Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

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Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

Postby Tim Hicks on Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:43 pm

I dont really buy new amps much and most of my assortment is classic 70's and 60's British amps from Vox, Selmer, Orange, WEM, Sound City etc. I had one new head I bought a while back, a modern Marshall JTM45 and this is OK but despite putting in much better valves it still sounded a little out of place next to the other sounds I was getting and I went in search of an alternative, preferably with KT66's or 6L6GCs.

I stumbled across Barry Woodhead's Tube Tone Engineering based in Kent and The Redneck 30 Amp in particular.
http://tube-tone-engineering.co.uk/index.html

I have to say I was a little sceptical at first as the price seemed incredibly reasonable for a hand built amp, especially compared to US imports from over the pond. As I was recently working not far from Barry, I called and went over to see Barry Woodhead to try the Redneck 30 and within 1/2 an hour I bought one. It is fantastic value. He does other valve amps that I guess would be described as small Marshall style (18 watts), a Dumble style amp and a tweed deluxe style combo but the Redneck 30 is essentially similar to a Dr Z design, the Route 66. It is a really simple single channel 32 watt amp with 2xKT66's, EF86, ECC83 and GZ34 rectifier with a baxendall tone stack. It can stay in clean warm Fender territory up to high volumes but some careful tuning in and out of the 2 tone controls can give much more edge to it along the lines of a Stones/Keef sound. I am still exploring the range of sounds, which is surprisingly complex for such a simple design with 1 channel and 3 knobs. The amp is very well made and the components are high quality, including UK made transformers.

I will post again once I have got more familar with the tonal range of the Redneck but I must say that for someone who rarely likes modern amps I think buying this amp is one of my best decisions. MIcro manufacturing by small UK makers is alive and kicking, with the likes of Barry Woodhead, other amp makers like Gartone and LazyJ and some excellent custom pickup makers, like Catswhiskers, Wizard etc. and best of all they are not all charging US boutique prices. Buying a first class British made amp for no more than the price of a big name amp made in China makes a huge amount of sense to me! I will not be ditching my old amps but this is undoubtedly a very worthy addition.
Tim Hicks
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Re: Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

Postby 52Boomer on Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:07 am

Very cool, and some GEC KT66s will up the price. :(
" Are you sure that you're not just imagining that ? "
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Re: Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

Postby Tim Hicks on Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:13 pm

It comes with JJ KT66's but it is worth bearing in mind that the amp is producing around 30-32 watts so it is not pushing the KT66s up to their limits. No doubt some NOS GECs would sound even better but the JJs are not being overworked and sound great.

As I understand it KT66s are designed to give 25watts so the JJs are not maxxed out in this amp.
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Re: Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

Postby trumpetvest on Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:35 pm

I have been using a Woodhead tmb head for about 6 months and have to say that I have been very very impressed with the build and tone, it really roars and has become my main gigging amp since!
Looks the part on top of my Marshall 2045 2 x 12 too!

Jay
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Re: Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

Postby Tim Hicks on Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:26 am

I have been so impressed with the Redneck 30 head that I have now ordered a Redneck 15, which is Tiube Tone's very nice Tweed Deluxe combo clone, right down to using the best available components. I tried the demo R15 and it really nails the classic Tweed Deluxe tones.
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Re: Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

Postby Tim Hicks on Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:11 am

I collected my Redneck 15 last Friday and I will post a more detailed review when I have got more familiar with it. It is a breathtakingly good 1959 Tweed Deluxe 5E3 style amp.

I asked Barry Woodhead to build in the modifications that Neil Young has to his favourite Tweed Deluxe so it can be run with 6v6 output tubes and the 5y3 rectifier at around 15 watts as per the original or it can be run with 6L6GCs and a GZ34 for around 20 watts. Either way it sounds exceptionally good and I am just starting to explore the tonal possibilities. I have never had the opportunity to try a real Tweed Deluxe as they are not common in the UK but it is a revelation that so many different tones and dynamics can be achieved with such a seemingly simple design.
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Re: Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

Postby Tim Hicks on Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:44 pm

I had the opportunity to make a direct comparison of two Tweed Deluxe based amps, my Redneck 15/20 and an new LazyJ with an extension cab.

