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Tom DeLonge Amp History (1992-Present)


Q182
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Aside from that, the amps went something like this:

Fender Princeton 2x10 Combo, 1992-1994 - Photo taken by Kerry Key:

tom-fender-princeton.jpg

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Ampeg VL-1002, 1995-summer 1996 - Note the customized 'blink' light plate.

DML Studios, 1995/1996:

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Two headed Ampeg rig, summer 1996-winter 1997 - The VL-1002 stayed in this rig, the top head is a VL-502, the 50 watt counterpart to the VL-1002 (also note the removal of the 'blink' light plate). His rig also included a Korg Toneworks Rackmount Tuner, a power conditioner, and BOSS NS-1 Noise Suppressor.

The Whiskey, 10/8/1996; photo by Kerry Key, annotated by daveyjones:

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Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Rackmount, January-October 1997 - This is the amp heard on all the 1997 Warped Tour videos. He used the same Korg tuner from his previous rig with this one:

Lake Tahoe, January 3rd, 1997

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Cal State Dominguez Hills, July '97 (note a different power conditioner being used)

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Up close

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Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier Chrome, October 1997-1999 - Acquired/possibly traded for during the Race Around Uranus Tour. Used in the Josie video and in the video for I Feel So by Box Car Racer in 2002. Tom later sold it in 2015.

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Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier Tan, 1999-2005 - The Triple Rectifier that everyone has heard. This one was also sold in 2015.

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Marshall JCM 900 Hi-Gain Dual Reverb, 1998-2000 - Used in conjunction with the Triple Rectifier for clean tones. Both amps were fed into an A/B/Y box for switching

Hollywood Palladium, 1998 - Taken by our own daveyjones!

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Warped Tour '99

tom-marshall-99.jpg

Vox AC30 & Fender Deluxe Reverb, 2009-Present 

blink-182-leeds-festival-2010-day-2-05.j

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6 hours ago, Andrew182 said:

Maybe not so important, but i believe that the combo amp was a Fender Princeton Chorus ( because of the red knobs and the little sign on the right side of the amp )

Yes sir, that is a Princeton Chorus. I will be sure to make that edit.

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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, knapton said:

Theres a lot missing. Pretty much all of the untitled era. He used some rackmount stuff, a marshall and a mesa one just like the enema days. 

This for the main amps only, not the entirety of each rig. He was still using the tan Triple Rec in the untitled era.

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9 minutes ago, Q182 said:

This for the main amps only, not the entirety of each rig. He was still using the tan Triple Rec in the untitled era.

Hmm you sure? I always thought he went away from the triple rec and jcm 900 during the untitled days and went to rack mount stuff

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On 8/15/2017 at 7:42 PM, daveyjones said:

@Q182 i've been playing around with my VL 1002 settings. this is the tone i've settled on that's the closest to the cheshire / uranus era in terms of the recordings. note: attenuator is on as i live in a triplex townhouse, so i can't blare it.

 

Awesome. I use the attenuator as well because I live with five other people in a suburban home. I can send you a pic of my settings if you would like.

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1 hour ago, Q182 said:

Awesome. I use the attenuator as well because I live with five other people in a suburban home (haha bad pun). I can send you a pic of my settings if you would like.

i did crank presence to the max on the attenuator, and it sounds better actually.

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  • 3 weeks later...

@Q182...some extra info on the VL-1002.

from lee jackson's webpage (since taken down):

Two completely discrete channels with dedicated tubes and circuits result in uncompromised sound.  Unlike so many other brands of amplifiers available, the VL-502 and 1002 have a clean channel that is pure sparkle, rather than a watered-down version of the overdrive side. The overdrive channel has three stages of gain, driven by. two gain controls. In fact there's so much gain, we had to put in a "red-line" area indicator to let you know when the preamp tubes are heavily compressing the signal. Three bands of wide-range EQ are supplemented by a 5 position midrange selector switch for total tone control. The midrange selector can change the voice of a guitar, thicken the sounds of a single-coil pickup, and clean up a muddy sounding humbucking pickup.

Reverb is separately controllable for each channel, giving you complete control over the six spring, long pan tube reverb. A footswitch option gives you remote control of the reverb effect. A power attenuator section allows all of the compression and life of high-volume sound settings at reduced volumes. New freedom for anyone who has ever had to sacrifice quality for quantity of sound.  Now you can overdrive the amp's tubes without overdriving your eardrums.

