage or can create on a recording. I don’t think it’s a must on an amp. You can always by a reverb pedal :) – Bjorn]

  41. Gábor says:

    Hi Bjorn Hi Brad,
    Actually I am not in the position to create a detailed review, but I am able to comment the Hiwatt Custom Little D head first impressions shortly: great sounding amp, indeed. What I targeted( a suitable volume, with quality cleans for home and studio, reliability, etc.) I havent’t got.. why? It is loud, very loud!
    Technically it is 0.5/20W, practically its 0.5W is almost a doubled Cub 1W.Oops..I have also a Hiwatt Custom SSD212 50W Gilmour combo, I will make a comparison( but not at home)but I have to acknowledge, that the Little D starts to sing, using the 20W, 0.5W is not bad( faraway better, comparing to the Laney CUB head) but a compromise, regarding the hiwattish sound features. 20W mood, that rocks.
    Handling is superb, visually it is a real Custom like:-) deadly silent, with awesome cleans and headroom, yesit is a Rolls Royce:-)
    Verdict: I love it, and try to forget the fight for it, generally RECOMMENDED for quality oriented friends of Gilmourish.com. I have to admit, its price is 1.000GBP…think it through my friend, this product from USA based Reeves would be the nice shot!

    [Thanks for sharing! – Bjorn]

  42. RC says:

    Been checking out the Reeves gear lately. Very impressed with what I’m hearing. Your write up on the Custom 50 was a big help as are all the comments here!.. My question is, have you any experience with the Space Cowboy model?

    Rob…..

    [Never tried it… – Bjorn]

  43. Brad W says:

    Gabor,

    thanks for the update! Cannot wait to hear what you think. Every couple of days I search the web for a new review or clip of this thing. I am very interested in buying a Trinity Triwatt, from Canada. The Triwatt is a 20 hiwatt clone (or close to 40 watts with kt66s). the head plus a custom 2×12 unloaded Trinity cab would be about the same price as the little d rig, including the cab.

    Keep us posted!
    Brad

  44. Gabor says:

    Hi Bjorn, Hi Brad,
    In June I promised to announce, what is going on with my Hiwatt Custom Little D project. After several mailings and ongoing fight for the amp, today the parcel service delivered it!
    11weeksdelivery time…But I should be happy, because the workshop has got problems with the transformators, it means 200 orders are on waiting list. Mark, the CEO of Hylight Ltd. solved the problem, anyway, I have received it, today!
    I will keep you posted about the first test results!
    Cheers: Gabor
    PS:The CUB head feels something, works so good recently, but it has to go…

    [Great! Keep us posted :) – Bjorn]

  45. Gábor Illy says:

    Hi,
    Now Hiwatt has given me time to prepare my gear for the lpostponed arrival of my ordered new HIWATT Custom Little D Head.. The promised 4 weeks delivery time is already 6, perhaps this Friday it will be posted from England to Hungary..I hope they will do it, it has been paid in advance..

    Actually having time I would Ask you Bjorn, to comment; how to find the sweetspot of our tube amp? My CUB head sometimes sounds like crap, with the same settings, and pedals, sometimes sounds very well..
    What is the description of the sweetspot of an amp, what about the application process, esspecially with boosters and muffs? Kit Rae mentions , how to set our muff, but your opinion would be highly appreciated as well.
    Thx for your answer, cheers:Gábor

    [Funny you should ask. I’m preparing a feature about settings and sweetspots. It’s a complicated topic because a sweetspot is very subjective. What sounds good to my ears may not sound good at all to you. I can give you all my settings and tell you exactly how to set your rig but only you can be the judge of whether it sounds good or not. Obviously it depends on what gear you have but equally important is how you play and where. An amp can change completely in different rooms and venues. Also tubes tend to be a bit moody so it’s not uncommon that tube amps sound different from day to day… Anyway, I’ll elaborate more on this topic in the upcoming feature. – Bjorn]

  46. Brad says:

    Thanks, Gábor!

    Bjorn, sorry, I meant what are your thoughts on having the Reeves Custom 50 in a 1×12 combo?

    Thanks,
    Brad

    [I haven’t tried it but I would assume it behaves more or less like the stack. The smaller cab and just the one speaker will make a difference obviously but you’ll get the headroom you need. – Born]

  47. Gábor Illy says:

    Dear Brad!
    you should take into consideration, that 30W means VERY loud indeed wall/window brokening power, louder, than 2/3 of the Reeves Custom 50W..
    The reason why I choose the HIWATT Little D, that it is a low wattage HIWATT, and it seems to be promising suitable at home and in studio, avoiding the well known conflicts with family and neighbours. CUB Head is OK, but not reliable..Qualitative solution needed!
    I have a Marshall 1×12 closed back cab, with FANE AXA 12, 100w, when I am willing not to catch the marketing hook of the promoted “WEM” cab,(with Chinese Fane), it should be a good team for a “Gilmourish” clean of a Hiwatt.
    Head is available seperately, but you should convince your local HIWATT dealer. I succesfully convinced the Denmark Street in London:-) Delivery time is 4 weeks, we will see. I will send a more detailed report.
    Frankly speeking, I would prefer a Reeves to Hiwatt for that purpose, but the actual assortment does not support the Custom50 sound at low wattage. Hiwatt found this market gap:-)
    I hope the best, I will keep you informed.
    cheers:Gábor from Budapest, Hungary

  48. Brad says:

    Thanks Bjorn,

    Gabor, please keep us updated! We’re all interested in this amp, I presume. It is possible to buy just the head?

    Related to your question about Reeves, and also mine about JTM45s, I’m very interested in the Reeves Custom 30. It has kt66 power tubes and has been described as 2/3 hiwatt and 1/3 jtm45.

    Even though it seems designed to offer up some crunch a little earlier than a custom 50, the reviews and clips seem to suggest there is still plenty of clean hiwatt like tones available.

    Anyone have experience with it?

    Another question — Bjorn, what are your thoughts on the Reeves Custom 60 in 112 combo form?

    Thanks!
    Brad

    [Never tried it… it’s a take on the Super Lead isn’t it? – Bjorn]

  49. Gabor Illy says:

    What a pity, that the smaller Reeves are more or less throaty Marshalls, then chimey clean Hiwatts. There is a huge market of lower output heads and combos from 1-20W. As we know and use, the answer on that demand from Laney is the affordable CUB series.(I have the head, but I suffer a lot because of different stupid problems and failers..)And there is no qualitative alternative from Reeves…they should do something, this is the market demand indeed!!!

    That is why Today I have ordered from Hiwatt the freshly launched Custom Little D Head.which is perhaps risky, having no experience, and opinions from others..we will see, I hope the best, because I love my Fane loaded Custom Signature Combo Dg212, but I cant use it at home.. I will keep you informed, if you have interest in my story.
    Cheers Bjorn!
    Have a nice day!
    Greetings from Hungary!

    [Please keep us informed! – Bjorn]

  50. Brad says:

    Bjorn,

    What do you think of JTM45 style amps in general? For Gilmour tones? I played a reissue head recently in a guitar store and there’s no doubt there was plenty of clean headroom to be found on a strat if you cranked the amp with both channels blended and just turned back the volume knob.

    It was a very dynamic slightly “sizzling” kind of clean if that makes sense, but it was still clean and not crunch. Of course you get the benefit of that glorious beano sound if you turn up the volume.

    The only drawback with the amp dimed was a kind of mushy, loose, indistinct low end.

    Do you find these amps useable for Gilmour? Many people get the concept of starting with a clean amp and adding pedals to get the DG sound. And when they think clean, they probably decide a fender type amp is a great pedal platform to get DG tones. However, wouldn’t a JTM45 almost get you closer since it probably has more in common with a Hiwatt than a blackface Fender, eq wise?

    Thanks,
    Brad

    [Hi Brad! The JTM45s are definitely worth checking out for David’s tones. They’re in that Bassman territory, which has been one of David’s preferred recording amps for the last few decades. Love that tone my self and not only for David’s tones. – Bjorn]

  51. DaveH says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Thanks for the excellent comments and recommendations. I too, bought a Reeves Custom 50 (used) from Guitar Center here in San Diego. Pricing was very good and brought it home and it’s an amazing amp head. Running it through (right now before buying new cab) Marshall JCM 900. The sound is so clear and no hum at all. My old JCM 900 head would hum but the Reeves is dead silent. The amp condition is near-new and no tears or blemishes on Tolex, etc..It appears flawless and the guys told me that it came from a respectable collector.

    Not sure if you would take my approach or not, by buying a used amp head, but this seems to be a good purchase and GS has a 30-day policy to return anything. Would you recommend a used amp or only go with a new one?

    Keep up the great work Bjorn!
    cheers

    [Nothing wrong with buying used amps. As long as you’ve made sure they’re in perfect working condition and that you trust the seller, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t do it. Most things can be fixed anyway but it can be very expensive if you need to replace a bad transformer. This can be hard to detect but again, if you trust the seller, it shouldn’t be a problem. In any case, and this is important, I’d take the amp to a tech BEFORE trying it. Get the bias checked and have him measure for leaking caps and bad transformers. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  52. Keith says:

    Well Bjorn, I will likely praise Bill Jansen’s name on every forum I can find. As you know, I can be a bit wordy,( that may be an understatement), but I always try to be tactful whether talming business, or the weather. The reason being, I give even the most unbelievable humans, the benefit of the doubt, and basically love the human race. When my amp went out, I was convinced that two tube failures neant more that two bad tubes, and may have questioned Bill a little, when he suggested it was a power tube. The jury is still to a minor bit out, but he did find a bad power tube, and nothing else, thus far, I do question the PI, as the 6201 has that white powedery substance at the bottom, although the tube is evidently testing fine. My point here is, Bill just left me an email that he wos replacing my power tubes, and rebiasing the amp for no charge, and will then go through it again. So, I’d say that is Service, with a capital S, and beyond ny expectarions.expectations. If you got the jack, and want an amp, I can’t think of anyone in the business who is as fair, and dedicated to the satisfaction of his customers, and can’t wait for my beautiful head to return!
    Peace, Keith!

    [Thanks for sharing, Keith! Great customer service is vital if you want to survive in the industry today and Bill is definitely one of the better. Great guy and of course, excellent amps too! – Bjorn]

  53. Jean-Philippe says:

    Hi,

    I bought a Reeves Custom 50 one year ago (novembre 2012) and was very happy with the amp.
    But today, I have a new plan : my house in fact ;-)

    So I have to sell some of my gear.
    And the Reeves is on the list “To sell”

    It is not easy to find this amp in Europe (Belgium for me).
    So if you live in Belgium or not too far and if you are interested :
    jeanphilippesnijders@hotmail.com

    Best regards,

    Jean-Philippe

  54. Guy says:

    Hi again,
    I finally bought an amp for home use. I thought about the Reeves but like you suggested, i thought it would be too loud. So I went for the Laney Cub Stack, very nice! Even on 3/4 watt it’s still pretty loud! So far, I love it.
    Just wondering, which tubes did you replace on yours? The preamp or poweramp ones? And which tubes did you use?
    Thanks! :)
    Guy

    [Hi Guy! The Cub is a great practice amp with that unmistakable Hiwatt/early Marshall tone. You get a lot of tone for the buck. I replaced both the preamp and output tubes with same value JJ Electronics. – Bjorn]

  55. Guy says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Thanks for the feedback, it all makes alot more sense now :)
    Just wondering with the Weber speakers, are yours (or Keiths) the ceramic or the AlNiCo ones?

    Perhaps a lower wattage amp would be a better option for home… If you had to pick one for being the closest in sound to a Custom 50 + Weber Speaker combination, but very low wattage, what would you choose? (I had a look at your amp buyers guide page and the comments but couldn’t seem to a mention of a ‘closest match’)

    I had initially thought of perhaps the HiWatt T20 or T40. As these comparable? I have read some bad reviews online…

    Thanks again!

