Review: ToneVille Broadway Guitar Amp — Video

In the boutique guitar amp world, a 20-watt combo with a single 12-inch speaker usually means either one of two things: it’s either based on one of Fender’s various iterations of their Deluxe model or it’s inspired by Marshall’s model 1973 combo.

The ToneVille Broadway takes a different approach by combining the best of both American and British circuits, providing a wider variety of tones than its streamlined control panel might initially suggest.

The end result is a blazing little powerhouse of an amp that’s equally at home in the studio where guitarists can take full advantage of its tonal versatility or on stage where its impressive volume output and authoritative voice are key.

FEATURES The ToneVille Broadway is driven by a pair of EL84 power tubes, three 12AX7 preamp tubes and a 5V4 NOS rectifier (a NOS Mullard GZ-34 is also available as an option). The circuit features hand-wired, high fidelity components and custom hand-wound transformers and is mounted in a custom-milled 1/8-inch anodized aluminum chassis. Front panel controls consist of preamp gain, bass, midrange and treble EQ, a three-way mid-rangevoice capacitor selector, and master volume with an attenuator accessible via its switchable on/off knob. There is also a pair of 1/4-inch inputs: normal and padded -10dB.

The speaker is a 12-inch, custom-voiced Celestion G12H 55hz with a ceramic magnet. A 1/4-inch speaker output jack and 4/8/16-ohm impedance switch are provided for connecting an extension cabinet. The combo’s cabinet is made from solid rock maple and black walnut, which is covered only with a thin but sturdy catalyzed lacquer finish to enhance the amp’s tone.

PERFORMANCE Most low-wattage 1x12 combos provide only a somewhat shallow window of clean headroom, but the ToneVille Broadway can produce immaculate clean tones at impressively loud stage volume levels. The hi-fi components play a crucial role in this, but at the same time it also delivers deliciously raunchy and musical distortion that doesn’t always come from such quality construction.

The three-way mid-range capacitor “ToneVille Knob” plays a key role in the Broadway’s tonal versatility. The switch basically provides mid boost, mid cut and normal settings. The mid boost setting is the most “British” personality and works very well with the preamp gain turned up past one o’clock. The mid cut setting is more “American” and provides detailed cleans with shimmering treble and percussive bass and delightfully nasty distorted tones. Channel switching isn’t necessary as long as your guitar has a volume knob.

MANUFACTURER ToneVille Amplifiers,

The three-position ToneVille Knob accesses a selection of capacitors that provide a variety of different mid-range voices.

A built-in attenuator is accessed by pulling out the master volume knob, allowing users to dial in harmonically rich power tube distortion at low volume levels.

The Bottom Line The ToneVille Broadway may have a simple, streamlined control panel, but it produces a surprisingly versatile variety of tones that are sure to please fans of American and British 1x12 combos alike.

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Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

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.