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Blockhead EVH Custom 50

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by BrentSP, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. BrentSP

    BrentSP Supporting Member

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  2. Braciola

    Braciola Silver Supporting Member

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    I had one.
    It's a cool amp but it does not exactly reproduce the brown sound from "Fair Warning" as advertised.
    It's much smoother and warmer with a nice upper mid cut.
    I also thought it lacked bottom end balls.
     
  3. BrentSP

    BrentSP Supporting Member

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    How much gain on tap was there compared to other amps? Shiva amounts of gain with or w/o boost?
     
  4. Braciola

    Braciola Silver Supporting Member

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    Much more preamp gain than the Shiva/w boost.
    More than you would ever need IMHO.
     
  5. trainwrecker

    trainwrecker Member

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    I had one awhile back; it does a pretty standard pre-amp type distortion but I wasn't overly impressed so I sold it. They're hard to find to demo before you buy.
     
  6. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    I had one for about a week. It was too dark and lacked bottom-end.

    When I had it, I also had a Roccaforte HG100 and Germino Lead 55. The Block wasn't even in the same league as those two amps.
     
  7. bjm007

    bjm007 Member

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    Its very hard to beat Greg and Doug's amps when it comes to the Marshall thing...
     
  8. BrentSP

    BrentSP Supporting Member

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    wow....Its very blunt in saying that it was designed to capture the VH Fair Warning tone. Marketing scheme?? :confused:
     
  9. evhtone

    evhtone Member

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    I hate to pour gas on a fire but I was even unimpressed with the build quality. The pots felt really cheap and the tolex had a couple of spots that weren't matched up right. Maybe I ended up with a lemon? I dunno.

    I remember I brought my Roccaforte HG100 in to Solidbody Guitar in Minneapolis and compared it to the Block 50. Kenny Rardin is a friend of mine from way back. After playing through both, he even told me I better keep the Rocca. :)

    I should mention that the tone of the Block wasn't terrible. It was decent, but definitely NOT as advertised. In all fairness, I should probably play a few more models too. I'm sure they make a good product from other reviews I've read I just wasn't impressed with that 50 watter.
     
  10. BrentSP

    BrentSP Supporting Member

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    Living in OK I can't try out very many amps so I have to go by trusted people with simular likes and clips. I'm starting to be very leary of amps that don't get much talk or press. I understand marketing and talk can be hype to but usually there is a reason why certain amps are talked about. The blockheads really don't get much talk and other amps also like the Bruno Leadman that I just got last night.
     
  11. Relicula

    Relicula Supporting Member

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    I always hated the feel of the cheap knobs on these amps, for the money, and the fact that you touch them so often, you would think they would put on a nice set.

    Hmmm, cheap knobs, touching them often, nice set, yup all the buzzwords are there.
     
  12. rgt320

    rgt320 Guest

    I spent some time with one of those Blockheads too --- like the others have said, I too was unimpressed for most of the same reasons they mentioned.
     
  13. Ossie

    Ossie Member

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    Hey,

    A friend alerted me to this thread and I thought I should make a visit. Anyone who knows me knows this is not usual, I stay away from the fray and let people use their own judgment when evaluating my amps. I feel people have a right to speak their mind, good or bad. Everyone hears things a little different, and of course there is no one amp for everybody. I have always had my "fans" and my detractors, and I am OK with that. After nearly 9 years in this biz I know two things.... I know my amplifiers are the best that I can build and that I spare nothing to get them the way I want. Let me give you all a little peek into what goes into building a blockhead, what we think is important, and why we are still loving building amps....

    Blockhead amps are built from scratch by one of two people, myself and my partner Keith, we do everything, and I do mean everything from raw materials. This may not mean anything to you but it is special. I dont know of any other amp that is built by one person all the way from a to z, one at a time. This is what handbuilt means to me.

    Heres some of what we do....We buy the aluminum sheets, cut and bend the chassis to form, and weld the seams together. We punch and drill them. We buy the sheets of Baltic birch, we cut the panels and dovetail the cabs, and we cover the cabs. We buy the sheets of phenolic, cut and drill them to make the boards. We stake them, we load them and we measure every component that goes on them. We use the finest parts available including Clarostat 2watt mill-spec potentiometers. They may feel cheap to some of you, but they are rated for 1000000+ turns and cost more for one than for 6 of the "expensive feeling pots" that are basically junk. I know they feel different and without looking at them they may seem inferior but I can say that they will outlive you and I. How many threads have you read about cleaning scratchy pots with one thing or another? Well, with clorostat you will never have a problem and thats why I use em.

