EVH 5150iii 50w

Head/Combo: 
Head
Price Paid: 
$899
Condition: 
New
Country of origin: 
Other
Tube Type: 
6L6/5881
Features: 

 

  • 50 watt head, with 2 6L6 power tubes, and 7 12AX7 preamp tubes.
  • 3-channel: Channels 1 and 2 share EQ, gain, low, mid, high, volume. Channel 3 gain, low, mid, high, volume. Master presence and resonance controls.
  • Selectable impedance (4, 8 or 16 ohms).
  • Dual parallel speaker output jacks, effects loop, headphone jack, line out.
  • Included four-button footswitch has 1/4" input jack; also accommodates MIDI footswitching.
Pros: 
  • Compact size
  • Fairly simple controls layout
  • Lots of gain on tap, but not very fizzy, and sounds great at lower gain setting.
  • Resonance and presence controls

 

Cons: 
  • Rear mounted controls
  • Shared EQ for channels 1 and 2

 

Sound Quality: 
5 (excellent)
Reliability: 

Haven't had it long, but it was Sweetwater's demo amp, and shows no signs of wear.

Customer Support: 

Haven't had to deal with EVH or Fender in the past, always solid gear in my experience.

Summary: 

Like the 5150's before it, the EVH 5150iii 50w is a great sounding amp, the cleans sound ok for a high gain amp, breaks up way too soon and easily, a Fender Twin it's not, but if you're buying this amp, you couldn't care less about cleans anyway. The high gain channel doesn't get fizzy with the gain up, and still sounds great when the gain is rolled back. This makes for a pretty darn good lead boost for the crunch channel, which itself has a good amount of gain on tap.

50 watt heads have a rep of sounding a bit neutered compared to their 100 watt brothers, but this 50 watter maintains the low end balls of 100 watt amps, and just sounds massive, thanks to the resonance control. Out of the box the amp sounded boxy with it off.

I like that the control layout is basic. There are no What the hell does this knob do controls... I think to many players out there today can't be bothered dialing in their amps. But on the other hand, I don't like rear mounted controls, but they are probably the least used controls, if you're reaching back there, it's either because you're just starting, or you're done.

Really don't like the shared EQ for channels 1 and 2, but it's not that big a deal.

I really wish this amp used EL34's, I think there is an overabundance of 6L6 biased amps these day... Truth be told, it's all in my head, I really can't hear much of a difference between tube types.

Should be noted, the model I bought was made in Vietnam, in 2013 production moved to Mexico.

 

Overall Rating: 
5

Seymour Duncan PATB-3 Blues Saraceno

Price Paid: 
$89
Condition: 
New
Humbucker/Single Coil/Stacked Single: 
Humbucker
Passive/Active/Not sure: 
Passive
Output: 
Medium
Instrument Installed in: 
Jackson DK2
Sound Quality: 
5 (excellent)
Reliability: 

 

Never had issues with Duncan before, don't expect any now

Customer Support: 

Past dealings with Duncan have been pleasant.

Summary: 

Where has this pickup been? On a suggestion from the tech who does my repairs and setups, I decided to give this pickup a try.

I wanted something in the low medium to medium output range, at 9.5k this pickup fit the bill. We all know by now that these output ratings are pretty meaningless in terms of power and loudness, I mean my Custom 8 is the same output as the Custom Custom it started out as, but a magnet swap from A2 to A8 made it way louder, I think there is a correlation between these ratings and how the pickups behave, in that the output rating generally has influence on clarity, articulation, etc... But anywhooo

I've been interested in the Parallel Axis pickups for a few months, so kinda jumped at the chance to get it. The PATB-3 is Blues Saraceno's signature pickup. It features an Alnico V magnet, and the unique Duncan staple looking Parallel Axis poles. The heart of this pickup is all PAF, tonally that's what this pickup really is. The concept of this pickup was basically a PAF pickup that was more aggressive sounding when you wanted it to be, but still sounded like an old PAF, as well as give superstrats a more "Les Paul" sound, and I think it does that better than most of the other hot rodded PAF pickups I've heard, most of those are high output. The Parallel Axis design is meant to give the highs a smooth sound, and lows to be tight but remain somewhat spongier, as well as increase sustain, again this was accomplished. I don't think I have heard nicer harmonics from a pickup, they're plentiful, and they ring out piano or bell like. The pickup is sensitive to pick attack, this pickup is really dirty if you hit the strings hard, or really clean if you lightly pick the string. The pickup is very clear and articulate. The pickup is somewhat scooped in the middle, 6-5-6 I believe is the listed EQ, but I just turned a few knobs on the amp to get a more midrangey sound with no problem. It's not meant for modern metal, mainly classic rock and metal, blues, country, etc., but with a high gain amp, like my 5150, I have had no issue with getting a nice metal sound from it, I haven't had an instance where I did not like the sound of this pickup. They only make this pickup for the bridge position, and is only a Trembucker, but I have heard great things about it in Les Paul's, which is odd since it's designed to give superstrats more of that sound.

