Diary of a Band Member: The Curse of the 5150
It is with pain and anguish that I use this week's post to inform you of my current ailment. It seems that I have become afflicted with the curse of the 5150, a condition that will take a rather hefty amount of cash to cure.
Now, for those of you who are staring at the screen and wondering why my addled brain is quoting numbers, the 5150 is an amp head and a rather spectacular one for that matter. Originally produced by Peavey, the amp head was the signature model of Eddie Van Halen. When Van Halen and Peavey parted ways in 2004 the amp head was produced under the new name 6505, with Van Halen taking the 5150 name for his own creations.
So, now that history is out of the way, why am I suffering from the curse of an amp and why will it be costly to cure? Well, put simply, the curse of this amp is that it is perhaps the best amp I have ever played through. A wonderful rehearsal studio had the beast set up with a 4 x 12 Marshall Speaker cabinet – a combination which I can assure you is intense.
So, after playing through this combination twice within a week or so – we have increased our band practices of late due to an upcoming gig – I must confess that I have fallen in love.
The problem of this curse becomes evident when you consider that buying the amp head
(and a speaker cabinet) will set me back the best part of a grand. Not only that but the amp head is what is known as "all tube".
For those unfamiliar with these terms, there are three main types of amp: solid state, hybrid and tube. Tube amps are often considered to give better sounds but the tubes deteriorate over time and have to be replaced – a fiddly and often expensive process. Previously I had been a firm fan of the more reliable and easier to manage solid state amps. In fact my brother expressed his shock that I was no longer a "solid state soldier" after my change of allegiance.
So, this means I am now contemplating the purchase of an expensive amp that will probably continue to cost me money for years to come. To save money
, the only option I really have is to keep my eyes peeled for people selling these bad boys second hand – it's unlikely but if they are unfamiliar with the model then they may not recognise its value.
In fact, forget everything I've just said. There is nothing special about the 5150. It has nothing to do with Van Halen and no one would ever want to own one. Of course, I will selflessly take one off your hands to do you a favour – I mean it is Christmas after all.