    [The Webers are ceramic. They have more headroom than the alnicos. I think the Hiwatt T series does the job nicely. Most of the reviews I’ve seen compare these with the Custom series, which is a bit unfair because you can’t really expect a budget range to sound like a Rolls Royce. I’m also very happy with the Laney Cub. I wouldn’t tour with it but I’ve replaced the tubes, tightened the bias and replaced the stock Celestions with Weber. It works great as a home studio/practice amp with the classic British flavour. – Bjorn]

  56. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, in my recent exchange of emails with Bill at Reeves about the crackling noise, once I discovered that v1 was the culprit, we started talking tubes. I think he was using all JJs when you got yours, but switched to Ruby branded Suanguang EL34BHTs for outputs. They are highly regarded on the tube sites, but when I asked him about the many posts I read from people who say they run an nos in the V1 position, he said I should try a “non-microphonic NOS in V1 to see if I liked the difference it made in the tone.”. Are you familiar with non-microphonic NOS preamp tubes? And, do you think it makes a significant difference in tone? Anyone else have experience in this area? I always kind of thought the NOS tube thing was a bit of gear snobbery, and have never heard of a non-microphonic tube. However I did noticed an enourmous change in tone, and headroom in my TS 15 when I switched the cheap stock tubes for JJs, I’m wondering if going to NOS Mullards for output, and V1 would be as mind blowingly better as my experience with the little Ibanez,( which I still love, just don’t buy the 30 watt, it sucks. The 15 is very well made, and a very Gilmourish bedroom amp!). Any advice on this subject would be greatly appreciated, and a lot better than spending big bucks on NOS if I won’t notice a big difference.
    Thanks, Keith

    [I must admit that I’m really no tube expert. I’ve tried lots and lots of different brands but always come back to JJs. I haven’t experimented with non-microphonics. Let me know how it turns out :) – Bjorn]

  57. Ray says:

    I would just like to say that I recently purchased the Reeves Custom 50 and it is by far the best amp I have ever played through. The sound is spot on from your fingers to your guitar to your cab. I mistakenly didn’t bring my Reeves to a band practice one night to try out a buddy’s combo amp he wanted me to test. Everyone in the band got mad that my crystal clear tones were not there. It felt like I was playing with a blanket over the combo. Immediately after practice I went home and played the Reeves just to remind myself what my tone actually sounds like! Bjorn, I want to thank you for the review and everything you do as I shaped a lot of my choices in amps, pedals etc, on your reviews.

    Just for everyone’s curiosity, here’s my lineup: Custom built Warmoth strat with the Overdrive custom Gilmour pickguard that has Fender CS(custom shop) Fat 50s in the Neck, Fender CS Fat 69 in the middle and Seymour Duncan Shop SSL-1C DG in the bridge to the pedalboard that has >
    Boss Tuner >
    MXR DynaComp >
    BYOC Large Beaver Rams Head >
    BK Tube Driver (with 12AU7 tube) >
    Boss BD-2 (set for boosting the Tube Driver or Rams Head for solos) >
    EP Booster (for clean boosts or solos) >
    MXR Phase 90 >
    Boss CE-3 Chorus >
    Boss BF-2 Flanger >
    Boss TR-2 Tremolo (just added this week, haven’t decided if I’m gonna keep it in or not) >
    MXR Carbon Copy (set to about 10 repeats very long delay) >
    Modtone Analog Delay (set to about 5-6 repeats very fast delay) >
    Danelectro Echo (set to subtle that you don’t even know it’s on to fatten the sound of the guitar) >
    Avatar Vintage 2×12 with Celestion Classic Lead 80 speakers (which are awesome btw, but they never get any credit or attention).

    All cables are Evidence Audio, Melody’s from guitar to board from board to amp and monorail’s between all pedals.

    I’m in the hunt for a new wah pedal as mine recently died (hence why I added the Tremolo for a quick but not great fix for now) and I’m debating about buying the Analogman Sunface.

    Sorry for the long rant, just want to say again Bjorn, love your site, love the stuff you do with Airbag and your demos! Thanks again for an awesome site!

    [Thanks for the post and for sharing, Ray! Looks like a great setup! – Bjorn]

  58. Guy says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Just wanted to start by saying your site is amazing! I have been a keen reader for years and this is my first post. Thanks so much :)
    I am on a mission to get the Pompeii era Gilmour tone, and am after an amp and cabinet, and it seems that the Reeves Custom 50 as probably the best amp for that, based on you reviews. I am going to be playing mainly at home and think that the amp will be pretty loud, perhaps too loud! So, I would like to be able get the tone but at a lower volume. I was thinking there are two options.
    1. The Custom 50 PS (this has the ‘power scaling’ option) or
    2. The Custom 50 with a Motherload (http://www.motherloadusa.com/motherload-amplifier-load-box-recording-products.asp) which I already own.
    I have read a few reviews that say the power scaling on the Custom 50 PS isn’t that great, and gets a bit fizzy when you turn it down too much. Do you have any experience with that?
    I would prefer to have it all self contained, but if it doesn’t sound great at low levels maybe I’m better off with the motherload…
    Also, I am looking for a cabinet to go with it, Ideally a 2×12. Do you have a recommendation to match with the Custom 50? Again, Id like to try and get as close as possible to the pompeii sound. Do you have an experience with the HiWatt Custom Starfinder replica 2×12″ cabinet, they do look very nice ;)
    Thanks alot! Guy

    [Hi Guy! Thanks for your kind words! Glad you enjoy my site :) The C50 is very loud and unless your nearest neighbour lives a couple of miles away you should be very aware of what you’re buying. I love the Reeves but tube amp needs some volume to really shine. Volume is relative to the wattage, at least to some extent, and the Reeves, being a super clean amp, may sound a but dull and flat on bedroom settings. A 5w tube amp may sound like a fart on stage but huge in a bedroom. The PS on the C50 works really well but only if you intend on getting distortion from the tubes. A lot of people mistakes the PS for being a volume control, which it kind of is, but it doesn’t do much on a clean amp. I don’t have any experience with the Motherload but it seems promising. I’d send Reeves an e-mail and ask for their advice. They’re very helpful. In terms of cabs… I know Keith here has ordered an Avatar cab with Weber Thames speaker (if I remeber correctly). I use these speakers myself and they’re dead on the old Fanes that I once had, which is what David’s been using since before Pompeii. I don’t have any experience with the Starfinder replicas but from what I can see, they’re not replicas but rather “based on” with different specs. – Bjorn]

  59. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, I’m sitting here with tbe power out, due to a small snowstorm we had last night, and in my boredom, I remembered when I was buying my Thames 80’s for the Avatar G212V, I asked you about doping. You said you don’t think yours had been doped, and I usually do pretty much everything the way you explain it, and it’s worked out on every pedal I’ve purchased, and everything on my board is something you suggested. However, just as I ordered my Webers, I ran across an old magazine review of the Thames 80 ceramics, from back before Ted passed away, and his suggestion, and the speakers they tested in a Hiwatt cab, with an early 70’s DR103, were lightly doped, and partially broken in with several hours on a variac machine. Not a huge deal, but I thought that anyone who may be getting ready to purchase some Thames 80s, may like to know of the speaker companies oroginal owners thoughts on what should be done to them to maximize their tone, and shorten the 50-60 hr suggested breakin time by about half. I love them, just as you said I woild, and couldn’t imagine a better soeaker for the tones we seek. I
    haven’t broken them all the way in, but they sound a little sweeter, especially in the top end, every time I turn the amp on!
    Peace, and thank you for guiding me to the best sounding rig I’ve ever owned! Of course Cymbaline has a bit to do with it too! Cheers, Keith

    [Thanks for the input Keith! Hope you’ll survive the power outage :) It’s freezing cold here in Oslo too… – Bjorn]

  60. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, your Reeves is a little older than mine, and slightly different because of the PS, but I was curious. Do your controls start from about 7:00, and go to about 5:00? I figured that Bill may over time have changed where he set zero on the knobs. Not a major deal, but if I were starting with your settings, I’d be a little off if the starting point had been changed.
    Thanks buddy :-) KC ( who is very hapoy to still have my job, bring on that echorec!)

    [Yeah, that’s about right. I’ve no idea if they changed the pots or anything… Keep in mind though that settings depends on a lot of things so there might not be anything different with the amp but rather your guitar, pickups, pedals, cables, pick, strings, technique, volume, the size and acoustics of the room you play in, the resonance in the speaker cab… the list is long :) – Bjorn]

  61. Keith says:

    I’m jinxed, my speakers went in the Avatar Wednesday, I plughed in my Tele, and was in sheer bliss for two hours, then the scratchy volume pot got to be too much, so I opened her up, and a cold solder joint came loose, and I don’t work on guitar guts! I can, but I don’t own a soldering iron anymore, BUT!!!! I’m pickinking the Strat up today, and dropping the Tele off for a new “Custom” pickup configuration for the Tele. Pics will soon follow!
    Merry Christmas, and thanks for everything Bjorn, and Steve and I finally hooked up. Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all, Keith

    [Congrats Keith! All the best for the holidays!

  62. Keith says:

    Hey Stephen, I didn’t get an email, I haven’t chrcked my pc though. If it Gothics kicked out as a junk, or spam, I’ll find it. If not, you may have gotten the wrong address. I’ll go look, and if it doesn’t show up somewhere, we’ll figure something out!
    Peace to the very kind, and selfless Bjorn Riis, his family, the Gilmourish community, and all humanity, Keith
    PS, I finally got everything hooked up yesterday, and Wow, what an amp! Strat is getting picked up tomorrow! :)

    [Expect to see a pic soon, Keith! – Bjorn]

  63. Stephen Ford says:

    No Word from Keith??? Haven’t had a response to my emails either…hope he didn’t forget to eat or sleep with the new rig in hand leading to his passing out hitting his head on the coffee table and now is left there with the cat licking his face unable to get up!…lol

    Hope it is all going well:)

    Happy Holidays to you and your family Bjorn and to all on Gilmourish!

    [I think Santa visited Keith the other day… I’m sure he’s still jamming and ripping those chords! Enjoy the holidays, Stephen! – Bjorn]

  64. Keith says:

    @ Stephen Ford, Hey buddy, I asked Bjorn to try to get my email address to you the other day, and I believe he attempted to do so, but worded it as to say he was sending me yours. He did not, anx I sure he would not without your consent. However, if he did indeed get mine to you, please feel free to use it. I’d love to talk to you without taking up post space for others. I enjoy correspondence with people from other parts of the country, and the world. Especially those who are musicuans, with a lot of the same influences.
    Peace, hope to get in touch, Keith
    Bjorn, you’re awesome!!!