All VL Series amplifiers have a tube-driven effects loop to match signals with any and every effect on the market. An on/off switch controls the effects loop, which doubles as an always-on signal out for connections to external on-stage power amps or mixing boards. Speaker cabinet impedance matching is easily accomplished by setting a rear-panel switch to either 4, 8 or 16 ohms, depending on your cabinets.

To change the VL Series amplifiers from "American" to a more "European" sound, the output tubes can be changed. Either 6550 (the American sound) or EL34 (6CA7) tubes are acceptable, and biasing is accomplished with the flick of a rear-panel switch. No trips to the service center, no multimeters, and no guesswork required. Bias Select switch allows the unit to automatically accept EL34 or 6550 power tubes.

from an interview with lee, 2011:

"The first amp I designed was the VL-1001, a single channel amp with no reverb (I really do not like reverb in amps, they are great to play in your bedroom, but useless live). Spring reverbs are acoustic, so when your drummer starts beating his drums, you will find a lot of his sound coming through your amp, which is not desirable, I promise…

The next amp was the VL-1002. We found that players wanted at least two channels, and Ampeg was adamant that they wanted it to have reverb. So I worked on adding reverb without wrecking the original tone. Both the VL-1001 and VL-1002 were designed to be over the top in sound and gain, and that is why I designed the Tachometer setting on the Preamp and Gain controls. I wanted to design an amp that would work for every kind of musical expression and guitar type. If you had a low output guitar, you could turn the Preamp and Gain up, and if you had a high output guitar, you could trim them back. The concept of the two controls was to pre-set as much distortion as you wanted that would be immediately accessible when you needed it. The Preamp control set input sensitivity, which enabled you to set the clean/distortion threshold, allowing you to roll your guitar volume down and get the amp to cleanup, and roll it up for more distortion. Of course, if you peg this control it is hard to get the preamp to cleanup when you turn your guitar volume down. This control really sets the feel and touch of the amp, while the Gain control just gives you more of everything. Over the years I had discovered that tube types (6550, EL-34, 6L6 etc.) made such a huge difference in the sound of the amp that I made sure I designed transformers that would work with all of them. Back in the Metaltronix days I built the first amp to feature switchable bias, where you could change your tubes from EL-34s to 6550s with a click of a switch. I retained that feature in the VL series because I felt it was so useful.

Here’s a funny side story… After I finished the VL-1002, I get a call in my office from Jimmy Page. He had received his VL-1002 and loved it, but he said he had blown it up when he shifted the bias setting from 6550s to EL-34s.He thought the switch merely switched the sound of the amp from EL-34s to 6550s… When he switched the Bias switch with the 6550’s shipped with it to the EL-34 bias, which was much lower than the bias for 6550s, his amp went into thermal runaway and melted the output tubes. If the amp had been loaded with EL-34s, it would have just sounded really mussy instead of melting, because a high bias only brings down the current. I explained it to him and sent him a new amp. Duh!?

Because Ampeg gave me free reign to do anything I wanted, I bought the finest German components, including paper wrapped transformers. At the time everyone in the industry had moved to plastic bobbins, and I found out that a small company in Korea had bought a bunch of the old transformer winding machines. When I called them, they didn’t think I’d be interested because they only had the old machines, and I told them I’d be on the next available flight to Korea. They had exactly what I wanted – paper bobbins. It is funny how so many boutique amp companies have finally discovered that paper bobbins are the key to a great sound. I just figured it out 30 years earlier. I have always been known for building the highest quality products possible at an affordable price, and that is why I never produced small runs of amplifiers. It drives me nuts to see companies selling amps for thousands of dollars either because they are making small (expensive) production runs with a high parts cost, or they are making a ridiculous profit…You can make a high quality amp in large numbers if it is designed right, and with large production runs your parts costs are extremely low. None of our amps have ever sold for more than $1,500.00 retail, and they are easily built to the same standard as any $4,000 amp they have been compared to. The VL-Series comfortably fit that model, built with the best parts available and never more than $1,500. I was a working artist for many years and I know how important a buck is. My design philosophy has always been to look forward rather than back, learning new technologies and implementing them in my designs.

My latest is a Recording Preamp that is 100% analog and sounds amazing plugged directly into a recording board or DAW. If you are constantly thinking that the only product that is worth anything is 50 years old, you’re missing the chance to create new possibilities."

