The Gamma G50 is the newly rebranded Acoustic brand’s attempt to make a “clean canvas” style amp. So how does this work, and how does it sound? Today we go over all of the features.
GAMMA G50 Amplifier
The Gamma G50: A Legacy Of Tone
Last week we checked out the new GAMMA Guitar pedals lineup, where we briefly mentioned the GAMMA G50 amplifier. Today, we are going to take a good look at what makes this amp so special, and why it might be a great amp for gigging.
If you are unfamiliar with GAMMA, the brand is just Acoustic Control by another name. The problem with Acoustic Guitar amps, was the name, primarily. These are electric guitar amps, but the name implies that they are for acoustic guitars, and that causes some confusion.
Which makes sense, I mean, you look at an amp and it has a big label that says “Acoustic” on it. You would probably assume it may be an acoustic guitar amp. The name change was very needed, to avoid any confusion.
So the GAMMA moniker was created by the company to separate the electric guitar amps from the actual acoustic guitar amps and bass amps. Acoustic Control is mostly known for making the famous 360/361 bass amps that were popular in the 60’s and 70’s. Everyone from The Doors to Fleetwood Mac used these amps, as their tone was massive.
So GAMMA actually comes from a long line of fantastic solid state amplifiers. In fact, I used an Acoustic guitar amp head as a backup on tour for years! It certainly came in handy more than once, and I am happy to see them rebooted as GAMMA, with the same budget-friendly price tag.
The GAMMA G50 is quite unassuming at first glance, but it may just be the antithesis of other amps like the Line 6 Catalyst or BOSS Katana. While those are great solid state amps as well, and are popular for gigging, they both have on-board effects as their focus. You won’t find any effects on the G20 or G50 amps.
The BOSS Katana is widely popular, and I own one myself. You plug it up to your computer, and you can edit the effects however you want. This is the main appeal of those kinds of amps, you have everything all in one unit. That kind of setup is going to work for a lot of people, understandably.
But we also just recently talked about how some guitarists prefer “all analog” when it comes to guitar gear. While built-in effects are popular, I don’t see physical pedals and pedalboards dying out anytime soon. Sometimes a pedal offers an effect or sound that just cannot be replicated digitally, especially fuzz.
So for guitarists that are pedal-junkies, the GAMMA G50 might be right up your alley. The amp was designed from the ground up as a dedicated pedal platform, with the speaker being the main focus. Honestly, more companies should take note since the speaker matters, a LOT.
So what seemingly looks like a super-simple amplifier, is actually a little more complex than first impressions. Today we are going to take a look at all of the features, and the “guts” of this amp to see how it works. Let’s take a look!
GAMMA G50: Features And Specs
Taking a quick look at the G50, it looks very simple. In fact, it almost looks like a practice amp that you probably owned 20 years ago by Peavey or another similar brand. While it is simple, the GAMMA G50 is built that way on purpose.
But to be honest, it is nice to see this kind of layout after the last 5 years or so of amplifiers that I have reviewed. With amps like the Fender Mustang, that have a literal computer screen built-in, it can be a little daunting to new players. But while it may be complex to beginners, it sometimes comes off as “not enough” for experienced guitarists.
So how do you make everyone happy with an amp? Unfortunately, you can’t satisfy every player. But you can appeal to a to people that are into all-analog gear, and that’s exactly what the GAMMA G50 aims to do.
The G50 skips all of the effects, and keeps things simple and powerful. This not only keeps the budget down, but the entire idea is to have a “simple” amp. The G50 was designed starting with the speaker, to be a great platform for pedals.
- 50 watts
- All Analog
- Open Back Cabinet
- 4 Gain Stages: Clean, Blues, Rock, And Metal
- 12” Speaker With 40 OZ Magnet
- Bluetooth Input
- Headphone Jack
- 3 Band EQ Section
- 2 Channel Operation (Optional Latching Footswitch)
On paper, the GAMMA G50 seems like the most basic amp you can find on the market. But what is under the hood is what really makes it a game changer. Where it lacks in versatility, it makes up for in raw power and headroom.
Acoustic Control said that the GAMMA G50 was designed starting with the speaker, and this makes a lot of sense. The speaker can make or break an amp, and the 12” True Blue Speaker is in a class of its own.
GAMMA wanted to have a speaker that increased headroom, and use all 50 watts of power accordingly. To do this, a 40 ounce magnet was added, which is something I have never seen before on any other speaker. The open back cabinet lets the bass frequencies flow, instead of trapping it.
This means that the 50 watts that you would usually expect from a solid state amp is much louder than usual. The G50 uses all 50 watts, so it can keep up in a band situation. But the G50 is solid state, so all of that power and headroom stays CLEAN. The True Blue speaker is rated for 60 watts, in case of any overflow.
