Blackstar and Toby Lee aim to cover everything “from Buddy Holly to Metallica” with new St. James signature guitar amp

Blackstar has unveiled the St. James TL50 6L6 – a signature guitar amp crafted for rising electric guitar star Toby Lee.

Lee, who has been on the circuit for a few years now, has a well-established history with the British boutique amp specialist, with whom he partnered back in 2019 for a custom, red-finished version of its existing HT-20 MkII model.

Now, the two have teamed up for an amp head and accompanying cab – dubbed the TL212VOC – which retains the rock-ready red vibe of Lee’s previous custom Blackstar.

The amp itself is, for all intents and purposes, a personalized cosmetic revamp of Blackstar’s existing St. James 6L6 – found as part of an innovative collection of vintage-inspired tube ambs that were introduced as the lightest valve amps on the planet late last year.

Understandably, Lee said he “couldn’t be more excited or proud” about the TL50 6L6, which doubles down on the youngster’s penchant for vintage era tones and classic blues rock chops.

Lee’s enthusiasm for all things ‘60s is front and center in the aesthetics of the TL50 6L6, which pairs his favored red vinyl with a cream basket weave finish and cream chicken head control knobs.

Per Lee’s request, the amp itself is fitted with two 6L6 tubes – as opposed to the EL34s found on the St. James 50 EL34 amp head – which have been chosen to complement the 18-year-old’s overdriven sound.

Aside from that – and the appointment of Lee’s signature on the amp front – it looks to be a standard St. James 6L6, featuring a channel select switch, volume controls for each channel, a secondary gain parameter and a three-band EQ.

The facade also has room for a one-size-fits-all reverb knob – said to have “outstanding reverb capability across all volumes and channels” – as well as a familiar toggle switch flicking between 50W/SAG/2W power modes.

As for the 2x12” cab, two Celestion Zephyr speakers have been employed, though the head itself can serve as a standalone unit thanks to the built-in reactive load with Blackstar’s CabRig DSP technology.

Not only that, it also comes equipped with USB audio connectivity for pro-recording and an XLR DI for live use, both of which use the above-mentioned CabRig.

As was the case with the flagship St. James 6L6, though, it’s the sensationally light weight of Lee’s signature amp that will make this such a desirable amp. Sure, the lick of red paint and retro control knobs are a nice touch, but that 15lbs weight would be more than enough to convince most people.

“The amp is so versatile,” Lee said of his TL50 6L6. “I can play anything from Buddy Holly to Metallica which is important to me as I love experimenting with all types of sounds.”

“From the Sunday jam to performances with Joe Bonamassa, it’s been a wonderful journey watching Toby grow as a guitar player,” offered Blackstar’s Joel Richardson. “The TL50 6L6 has been a fun project to work on and Toby has been great to work with throughout. 

“The result is a stunning sounding and looking St. James head and cab that Toby makes sound amazing,” he went on. “Toby is an incredible talent and we are happy to welcome him into the Blackstar family.” 

The TL50 6L6 is available now for $1,699.

For more information, visit Blackstar.

It’s been a hectic year thus far for Blackstar, which has been busy boosting its Dept. 10 Amped family with the Amped 2 and Amped 3.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.