    [Sorry for the mix up guys… Too many mails to keep my head clear :) – Bjorn]

  65. Keith says:

    Morning all! Hey Bjorn, when I got my manual pdf from Reeves, it talked very briefly about jumpering the channels, but was so ambiguous I had to contact Bill. I mentioned that the only way I’d seen it done was the way you, and evidently DG do it. He said that you could jumper it any combination, and plug your guitar into any open input, and that the different combinations would provide different tonal variations. Have you experimented with this? I know everyone will think me crazy, but I still have not even plugged the power cord into the amp, preferring to wait for my Webers, rather than plugging the amp into a particle board 112, with a seventy-80 in it. Like I said, my patience will run out, but Weber insists my speakers will be here this week. At that point I’ll be able to try the various ways the inputs, and PS can be used, but was just curious if you had tried the various combinations, and if so, what differences it made tonally.
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, Keith

    [Yes, you can do any combo you like. It depends on what tones you want. Obviously, different guitars, pickups and pedals will sound different on the amp so you just need to try different combos and listen to witch suits your setup best. I settled on the DG way as it worked best for my Strats. – Bjorn]

  66. Keith says:

    Good Zen time Bjorn, and this mornings Zen time has started out exceptionally, possibly due to the dreams of all my old RVA music community buddies drooling over my new rig, which for some reason I think it may be the finest rig in this city of close to a million people. I’ve not seen a HIWATT here in 25+ years, and never a Reeves, so there is the unique factor as well. Believe it or not, I have not turned it on yet! Somehow the thought of doing so through a tiny 1×12 w/ a Celestion 70-80, and without the Rodriguez feels like I’d be disrespectful to the amp! I don’t know how long I can wait, but hopefully the speakers will be here by no later than Monday, then I don’t think anything short of the apocalypse could keep me from turning it on for 2 or 3 days! Nothing really important to ask or say, just a really nice morning on the porch at dawn, dreaming of taking to the stage once again, my 120 lb rig breaking my 50 year old, twice broken back, and hearing,” Wow man, that amp sounds awesome! Where’d you get that?” Like a kid in a candy store.
    Thanks for everything, you have been so very helpful, as have so many in the Gilmourish community.
    Peace, Love, and music can save the world! KEITH

    [Great! Nothing beats getting some new, really cool equipment. Just like getting that bike you always wanted as a kid… but this is better :) – Bjorn]

  67. Keith says:

    I would never leave Obi-Wan out Stephen, he was my inspiration for finally buying my dream rig, but he doesn’t have the PS, that’s the only reason I didn’t ask him! I have already found Bjorns settings under tone (Amps). As when I get to actually crank it up this weekend, I plan on using his settings as a starting point! Thanks to both of you, can’t wait for my speakers, and new Strat to show up so I can send a gear photo, and maybe a clip of my hamfisted playing!
    Thanks for the encouragement y’all, Keith

  68. Stephen Ford says:

    AH found it Bjorn! Under Tip of the Week 16 :) Ahhh Right you do not have the PS version…got it!

    [Cheers! – Bjorn]

  69. Keith says:

    It’s NAD, I’ve got GAS, and I need to start playing PDQ! My REEVES just showed up at my front door, the tubes are in, all I need is my Webers. I’ll have to deal with 1 Celestion Seventy-80 for a few days. Bill even sent me an extra badge for my cabinet. It looks so period HIWATTISH that I thought I’d hint, and he sent it. I was wuite surprised to see it laying atop the packing foam. Great guy, and a beautiful amp!
    Time to make a little NOISE……KC :)

    [Congrats! – Bjorn]

  70. Stephen Ford says:

    Hey Keith…Well, don’t leave Bjorn out of this one as he owns one as well, and probably has even more to offer than I, but it is pretty self explanatory once you have it in front of you. I go for as clean a tone as I can get with Max headroom and get my drive from pedals. I have fooled around with the PS and drive a bit beyond that but I dialed it in as I liked it and there it says. I prefer the PS all the way up and the Drive at around 9 o’clock but that all depends on the gigging situation. Yes, when the PS is all the way down it is a Standby for the amp. I wish I could hear your rig with the cab…that will be pretty amazing!

    Actually Bjorn you had at one point some photos up of the different ways you dial in your Reeves up close…are they still somewhere in the cyber world? :)

    Cheers

  71. Keith says:

    You were a huge help Stephen! Thanks you very much. I got my manual PDF, and I think te
    he PS will take some experimentation to get used to. Not looking at, and hearing the amp it’s difficult to wrap my brain around the 3 “Modes”. Am I correct that 1. the PS is fully clockwise, the Drive is exactly the same as Master on a non PS Custom 50. 2. When the PS is engaged, the master becomes like a gain channel. 3. when both the master, and the PS are fully clockwise, everything is controlled through the normal, and bright knobs. and lastly, when the PS is fully counter-clockwise, the amp IS TRULY in Standby? I’m sure I’ll have no problem when it’s sitting in front of me, but the manual changed my understanding of how it works. Hope you’re okay with me chatting Bjorn, but since he’s had one a while I figured he’d be uniquely qualified to answer my questions/concerns.
    Thanks Y’all, Keith ( Who has become a Fedex tracking junkie!)

    [No worries, Keith :) – Bjorn]

  72. Stephen Ford says:

    sounds Awesome Keith!!! So psyched to hear how it all comes together for you! Glad to have been able to help in some small way:)

  73. Keith says:

    Good morning Bjorn, and everyone, I wanted to thank Mike again for the hook up with Avatar. I got my G212V cab, and it’s a thing of beauty. I didn’t realize just how big it would be, but it has that authentic Bluesbreaker design, and is the same width, and depth of a Marshall 4×12, and is only 5″ shorter! IT’S HUGE! It’s 15 ply voidless Birch, finger joined, heavy duty steel side bar handles, and the sound board is angled slightly up towards the player. For $299 flat, ( I accidentally bought it black Friday, and got free shipping!), I basically stole it. They even turned the grillecloth 90°, to match the HIWATT style. How can you beat that? Definitely worth checking out Bjorn. The Reeves is about 400 miles away, and should be here by Monday, the Webers will likely be another week :( . And after 7 months, Tommy has almost finished assembling the Strat, and I should have it about the time I get the speakers in the Cab! I’m EXCITED! Thanks to Bjorn, Stephen, Mike, CJ at Weber, Dave, and Eric at Avatar, and Bill at REEVES.
    PEACE, LOVE, AND GILMOURISH, KC

    [Congrats! Looking forward to hear your comments when the whole rig is up :) – Bjorn]

  74. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, I had a last minute thought about what tubes Bill ships in the Reeves, so I sent him an email to ask. His reply was that he indeed ships with JJs in the pres, but he uses Ruby EL34 BHTs for the outputs. Based upon the research I did after learning this, I found quite a few opinions, but most were about the company doing something unethical to Paul Ruby, and that evidently put a bad taste in more
    than a few techs mouths, but as far as actual reviews go, I found that there were a number of HIWATT style amp owners who praised them for high power, high headroom, British amps. I thought JJ made Rubys, and they do make a 12AX7 that is re-branded with the Ruby logo, but the EL34s are made by Shuguang. I don’t know much about these, do you have any knowledge about Shuguang, or the Ruby EL34 BHT series? I’m certainly not going to go through changing, and re-biasing the outs, unless they just sound awful,( I doubt he would use them if he didn’t think they sounded better in his amps, as they are roughly the exact same price as the JJs, but are specifically made for hi output amps.) Tubes are such a difficult subject in the digital age. If the EPA would lighten up, we might see some good ol’ sylvania, and RCAs being made here again. But anyway, I just wanted to know your thoughts, and any experience you’ve had with Shuguang.
    Thanks for everything, Keith

    [Never tried the Shuguang, so I can’t really comment on that. Tried the Rubys a couple of times but, I don’t know, I think the JJs sound better… but that’s just me. – Bjorn]

  75. Keith says:

    Well folks, there’s no going back now! I just finished the transaction, and because Bill made a couple of C50PS, his best selling model, for Christmas, it will be finished, and shipped early next week. Now all I have to do is pay off the Visa bill as fast as possible! I’m 50 years old, and have always shunned getting a card, but the Reeves just pulled so hard I lost my mind and got one. I hope I don’t cause myself too much grief. But hey, if the Mayans were right, and 12/21/12 is the apocalypse, I will have at least owned my dream amp, without having to actually pay for it! LOL.
    Peace, love, and Gilmourish, Thanks for the push into uncharted debt Bjorn :) KC you’re giving me GAS!

    [Ha, that would have been great :) Perhaps I should put all my bills on hold for the next month :) – Bjorn]

  76. Keith says:

    Thanks Stephen, I’m on planet 10 already! KC

  77. Stephen Ford says:

    Congrats!!! Can’t go wrong with that…you will be on cloud nine!

  78. Keith says:

    Thanks Stephen, after a GREAT DEAL of web time, I went with the huge Avatar, and 2 Weber Thames 80s, both Bjorn, and CJ at Weber swear by the Thames. Ordered it all yesterday, thinking Christmas, and much to my surprise I should have it all in 7-10 days! I AM PSYCHED!!!
    Peace Y’all, KC

  79. Stephen Ford says:

    Hey Keith, I actually went with the combo as I was looking to reduce the gear I travel with but I think both choices are good…Have yet to try them so I can’t say for sure but either way I think you will find yourself a happy camper:)

  80. Keith says:

    Bjorn, when you said,”it’s called GAS” in reply to my previous post, it was the first time I’d heard the term, but have seen it over,,and over on the forums since. I’m 50, been playing since I was 17, and it may sound ignorant, but what does the term mean musically? I feel rather out of touch with the musical community at times, having just started playing again last August after over a decade long hiatus! Excuse my naivety.
    Peace, Love, and I’m ordering a Reeves today!!!! But then you knew that, as I’ve said it about 2 million times since Saturday when I made my decision! LOL :) I’m a kid in a candy factory. I woke up with the flu this mirning, and I don’t even care!!!! Ahahaha!

    [Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It’s a term used to describe the utterly pointless hobby we have :) Some would say sickness :) – Bjorn]

  81. Keith says:

    @ Stephen Ford, hey buddy, what kind of cab, and speakers are you using your PS with? I’m torn between a Avatar oversized Bluebreaker style 212, w/ Thames 80s for about $550, or an unadvertised Reeves 212 thats 2″ narrower, an inch shorter, and an inch shallower than the advertised 212, w/ the Ourples, for $599 which is a lot cheaper for such a small difference. I need to find out if it’s the same Port City design, just a little smaller! Anyway, I’d love to know what you’re using.
    Peace, KC

  82. Keith says:

    I totally agree with that line of thinking, and I guess I should have stated it a bit differently. If I were only interested in Gilmour’s tones, and at a bedroom level, I’m sure I could do just fine with what I have. I have always wanted a HiWatt, having been completely in love with them since the first time I put Live at Leeds on the turntable, but by the time I could afford them, I was told they weren’t the same amp. If I use the amp for Gilmour tones, it won’t be at home, as I have that covered, but live, I just wanted to make sure it was the same amp with, or without the scaling. I would only want the scaling to get the extra tube crunch for more Townsend type tones, at levels that won’t have the soundman screaming that I’m too loud. My reason for considering the PS is totally for live situations, not to try to use the amp for my bedroom. I guess what I was looking for in the PS, was a Custom 50, that has the ability to sound like a CP504, without causing peoples ears to bleed. I did speak with Bill again, and he explained the PS a little better, and I’m a bit more comfortable not having the standby switch, although he did say they may be able to put one on the back. But to your point, no, I don’t need THAT amp, or THOSE pedals, but THESE fingers! But it sure is a great sounding rig, played by so many of my favorite bands, I wanted to own one in my lifetime, and Reeves makes it possible.
    Peace, Love, and Thanks again Bjorn :) KC

    [I totally understand and that’s called GAS :) – Bjorn]

  83. Keith says:

    Oops, the $2.00 worth of parts to make the addition. So, I guess what I’m asking Bjorn, is do you see any downside to this, as the only reason I want to go with the PS is because Bill says that it enables the amp to get the same amount of tube grind as the CP, without having to make your ears bleed, but when not in use, it is simply a Custom 50, with the same tone, and headroom as the model you own. I love Gilmour, and know that to truly capture his tones, a “Hylight” is the only way to go, but as a guy whose played more like Townsend my whole life, I really like the idea of being able to strap on an SG, and get the sound from Woodstock, or Live at Leeds. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, Uncle EbbRamone

