Thursday, October 8, 2009

Review: Two-Rock J-2

For years I have suffered under the notion that guitar players who drag elite boutique (read: hyper-expensive) amps to blues jams are pretentious twits with more money than talent. Last night at the Wednesday blues jam at Bushwacker’s in Denver I got schooled about that.

Jeff brought a Two-Rock J-2 10th Anniversary Edition amp to the jam… a $4000 amp about the size of a Fender Pro Junior. Jeff was the nicest, most unpretentious guy on earth and a very talented guitar player, and his amp kills. I want one.

During my set I plugged into a Blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb (not a re-issue) that had been modified with beefier trannies from a Bassman. The tone was excellent and I enjoyed playing through it. But I had my eye on that Two-Rock and asked Jeff at the break if I could plug in and try it out. He was unendingly generous with his amp and advice.

Whoa… Damn… That is a beautiful sound. I didn’t have my Zoom H4 recorder, but I’ll take it next week and try to get some sound clips. There are good reasons why this amp costs four grand.

The amp is warm and smooth and fat as hell, but also crunchy and responsive to pressure from the mic. It is a combination of my Mission 5F2H (great crunch) and my Masco ME-18 (beautiful wamth) and a Victoria 5112 (gorgeous texture and dynamics) and a big old Tweed Pro (savage bark). A huge sound. I’m totally in love with this amp. I’ve never heard anything quite like it in one amp before.

The Two-Rock J-2 is a 40-watt amp with two 6L6 power tubes. We did the standard quick harp setup: reduce the gain, roll off the treble and boost the bass. Jeff had an elaborate vintage analog delay in a rack, and that thing was lush; one of the warmest delays I’ve heard.

I guess it was I who was the pretentious twit because I sneered at elite expensive gear. The Two-Rock J-2 gets the Blues Harp Amps Blog seal of approval. If you can afford it, buy one.

1 comment:

Jeff T said...

Thank you for the compliments Rick. It was a pleasure playing with you that night. We'll have to do it again sometime! I hope you are doing well in 2010.