Review: EVH's 5150III 50-Watt 6L6 Head is the perfect gigging and studio amp for discriminating players

(Image credit: EVH)

The first 50-watt 5150III amplifier head that EVH introduced back in 2011 was a great amp for guitarists who play club gigs as it offered similar tones to its 100-watt big brother, but with lower headroom that enabled players to dial in tonal sweet spots at more club-friendly volume levels. There was one nagging problem, however - the shared volume and gain controls for channels 1 and 2 resulted in a noticeable level jump when switching between clean and crunch tones, making the amp more of a 2.5-channel head than a true 3-channel head in live performance situations. EVH fixed this with the 50-watt 5150III EL34 head, which features dual-concentric volume and gain knobs for channels 1 and 2 that provide each of those channels with fully independent gain and volume settings. 

Now EVH has issued a new version of the 50-watt 5150III with those features, but for guitarists who prefer the sound of the original version’s 6L6 tubes and also want the stage-worthy versatility of three truly independent channels.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.