The 18-Watt, Bletchley-Style

How come my DIY amps never look this pretty inside?

How come my DIY amps never look this pretty inside?

A couple of weeks ago I posted here about a Premier Guitar project in which I built two Marshall 18-watt clone kits. Meanwhile, the magazine received a review model of Marshall’s latest iteration of the 18-watt, a high-end, hand-wired version that sells for $2,700. My new review is online at PG, if you’re curious to hear a proper Marshall as well as the clones.

My take: It’s a beautifully built, hand-wired amp that sounds as least as good as either clone. Unlike the kits with their single 12″ speakers, the Marshall has a pair of 10s, which I think I prefer in this circuit. At $2,700, though, it’s pretty darn expensive, even for a beautiful, hand-made instrument. But I’ll be sad when I send the review model back to Bletchley.

6 comments to The 18-Watt, Bletchley-Style

  • Oinkus

    I bet you will miss that lovely box of wonderful , that sure is some clean work by real pros. Could always a add a 1×15 ext. cab to expand your sound too.

  • Dang, that’s rich for my blood. My last amp buy was $40 including a can of Deoxit. Also made in Bletchley, but it’s a Lead 12 with the silicon devils in it. My fragile harmonics seem to survive the crystal lettuce, though I wouldn’t mind having the scratch for that 1958x.

  • Oinkus

    The Lead 12 is a pretty great little SS amp , I am going to go over and play through one real soon. Plug it into my prosonic with an ext 2×12 cab and turn it up to about 5 , things will explode.Would love to be able to afford real gear , I can’t record anything anymore.

    • mwseniff

      It is incredibly cheap to record these days. You don’t need anything more than a computer, there is free software that does multi-track well and even paid software has entry level versions. You don’t need a lot of fancy plugins to process audio there are free and cheap solutions. Back when “punk” was around it was about doing it yourself. I have heard recordings using a pair of broken headphones for a mic that were very good tunes. There are also inexpensive digital multi-tracks that emulate 4 track recorders some are as cheap as $100. For live recording there are excellent stereo recorders around $100. You can spend your hearts desire on studio monitors and amps but honestly a good inexpensive set of headphones can give you good results for mixes. As for guitars and amps anything can sound good if you play around with mic and amp placement. Besides all that recording is a hoot. Even if you have the money and equipment to do a studio recording, doing a demo on the cheap can really cement a song down and that allows you to use the studio in an efficient manner. Finally you might be surprised at how many live albums were recorded on really crappy tape machines (including cassette tapes) many of these albums sold very well. It takes time to learn to record there are websites that can help but it is well worth the time. I personally find recording to be very fulfilling, I have been doing it for over 35 years and I started with 2 cheap home stereo cassette recorders and a Silvertone (Dano) guitar with the amp in the case (it is a nice amp). I still listen to those recordings once in a while and it takes me right back to that time very nice memories. Beyond that the process of recording has taught me a lot about music. Worse case you can always erase a stinker of a recording when necessary.

      • You know thinking about it you do have a point. For years, and even now, I have read magazines about professional recording that give the idea that it is an incredibly difficult art form that only fully trained and uniquely talented individuals can master. Now not to say that there aren’t talented and knowledgeable recording engineers, because I know there are (I also suspect there are a lot who don’t really understand what they are doing) … But … I have made many recordings and mixes using low cost mic’s, a mid priced home computer and FOSS DAW software (I recommend Ardour) that to my ears equal the quality of professional recordings.

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