Which brings us to the two channel operation, which can be done with any single button footswitch. the first channel is straight power, without any “coloring” of the signal. This is a little different than most two channel amps, with one channel being just “open” for a pedal platform.
The second channel has 4 different tonal options, instead of just being a dirty channel. It has 4 different sounds to choose from, allowing you to stack gain however you want using pedals. The “Clean” channel is a lot like the first channel, with tons of headroom.
So if you wanted the GAMMA G50 to be just a pedal platform, you can keep it on the first channel and just use you pedals to make all of the tones. The signal remains clean even at high volumes, so you can use pedals for distortion that will cut through the mix on stage.
Likewise, you can use the second channel and add pedals to “stack gain”. This is a little more sophisticated, but adding gain on top of the “Blues” voicing can give you two different levels of dirt. You could also use the voicings for a “base” tone, and add more gain for solos.
The 4 different tones are no slouch, either. Each one has its own character, just featuring different levels of gain. So don’t think that the second channel is just a throwaway feature. The “Blues” selection in particular reacts well to your guitar’s volume knob.
Using a latch-style footswitch will allow you to switch between both channels; the clean pedal platform, and the voicing channel. This can give you a myriad of tones to choose from, and switching between the two can inspire all kinds of different sounds.
The only feature that I would criticize, is that the GAMMA G50 doesn’t have an FX loop. While a lot of guitarists use modulation pedals in front of the amp, I like to use chorus and delay in the loop for an overall “cleaner” sound. So, that’s a minor gripe, but something that can easily be worked around.
The idea to create an amp around a speaker, is a great idea. GAMMA really knocked it out of the park with this amp. The speaker allows you to have all the headroom that you will ever need. Having limited options for on-board tones, lets players focus on their pedal setup to drive the sound.
The True Blue Speaker
The single, most salient feature of the GAMMA Series is the custom-designed, premium True Blue speaker at its heart. The GAMMA G50 12″ speaker features a large, 40 oz. (1.3 kg) magnet, the largest in its class, for fast response and high headroom, combining efficiency with remarkable clarity.
Its surprisingly high maximum volume makes it not just capable as a band practice amp, but it also has what it takes to more than hold its own at gigs.
Designing the speaker first, and then building an amp around it, is a unique way to create an amp. You can buy the speaker by itself, and install it into your own amp. It might seem like a crazy idea, but then again, most great designs start that way!
The True Blue Speaker is very versatile, and can handle just about anything that you throw at it. The True Blue TB12G is equally at home in delivering aggressive high-gain distortion, transparent cleans or medium-gain distortion, and is a go-to driver for translating tones from your stomp boxes or multi-FX and modeling units.
So while the GAMMA G50 will undoubtedly appeal to pedal enthusiasts, it can also be used with a multi-effects unit like the Line 6 Helix as well. This isn’t to say that the G50 will work like an FRFR cabinet, though, as it will color your tone. I just wanted to point out that like the Katana, it is an option to be a “Power In” type of amp.
Bluetooth And Other Features
The other features are almost hidden and cluttered over to the right of the GAMMA G50, but they are actually pretty important. The headphone jack is an important feature these days, especially if you have kids! Quiet practice is becoming more and more important to players.
But so is Bluetooth, since so many of us like to jam along to either our own tracks, or backing tracks. The GAMMA G50 picks up your phone’s Bluetooth easily, so you can jam along. If you prefer an AUX connection, it has that too. You can use headphones with these features as well, and have a full-on silent jam session.
GAMMA G50 Amp: Wrapping Up…
The GAMMA G50 is a total surprise to me, and I’m sure a lot of other guitarists feel the same way. So many amps these days attempt to “do it all” when it comes to features and effects. If you started playing 20 years ago, then something like the G50 will feel very familiar.
The GAMMA is kind of a throwback in that sense. In the 90’s we were searching for these exact types of amps all the time in pawn shops, and music stores. We needed loud, dependable amps back then, that also took pedals really well. There were no mainstream “digital” amps.
So the G50 is not a new idea, but it is something that we haven’t seen in a long time. Having a solid amp that is made for driving your pedalboard is rare these days. The G50 is absolutely designed to be just that, and the True Blue Speaker takes it to the next level.
I would totally gig with this amp, and use it for gain stacking. Sure, there isn’t an FX loop, but that wouldn’t hold me back. In fact, it might inspire some new tones all together! Delay sounds much different in front of an amp, as opposed to the cleanliness of the FX loop.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my BOSS Katana with my entire little black heart. But there’s something about an old-school amp that doesn’t do anything but be LOUD. The Katana takes pedals well too, but the G50 is literally designed to be a pedal-friendly amp.
All in all, the GAMMA G50 is a powerhouse, meant to be the muscle behind your pedalboard. I think the GAMMA lineup should definitely expand beyond the 25 and 50 watt variants. I would love to see a 100 watt combo, maybe a 2×12? Make it happen GAMMA!