Watch Phil X demo Joe Satriani’s new 3rd Power Dragon Amplifier – the Marshall-inspired fire-breather Satch will be taking on the road to play classic Van Halen tracks with Sammy Hagar

Phil X and Joe Satriani
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images; Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Phil X has offered us another clue into what Joe Satriani’s tone will sound like when he heads out with Sammy Hagar on next month’s Best Of All Worlds Summer Tour 2024. 

Prepping for a clinic hosted by Masters of Shred, the Bon Jovi lead guitarist plugged into 3rd Power’s Dragon, a tube amp head that was developed by Satch and Dylana Scott of the Nashville-based amp company, and Mr X duly pushed some air around the room. 

Masters of Shred captured the moment for its YouTube channel. There is not much talking. You won’t get an exhaustive run-through of the amp’s features, what the channels do, what’s under the hood. It is simply Phil X plugging in and turning up. But it has to be said this amp sounds incredible – which is good, because this is one amp that really has to.

When Satriani was confirmed for Sammy Hagar’s forthcoming Best Of All Worlds Summer Tour 2024, on which he will be playing classic Van Halen tracks in the company of VH alum Michael Anthony on bass guitar, Jason Bonham on drums, one of the big questions was how exactly Satch would replicate Eddie Van Halen’s godly electric guitar tone.

‼️Phil X try’s out Joe Satriani’s 3rd Power DRAGON 100 amp for the first time! 🤯🎸 | Nashville 6/5/24 - YouTube ‼️Phil X try’s out Joe Satriani’s 3rd Power DRAGON 100 amp for the first time! 🤯🎸 | Nashville 6/5/24 - YouTube
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Would he go with something off the shelf from EVH Gear’s range of guitar amps? Well, he considered it. He owns a couple and auditioned them. Speaking to Australian Musician in January, Satriani admitted that they were cool but he needed something else.

“If I was 20 years old and I was playing modern rock, those would be the best amps ever,” he said. “But I'm not, and I still wanna hear sort of the body of the guitar and I wanna hear a more dynamic mix.”

That got Satriani thinking. Maybe it would be best if he focused on which period of Eddie Van Halen’s tone he liked best, and then took it from there. That would be the ’86 era, and the 5150 tour. Hagar told him that Marshalls were still on Eddie’s backline then, and that would become the inspiration behind his new amp.

Those who have caught Satriani live in recent months, of course, will no doubt have heard the 3rd Power Dragon. It has been on his backline while he has been touring the States with Steve Vai

3rd Power Dragon Series

(Image credit: 3rd Power)

The Dragon Series is hand-wired in the USA, and has all kinds of tone-shaping features. There is a preamp processing section that sets the “overall temperament” of the amp – which is a great way of putting it – via a Plexi/Cascade switch. Plexi offers classic vintage Marshall-inspired sounds. Cascade mode is where you get that and a load more juiciness. 

There is a gain switch for toggling between rhythm tone crunch and “max gain” leads, and a 400HZ Bump Switch that can fatten your unwound treble strings without making your power chords sound tubby. 

Satch/Vai Tour 2024 Night 1 Recap in Orlando, FL - YouTube Satch/Vai Tour 2024 Night 1 Recap in Orlando, FL - YouTube
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“This is a profoundly useable feature for soloists and guitarists in general wanting to fatten up their guitar tone,” says 3rd Power. “The result is similar to adding a touch of outboard studio EQ and compression.”

There are dual tone stacks offering the choice between vintage JTM45 and JMP flavours, and there is a studio-grade mastering section to gussy up the tone before you send it to the cabinet. Judging by the look on Phil X’s face, it is one fun amplifier. You can find out more at 3rd Power, and subscribe to Masters Of Shred on YouTube.

The Best Of All Worlds Summer Tour 24 kicks off on on 13 July 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida. For dates and ticket details, head to Red Rocker.

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.