Thursday, October 31, 2013

Size does matter

Playing two Fender Twin Reverbs stereo in 1985. Those days are over!
I hate schlepping big amps. Traded in my Fender Twin Reverb for a Polytone Amp 16 years ago. I have been using my Polytone Mini Brute IV ever since. So the one with the 15" speaker and spring reverb. Lots of headroom, lots of bass response, lots of power. You can play any jazz gig on any stage with it. I like its classic mellow jazz guitar sound a lot. Vey sturdy and reliable. It has never let me down. 110 watts at 15 kilos. Sized 47 x 43 x 27 cm. The one to go for when headroom is required. The Polytone is a pretty small amp, but not extremely small. At least IMHO. I'm sure a rock guitarist would disagree with me here ...

But the Mambo 10 I just purchased is a lot smaller even and almost half the weight of the Polytone. You can see that in the picture. This is the one I will be using for rehearsals, jazz jams and low(er) volume gigs when headroom is less an issue and portability is. Which is often the case with me. For, I simply do not like schlepping amps around. I told you that earlier. The Mambo 10 is extremely portable but loud enough to handle most jazz situations without sounding boxy. 180 watts at just 8 kilos. Size only 30 x 30  x 25 cm. The size/weight/sound ratio is unequalled. Is it a compromise? Yes. Usually, bigger amps sound better than smaller amps. So any really small amp is a compromise. But the Mambo is tiny and still sounds good and pretty mature. And the truth is I just will not carry big amps around anymore, no matter how good they sound. Amp size DOES matter to me. A lot.

So I think my jazz amp story kind of ends here. At least for the coming years. Good enough is good enough.


  1. Sold my Fender Twin last Xmas to fund purchase of a Mambo 10" amp - & agree with your post above - it was a great move in terms of sound, portability & reducing hassle!

    All the best with it. RK

  2. It is interesting that you were using 15" Polytone. I had one and IMHO bass was overwhelming. I switched to Evans amp. Brighter sounding than Polytone - a bit more demanding on technique. It is 10" but packs a lot of bass and you can always add extension cab.