    Our transformers are made by one man to our spec. We have auditioned every transformer on the market and to my ears our guy is the best. I would dare to say that when we started blockhead the term "radiospares" was known by only a handful of Marshall lunatics, now it is again a household name. I am not saying we are 100% responsible for the whole boutique Marshall thing but we were the first to offer a radiospares clone (1998).

    Buzz, Buzz, Buzz. When we got on the net with our first site in 1999 there was more buzz about blockhead than a beehive. We had the phone ringing from 6am till sometimes 3 in morning. People were hot for our amps and we were back ordered up the kazoo. But as we know that level of attention cant last forever. Eventually others jumped on the wagon and started building Marshall clones. They outsourced the major parts and were able to build them cheaper and faster. The buzz started moving around from one startup to another, the free market system was in high gear. At blockhead we made the decision not to chase the market and to keep on doing things the way we believe they should be done-one at a time from scratch.

    Fools, you say, why not change things around a little to increase production and drop costs? Now, chasing the dollar is all good and fine, but being an amp builder is a weird job. Is it art or is about the bottom line? I think it is art. If i just wanted to own a business and make money I would be running porn sites! Less grief, less work, and fringe benefits :) The fact is I love what I do and simply dont want to do anything else. To me each amplifier I build is unique and becomes more than the sum of it's parts, it is personal. I dont find pleasure in assembly lines or mass production, I find pleasure in creating. I am a tech and an artisan, not a suit with a pda. If I can continue to do what I love and to make some (not everyone) thrilled to play their guitar again then it is worth it to me.

    Finally I would like to say a little something about the custom 50. This amp was designed (by me) in 1999 for the fair warning tone. The amp was my best effort to get as close as I could to that tone at that time. As time went on several variations of the amp came about as I got feedback from player As a result the earlier ones sound different then the latter ones. Still not everyone is going to find it "dead on," but I dont think I was deceiving anyone with my efforts. Furthermore, the amp was not designed to get the VH1 sound (still working on that nut). The gentleman with whom I spoke about this amp (frascati) may have misunderstood me. I told him the BLK100 1967 100 watt head would not give him the VH1 sound and was referenced on the site with van halen because that was what he supposedly used (evh's claim, not mine). I also told him that the custom 50 was a hotrodded Marshall that I tweaked to give the fair warning tone as my ear hears it. I hope that helps clear it up. Anyway the amp has been out of production for 1 year (I cant get a critical NOS part anymore).

    Well, I hope you all enjoy this time in history, the best ever for being a guitarist. I will try to contribute what I can to the scene, and hopefully come up with a few gems worthy of your time.

    Regards,

    Ossie
    Blockhead amps
     
  14. SQUAREHEAD

    SQUAREHEAD Supporting Member

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    Wow!
    Thanx Ossie!
    That was a very cool read!
    I read a ton of integrity into what you wrote!
    All the best!

    Keith
     
  15. reaiken

    reaiken Member

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    Ossie,

    If you want a sealed, 2W mil-spec pot that is truly the best, go with the PEC RV4 series. They are head and shoulders above the Clarostat RV4's (especially the Mexican-made Claros, which have very loose torque specs). In addition to the better feel, they have gold-plated lugs and better sealed backs, so they look much nicer!. I switched over to them several years ago because of the difficulty in getting decent Clarostats. I still have a small stock of good Clarostats, but most of them were not that great, so I threw them out.

    Good luck with the amps!

    Randall Aiken
     
  16. Ossie

    Ossie Member

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    Squarehead.....Thanks for the kind words.

    Randall, Thanks for the tip. I have a stock of Clarostats that are quite good, not the type you would can, when those run out the PEC would be my next choice (If I cant find a stash of AB's first). I have used the PEC's before and found them to be of the highest quality. I only hope the best for your ventures as well.

    Regards,

    Ossie
    Blockhead amps
     
  17. Loves_LPs

    Loves_LPs Member

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    Now that is what I call two GENTLEMEN! Jaysus, where else could you see one amp company owner describing his build philosophy, and another amp company owner sincerely offering a helpful suggestion as to a part vendor! :dude :dude
     
  18. SQUAREHEAD

    SQUAREHEAD Supporting Member

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    The fact that they are BOTH gentlemen probably enhances the effect! :)
    Two great guys.
     
  19. JWR

    JWR Member

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    Simply fantastic, thank you Ossie for writing. I really appreciate hearing first hand observations about design and component selection.
     
  20. pirateflynn

    pirateflynn Supporting Member

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    I have only played 1 Blockhead amp.........my FirstBorn 18 (#2001)
    .......it's incredible!

    :cool:
     

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