World Music Nashville stocks all Nolatone Amps. Here is a little mini-review of Nolatone Amps by Larry Faragelli, owner of World Music Nashville.
"I've got a real weak spot for great sounding amps. Last week Nolatone amps builder Paul Sanders came into World Music Nashville with Restless Heart guitarist Greg Jennings to show off the new Nolatone Tango 22 amp. At first Greg plugged in a Nash 50's Strat and what a sweet swirling lush clean tone it had! Another tweek and we were into blues land big time. This amp sounded good at all levels and really responded well to the volume changes on the Strat. With the next tweek the amp starts rock'n with plenty of headroom to keep up with a full, roaring band. Already wanting this amp for myself, Greg then plugs in a PRS 245 and finishes up with a series of jazz and pop tunes where this amp sounded outstanding! Greg knocked it out of the ballpark and the amp did it's job. If all goes well we will have one here at the store within a week. Stop in for a listen."
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Nolatone Ampworks hand builds amplifiers one at a time using ultimate care and attention to detail to create an instrument that will last a lifetime and deliver tone and feel that will allow you to express yourself in ways you may never have thought possible! They do this by using only the highest quality parts, well though out circuit layouts, and impeccable build quality.
Some highlights of the quality you receive with a Nolatone Amplifier:
All these things make a difference alone, and together they make a HUGE difference!
Rather than regurgitating the traditional chassis/circuit layouts from popular amps of yesteryear, Nolatone puts a lot of though into how these layouts can be improved:
Paul locates transformers on opposite ends of the chassis for more direct access to lead connections, in addition creating better balance when carrying the amp. Signal leads and high voltage leads are very well isolated from each other. This minimizes noise and maximizes stability.
Nolatone designs its chassis using CAD software to optimize circuit layout.
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I designed the 22 Tango because I had a hard time finding an amp that can "get it's tone" in a smaller bar gig, but still have enough clean headroom to handle Johnny Cash and funk. Dial it up for a bit of overdrive with just the guitar, roll the volume off a bit for cleans, and put a couple of pedals in front and you've got a range from clean sparkle to as heavy as the pedal you hit it with.
It's a dual 6V6, tube rectified, using fixed bias and NO negative feedback. It's rated at, you guessed it, 22 watts, and it's an original design. The cabinet you see is 24" x 21" x 10/11" (it's slant front: 10" deep at top, 11" deep at base).
It is also available in a head, 1x12, 2x12 extension cabinet, and 2x12 combo format.
Custom Wound Mercury Magnetics transformers Minimum 1 watt resistors throughout Turret board construction using highest grade turret board material. Click here to learn about Turret board vs Point-to-point.
Why 6V6's? They have a beautiful round clean tone and sound great overdriven. AND, given the power range of these tubes, you can get "your tone" without getting banned from the establishment!
About the Transformers The transformers are the heart and soul of the amp and we use ONLY the best: Mercury Magnetics!
The power tranny is beefier than typically found in a 6V6 based amp delivering higher plate voltage and a surplus of headroom. This makes for a very lively feeling amp that doesn't squish out when cranked. Adding to this, the output tranny is where the cake is. It is quite oversized for the power rating is the result is a 6V6 amp that doesn't "give up" and squish out nearly as quickly as most. The result is exceptional punch and clarity (some use name "Hiwatt" in their description).
This package adds up to a gig ready tone monster that lets you cover everything from country and jazz all the way up to hard rock, and all with exceptional tone and NO compromises!
And because the 22 Tango uses the absolute minimum circuit to get the job done, the amp is very responsive to pick attack and guitar volume and tone controls as well, and nuances of different guitars and pickups come through clearly.
The CL-15 has been developed to deliver the magical bloom, chime, and grind of the coveted 15 watt British amps from the 60's in more abundance and with higher quality than the currently available offerings from "the big V". And, with our cosmetics and standard color scheme, we lend credence to the great nostalgic Watkins Dominator of the 50's:
All together this amplifier gives the ultimate in sweet chime and bloom with the great nuance and touch you get from a minimal circuit, but with plenty of "bullocks to the wall" grind at higher volume settings thanks to the juicy Mercury Magnetics trannys. All this in a package with exceptional versatility in spite of it's low knob count.
The June Bug is named after my daughter, Ava June, and they have a LOT in common. Sweet and mild, but with a wild side a mile wide!
The June Bug started out to be a Tweed Princeton type amp, but in true Nolatone form, she took on a life of her own! A high gain overdrive channel, several modifications to the power supply, and beefier Mercury output iron takes the June Bug to new and exciting places but with plenty of hip vintage vibe on tap.