Both were fitted with 6L6GC's and GZ34 but both can run on the original Tweed Deluxe configuration of 6V6's and 5Y3. The LazyJ had a 12AX7/ECC83 in first position and the Redneck 20 had the 12AY7 as per the original Tweed Deluxe. Cab build quality was similar but the LazyJ was more lacquered - to a nicotine brown colour. The speakers are different (see below) and the LazyJ had an optional volume attenuator fitted and a mid boost push-pull on the tone control. Detailed specs are on the respective websites.

We tried the LazyJ first which is fitted with the more efficient Celestion Blue speaker and it was much louder, not unlike a mini Fender Twin. i.e. it sounds nothing like a real Tweed Deluxe but it is a very very good amp nonetheless, with more clean rich headroom. The Redneck 20 is closer to the Tweed Deluxe as it has a Jensen P12 fitted so it has more twang at lower volumes and has a more Neil Young grunge sound at high volumes. Both have a remarkable breadth and depth or tone with a gorgeous shimmer at some settings. As far as I know either amp can be ordered with either speaker so it is a question of personal preference as to which works for you. I have since briefly heard a Redneck 20 with the Tayden Ace Alnico speaker option installed and that confirms the significant impact the choice of speakers has on these Tweed Deluxe type amps. The Tayden is very similar to the Celestion Blue in tone and loudness, perhaps very slightly darker sounding.

We then tried the Redneck 20 through the Celestion Blue extension cab and it sounded very very similar to the LazyJ, apart from differences attributable to the different Shuguang 6L6GCs I am using in my Redneck, which are a little brighter and edgier than the Harma valves in the LazyJ. I reckon that with the same valves in both it would have been very close indeed. The redneck is normally supplied with JJ valves which are closer to the Harma in warmth and smoothness. We didnt have time to start swapping valves in each amp.

The big problem with making a really direct comparison was that the owner of the LazyJ, who had most generously offered the opportunity to compare them, was unfortunately a big fan or reverb and pedals so that got in the way of a pure tonal comparison to some extent.

My overall conclusions:

1) The Redneck 20 is as good as the LazyJ which is twice the price. Both sound superb but the Redneck 20 wins on price
2) The LazyJ had a mid-boost push-pull on the tone control which is available as an option. This was moderately useful but in my view it probably not worth having
3) The Celestion Blue masks the authentic Tweed Deluxe sound and turns it into something like a "mini-Twin". This isnt a bad thing, its just very different. It gets much harder to get classic output distortion like the original Tweed Deluxe unless you go up to VERY LOUD so maybe that is where the volume attenuation option might be of some use?
4) Volume attenuation on the LazyJ seemed to be pointless to me. I understand it is offered on the Redneck 20 too but I wouldn't bother
5) Probably the ideal would be the Redneck 20/LazyJ with an extension cab so that the alternative speaker - Celestion/Tayden Alnico or a Jensen could be used for either the bigger clean sound of the 101db british style alnico when needed or the traditional Jensen sound when playing country twang or Neil young grunge
6) Like all Tweed Deluxes the relatively light pine construction of the cab is a fundamental living and breathing part of the sound in both amps
7) Both amp builders can be very proud of their very fine amps.
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Re: Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

Postby 59Bassman on Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:42 pm

Do you still feel this way now some time has passed??
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Re: Tube Tone Engineering - Woodhead and Redneck Amps

Postby Tim Hicks on Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:14 pm

Hi, I absolutely do still hold the same view and if anything indicates that view, it is that I have also acquired a Redneck 59'er combo which is an outstandingly good amp based very closely on the classic 59 Bassman.
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