Roadhouse USA location:
Rare, no longer being produced Roccaforte Custom 80 Hand-wired Plexi Tube Amp Head.
These amps are quite simply THE BEST Plexi type tones I have ever heard. Killer amp that was extremely well made. It is too bad they are not longer being produced because these amps were a tone machine.
I purchased this amp from a private party from an eBay listing. The amp was relisted at $1500 which is a steal considering they go for about a grand more new. The amp was an older one that was hand built by Doug Roccaforte himself. This was important to me and the level of detail in the hand wired point to point circuitry was impeccable. I would say the wiring quality to be up there with Harry Joyce / HiWatt amps.
First off I grew up in the 60’s and really started playing in the 70’s so I started with Fender’s and Marshall’s at that time. One of my favorite amps was my 74 100 Watt Marshall Super Lead. I thought I would never get rid of that amp. The Marshall I had as compared to the Roccaforte Custom 80 is night and day. The Marshall when overdriven was very inarticulate as compared to the C80. With the C80 you can hear the interaction of each string when overdriven. The Overdrive in the C80 was nowhere near as compressed and the attack of the C80 is amazing. The C80’s overall tone is very phat even with strats. The bottom end and the honk from the strat reminded me of Paige and Hendrix tune I grew up with. The Overdrive in the C80 isn’t a gritty Brit OD but bubbly glowing tone. Push C80 hard and it roars rather nicely and retains it responsiveness and is louder than my Marshall SL. The SL on the other hand got very thick and gritty. The Crunch tones with the SL were very good. The C80 didn’t have quite the Crunch but the pinch notes from the C80 are to die for. The C80 has the greatest chime I have ever heard from any Marshall amp. Now I know why so many professional musicians like the C80.
Special note: The Master Volume is the most usable I have ever experienced. I don’t think it’s possible to dial in a bad tone from this amp. The Marshall SL I had tended to over compress and wasn’t as big and open sounding as the C80.
The C80 EQ was also very good. When all tone pots are at the 12 O’Clock the amp had a very ballanced tone from highs to lows with the obvious mid focus that Marshall type amps are famous for.
Oh, the clean tones are big and warm and Phat. Even at lower levels the amp stays warm but open her up a bit and the C80 will surprise you.
The thing that really makes the Roccaforte Custom 80 stand out is the way it sound in a live band situation. When I use a full stack I can honestly cut the heads of the first 20 rows of people.
I plan to sell some of my other amps so I can purchase another 1 or 2 C80 and full stacks for each. This would yield the old school monster Marshallesk tone that Paige and Hendrix had back in the day.
They cost an arm and a leg.. But you get what you pay for. Because the amp is so articulate some players are intimidated by this as every little thing you do comes out. Really poor players seem to hate the amp while people that are more developed seem to love this amp.
These amps are build like a tank they come apart for servicing fairly easily which makes power tube changes a breeze.
If you like the old school vintage Brit rocker tones. You can’t do much better unless you have Doug custom build specialty amp for you. (He did one for me which is incredible). Hands down the best clean and overdriven tones I have found from all the Marshallesk amps I have tried.
SLO-100, Bogner XTC, Mesa, VHT.. not making it for you.. then its time to try out a Roccaforte C80. I own 3 different models and plan to purchase some of Doug’s other amps at some point.