Typically it would be paired with a PATB-1 neck pickup which tonally falls somewhere between a 59 and a Jazz. Presently, I still have the stock 59 in the neck, and think they work well together, especially when used together in the middle position, I tend to never use the 2 humbuckers at once, but love the sound I'm getting, sounds better than the 59 in the neck by itself, IMO. I've already this pickup for another guitar... So yeah, I like this pickup! Hands down my favorite pickup for a superstrat, and for me that's saying something because I like some good ones, such as the Custom Custom, Custom, JB (which it replaced), Custom 8, Alternative 8, and the EVH Wolfgang pickups. Not sure what the wind is on this pickup though, I've heard it's the same wire as a JB, but not wound as hot, and the pole pieces give it a unique sound.

Overall Rating: 
5

Jackson Pro Series DK2M

Price Paid: 
$799
Condition: 
New
Country of origin: 
Other
Body wood(s): 
Alder w/ quilted maple veneer
Neck wood: 
Maple
Fretboard: 
Maple
Fretboard Scale: 
25.5
Number of frets: 
24
Pros: 

 

 

Thin and fast neck, but not TOO thin

Compound radius fingerboard (12"-16")

Contoured heel

Lightweight

Seymour Duncan pickups

Original Floyd Rose

Dunlop strap locks

Cons: 

This was a Sweetwater Sound demo model, so it had a few issues that I won't hold against it, like a chip in the finish on back of the upper cutaway, a groove in one of the frets, and the tone knob was really stiff... The frets and knob are all good now though.

I know these are supposed to be jumbo frets, I don't think they're 6100's though, have 6100 on my Warmoth neck and these Jackson frets feel wider and flatter.

Tired old 59/JB combo... I like the JB, but they should change it up a bit.

Off centered dot inlays... Jackson's should have sharkfin inlays, and sharkfin inlays ONLY

The only REAL con is that you could stick a credit card between the neck and pocket down on the lower cutaway side, not snug at all.

Summary: 

This guitar is a player. Made in Fender's Mexican facrtory.

The neck is thin and fast, not too thin though, it's a Jackson neck. I like the oil finish, and the compound radius, and prefer the wider fingerboard, though I've been told the fingerboard on the DK2 isn't much wider than the Ibanez I recently reviewed, as much so as the compound radius just makes it more comfy to chord on the first several frets. Where the neck loses points with me is the frets themselves... These don't feel like 6100 jumbo's, they feel wider and flatter, I have 6100's on my Warmoth neck and they feel nothing alike, I can't get my fingers under the strings as much as I would like for bends, I wouldn't call it a fretless wonder though. I prefer the frets on the Ibanez Premium (They are not Dunlop though), but overall the Jackson neck wins. I would have also preferred Jackson use the sharkfin inlays, it's a Jackson!!! I also like the addition of a contoured heel. 9 out of 10

Fit and finish, again a point loss. The finish is beautiful, the quilt is stunning, and it doesn't feel cheap. However, the neck pocket is not as snug as it should be, I didn't notice this problem on the store models, but I could probably slide a credit card in between the pocket and heel on the lower cutaway side. In contrast, the Ibanez Premium, roughly the same price (technically I paid less for the Ibanez), is a very snug fit. Personally I don't care about this issue, but it is a flaw. 8 out of 10

The Floyd.... Ahhhh yes, the Floyd. The Floyd Rose was the reason I opted for the Ibanez, as all the models of Jacksons had wobbly Floyd arms, this is my pet peeve, and a big enough issue for me to have passed on the guitar. I suspect that since this Jackson in particular was a Sweetwater demo model, they have tweaked it a bit. I bought this guitar assuming I'd replace the the OEM Floyd with a German made unit which is far superior... No need! In store, and in general, I find/found that the Ibanez Edge tremolo have a fluidity that the OEM Original Floyd Rose doesn't typically have, and I opted for the Ibanez based on that. However, had this particular DK2 been among those I tried in store, I'd have bought this instead of the Ibanez, THAT day, I still love the Ibanez Premium, and would have bought one eventually. The Floyd on this guitar DK2 is flawless, the fine tuners turn easily, the arm isn't the least bit wobbly, and it's a real joy to play with, real springy, trills for days when you want it, and stays in tune, I prefer it over the Edge Zero 2, but unfortunately I know it's a rare gem, in my experience, and can't say I would expect another to play as well, I mean I was 0-10 at Guitar Center trying out the Floyd's on Jackson Pro Series and Charvel San Dimas/So Cal guitars, either too stiff with wobbly arms or just wobbly arms, in contrast the Edge Zero 2's were flawless on the 5 that I played. But since I'm rating MY guitar... 10 out of 10

Pickups... I like the 59/JB combo, but find it a bit tired. Personally, I didn't care for the JB in this guitar, it sounded very compressed, very nasally, it must have been the pickup itself because that is so not a JB characteristic, as it is a very spongy and airy pickup, and sounded as such among the in store DK2's I tried. The 59 is still there, and sounds great, but for aesthetic reasons it may be replaced. The zebra colored pickups work well with the body finish color, for some reason. I like that Jackson went with quality and well known aftermarket pickups, unlike Ibanez, whom had DiMarzio make a special pickup set for the Premiums that were a mix between this and that pickup but not as good as either one alone. Like the Floyd rating, this is based on THIS guitar... 6 out of 10 stock... 10 out of 10 if based on the replacement Duncan PATB-3 pickup.

All in all, this guitar I have to say is a solid 5, when you take into account price, parts, playability, sound, to me it's a lot of bang for the buck, with the only real flaw being the neck pocket.

Overall Rating: 
5

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