“I think it’s Leo [Fender]’s greatest creation,” says Joe Bonamassa about Fender’s legendary “high-powered” ’59 tweed Twin. The guitarist has teamed up with Fender to issue a faithful reissue of that “greatest creation,” the new ‘59 Twin-Amp JB Edition.
The 80-watt two-channel combo boasts a Fender 5F8A circuit, a hand-wired eyelet board and Fender vintage-style “yellow” paper-foil-resin tone capacitors. There also are four 6L6 power tubes and three 12AX7 preamp tubes — which provide, Bonamassa says, a little more “kick” — as well as two Celestion JB-85 signature speakers that are exclusive to the amp. But that said, according to Bonamassa, the greatest thing about the JB is that it sounds virtually identical to the original it’s based on. “It’s just new,” he stresses. “It’s not improved.”
And it would be near impossible to improve on this classic. “A lot of the sounds you equate with being iconic sounds — Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Robbie Robertson in The Last Waltz — that’s an 80-watt high-powered Twin,” he says. “It was like everyone’s secret weapon.”
But, he stresses, “With the JB I wasn’t trying to make an amp that would make you sound like anybody. I was just trying to make an amp that would be appealing for the same reasons the original high-powered Twin was appealing to those guys.”
As for what Bonamassa loves about the new reissue? “It’s the headroom and the ability to play dynamically,” he says. “From zero to five it’s clean, from five to seven it’s crunchy and from seven to 10 it just roars.”
“But is it for everybody?” Bonamassa asks with a laugh. “No — it’s fucking loud. But, in my opinion, it’s the epitome of amp building.”
The Fender ‘59 Twin-Amp JB Edition is available exclusively at jbonamassa.com