    [Sorry for my late reply. As I’m sure you know, a PS feature is meant to be used in the case of wanting tube break up/overdrive/distortion without having to play that loud. It’s a handy feature for bedrooms, studio and smaller clubs. However, it’s quite redundant if you’re mostly going to use the amp for clean tones. I went for the standard model because I only use the cleans and since I’m using the amp in our studio and live, I can turn up the pre amp enough to get that warm tube tone without taking any eardrums. So, what Bill is saying, is that you should go for the PS if you want to crank the hell out of the amp. If not, then it’s either way. Most people want that Townsend tone, so that’s why it’s always recommended. In regards to your comment about the importance of a “Hylight” to fully nail David’s tones… I don’t really agree with that. Perhaps you didn’t intend to start a debate but I think some moderation is in order :) It all comes down to how you’ll be using the amp, guitar and pedals. This has really been my mantra throughout the years that I’ve been hosting Gilmourish. A full scale PULSE rig would be quite ridiculous in a bedroom or studio. If the situation requires it, you’re probably much better off with a Les Paul, Fender Bassman and two or three pedals and you’re gonna be spot on David’s tones. What people seem to forget is that if you’re buying THE amp to get THE tone, you also need to buy THE guitar and THOSE pedals. It’s really a topic I could debate for hours but I think what’s important is that you figure out what your needs are based on how you’ll be using the equipment. Don’t you agree? – Bjorn]

  84. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, I hope you can answer this, and if not, perhaps Stephen Ford can. I have about 99% decided on the Custom 50 PS. However, one thing is kind of bugging me, and that is the elimination of the standby switch. All the literature says that turning the power scaling knob to maximum eliminates the need for a standby switch, but it seems as though it would be way too easy to forget that you have to turn a knob to a specific position to put the amp in standby. It may be easier to remeber if that switch clicks to a stop in the correct position, but I doubt that’s the case. The literature I’ve read from the company that makes the units for Reeves explains the process very well, and explains the totally different approach than attenuators, and I believe the statement that with the PS turned off, that it is the exact same amp you own, and the statement that if used to moderate levels, it actually increases power tube life, but I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around the omission of the standby switch. I guess I should be asking Bill this question, but Stephen has one, and I always prefer the customers answer. I bet they would add a standby switch if asked, but I bet it would cost a small fortune for the $2.00 wirth if parts

    [Care to comment on this Stephen? – Bjorn]

  85. Keith says:

    Thanks Mike! I will check them out!
    KC

  86. Mike says:

    @Keith

    Hey man, check out avatarspeakers.com

    A couple of my buddies have their cabs and I’ve played through them, personally think they’re top notch quality for the price. Might be picking one up sooner or later.

  87. Keith says:

    Anyone have an idea for a good 2×12 cab, I don’t really think $555.00 for the port City Reeves sells, (that’s unloaded) is reasonable. I would think I good find a top quality 2×12 cab unloaded for $300, or less, but have always had marshall cabs in the past, and I’m not getting any younger! Thanks in advance, and thanks Bjorn, I just realized I’ve been posting quite a bit the past several days. Just excited about the Reeves I guess!
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, EbbRamone

  88. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, I now have to think speaker cabs, and I alluded to it in a post I sent yesterday that I was thinking of running the reeves through a 2×12 w/Webers, and a 12×12 with weber, bothat 8 ohms, so I could run the rig at 4 ohms. I do have a question though. I know CJ sells cabs, but I’m not sure what they are, except they are real hardwood, well made, and I think the price was very reasonable compared to the Port City cabs reeves sells.( I recently say a 212 OS with 2 celestions for $299.00 used, but had never heard of them at that point, oh well, live and learn). Basically, do you think three 12s would sound okay? Or, I can get a good deal on a Marshall 1960A Slant front cab, what do you think? I could be stuck ligging around a 4×12, or a 2x12and 1×12, or just go with one 2×12. I am still planning on using the TSA30 as a rotosim amp, or possibly buying a leslie, and powering it with the TSA’s. Just want your opinion of the best option. I don’t know if running an odd number of speakers causes any phase issues, or whether I would ever need more than 2 thames 80’s since I am always mic’d at gigs. As usual, your opinion will be given the highest regard, as after all, you are my Jedi Master!
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, EbbRamone

    [Don’t think I’ve ever seen a 3-speaker setup so I have no idea how that sounds. The Thames are 2x80w, which is quite enough for a 50w Reeves. No need for a 320w cab… The speakers have huge magnets allowing you to play as loud as you want without any speaker clipping. I think the cabs Reeves are selling are very good. What’s important is that you get the right resonance and balance, especially with such transparent and dynamic speakers as the Thames. It’s always a matter of taste but I’ve tried them in many different cabs and the quality and construction makes a huge difference to the tone. – Bjorn]

  89. Keith says:

    Thanks, Stephen, between Bjorns love of the Reeves, and his statement that it IS the closest thing to a 70’s DR, Bills explanation of the only real difference between the CP, and the Custom with PS, and your initial mention of the powr Scaling, I have made my decision. Bill assured me that with the PS option, I would get those crystal cleans for Gimourizing, and that with the PS, I could get any tone, and amount of breakup as the CP’s Townsend played, but with more versatility. The Y adapter, and four gains of the CP are not necessary to get the high gain break up that made that “Live at Leeds” tone, and with the PS, I won’t burst anyones eardrums to get the Townsend sound. I would like to contact you sometime, without taking up post space. You could friend request me on Facebook, Keith Clarke in Richmond,Va. I am so excited that I will be able to get both of my favorite players sounds from one amp, and not just a sim, but the same exact amp tones! Thanks Bjorn, Stephen, and Bill@ Reeves Amplification! Bjorn, what do you think about running a 2×12, and a 1×12, loaded with Thames 80’s, and using my TSA30 Combo to power a Leslie, or just my roto sim for now?
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, KC :)

  90. Stephen Ford says:

    Yeah, as I mentioned the Reeves Custom 50 at full volume would freak out the neighbors cats. The 50 is more than loud and the clean is CLEAN. I am glad I went with the PS model for sure. A great amp. I have many 100+ watt tube amps (Marshalls, Fenders, Mesa’s) and I have since realized that I can control and get better tones from a smaller amp and that even the top musicians in the world playing in stadiums are favoring smaller amps. I think Bjorn would agree, that unless you are playing a large venue without a mic on your amp, there just is no need to lug around a Marshall Stack anymore, and since most of us do not have the luxury of having roadies caring for our gear, it is a load off your back as well.

    The Reeves Custom 50 PS is truly a great amp. Glad to have one in my collection!

    Cheers

  91. Keith says:

    After spending the last 4 hours, (when I should have been at work!), researching evereything I could find on Reeves, and exchanging several emails with Bill, It looks like I’m going to go with the PS. Evidently the power scaling option allows the custom 50 to not only sound exactly like the vintage DR504, but the scaling allows you to get the same sounds as the CP103s, and 504s, in order to get that Pete Townsend sound as well. I found it refreshing that when asked about this on the Gear Page, Bill said that the C50PS was a better choice, could do everything the CP could, and more, because the CP only has Bass, and treble controls, with no mids, or presence, and DOES NOT HAVE MORE GAIN!
    Just in case anyone wanted to be able to have your Gilmour, and eat your Townsend too! :) KC

  92. Keith says:

    Well, I’m no stranger to paying for quality. The aforementioned JCM Slash, which only 3000 were made was about $1700 for just the head, back in 1996, the only year they were producedonly. I wish I still had it, it’s the only Marshall I’ve owned that sounded good clean. It was a handwired Jubilee head, with channel switching, and many say the finest amp Marshall Amplification ever built. At the time, it was the only Marshall with a signature other than Jim Marshall’s, and I could go on. But actually I’m posting this to find out this: When I had the Slash, I played it on the 50 watt setting at most gigs, only remember using all four tubes when playing outdoors, or clubs over 1000 seats. Do you see any reason for me to get to 100 watter. I may play some outdoor gigs, and I’ll likely be using the same basic settings Bjorn uses, loud, and on the edge. I’ll be using 2-2×12 closed back cabs, loaded with Thames 80’s, unless I decide to go for a matching Reeves 4×12 w/ purple speakers. These are Fanes are they not? But not Cresando’s, am I correct, and sgoukd I stick with the versatility of 2 2x12s, and the Webers? I know that’s alot of questions, but between you, Bjorn, and Stephen, who seems to have become one of my Jedi teachers, I trust you guys’ judgement, as I haven’t played through a HiWatt in 25 years, and then it was only for about ten minutes. I don’t have unlimited funds, so I want the most cost effective, yet proper setup, to cover Gilmour, and Townsend. My absolute two favorite Axe Masters.
    Peace, Love, and GOD BLESS DAVE REEVES, Uncle EbbRamone

    [I don’t know who this Q was for but using Reeves Custom 50 my self with Weber Thames I can say that you probably won’t be needing a 100w. The 50w is LOUD! Anyway, wattage and output is all relative to how you’re using the amp, where it’s being used etc. In most cases you’ll be mic’ing the cab anyway and personally I feel that I get more tone from a 50w than a 100w but that’s just me. – Bjorn]

  93. Stephen Ford says:

    With you Bjorn! Glad to have the Reeves Custom 50 PS, otherwise I would be freaking out my neighbors cat:) Great amp Keith, congrats! It may set you back a bit but you will be so happy when it is in your hands. I only wish I had a Reeves Custom 18 too:)

  94. Keith says:

    Well Bjorn, after my amp debacle this week, and even though it turned out okay, I made my decision, and hit the Reeves website. It’s a custom 50 for me, just as soon as I can put my hands on the $1800.00+ they give as a price on their site. Is this their Rock Bottom, we only sell our anps direct price, or is there any wiggle room? I am so tempted to go with the parchment tolex, as it looks so nice on my TSAs, but Tolex doesn’t hold up well under the best of circumstances, so black is probably the smart choice. Anyway, I’ve waited way too long, and my favorite guitarists all did their best work playing old DR103s, and I guess I won’t get any closer, without breaking amp rule # 1, never buy a used tube amp!
    Peace, Love, and can you say second mortgage? LOL, Uncle Ebb

    [Well, nothing beats those amps… in my opinion anyway. Love mine to death. You might want to consider an attenuator though as they’re quite overwhelming in smaller rooms. If you’re mostly using the clean channel it doesn’t matter though… It’s a fairly small scale operation so I guess the prices are fixed… – Bjorn]

  95. LA White says:

    I also like the Komet a lot, but pricing is much better with Reeves. Loud and dynamic! Clean volume all the way! Thanks for doing the write-up!

  96. Markus says:

    Hey would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog
    in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads
    a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a
    fair price? Kudos, I appreciate it!
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    [Hi! I’m using a Norwegian host. I don’t think they do international hosting. There’s a lot you can do to the WordPress setup to make it run faster. Search for WordPress+optimizing for tips. – Bjorn]

  97. Pau says:

    Hello Bjorn!
    I need your advice. Do you think a ENGL Screamer (6L6 valve) or a Mesa Boogie Lonestar Classic (6L6) are good amps to recreate the Gilmour sound? I really like Reeves sound (I’ve seen your videos), but these two amplifiers have a very good clean channel and a lot of headroom, and I think they are much more versatile. I want to buy a Gilmourish amp, but while I can play other styles with. What is your opinion? Thank you very much ;-)

    [I always recommend that you get an amp that you think sounds great. If these are what you’re looking for then go for it. Both should have the needed headroom and a dynamic tone. They’re a bit too dark for my taste but then again it will make it easier to tame demanding pedals like a Muff and Tube Driver. The Reeves are very versatile too though but the ENGL and Mesa are perhaps a bit more suited for modern rock and metal, in addition to blues and classic rock. – Bjorn]

  98. Robert says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    How would you say that this amp compares to the laney cub12 (apart from wattage)? Is the sound very different?

