52 Amplifier Heads, week 35—Kustom Defender 5H

Last week’s wishlist amplifier head had two knobs. Minimalistic is cool. But maybe two knobs is one too many. What do you really need?! Volume and tubes. That’s all you need. If the amplifier head can be around $100 then your wallet is also happy. The Kustom Defender 5H ticks all those boxes by providing perhaps the most simplified amplifier head around. If my wife was picking the amplifier head for me, she’d pick this one.

But she’s not picking my first all-tube amplifier, so let’s investigate further!

  • 5 Watts
  • Volume knob
  • 1 x 12AX7 Preamp tube
  • 1 x EL84 Power tube
  • 4, 8 and 16 ohm speaker outputs
  • Single channel

This is seriously the most basic amplifier I’ve seen yet. Plug it in, turn it on and go for it. The gain does change as the volume is increased so it can go from clean to overdriven if you’re clever with your guitar and pickup/volume use. Add a pedal board and I’m sure you could have a great amount of fun. $100 … I will be tempted to try and pack one of these into my suitcase next time I’m travelling to the USA.

Of course you can’t just take my word for it. Take the word of other people instead! The Tone King did a demo video review and that seemed to go well. As he pointed out, this is the same price as a guitar pedal! Not a Tone King fan? Want a different opinion? Prefer for this article to have more than one referenced link? Well, you’re pushy! But I’m accommodating. Check out this other video review. Basic, but seriously … All tube and so cheap. I’m so tempted.

Disclaimer: I’ve not played through this head. I have not experienced the sound or tone of this head other than through video. That doesn’t matter. It looks awesome, it’s obviously played by winners and I want one.

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