Using two preamp tubes we've managed to craft a 2 channel amp with a clean channel that is very similar to a small tweed amp, but with more headroom, and an overdrive channel with, count 'em, THREE cascaded gain stages!
The two channels share the first preamp stage and the volume and tone controls. The overdrive channel also has a "sweet gain" and "hot gain" control. These level controls control the two extra gain stages in the OD channel. One is voiced for a rounder more vintage tone, and the other voiced for a hotter tone with more bite. These controls allow the player to dial in more of one or the other.
This baby sounds amazing with the gain cranked and the volume dialed back for bedroom volumes as well. One of the best we've heard. No power scaling required here. We like the bedroom sound on this amp better than the power scaled amps we've heard at similar levels.
One other swell feature: The convertible cabinet. It ships as a 1x10 with the speaker mounted on an adapter ring that can be unbolted, ring, speaker, and all, and replaced with a 12" speaker. This speaker change can make the amp usable even for smaller gigs!
This one is often overlooked, but we believe very important for long term reliability. Looking inside many an amp, vintage to the absolute top ranked boutique offerings of today all too often "blobby" solder joints can be seen.
Using too much solder can conceal potential problems with the joint. It's possible that years down the road, a contamination in a solder joint, or a cold solder joint will cause a problem, and this type of problem is notoriously difficult to track down, and that translates to EXPENSIVE to fix!
The US Navy Aviation community, where Paul was trained to solder, has strict requirements for soldering as the equipment is subjected to extreme conditions including vibration, high g-forces, salt water, etc. These requirements dictate that a proper solder joint should have enough but not too much solder. A lead should be visible on the turret with a concave flow of solder bonding it to the surface of the turret/pin/etc. This type of solder joint is far less likely to cause problems after leaving the builders bench.
There are a lot of claims out there of amps being "point-to-point" when in fact they are not true point to point. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just potentially confusing.
At Nolatone Ampworks we use BOTH techniques depending on the circuit design and in some cases, both in the same circuit! So what's the difference?
In a true point-to-point circuit, component leads are soldered directly to the tube sockets/pots/jacks/etc. Needed junctions between components are typically supplied via terminal strips. This provides the most direct, minimal path for signals to flow which is a very good thing. However, this technique becomes less practical the more complex the circuit gets. Point-to-point is ideal for minimalist circuits.
Turret board (as does eyelet board) construction involves soldering component leads to turrets (or eyelets) attached to a board to form the circuit. This should NOT be confused with PCB construction wherein the PCB has printed conductor runs and solder pads for gripping the components. In Nolatone's turret board circuits the component leads are wrapped around and soldered to the turrets providing an ultra secure and durable joint without the stray capacitance that can occur in PCB circuits.
From the turret board, leads are soldered to tube sockets, pots, jacks, etc. The length and dress of these leads is crucial to getting the best tone and stability. Nolatone's designs that use turret board construction use custom layouts to minimize lead length providing the shortest possible path for the signal to travel maximizing tone and stability.
Don't get hung up on an amp not being point to point. All our favorite vintage Fender and Marshall amps were based on turret/eyelet boards! It's a fine construction method, and in some cases, especially larger circuits, a superior method.
Nolatone Tango 22 112 Combo
"HI Stu, the amp arrived today, lo and behold, and I just ran it through a quick workout with a Tele and a Les Paul. A number of dual metaphors come to mind..."Beauty and the Beast", "The Power and the Glory", etc. Most dynamic amp I've played to date, I believe, in terms of digging in to get some grind and backing off for pristine, sparkly cleans. The overdrive tones are unbelievably chewy and lush. I'll probably never have an OD pedal hooked up to this amp. In fact, with the boost footswitch, I might never have to use a pedal with this amp at all unless I needed some modulation, perhaps. The "sag/firm" circuit is extremely effective and useful as well. Spectacular amp - thanks so much for turning me onto it!"
Mike A., Blacksburg, VA- - - Email received 11-7-2008
Stu, the Nolatone came in today. Great amp!!! I used it with my Colling I-35 and my new Grosh. Great with both guitars. Its one of those amps where you think you have reverb on all the time. It had great harmonics even in the small room I tested it. It has a huge variety of tones from really clean to out and out screaming.
This amp will be forcing the rest of the stable to remain sidelined for quite a while!!!
Amp will not be returning to Fat Sound.... ever ;-)
Kevin L., Castro Valley, CA- - - Email received 12-17-08
"What I love about the Junebug is I can get pretty loud rich cleans out of it if I want to use it for small jazz gigs, in addition to it having the wild side for getting those rock and nice overdrive tones. Very versatile and very nice sound, with great portability. I often change tube or speakers in amps I buy, and I haven't changed a thing in the June bug because it's working well. "
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