    Regards,
    Robert

    [They’re in the same tone family with lots of headroom, scooped mids and a bright top but the Reeves is a whole different beast really. You can’t really compare the two… – Bjorn]

  99. Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Cheers Consider a visit to my webpage whenever you wish. thx!1

    [By all means! Thanks for your support! – Bjorn]

  100. Kevin says:

    Just ordered a 50PS head and Reeves matching 112 Cab. I wanted one amp that could do bedroom, rehersal and smaller/medium gigs without a huge change in my sound. BIll persoanlly told me the cleans are great with the PS even at house levels. We’ll see if he’s right……. 10 day money back trial period.
    I’m REALLY hoping this is the only amp I will need for all my applications, just hopin it sounds good at lower volumes with pedals (a little worried based on this review, but I want an accurate hiwatt sound sooo bad!). It looks killer too.
    Anyone have thoughts about their 50 or 50PS, or thoughts on their 112 cab, it was a tough decision between that and a 212 but I hope a 112 will be better for home and studio and still be big enough to push air for playing outside. Any thoughts to tide me over??
    2 weeks build time is so long to wait when you’ve wanted of these things for years…..

    Thanks!! :)

    [A great amp indeed! I’ve had my 50w head for a couple of years now and I couldn’t be happier! I’m a bit surprised that they recommend in for bedrooms though… It’s loud and the power scaling is really for achieving tube distortion on lower levels. Based on my experience the cleans can get a bit too thin because few high wattage amps manages to sustain the bass frequencies on low volumes. Pedals like the Tube Driver and Big Muff needs volume and not only from the amp but also from the speakers and how they sonically behave when being cracked. You might need to go for something a bit more versatile for your bedroom setup like a RAT and Tube Screamer although there are Muff models that handles low volume too like the Musket. Anyway, I think you’ll be very happy with the amp! – Bjorn]

  101. Dylan0291 says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I was wondering, does the Reeves Custom 50 combo have less headroom than the Custom 50 head with a 412 or 212? Is it a significant difference or just a little bit?

    [It has less headroom since you have less wattage in the cab but you should have no problem cranking it really good without it distorting. Hot pickups will make it sound slightly more aggressive. Depends on how you intend to use it. Perfect for rehearsals, studio and smaller clubs and venues and it goes nicely with almost any pedal. – Bjorn]

  102. Erwan says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I have a Reeves Custom 50 with 2X12 cabinet (With vintage purple, I use evidence audio cables for guitar and for the amp and cabinet). The amp is a bit noisy at home or at rehearsal, I mean: with the master @ 9H00 with the usual “gilmourish” settings for other knobs (no guitar plugged in) it generates a low hum. For the moment I don’t know if it comes from tubes or something else, I have to find the root cause. maybe it’s normal ? One thing is sure: when I link the 2 channels (with george Ls cables), the hum increases. Do you use specific cables to link the two inputs in order to lower the noise ? Did you have the same issue ? I’m a bit disappointed because you wrote the amp was “dead silent”, mine seems not to be so quiet.

    [Hm… That’s strange. Mine is indeed dead silent and it should be. Of course when you add long cables, pedals and single coils you will experience some noise, even when all the pedals are off. Your home is the worst environment for an amp because there all kinds of sources for noise – lights, computers, wireless systems, TV, cell phones etc etc and most rehearsal rooms aren’t any better. A stage and studio is much better shielded. Try to eliminate as many electrical sources as possible, check the tubes and your cables. If nothing seems to work then ask Reeves for further advice. – Bjorn]

  103. Daniele says:

    It’s a great amp, but i have somethig to notice on that, on the site of reeves is written using only MKT and Mojo Caps (mustard replica), but in reality they are only used Suntan Capacitors over the past three years(Bill(the owner) told me, answering my question after I had seen the inside of my own amp), and you known, this is not the best…at least, don’t specify on site that you use mkt and MOJO if not…this behavior is not serious about the buyers, but it’s my opinion

    [I wasn’t aware. Thanks for the info. – Bjorn]

  104. bill says:

    hey bjorn,

    how’s it going? i’m sorry if you already answered to that somewhere else but i was wondering what your thoughts are on the hiwatt custom 20 head. i mostly play at home or am jamming with friends for fun and don’t need/want too much volume at all. does the custom 20 deliver some convincing tones gilmourwise? does it take all the pedals well? (muff, colorsound etc)
    thanks for answering and thanks for your fantastic site and the work you do!
    regards,
    bill

    [I haven’t tried the 20w so I can’t really tell. Judging by the reviews it should be able to deliver classic Gilmour tones but you might also experience some lack of headroom depending on what speakers you use. I recommend high wattage speakers to compensate. Still, it shouldn’t be a problem at home or in small studios. Alternatives would be the Fender Blues jr or Peavey Classic 30. – Bjorn]

  105. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the feedback Bjorn. Some final questions…you say turning up the master will make the amp distort, and given that you are running the amp as a clean pedal platform, what level on the master dial (with the settings of 60% normal and 40% bright volumes) will the sound start to get “hair” on it, or begin to distort? And how loud is that? Loud enough to play outdoor parties un-miked with a heavy drummer? If you only run the master at 8-9 o’clock are you always miked up?

    If I get a Reeves I need it to be able to get quite loud and still stay clean, since like you I will be using it as a pedal platform. Bit of power tube warmth is OK, but too much hair and like you say your pedals start to sound too aggressive. Maybe I should get the 100W?

    Have you ever played your Reeves or Sound City through Vintage 30’s or G12H30’s? That’s all I have in speakers at the moment. Have to save up for some Weber’s or Fanes.

    Cheers

    [You should always be mic’ed for a better balance in the overall mix. The Reeves is loud and I rarely go past 9-10 on the master regardless the size of the venue. I like to be able to hear the amp and use it as a reference monitor but the louder you play the less the amp will be fed through the PA. I run 80w speakers so the Reeves never really distorts. With the brill at 11, normal at 1 and the master at 9-10 you’ll hear that the tubes start to react. The tone doesn’t distort but you’ll notice that the tone gets slightly punchier and more compressed. When you set the master past 12, you’ll notice that the tone gets slightly dirtier with just a hint of crunch. Any gain pedals will sound very aggressive and you might want to roll down both the treble on the amp the gain on the pedals. Crank the master and you’ll not only blow off your head but the you’ll get a lot of feedback and hard to control pedals. The amp stays fairly clean though BUT… all this depends on what pickups and pedals you use. The hotter the pickups are the more the amp will distort or get dirty. I can run mild Classic 57 humbuckers without any problems but slap on a pair of Zack Wylde EMGs and the amp will give you creamy Marshall distortion. Low wattage speakers like the Vintage 30 or G12H30 has much less headroom than the Fanes so you will get a much sooner break up and more distortion. – Bjorn]

  106. Andrew says:

    Hi Bjorn

    I was wondering similar to Leonardo’s question above, what levels you set your normal and bright channel volumes at so that they interact well with your pedals? I played a Hiwatt Custom 50 the other day at my local guitar store so I have an idea of the changes in sound which the normal and bright channel volumes make. I didn’t get to turn the master right up though as it was getting too loud.

    Also once you set the bright and normal channel volumes to a level you are happy with, does the amp retain the same tone as you adjust the master, or does the master volume level have a sweet spot range? If so where do you think that is on the dial?

    Thanks

    [As you know, I’ve connected the bright and normal channels for a bit more presence. This means that I need to set both and match them with each other and the master. I change my settings all the time. There’s no setting that work for all pedals, guitars and venues and being a tube amp its character tend to change slightly from day to day. One day you just need to plug in and adjust the master and the other day everything sounds like crap no matter what. I’m sure you have experienced that. I usually keep these settings: bass 50%, treble 40-50%, mids 35-40%, presence 60-70%, normal 60%, bright 40% and master at about 8-9 o’clock. Sometimes I go as low as 30% on the treble and increase the presence to 80% to compensate. It seems to roll off any harsh overtones without getting muffled. The more you increase the master the more you need to be careful with getting too much treble and mids. Increasing the master too much will also make the amp distort, which can make your pedals too aggressive. A tube amp is dynamic and needs close attention :) – Bjorn]

  107. Miroslav says:

    Dear Bjorn, thank you for your great reviews. I have been using the combos before, but I am thinking now of buying the REEVES 50 head as per you great review. If I get Custom 50 head – what would be your best suggestion for the cabinet? Should I get the REEVES 2×12? or should I try to find the used cabinet on ebay and install the WEBER THAMES to save some money. Would the cabinet with only 2 speaker be enough (I don’t play huge venues, but usually parties of 200-300 people. Thank you once again !

    [A 2×12″ cab will do fine. It sounds great and it’s easier to carry around :) I haven’t tried the Reeves cabs but based on their specs it should be a safe way to go. The Vintage Purple speakers should be a close match to the old Fanes that David’s still using (and very similar to the Webers). – Bjorn]

  108. MG says:

    Dear Bjorn, is the Reeves combo the same amp as the head ? Do you think the combo would produce as nice of the tome as the head and cab? Thanks !

    [Depends on how you intend to use the amp. Stacks will sound bigger on a large stage but quite too much in a small studio or clubs. A combo is much easier to handle in a studio and smaller venues. Stacks have more headroom though and a generally fuller tone, but the combo is perhaps a better solution for smaller setups. – Bjorn]

  109. Leonardo Berretta says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    I have 2 simple questions:

    What is a good setting to produce a warm tube overdrive in Reeves custom 50 (without drive pedal)?

    What is a good setting to find the spot right before it breaks as you said?

    I just received my reeves and I am amazed with the quality and tone. I just think that I will need to play it very loud to get overdriven tones without pedals. This amp is a clean machine.

    Thanks in advance!

    [Well, that’s not easy to answer… Both questions depends on your speakers, the size of the cabinet, the pickups in your guitar, what tubes you use, string gauge, your techniue etc… Generally speaking, the Reeves is a very clean amp and you really need to play LOUD to get that fat tube overdrive. If you like me using high wattage speakers then it’s near impossible. Use a pedal :) – Bjorn]

  110. Sebastien says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I’m the owner of a 1973 Sound City Head, and Have to say it’s noisy, even at small volume levels. I’ planning to sell it, hesitating betwenn the Reeves cutom 50 W head, and the ceriatone Heywatt head . Which way would you choose?

    other question, I’m using Evidence LYRIC HG cables between guitar and pedal board, and between pedalboard and Head ( – and monorail as patch cables in the pedalbord). I don’t know what to think about the new FORTE cable that was introduced that year. A flexible cable would be great for my needs, but tone wise what is that new cable really about?
    Did you try it? Do you use only Melody Cables or did you also start to use LYRIC HG ones?

    Regards,
    Sebastien

    [I’ve never tried the Heywatt but Ceriatone makes some really great sounding stuff. The rhythm guitarist in my band has a JCM800 1987 clone and it sounds awesome. The Reeves is hand on heart the best amp that I’ve played through. I still get a grin on my face when I plug my guitar into it. Couldn’t be happier. Classic Hiwatt tones and the most pristine signal you can imagine. No noise, hiss or anything and it’s extremely dynamic to your playing. I’m using Monorails for the pedal board, Siren speaker cables, Melody from the pedal board to the amp and Forte from the guitar to the pedal board. The Forte is a Melody only a bit more elastic and easier to use on stage. – Bjorn]

  111. Dylan says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Very interesting, I was wondering though if you have heard anything about the Ceriatone Hey What?! head, i’m looking at a 50 watter…but i wanted to know if they are really faithful reproductions of the 70’s hiwatts? I have heard reviews kinda all over the board, and i don’t know if they are just being audio snobs or not

    Cheers!

    [I haven’t tried the HeyWatt but our rhythm guitarist ordered a Ceriatone Marshall JCM800 ’87 clone some years ago and the tone is awesome. I do recommend the Reeves though. Amazing tone. – Bjorn]

  112. Erwan says:

    Hello Bjorn, Merry Christmas to you and your family !

