Dale Sherlock is a legendary figure in Australian amp building and the Fat Head is an icon – albeit a little-known-outside-of-Oz one - although hopefully that will change when word of the GRID 30 gets out, as you’ll soon see. Sherlock’s popular mods and MIDI upgrades are killer ways to add extra functionality to an amp, but part of the charm of his amps like the Fat Head is that much of this utility, experience and knowledge is built right into the amp.
The GRID 30 shares some DNA with the Fat Head in its medium and high gain tones, as well as elements of Sherlock’s Vintage Reverb 30’s clean sounds -all crafted together with plenty of programmability should you wish to use it. But don’t worry if you’re not into the whole MIDI thing: those features are there if you want to use them but at its heart this is simply a valve amp designed to do what valve amps do best, and if you’re a set-and forget player you’ll get as much out of this amp as a MIDIphile will. At its heart the GRID 30 has a 30 watt EL84 Class A power stage, switchable down to 15 watts so you can find your sound at more manageable volumes. There are also two selectable rectifiers: a tube rectifier for vintage sag and a silicon diode rectifier for modern punch. There are two channels, each with its own gain, volume and three-band EQ (Treble, Middle, Bass) controls. There are two selectable presence controls which give you different textures to each other; an effect mix control, independent volumes for each channel, two selectable master volumes that you can use however you like, selectable mid boosts, a Vintage/ Normal/ Modern selector switch for the dirty channel and a three-position tone switch for the clean channel.
LIVING OFF THE GRID
So how do you describe an amp that does so much in so few words? Okay. No matter how you dial the GRID 30, it feels like it’s designed specifically with that sound in mind. Want Dream Theatre prog power? AD/DC rhythm crunch? Steve Vai leads? Earthy-country twang? Scooped-mid death tone? This amp is so configurable that much like how an iPad ‘becomes’ the app you’re using, this amp becomes whatever you dial it to become. If you’re a player who likes to use pick attack and pickup selection to drive your sound, the GRID 30 will be right there with you. If you prefer something more saturated and compressed to even out legato techniques
Hits and Misses
Unbeatable tonal versatility
Surprisingly straightforward to use
Handy half power mode
Rear panel is difficult to access
• Speaker Impedence: 4, 8, 16 Ohms (switchable)
• Speaker Outputs: 2 in parallel
• Tubes: 5 x 12AX7, 4 x EL84, 1 x 5AR4