TC Electronic is packing the value and guitar amp sounds of the ‘60s in its Ampworx Vintage Series preamp pedals

TC Electronics
(Image credit: TC Electronics)

TC Electronic has unveiled a trio of preamp pedals that are inspired by the classic electric guitar tones of vintage Fender, Marshall and Vox tube amps. The Ampworx Vintage Series comprises the JIMS 45, Combo Deluxe ’65 and DC30, and there are no surprises for guessing which amps inform their design.

Each pedal in the Ampworx Vintage lineup is a two-channel affair with an amp-like control setup, six dials apiece. The dual-footswitch design sees one footswitch for selecting the channel, the other for an additional feature. On the Marshall-esque JIMS 45 and Vox-y DC30, those second footswitches activate a boost. On the Combo Deluxe ’65, it’s a four-second convolution reverb algorithm that is engineered to give you the sort of spring reverb splash you might find on a vintage Black Panel combo amp.

The pedals might be designed with ‘60s guitar tone in mind but out of the box you have all the mod cons; realistic cab sims, USB connectivity, and DI support by way of a 1/4” output. There is also a 1/4” headphones output.

Rather than using the overall output as a reference, the Danish guitar effects pedal specialist takes a component-based approach to modelling these old guitar amps. The result, they say, is more detailed. Michael Engel, product manager at TC Electronic, promises “genuine vintage tones” from a fuss-free, compact format.

TC Electronic

(Image credit: TC Electronic)

“The combination of accurate amp modeling and a cab sim IR that complements each amp perfectly was what allowed us to not only capture the sound of these classic amps, but also the ‘soul’, which makes a world of difference once you plug in your guitar and start playing,” he says. “As all guitarists will likely agree, these classic amps didn’t just help shaping the sound of the ‘60s but continued to do so for decades. And they still do!” 

The JIMS 45 is all about the power of the stack. It’s boost packs an extra 5dB of heat. Its channels are Normal and High, each with their own individual gain controls. Global controls include Bass, Middle and Treble, and output Level. It comes equipped with an official Celestion 4x12 G12M Creamback cab sim emulation.

TC Electronic

(Image credit: TC Electronic)

Sticking with classic British amp tones, though this time those associated with diamond-pattern grille cloth, the DC30 has Normal and Brilliant channels – like the UAFX Ruby – each again with their own gain controls. The EQ is handled by Bass, Treble and a Cut control to take some of the top-end out of the top-boosted tone. If the JIMS 45 is all about big Hendrix and Townshend energy, this is for the jangle and chime of the Beatles, the hot crunch of Brian May, yadda yadda yadda, and its cab sim is a Celestion 2x12 Alnico Blue.

TC Electronic

(Image credit: TC Electronic)

Last but by no means least, the Combo Deluxe ’65 – complete with witch’s hat-style knobs – offers Big F-style tones, honing in on the same models and year as the acclaimed UAFX Dream '65 pedal, but with a different twist. The EQ is expanded, with Bass, Middle and Treble controls. There is a control on the back of the pedal for adjusting the reverb’s tone and a Bright switch. Gain and Level dials allow you to dial in the right amount of heat. The cab sim is a Celestion 1x12 G12M Creamback.

The Ampworx pedals are priced at $149 / £129 each. 

Buy at Sweetwaterand Andertons. More info at TC Electronic

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.