    I’had the opportunity to play on a new Hiwatt with my band on Wednesday evening (rehearsal). It was my first time with this kind of beast, a CUSTOM 100 + a HIWATT cabinet loaded with a Fane speaker… Well, I was really impressed by the power of the amp and its headroom (I can’t imagine the results with a 4 X speaker cab). With the pig mine, the tube driver and the delay (and strat), I was close to heaven. My friends stopped to play to listen with a large smile on their face. I could feel the air coming from the cab, like a wind of sound. Incredible !! However after a few minutes I came in setting troubles: too much mids, flabby bass… I should have had more time with the amp to adjust the right settings.

    I had my peavey C30 with me and I could compare both amps: well, the peavey is just great ! Very close to the hiwatt sound, and for less money…

    Well, after that, I must admit I’m very tempted by the Reeves which seems very well built and close to vintage Hiwatt specs. I just have to convince my wife… Hem !

    Question: I have a Gibson les Paul goldtop CS 54 reissue, I’d like to know if you tested this kind of guitar (loaded with P90) on your Reeves ? This Les Paul sounds great on my Fender super reverb 65 (which is not a dark amp), but just good on my Peavey…
    Another thing: concerning the power of your amp, did you have the opportunity to compare 50 and 100W Reeves or Vintage Hiwatt, what are the main differences (in tone) ?

    Well, thank you for your fantastic site, you made my ideal-tone-in-my-mind dream become reality,

    Merry Chistmas and happy new year !

    Erwan

    [As with all tube amps you need to allow the amp to warm before you find the sweetspot on the settings. Hiwatts/Sound City/Reeves are known to sound dark when they’re cold and a bit bright and flat when they’re hot. I usually let it warm for 5-10 mins then play it hard for another 10mins and then adjust the settings. Usually I need to lower the treble and increase the bass. I’ve tried the amp with a Gibson Studio with P90s and it sounded great. It maintains the headroom and does justice to the P90s :) Cheers! – Bjorn]

  113. Dave A says:

    Just a thought Bjorn,how about giving us a Video clip of your Reeves at bedroom level.That would settle a few things :) So the Laney is giving the Marshall a rest eh !What you done with her is she walking hand in hand along a sun drenched beach with your Sound City.How about something like Learning To Fly with the Reeves at low level hmmm debate solved I recon.What do you say mate :)

    [I’ll try but I don’t have any film recording fascilities in our studio so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do it… – Bjorn]

  114. Nic says:

    No worries for the “late” reply Bjorn! Just thankful for your time! Thanks for another eye-opening response as well. I was unaware the Hiwatts were modded for more mids recently.

    I am seriously thinking of getting a Trinity Triwatt in the near future. If it all pans out, I’ll be sure to forward you any and all opinions I have if they would help.

    -Nic

    [Please do Nic. I haven’t tried those myself. – Bjorn]

  115. Nic says:

    Hello again!

    Bjorn, I was going to send you an email about this, but I thought this may be a good place to ask since a LOT of us go to this very page for advice on the Reeves Custom 50 (their site links to it for goodness sake) :)

    The question is in regard to the Alembic F-2B preamp. I know that the preamp was installed into David’s Hiwatts sometime in the recent past, but it is my understanding that they were run very last in the chain just before and straight into the amps prior to this.

    My assumption then is that David’s famous “Hiwatt Tone” is actually greatly influenced by this preamp. So, the questions are as follows (and I apologize for the length here…):

    Obviously a Hiwatt is going to sound “Gilmourish,” but just how much of his tone is the preamp?

    Other than an actual Alembic F-2B preamp, what can you suggest that will achieve this sound / is it really even necessary? My worry is covering up the Hiwatt tone with the tone of another preamp. David’s rig never sounded like a Dual Showman into a Hiwatt, it sounded Hiwatt!

    Is the preamp used more like an EQ (this is what it sounds like he’s doing with it)?

    Again, I thought this may be helpful here if anyone else was wondering. The link on Gilmourish that explains the Alembic F-2B preamp has been EXTREMELY helpful, I just has a few more questions.

    Thanks Bjorn! I dig that new Airbag clip (as I’m sure we all do)!

    -Nic

    [Sorry for my late reply Nic. The Alembic wasn’t actually built into the Hiwatt but rather used as a separate EQ stage. In the 70s the mainly powered the Leslie and Yamaha rotating speakers while during the 1987-90 and 1994 tours all of David’s Hiwatts we’re modified so that the EQ stage was bypassed and the Alembic acted as the main EQ. So it isn’t corect to say that the Hiwatts are modded for a Showman tone but the Alembic has a slightly warmer edge to it to smoothen the Hiwatts and rotating speakers… to keep it short. David’s recent 2006 tones are all pure Hiwatt although the amps are modded for a hint more midrange. As you can hear there’s really not that big difference from when he used the Alembic. In other words – buying a Hiwatt or Reeves will give you the tone… Alembic or not. – Bjorn]

  116. John Cardona says:

    Hi Bjorn
    Great amp.
    I’m planning on buying the Custom 50PS. I have two questions for you:
    1. I’m in Colombia (South America) and I’m a little worried about the packaging. How was yours?? Did you send any instruction to Bill for additional protection or something??, did you buy a case or something??
    2. I’m using the effects loop of my current amp (transistors) for my Empress Superdelay, there’s a noticeable difference between the Delay in the chain Vs the effects loop when I use the Tube Driver. With the delay in the chain, the Tube Driver sounds a little “Fizzi”, do you think it has something to do with my amp being transistors?, will it change with the “magic” of the Tubes? Does David use effects loop or something similar???.

    Thanks and keep on with this great job

    PDTA: the Airbag song is awesome

    [Hi. Reeves has been doing this for many years and the fact that the amp is ordered directly from them and not a store makes it much more safe. I experienced fast delivery and neatly packed. They also bubble wrap the tubes.
    The Tube Driver will definitely sound much better on a tube amp. It’s a different world! – Bjorn]

  117. Mike says:

    The new Laney Cub 12 is an amazing amp! Both combo AND head versions!

    I had played one recently and really dug the sound! I can’t wait to purchase the head and see how it sounds through my Reeves 2×12 with Vintage Purples.

    I think it’s getting WAY overlooked (then again, it’s basically still brand new). GREAT Gilmour amp at super low volumes! What were your impressions of this amp Bjorn?

    [Awesome amp! Just bought my self a stack! Review coming soon! – Bjorn]

  118. Nic says:

    So I am reading all of these wonderful things about the Peavey Classic 30 and I have decided to get one!

    However, I was hoping I could have some help first (as usual, sorry Bjorn!)

    Would you recommend the Head version + a 1×12 closed cabinet OR the combo (either way, the speaker will be an Eminence Tonker rated 150w)???

    Also, what tubes (brand, etc.) do you recommend in this amp?

    Finally, I a 50 watt tube amp now that is entirely too loud for my room. I cannot find the “sweet spot” and all my tones sound INCREDIBLY shrill. Will the Classic 30 be easier to hit the spot with less pummeling volume?

    I may pick up a Champion 600 for night time playing to keep the lady friend in bed :)

    Thanks as always Bjorn (and anyone else who chimes in)!!! Keep it up!

    Best,

    Nic

    [Hi Nic! The Classic 30 is loud no doubt but it plays very well on lower volume and I don’t think it will be any problem using it at home and get a great tone. I prefer the combo my self. Think it plays better… I think it has Peavey Blue Marvel speakers. I’ve seen different tubes in these amps but they mostly come with JJs which has been my choice for years. Great tone!
    Check out the new Laney Cub 12 as well… Amazing tube amp! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  119. Chris says:

    Borjn is your cab open or closed?

    [Closed. – Bjorn]

  120. Euan Smith says:

    Hey. I’ve been doing alot of amp research. The custom 50 power scale from reeves is the best of both worlds perhaps. It can be set to be non master volume amp, a master volume amp and a power scaling amp. With power scaling full clockwise it basically is the custom 50 but the master volume is called drive!

    I can’t make up my mind however as like you said if your using pedals it is perhaps a waste of money however I kinda think it might be nice to have just in case. I’ve read lots reviews and people generally say from rehearsal volume onwards it awesome. Set your tone when cranked and the power scale it back for your particular venue whether gig or otherwise. Still meant to be good below rehearsal volume but not as good!

    Site great as always

    all the best

    ps reeves aren’t really any cheaper than present day hiwatts now or some of the 70’s dr heads I’ve seen on eBay

  121. Phil says:

    Hi Bjorn, fantastic review!

    I’m wondering what your views on the power scaling – I have a WEM 4×12 replica, and I’m looking at replacing my Fender BDX with a Reeves to complement the cab. Even with the master volume, do you believe it is beneficial to get power scaling? I’m looking at the 50 watt version.

    [As I’ve said before I have very little experience with power scaling. My oppinion however is that unless you’re depending on the tubes to produce distortion you don’t really need it. The whole idea of power scaling is to be able to play at a decent volume and still get max power and gain from the tubes. If you’re mostly playing Gilmour stuff with a clean tone and pedals for your overdrives and distortions then a power scaling feature will be reduntant. I can dial in my Reeves Custom 50 for a powerful clean tone at very low levels. No problem. Not many amps manages that because under a certain level the tone sounds flat and thin but the Reeves is extremely dynamic with the right balance between the channel and master volume. I’d ask Reeves and get their oppinion too. – Bjorn]

  122. Ricardo Almeida says:

    Tried a Peavey classic 30 on a music Shop. You are absoluty right. The clean tone is wonderfull and lost of balls. Friday will receive one. Thanks for the tip. You are the best!

    [Cool! Definitely one of my favourite amps! – Bjorn]

  123. Ricardo Almeida says:

    And what about the REEVES Custom 50 Combo Power Scaling? Is anyone have one? Can it nail the Gilmour tone? I want to buy a REEVES and i only play at home.
    Best regards.

    [It’s the same amp and same tone but the powerscaling allows you to play at a lower volume and still get the warmt and gain from the tubes. If you’re mostly gonna be playing at home, I’d rather get a combo. A full stack, with or without powerscaling is overkill. My best tip would be a Peavey Classic 30 tube combo. Hands down one of the best Gilmour combos on the market and ideal for home and smaller stages. – Bjorn]

  124. Nic says:

    I’m interested in getting something smaller (quieter) than a 50 watt for home use and I’ve noticed that Reeves offers lower watt amps, but I have not found worthy clips of them. Do you happen to know if their “smaller” amps sound as good and similar to a custom 50?

    I know you’re not a salesman for Reeves, although you should be with this killer review above! Just thought you may know. Or anyone else for that matter!? And thanks to André for the tip above!

    -Nic

    [I’ve only tried the Custom 50 so I really can’t tell for sure. You could get the power scaling version but I think in any case a 50w head with a 4×12 cab would be overkill for use at home anyway. How small would you like the amp? The Fender Champion is a 5w tube amp with a wonderful tone. I’m using a Marshall 5210 50w combo at home that works nicely on lower volume. I also recommend the Peavey Classic 30w combo with a great classic 70s tube tone. Check out the Fender Blues and Hot Rod amps as well. The “rule” in terms of David’s tones and pedal boards is to have an amp with as much headroom as possible and not too much mid range. Good luck! – Bjorn]

  125. André says:

    Hi,

    I got my Reeves amp yesterday, and I fell instantly in love with this lovely amp. It’s a Reeves Custom 50 PS with fx-loop. I have never ever heard such a powerful clean sound. Usually I miss the punch on clean sounds when playing the highest notes, but not anymore:-)

    Regarding Nic’s question: I haven’t played the Twin myself, but you can’t go wrong with a Reeves amp unless you are into very high gain metal etc. I have tried both clean (Shine on where spot on! HALLELUJAH!!), blues and Comfortably Numb stuff, and I just can’t stop smiling! And I haven’t connected my Doppolas (Revolver P-26) yet! Sound is and always will be very subjective and the judge is your own ears. Good luck with the purchase of a new amp.

    I feel sorry for my neighbours, that’s for sure! They haven’t complained yet – I wonder if they’re all dead…. or moved to a quiet place…. ;-)

    Keep rocking!

