So when a brand new model comes on to the market we naturally want to check it out. The HGTA-40 is a typical combo configuration with a line of controls along the top of the front panel above a traditional woven grill outlined with cream piping with the mains line and various connections to the rear. A strong leather carrying strap is secured to the top panel, while the (relatively heavy) unit sits on four solid, circular nylon feet. Fitted with three ECC83 valves and two EL43s and loaded with a Celestion Vintage 30 G12 speaker, the HGTA comes with two channels, one dedicated ‘clean’ channel with volume control, bass, treble and EQ controls, while the other is a drive channel which is split into two sub-channels. These two subchannels each have a gain control with channel 2 being a lower gain than channel 3. However, the controls are cascaded so the gain from channel 3 starts from wherever channel 2 is set. The shared EQ controls comprise contour, bass, middle, treble, overall reverb and masters 2 and 3 which are set in sync with the gain controls 2 and 3. The rear panel features speaker jacks and a two way footswitch for channel selection. There is also a buffered effects loop and two recording out jacks.
Plugging in the house GS1 with its single Seymour Duncan ‘Seth Lover’ humbucker, you immediately realise the potential of the HGTA. The Celestion Vintage 30 G12 delivers tones that are sweet and smooth with a depth and width to the sound that is pure valve territory – creamy, rich and full bodied. Adding reverb to the mix evokes the golden age of the valve combo and the amazing Belton’s Digilog unit provides a controlled and refined reverb that adds yet another extra dimension to this extraordinary sonic palette. Having the Master channels 2 and 3 in sync with the Gain channels 2 and 3 offers all manner of overdriven options that will keep you well and truly rooted to the blues. While following the clean route will take you someway into the sonic sensibilities of Burrell and Farlow. Realistically priced just shy of £500, this is an amp that you should plug into and play. You’ll be amazed.
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