Kustom Double Cross guitar amp head

Looks mean, is mean

When you think of Kustom amps, you might recall those sort-of-strange/sort-of-cool car seat-like padded jobs that Creedence Clearwater Revival used back in the late Sixties and early Seventies.

A lot has changed since then. Witness Kustom's newest all-tube, 100-watt guitar amp, the Double Cross. This is one tough hombre, and it laughs at the very idea of padding. The Double Cross platform consists of three distinctively voice channels: Rhythm, Lead I and Lead II. Each channel can be modified by users via four separate function switches located at the four end points of the "Cross" design on the control panel (smart, huh?). But these switches work as more than simple EQs; rather, they blend additional 12AX7 tube stages, allowing players to alter the gain/EQ/attack structure of their preamps.

In general, the two lead channels are voiced differently, with Lead I catering to a modern heavy tone, and Lead II crafted being a moretraditional, high-gain "cranked" sound. But although the Double Cross offers tremendous amounts of gain and distortion, it adds the extra tubes in a way that doesn't change the tonal dynamics or sacrifice the touch sensitivity, regardless of the amp's settings.

A speaker cabinet-emulated direct out, drawn from Kustom's Coupe Series amplifiers, has evolved into two signal options: (1) the tonal coloration provided by a slant-style 4 x 12, or (2) the distinct sound of a straight-style 4 x 12. Special features include an all-tube footswitchable effects loop, a 6L6/EL34 bias switch for changing output tube types, and a five-position footswitch that activates each channel, the boost function, and the effects loop.

In other words, this rig can blow the roof off most places. The Kustom Double Cross lists for $1,999.99 U.S., which doesn't make it the cheapest amp on the market. On the other hand, what price would you pay for power?