    [Congrats André! I should say “I told you so!” but I guess you never doubted these amps in the first place :) I’ve had mine for 6 months now and I’m still in awe and discover new things every time I switch it on. It just gets better! Although not a typical metal amp it’s fully capable of producing some nasty tones on its own and with pedals. I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting on just where this amp will take me and it eats pedals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I like to set it clean but just at the very edge of break up – right on the spot where you’re not certain whether it distorts or not. That’s where the tubes and the pedals seems to be working in perfect combination. The Tube Driver is a perfect match for anything between clean boost to near fuzz. Set the amp for a mild tube overdrive combined with a Fulltone OCD or the Tube Driver and you’re beginning to approach Zakk Wylde. Set the amp for even more overdrive and add a Boss Metal Zone or a RAT for that matter, and you’ll have no trouble in playing all the Metallica riff in the world :) – Bjorn]

  126. Tom says:

    Greetings to you Bjorn ….. Before i begin i’d just like to honestly say that your site has been an absolute godsend to my search through the road for attaining the tone that i’ve always been captivated with since i’ve picked up the guitar. Thank you for your countless efforts in making it such an invaluable source for other musicians & sharing your thoughts with us.

    Like all people visiting here, I’ve always been captivated by David’s unique approach to sound,music,tone and songwriting skills. I do know one thing – that as long as he’s out there performing & creating music the way only he can, i’ll always have a source of inspiration to make my own & strive to get better at it ….

    Now, i’d just like to mention about the Reeves amp you’ve reviewed… Although i’ve never played a Reeves Custom 50 before, or any Reeves/Hiwatt for that matter, i have heard them being played numerous times & their sound IS impressive as far as quality is concered. I’ve only heard some sound clips on the Reeves website, along with some of their other amps in their range ( which btw, are amazing too! ) including the “Jimmy” and the “1978” … have you tried out any of those others before deciding on the Custom 50 & would you say that those amps are similar tone-wise when it comes to the Gilmour tone of the Custom 50/Hiwatt/Sound City ?
    Im playing through a 120 watt Vox valvetronix “hybrid” amp (preamp tubes/digital modelling) at the moment which is pretty versatile & had it for the last 4 years. I do crave the sound of a REAL quality tume amp though & im thinking of investing in something in the near future. Obviously i’d like to decide on something that’s still a bit versatile but above all QUALITY… I’ve known that the Gilmour sound comes from setting a tube amp clean & letting the pedals push the amps natural breakup, and also that in this case a fair amount of tube headroom is required… The only other amp that i’ve been really thought about getting maybe is the Soldano Lucky 13, which comes in 50/100 watt forms, and has 2 channels (clean & overdrive) . The OD circuit is very similar to the SLO 100’s tone which i’ve always loved , but what got me very curious at the very end is that the way the clean channel works. Its desinged to be “clean” without break up all the way till its maxed out, which i thought would be a great catalyst when it comes to adding pedals & achieving that nice natural breakup. Another thing is that the amp uses 6L6 tubes, just like the Fenders which David was also an avid fan of. To my ear, mainly because i LOVE playing the blues also & am a big fan of the Stevie Ray Vaughan tone, i’ve found that the 6L6 tubes always had that beautiful bell- like warm clarity to them which is a bit different to the sound of the EL34’s that sound a bit sharper/brittle & midrangey…
    In the end i know that Soldano makes top end gear & would most likely not let me down. Its a bit more expensive than the Reeves, but at the end of the day i just simply want to opt for something that will surely get me closer to attaining quality tones as far as Gilmour-ish stuff is concerned , but could be a bit versatile as well for other things…

    Thanks again for your amazing help mate, & any thoughts/opinions on this issue would be greatly appreciated !
    Peace, rock on ;) …… Tom. C.

    [Thanks a lot for your kind words Tom! Glad you enjoy my site :)
    I’ve only tried the Reeves Custom 50. My approach was that I needed to replace my old Sound City and all I wanted was something similar and better. The Custom 50 is all I ever wished for in an amp. Both the Jimmy Page and 1978 should be able to give you some great cleans but their basically voiced for more gain compared to the Custom amps. However, with right settings you can get the Custom to distort pretty well too. Soldano has always been making great amps, Leslies ect. Personally I prefer EL34 over 6L6 for a warmer less midrangy tone. In terms of David’s tones the typical Fender tone can be a little too bright. I think my best advice is to trust your ears. Perhaps not that helpful but doesn’t really matter how good the Reeves is if you want something else :) There are tons of great sounding amps available. Too many to mention. Try a couple to get an idea of the differences and decide on the one you like the most. – Bjorn]

  127. Nic says:

    So recently, I have reached a massive dilema and thought this would be a great place to pose this question… It’s a simple one!

    Reeves Custom 50 OR ’57 Fender Twin 2×12 reissue?

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

    [Depends on how you’re gonna use the amp. Both are ideal for a stage and rehearsal rooms but I’d never use any of the at home. For David’s tones I’d go for the Reeves. No doubt. Always though the Twins are a bit too bright and boomy. – Bjorn]

  128. Byron Neighbors says:

    Bjorn, what tubes were shipped with your Reeves? I’m especially curious to see what Bill chose for EL34s. Thanks for all your hard work!

    Byron

    [I think it came with JJ Electronics. That’s what I’ve always been using anyway… can’t remember if I changed the tubes when I got the amp. – Bjorn]

  129. Kristoffer says:

    I must confess that I have personally never taken the time to compare different batteries in a fuzz face but the comparison on analogman’s homepage (look under the sunface section)is very compelling. Unless he did something to manipulate those files (highly unlikely) it’s hard to deny there is a dramatic difference in the high end.

    [It really makes a difference. Especially on those vintage boosters and fuzz pedals. – Bjorn]

  130. Eric says:

    Carbon batteries? Alkaline batteries? AC/DC Power supply?
    It’s only the right DC voltage that counts, nothing else matters.

    Since we have electric power from nuclear plants, the patatoes still have to cook as long as before… .

    [Yeah, but each of these will effect a pedal differently. It’s not only the voltage and ampere but the construction of the power unit too. Two seemingly identical batteries can make a pedal sound very different. – Bjorn]

  131. Kristoffer says:

    Thanks for the tip Björn. I hadn’t thought about Jula. I will check it out. To bad there isn’t any comparisons between the Weber Thames and the FC12. A future review on Gilmourish perhaps? Perhaps Weber will send you two for a review?

    Browsing through the gearslutz forum the other day I stumbled upon a thread about an effect used on Dark side of the moon. Apparently they used a device called a “Frequency translator”. A prominent use was the backing vocals on the chorus of Time. Interestingly enough the EMI tech who actually built the device Keith Adkins chimed in and explained about building the unit and it’s use with Pink floyd (amongst other). At the end of the thread there is an excellent digital plug-in capable of reproducing the effect (or something close to it). Something to try out if your record needs some leslie-like shimmering on some parts in a DSOTM fashion.

    The thread can be found here: http://www.gearslutz.com/board/high-end/376138-old-guys-frequency-translator-re-big-star-pink-floyd-backgrounds-2.html

    [Thanks a lot for the link! – Bjorn]

  132. Kristoffer says:

    Great review!

    You guys actually made me think about my speakers. I play a vintage JMI VOX AC50 through a Marshall cab loaded with Celestion vintage30. They have a slightly nasal character to my ears. Perhaps I should try the Weber Thames or the FC12. I suppose I could just buy one or two and match them with the Vintage 30 so I don’t spend to much money if I don’t like them.

    On a side note. Where do you guys find non-alkaline batteries for your fuzz face? They seem hopeless to find here in Sweden. A guy at an electric store even suggested that they aren’t allowed in Sweden no more (due environment issues as I understood it).

    [I definitely prefer Weber over Celestion. The Vintage 30 has a bit more mid range, which I guess is why you experience them as slightly nasal. The Webers has an incredibly rich tone with well balanced frequencies and tons of headroom.
    I buy my carbon batteries off Ebay. Claes Ohlsson used to carry them but they’re nearly impossible to track down in Norway too. We have something called Europris, which carry Panasonic carbons… don’t know if you have Europris in Sweden but try Jula.se. – Bjorn]

  133. Jova says:

    Excellent review Bjorn! Looking forward to some audio samples :-)

    Reeves 50 is a wonderful amp, but since I’m a home player would you recommend their smaller Custom 12 amp? Like I said it would be mostly played in my room but I don’t know if Custom 12 has enough clean headroom… Of course I can always go with Peavey Classic 30, but I think even that is too much for me, that’s why I’m looking for a smaller amp. Any suggestions would be welcome :-)

    [I haven’t tried the C12 so I’m not sure. Send them an e-mail and ask. The Classic 30 is ideal for playing at home. Unless you need to keep things so low that you can barely hear it it should go well for most homes. – Bjorn]

  134. Jason says:

    Congrats on a great amp, Bjorn! I couldn’t have described it better myself. Especially the part about it being honest with respect to your playing. I had to really tighten up my playing when I first got mine. I look forward to an audio or video demo. Someone needs to do a better job demoing this amp then I did on my youtube demo. This amp deserves it.

    [I’ll try Jason :) – Bjorn]

  135. Thomas says:

    Man the Reeves 50 sounds awesome! Too bad im mostly an in house player with a few occasional little jams. No need for all that power lol. Im very interested in getting a Peavey Classic 30 though. I can get a used one for around $350 USD. Not bad considering the rave reviews it gets.

    [Reeves has some smaller amps to that you should check out. The Peavey Classic 30 is a great amp though. Warm, vintage tone similar to the Fender Bassmans. – Bjorn]

  136. Eric says:

    Great review Bjorn! I’ve wanted one of these amps for a while.

    Does anyone have any experience with the Reeves Custom 50 PS (power scale)? I wonder if the power scale feature could make it the only amp I really need. I don’t expect full on AC/DC crunch at home levels, but if it could scale down to approximately 15 Watts (Fender Blues Jr size) to get some warm tube sounds at home, I’d love it.

    [I haven’t tried the PS version but my general opinion about power scaling is that it works great depending on what music you’re playing and how tone demanding you are. Power scaling or attenuators allows you to play at low volume and still get that tube gain but the overall tone coming from your amp is also created by the characteristics of the speaker cab and not least the speakers them selves. The louder you play the more the speakers vibrates and the cab resonates and that can’t be achieved with power scaling naturally. That’s not to say that you can’t get great tones with it but you won’t get that punchy clean tone David’s known for. – Bjorn]

  137. Evan says:

    Well, hm, alright. That works good enough for me, the OD-1 would likely blend with it well enough, one out of two ain’t bad. Honestly, man, the RT-20 is what I wanted all along, but I just didn’t have the cash at the time. I figure I’ll trade in the Vibe to balance out the cost of the Boss, though it all hinges on how much money I’ll end up having to get this worked out with.

    Much thanks, I’ll see if I can’t run my pedalboard into an RT-20 at the local shop before I buy though.

    [That’s always a wise thing to do. – Bjorn]

  138. Evan says:

    Hey again, Bjorn. Total side note to the subject of your posting, but I’m thinking I may drop my BBE Soul Vibe and instead go over to a Boss RT-20 (since the Vibe is usually used for a faux rotary speaker sound anyway), and I’m wondering how it responds to dirt pedals, whether or not I could run fuzz into it and have it still sound good, that sort of thing. It’d be taking a Devi Ever Hyperion (Muff-ish fuzz with more mids and general roughness) and a Boss OD-1, maybe a silicon Fuzz Face now and again.

    I remember you had it on your board for a while, so I figure you’d have some firsthand knowledge of this. Help is appreciated.