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/9/2017 at 4:36 PM, Q182 said:

Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Rackmount, Fall 1996-October 1997

interesting bit from fletcher of pennywise on this:

I have a Dual Rectifier and a VHT Pitbull. That’s in my rack, and when I’m travelling with my rack I do a left and right split on stage and in the PA, so it’s true stereo. A lot of guitar players never get that. I always tell them, first piece of advice, get two heads and a splitter. And I’ve even used a delay between the two in the past, and it really opens up the whole of the middle for the vocals and the kick and snare and bass. If you sit out front and listen to a true stereo guitar with two stereo heads, it’s huge. It’s way bigger than one mic. But a lot of the times when I’m on the road I’ll just use two Dual Rectifiers split, two full stacks. And it’s a lot of work to lug that stuff around, but either way, the Dual Rectifier, I would say, is my signature sound. I’ve been playing Boogies since our first recording on Epitaph, and that’s just the old school Dual Rectifier, one of the best amps I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s a very versatile amp, and durable. Y’know, it’s funny. I saved up and thought “I want to sound like Metallica,” so I went out and got a Mesa Boogie Studio 22 preamp and the Strategy 400 watt all tube stereo power amp, which was just insane. It cost me a lot of money. It cost $3500 bucks or something. I saved up all summer. And not to say that I’m that guy, but I’m pretty sure I turned the whole punk scene onto those Boogies. NOFX used it on their album, Bad Religion used it on their album, Down By Law used it on their album. After I recorded with it, Brett [Gurewitz, Bad Religion guitarist & Epitaph founder] was like, “Can I borrow it?” Then Eric Melvin from NOFX came down and he was really into it and he would up buying a Mark III. In the meantime I was trying to get sponsored by Boogie. I was like, “Hey look, you’ve got to hook up some punk bands.” And they were like, “Punk bands can’t afford our stuff. It’s too high end.” And I was like, “No, I’ve already got three bands that have bought it from you. Why don’t you give us some free stuff?” And they don’t give anybody free stuff. Maybe Metallica, I don’t know. But they’re one of those amp companies that really keeps it tight. And it’s hilarious because I look back on it and there was an article in a magazine entitled Boogie Man, and I just want to call them up and tell the old guy, “You know how many punk guys are using Rectifiers now? You owe me steak dinners for life!”

http://iheartguitarblog.com/2012/05/interview-pennywises-fletcher-dragge.html#sthash.OpvUGvKq.dpbs

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  • 5 months later...

So umm I've been wondering this for a while now... I know Blink got some road cases later in their career but, how did they fly their equipment all the way to Australia on the Good Times Tour when Tom had his Ampeg and whatever cab he used, did he go out and get cases for those too or did Pennywise give them free stuff? I imagine that going on a tour like this especially for Blink (who had been playing shows for 2 or 3 years) would not be very cheap. Maybe a stupid question but whatevs ;D

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  • 2 months later...
On 4/9/2018 at 1:39 AM, Andrew182 said:

So umm I've been wondering this for a while now... I know Blink got some road cases later in their career but, how did they fly their equipment all the way to Australia on the Good Times Tour when Tom had his Ampeg and whatever cab he used, did he go out and get cases for those too or did Pennywise give them free stuff? I imagine that going on a tour like this especially for Blink (who had been playing shows for 2 or 3 years) would not be very cheap. Maybe a stupid question but whatevs ;D

It's a valid question. Based on video from the era, his guitar (the sticker strat) and his Ampeg head were flown over and cabinets were rented. That's generally how it is for most bands that tour overseas. 

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  • 1 year later...

Just got my Ampeg VL-1002. Brought it over my buddy's and hooked it up to his Mesa 4x12 can. I'm now convinced along with @Q182 that Dude Ranch was recorded with the sticker strat and the Ampeg VL-1002.

 

Here's a tone test after we think we dialed it pretty close using "Dammit" on Dude Ranch. Signal chain is just my sticker strat on the DiMarzio X2N angled in the bridge straight to the Ampeg. No pedals or effects.

https://youtu.be/5UH5Euk8ovQ

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  • 5 months later...
  • 1 year later...
On 3/8/2021 at 5:09 PM, blinkstillrules said:

I wanna start the FAQ this year. Like a gear wiki. Guitars, amps.

I'll be happy to read it and hopefully I'll be of some help.

that fender amp with the red knobs? buddha fully dialed in

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