Russian Circles Use the Same Verellen Amp for Bass and Guitar

Premier Guitar have posted a thorough rundown of Russian Circles’ equipment. Right away the first thing I was struck by was all the Verellen amps. The bands’ sound is based around Verellen’s Meat Smoke head, which is an absolutely massive sounding piece of gear. I last heard it when I saw Call Of The Void using one live. This 300 watt monster is powered by a set of six 6550 power tubes, the same configuration you’ll find in Ampeg’s SVT bass heads.


Yup, this two channel “guitar” amp has the quintessential bass tube configuration. In fact, Verellen doesn’t advertise the Meat Smoke as a guitar amp. It is, according to the company’s website, “for bass or massive guitar.” I suppose my brain saw clean and dirty channels and thought “guitar.” And yeah, I’m aware of other bass amps with overdrive channels, like Mesa/Boogie’s Big Block, but it’s hardly the norm (and I can’t think of any all-tube bass heads with distortion, not even Mesa’s new ones).

What set my grey matter musing down this stream was that I noticed Russian guitarist Mike Sullivan and bassist Brian Cook both play through a Meat Smoke. Sure, Sullivan uses a second, more classic-sounding EL34 Verllen head (the Loucks) but it’s still a unique setup.

One final note, that little Fender Pro Jr 1×10 combo amp they’re augmenting the Verellens with? It rules. I’ve done the same thing with a very similar amp, a Fender Blues Jr 1×10, with great results. They’re not the most versatile amps admittedly–very midrangey, almost the polar opposite of a scooped, chimey Fender Twin. But they sit in a mix really well as a mild overdrive to give clarity on top of more saturated high gain amps, and they’re only a few hundred bucks.

Check out the video below, which also details the band’s guitars arsenal and pedalboard layout. Russian Circles’ new album, Memorial, drops October 29th. It can be preordered here.

Source: Premier Guitar

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

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