PRS loads authentic Hendrix tone into new HX guitar amps
Paul Reed Smith Guitars has tapped into the Woodstock spirit for two new rig additions to its HXDA family, the PRS HX100 and HX50 amplifiers, which are inspired by a newly documented Jimi Hendrix touring amp circuit.
"When the HXDA first came out, we were able to look at one of the amps used by the Allman Brothers for Live at the Fillmore," said Paul Reed Smith. "Now, we’ve had the opportunity to examine one of Hendrix’s touring amps and understand not just the circuit but the modifications and the parts choices that were made as Hendrix continued to use the amp. These HX amps are intended to sound exactly the same as Hendrix’s touring rig, not look exactly the same. But we know this is hallowed ground. We feel privileged to reach back into history and bring something special into the current music landscape."
Back in 2018, with the blessing of Janie Hendrix (Jimi's sister) and Paul Allen's Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, amp designer Doug Sewell and Paul Reed Smith were able to examine a 100-watt Marshall Super Lead amp head that's said to have been used by the guitar legend at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in August 1969.
That touring amp had been heavily modified by Dave Meyer (of West Coast Organ and Amp) so the Brit head could work on American power and toughened up for life on the road in the 1960s, but also, according to Meyer, for "compatibility with his effects and guitars, the tones he achieved, and the feel and response of the amp."
"We have made an exhaustive search for all the critical parts that would enforce the original objectives Hendrix and the amp techs explored," Meyer continued. "We have married our part selection process with historical research and The Museum of Pop Culture amplifier to create an amp with the same great tone, feel, and reliability."
PRS says that the HX amps have been designed to push the high end, aiming for clarity without being too harsh. They can rock an aggressive growl too, with players able to dial in distortion and tweak tone via the internally bridged lead and bass channels, but can also roll off for "smooth, sweet tones."
"Designing the PRS HX was not an exercise in over-engineering – it’s a fairly straightforward build with the right parts and circuit," added Paul Reed Smith. "We kept historic specs where it made sense, and we made substitutions based on availability, safety, and experience. In the end, I think we have made a great-sounding amplifier with exceptional build quality and enough power to blow your pantleg when you play it."
The PRS HX100 and HX50 amps are available with matching 2x12 and 4x12 cabinets sporting Celestion G12H-75 Creamback speakers, and go on sale this month. The HX100 is priced at US$3,150, the HX50 comes in at $2,900, the 2x12 cab is $899 and the 4x12 cab is $1,199. You can dive into the fascinating backstory in the video below.
Source: PRS Guitars