The Blackstar Artist Series Amps with Jared James Nichols

Blackstar is a relative newcomer to the storied British amp scene, but the builders in its Northhampton shop have been around for awhile. The company launched their first products in 2007. In less than a decade, they've amassed a loyal following of artists (Albert Hammond Jr., Warren Haynes, among others) and everyday rockers alike.

Part of that following is hard rocker Jared James Nichols, who just wrapped up a tour with Zakk Wylde after releasing his first full-length LP, Old Glory & the Wild Revival. He stopped in while on tour to lend his fierce chops and pure rock perspective on the Blackstar Artist 15 and 30 amps.

You can check out more of Jared James Nichols here or on his Facebook page.

Blackstar Artist 15 1x12" Combo

The Artist 15 sits in that sweet spot of being able do everything - British and American tones, practice or larger gigs - while still only clocking in at $600 to $800. It doesn't just do these things passably. It does them well.

Built around the two 6L6 tubes (or valve, if you're on the other side of the pond), this amp has tweakable parameters courtesy of its ISF switch to emphasize qualities associated with American tube overdrive or brighter British crunch. Its 15 watts are rounded out by two ECC83 tubes.

With two simple channels - clean and overdrive - this is not a complicated amp with endless knobs and EQ sections. The idea is to keep it pure, simple and dynamically responsive, with foot-switchable digital reverb and an effects loop for added flexibility. A master volume lets you calibrate to the room you're playing.

The combo weighs 40 lbs. (18 kg) for those who thinking about how they'll get it up and down their apartment stairwell.

Blackstar Artist 30 2x12" Combo

The Artist 30 combo offers essentially the same circuit design (2x6L6, 2xECC83) and the same ISF knob for dialing your tone in on the American/Brit spectrum, but with two 12" speakers and 30 watts of power.

It weighs 50 lbs. (22.5 kg) and goes for between $900 to $1,100.

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