Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 119

ALL 'ROUNDER
Blackstar Artist 15

B

lackstar's Artist 15 is a British amp with
an American accent. Though designed
and built around good ol' Americanflavored 6L6 tubes, its sonic qualities feature
that glorious jangly, chimey sound of classic
British Class A amps.
Best of all, the amp's unique ISF control
lets the user dial between the two voices - or
set it in the middle for the best of both worlds.
The Artist series (which also includes
a 30-watt big brother) runs the 6L6s in
an open-loop circuit designed to provide
that lovely treble while also accentuating
the bass response. In addition, the configuration results in more gain, pushing
the power amp's distortion into a creamy
grind when needed.
The amp has two channels. Channel 1
offers stripped-down drive with no frills -
just Volume and Tone controls for an honest,
straight-to-the-heart sound.
Channel 2 is all about options. Along
with a Gain knob and Equalisation (using
the British spelling), there's Blackstar's
aforementioned patented ISF control.
Spun to the U.S. tones, this channel yields
a tightened lower end and emphasis on the
treble with plenty of in-your-face presence.
Dial it clockwise and head for English waters
with lows and mids beefed up for warmth.
Or go clean or crunchy (think vintage Vox
or Marshall).

The Blackstar's capabilities were probed with a '65
Rickenbacker 360, a guitar
well-known for providing
both classic American and
British sounds. The 15-watter
immediately boosted the guitar's voice and magnified its clarity.
On the Brit ISF setting, the tone was
solid Beatles; a warm shimmer overdriving
slightly as the Loud knob was turned up.
Wonderful. On the Yank setting, the amp
did a fine CCR impression with plenty of
bluesy growl when the 360 was attacked hard.
The Artist 15 has nice gain for frontending pedals as well, especially vintage
stompboxes that need a helping hand. A
dual-level loop on the back allows players to
run effects in a return-and-send. The amp
also has a built-in digital reverb with Dark
and Light switches for more flexibility than
most spring units.
The only suggestions? A standby switch
would be lovely (the Artist 30 does have

	

one). And the amp's not lightweight, though
this weight is quality heft - the cabinet
and componentry feel rock-solid. And that
stealthy black-leather styling is way cool,
like a Hiwatt dressed in an Armani suit.
As an all 'rounder, the Artist will have
your back. - Michael Dregni

CORT ACTION DLX AS BASS

DEAN MARKLEY
BLACKHAWK STRINGS

Dean Markley Blackhawk coated strings
for acoustic and electric guitars have a
hexagonal steel core and use proprietary
coating technology. The 80/20 Bronze
set are 80 percent copper and 20 percent
zinc, while the Phosphor Bronze set are
92 percent copper and eight percent tin.

Price: $799.99 (street)
Info: blackstaramps.com

RAW VINTAGE RV-50, RV-60

Raw Vintage's RV-50 and 60 singlecoil pickups are hand-made with Alnico V magnets, Formvar copper wire,
vintage-style pushback cloth leads,
and optional aged-white covers.

February 2017	

119	 VINTAGE GUITAR

Cort's Action DLX AS bass has an
ashwood body, bolt-on maple neck
with rosewood fingerboard, 34" scale,
black hardware, and diecast tuners. Its
Markbass MB-1 EQ preamp has threeband EQ, pickup balancer with master
Volume, and active/passive conversion switch for its PDX-5 pickups.


http://www.blackstaramps.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 1
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