Peavey Special 130 – Solo Series

My vintage Peavey bug is getting worse… but this amp kicks all sorts of ass. Honest.

If you’re a regular reader of guitarnerd, you may have noticed it’s been pretty quiet here for a while. Family matters took precedence over guitar matters so I was preoccupied. In the middle of all this, I managed to pick up this gem on eBay, not far from where I live. It’s an ’82 Peavey Special 130 – Solo Series.

It’s the big brother to my ’82 Peavey Bandit. The Special is pretty much the same amp, but pumps out 130 watts of pure power. This amp is INSANELY loud. Like… ‘turn the volume past 3 and your vision starts to blur’ loud.

The only real difference I can see is that the mid knob has been split into 2, so there’s a low mid & high mid control which I love as it’s the same set up that’s on my beloved Gallien Krueger 800RB bass head. Oh, and this amp has speaker outs. So I can turn up to a gig, pop this on someone’s quadbox and unleash seven types of kick ass onto the crowd. Let someone else do the lugging…

When I bought the amp, the owner mentioned that the lead channel and the reverb didn’t work, but he’d never bothered to get it fixed. The lead channel is the channel that I play through on these amps, as you can get a great sound by juggling the pre/saturation/post controls, while the normal channel just has ‘level, which is fine for clean sounds but not much else. For the $150 I paid for this amp, I thought it was worth getting it and sorting it out later. Plus I know how rock solid these amps are, so anything wrong would be an easy fix.

Well… the fix was a lot easier than I thought. When I got the amp home, I pulled out the footswitch and noticed that the plug had been badly repaired by a past owner and it obviously didn’t work. I plugged in the footswitch from my Bandit, hit both buttons and bingo… the lead channel and reverb sprang into life, probably for the first time in 15 years.

The reverb is definitely more ‘drippy’ than my Bandit. I’m not sure why… but I really like it. It’s a very authentic surf sound, and will sit perfectly in my surf band. My Mesa Boogie Mark 1 has now been retired for a while.

So, you’re probably wondering why I own 2 amps that are basically the same? Well, the idea came from the movie ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World’. The movie was ok, but what really got me was that Scott was playing through what looked like a wall of vintage Peavey amps slaved together.

I thought this looked goddamn cool. So when this Peavey Special came up, I thought I could get my own mini Peavey stack going. Some other pluses… apart from looking goddamn cool, was that I could fit both amps into my tiny car, they will never break down (unlike my frikken’ Marshall & Wasp tube amps), they sound great and finally… I can play them in stereo. That’s right, I’m thinking of doing a John Reis (Hot Snakes guitarist) and have two amps with 2 sounds on stage. That way I can get the single coil, reverby ‘clang’ I love from the Bandit combined with the massive grunt of Special and my array of pedals screaming through it. Should sound pretty epic. That’s the theory anyway. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

Oh, and the best thing? Both these amps combined cost less than a typical boutique fuzz pedal. Peavey rules. I’m actually thinking of finding a tiny 10 watt Solo Series Peavey Backstage amp to sit on top of this stack of epicness so I can get a tiny, lo fi sound to flip between mid song.

I know, I know… genius.