    Evan

    [I use the RT20 a lot for my Airbag sounds. It’s works great on cleans and mild overdrives but it can be a bit spiky on distortions, especially fuzz tones. Goes well with a RAT and other mid range boosted pedals but not ideal for fuzz and Muffs. For that I’d use a chorus or flanger. I rarely use the fast settings though. Prefer the slow rotary, deep chorus tones. The featured UniVibe sim is crap so I’d keep the Soul Vibe. – Bjorn]

  139. Nate says:

    Great review Bjorn! It’s even featured on their website!

    [Cool! – Bjorn]

  140. Rawd says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Bjorn, I totally agree…I purchased a Reeves Custom 50 a few months ago. After I got into the Gilmour Tone World. It just totally Rocks! It’s has a super quiet noise floor, and is the most pedal friendly amp I’ve ever played through. Which is great cause DG (as we all know) pretty much sets up a great Hi Fidelity Tone on his amp, and then uses pedals to do to everything else. I also purchased a Reeves 2×12 cab with the Vintage Purple speakers..also just great! I’ve had the chance to A/B the Reeves against a 66 BlackFace Bassman also good but no Reeves (no offense to Bassman). I have no problem using this amp in my bedroom do to the Master Volume acutally works on this amp. I’ve tried it with an Attenuator, but not necessay on a daily basis though. But worked perfectly with it.
    All in all a wonderful piece of pro level gear. Glad I got it.
    ROCK ON !
    = Rawd =

    [Agree! I’m extremely happy with this amp! – Bjorn]

  141. Mikal69 says:

    Congrats Dude!!! Any chance we’ll get some clips or vids soon?

    [I’ll try :-) – Bjorn]

  142. James M says:

    Terrific review, Bjorn!

  143. Eric Nyberg says:

    Congratulations on the new amp Bjorn, I myself got a brand new 65 Deluxe Reverb recently so I’m very familiar with the feeling of a new amp. I was wondering if you think that I should link up the normal and vibrato channels and what benefits there are to doing that.

    [I’ve never tried that my self but I’m not sure that would be the same as linking the inputs of a norm/bril channel. Try for your self and see if it benefits your tone. There’s no dramatic change in the tone when you link the inputs but adding the bright channel adds a bit more clarity and bite to the overall tone. The effects sound a bit smoother too. – Bjorn]

  144. Josh says:

    Congrats on the new amp! Reeves makes some wonderful things. I highly considered getting one built before I stumbled across my most recent Hiwatt.

    I’ve heard their cabs are incredible too – definitely going to order one of those in the near future.

    Have fun, and don’t blow your eardrums out!!

    {Cheers Josh! – Bjorn]

  145. James Cameron says:

    I am glad you like the Reeves 50 and I enjoyed your review.
    I hope you can give us a video or sound clip of your new amp.

  146. Demetris says:

    Dear Bjorn,

    Great review as always!!

    I am a bit off subject here, but i would like to know what you think about the blues junioe NOS Tweed. Is it a good amp for gilmour tones? I have a vintage rat, BYOC Rams head and maxon 808 that i can use with.

    I just play guitar for fun and because i like it at home in a small room.

    Thanks and keep up your great work with Airbag. You guys ROCK!!

    Demetris

    [It’s been awhile since I’ve tried a Blues Junior but it has a very warm smooth tone and you should be able to get some convincing Gilmour tones with it. It may lack some headroom but that can be compensated by using low output pickups like the Fender CS69s or similar. The RAT and 808 should work great but the Muff might be a bit too hot for the amp. You just have to try for your self. Check out this article on the subject. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  147. Nick Veekens says:

    Great review!

    I bought a Hiwatt DG212 combo a few months ago. I have to say I’m really pleased with this amp. Apart from weighing as much as a small hippo it is one of the best amps I’ve ever heard. A big step up from my previous amp (Fender blues deville 410) However I’ve never been able to compare it to any other (older) Hiwatt or (newer) Reeves amps. Has anybody been able to do so? Are there any other DG212 users on this forum? Id’love to hear your comments and possible settings / suggestions on this one.

    Greetz from the Netherlands,

    Nick

  148. Matt says:

    — BO from Bosnia — The Classic 30 is a really great amp. I bought a Classic 30 1×12 combo a bout a year ago – swapped in some JJ tubes and the result was awesome! The stock amp was very good, but the JJ tubes really pushed the amp up to a whole new level. You can really drive some great tones out of the C30. About 3 months ago, I swapped in a Weber Blue Dog ceramic speaker – after that it’s like I went from light speed to ludicrous speed! Anyway, the C30 is a great little amp. :)

    Bjorn – Can’t wait to see some new videos of you making that Reeves sing!

    [Thanks for the input Matt. JJ tubes are definitely the best ones available. – Bjorn]

  149. Alex says:

    This amp sounds incredible! Wish I had the dough to grab one up, but since my band is currently on indefinite hiatus that would seem quite unnecessary… Damn.

    Cheers!

  150. Sam D says:

    Sounds like a great amp. I was looking at the Weber speakers on their website. Do you use the Thames AlNiCo or Ceramic? Also, have you played through the FC12s (they have Crescendo voicing.)? If so, why do you prefer the Thames (Hiwatt voicing).

    Thanks,

    [I’ve only used the Thames ceramic. They have a bit softer tone and more headroom compared to alnico. – Bjorn]

  151. André says:

    Damn you Bjørn – again! I bought two revolvers after your post regarding Tolorance Sound (which is great!), and now ….. DAMN YOU! :-) LOL!

    I actually contacted Hiwatt two months ago and was going to buy a Hiwatt DG504. But they didn’t seems to be very interested in selling and haven’t respond to my emails. The Norwegian importer was very honest when I contacted them, and said that they couldn’t trust Hiwatt. They seldom keeps their promises regarding shipment etc.

    So I guess Reeves is getting an order soon. Thank’ s for yet another good review.

    Maybe I can take my doppolas and try it on your amp before I buy it?

    Keep rocking!
    André

    [LOL! Well, I do my best! Sure, let’s do a session one day! – Bjorn]

  152. Mark Earnest says:

    “ass licking promo”

    I really think you mean ass kissing, but either way gets the point across :)

    [Lol… – Bjorn]

  153. newswede says:

    Congrats on the new amp! By all accounts, they are top notch amplifiers and will last forever. I have one or two on my wish list ;)

  154. Patrik says:

    Aww, so you decided to get one. Lucky you, Bjorn… Give me the Sound City? :P

    [It’s living peacfully in a Galaxy far far away… – Bjorn]

  155. Jon Fink says:

    Nice one Bjorn!
    Glad to see you joined the family, I have a Reeves Custom 50 1×12 combo version w/a vintage purple speaker & Marshall 1×12 celestion extension cabinet. Reeves amps are a perfect match between getting classic tones and not having to worry about your amp breaking down on you (like you would if you purchased an older 70’s Hiwatt).

  156. BO says:

    Great review.
    Next month probably I will buy PEAVEY classic 30.
    I hope that will not make mistake with this.

    Greetings from Bosnia!

    [The Peavey Classic amps are great! Nice warm vintage tones. – Bjorn]

  157. Jeffrey Henderson says:

    Congrats on the Reeves Bjorn! I have a Reeves Custom 50 as well and I agree with your observations. I also have a 74 Hiwatt DR504…..they are very similar. My Reeves is currently a bit louder (may just be power tubes and bias setting) and the Hiwatt is just a touch sweeter/softer…probably just the age of components, etc. I love both amps, but I feel I can rely on the Reeves more for my band stuff. I pamper the Hiwatt and leave it at home and use for recording. :) By the way, have you tried the Weber FC12’s yet? I have a couple of them and will have more soon with a 4×12 cab I’ve ordered. I have not tried the Thames, but it would be interesting to hear them both back to back.

    [I’ve only tried the Thames. They matched my old Fanes perfectly. – Bjorn]

  158. Hugo says:

    Nice review as always Bjorn!!

    I’m considering a new amp to substitute my F50, I was considering the Mesa LoneStar Classic and the Mesa Stilleto (since I like the modern sound of the Mesa’s amps for a more modern Porcupine Tree sounds. It can only be obtained by a 2nd channel amp or maybe a Tube Driven pedal if I’m right) but your review of the Reeves makes me consider it as well.. cheers!

    [I’m a huge PT fan my self and I have no problem getting some really nice Wilson tones with the amp. You’ll need a lot of pedals though but so does he. – Bjorn]

  159. João J. Francisco says:

    Hey! Congratulations about your buy!

    Your review is very good! You put all all your fears and hopes concerning the Sound City, and you shows us exactly how you felt.
    I’m wondering if HIWATT still do great amps… and wondering if it is a good deal to buy “many hands” amps with 40 years of life!…

    Well, after such good review I’m considering searching for a REEVES.
    Thank you for sharing some “light” in this amp dark times! ;-)

    (Cheers Jọo! РBjorn)

  160. Ernest says:

    [Be sure to get an amp that fits your needs and setup and don’t be too blinded by what David’s using]
    Perhaps nice to mention that Reeves offers a mod version of this amp the Custom 50PS.
    It has the same circuit as the standard Custom 50 but with the addition of Power Scaling to give you that “Live at Leeds” tone without disrupting the neighborhood
    I would prefer this version, for practicing at home.
    Great review!
    Any soundclips ;-)

    (Yeah, that will help. I’ve never been a fan of scaling or attenuors though. Seems to work better for tube gain but to get that extra bite in the cleans you also need to push the speakers a bit and you won’t get that with scaling. – Bjorn)

  161. Vincent says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    What do you think about attenuators? With these devices you will be able to crank the amp but control the amount of the actual volume.

    Greetz

    (Power scaling and attenuators will make the amp able to produce some great tube gain but a super punchy clean tone like David’s also need volume to get the dynamics created by the speakers. You’ll loose some of that with scaling and attenuators. – Bjorn)

  162. Alex Nantel says:

    Woaw ! This is a very very nice review ! There is no doubt, I’ll buy one of these amps with a cab 4×12 with vintage Fane ! Thank you very much Bjorn !

    (You won’t be disappointed! Check out Weber Thames speakers for the classic Fane tone. – Bjorn)

  163. Domenic says:

    Thanks for the review Bjorn. A Reeves is next on my list and I have been waiting for your review before I went ahead and pulled the trigger. Now I’m set on getting one.

    Cheers,
    Dom

    (Cheers Dom! – Bjorn)

  164. Dave Hunt says:

    I too am thinking of getting the Reeves Custom 50 and the matching 2×12 Port City Cab. It seems from all the reviews that it nails the old HIWATT tone without breaking the bank. I think its refreshing to see that there are amp builders still around that respect the originals and make them reasonably affordable for the average player.

    (I think this is as close you’ll get to the old early 70s Hiwatts. They’ve really succeeded in making an amp that both has the high quality and an affordable price. – Bjorn)

  165. Nice one! I have a brand new Hiwatt Custom 50 Combo 2×12″ Fane speakers.. I really like this amp, but never tried an old Hiwatt or a reeves or anything like that. You mention here that you wouldn’t buy a new Hiwatt.. Why is that? Are they not as good? What can you tell me about the model I have?

    (I’ve only tried the new Custom heads and I think they lack some depth and character compared to the Reeves. I’ve always though Hiwatt sounded a bit flat until I tried an early 70s head. Then I understood what the hype was about. The Reeves has capture just that. I’m not saying that the new Hiwatts are crap but in my oppinion Reeves offers a better sounding amp for less. – Bjorn)

    • Steven says:

      I have a Friedman dirty Shirley as well as a Louis electric tornado and I have to say that my new Reeves Space cowboy makes those boutique amps look and sound like little babies. The Reeves amp is so robust in it’s tone it’s heads above the rest that I have ever played. I can get the tone I’m looking at any level just by dialing it in. This amp will find awesome tone at any sized venue even bedroom levels yes, I said bedroom levels!!!

      • Markus Linnanen says:

        Steven – do you have a stack or combo? Just tryin to decide between Space cowboy & Custom 50. A tough choice. Have you tested these two side by side?

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