Tapping into the classic look of its colorful 1960s and ‘70s-era instrument amplifiers, Kustom has introduced the road-ready Coupe Series guitar amplifiers. The all-tube models, which are made in America using U.S. and imported parts, offer a fresh take on Kustom’s patented visual aesthetics while cranking out a variety of ballsy tube amp tones.
Kustom introduces two models at Winter NAMM: the ’36 Coupe and the ’72 Coupe. Noted amp guru James Brown, Kustom’s chief engineer, designed both models with the engineering team at Kustom’s Cincinnati headquarters. The new Coupes utilize 12AX7 preamp and 6L6 power tube platforms and are rated at 36 and 72 watts respectively. Both amps have two channels, each with a Volume control with pull-Bright function plus a Master Volume, allowing users to dial in everything from sparkling clean runs to stinging blues licks and fat, roaring rock sounds.
“The Coupe tube amps use a partially self-biased power amp design that allows the power tubes to subsidize a secondary fixed-bias scheme,” said Brown. “The result is an amplifier with the best of both worlds: self-biased reliability with the increased power of a fixed-bias design. Our decision to build in the United States with U.S. and imported parts allows us to utilize advantages from our current mass manufacturing processes while keeping the bulk of the handcrafted cabinetry, final assembly and quality assurance done locally in Cincinnati, Ohio. Using this method, we’re able to build amps with boutique amp quality at production amp prices.”
The Coupe’s EQ section provides Bass, Middle and Treble controls. Both models feature an Accutronics spring reverb unit with Intensity and Tone controls, a nod to the “old school” Kustom amps. The higher-powered ’72 Coupe also provides Kustom’s original Tremolo and Vibrato effects with Tremolo, Speed, and Vibrato controls. Channel-switching, effects and Master Volume Boost are all accessible using the Coupe’s complimentary footswitch.
Drawing further on its heritage, Kustom teamed up with U.S. speaker manufacturer Eminence® to produce an all-new line of speakers for the Coupe Series. The result is the KEI™ (Kustom-Eminence Integrated) guitar speaker, a modern interpretation of a vintage design featuring an aluminum dustcap. According to Brown, this exclusive design gives players a taste of the original vintage speaker’s unique tonal properties which were great for cleaner tones, while successfully handling more modern, higher gain sounds as well. The new “KEI Turbo12” speakers are used in both the ’36 Coupe (one 12-inch) and ’72 Coupe (two 12-inch) models.
Visually, the Coupe Series plays off the classic Kustom Tuck n’ Roll car upholstery vibe, but this time featuring the sparkly padded material on an integrated panel that runs along the amp’s upper, horizontal front edge. Each handcrafted cabinet is built using 100 percent Baltic Birch and features a vintage suitcase-style handle, premium tolex covering, Plexiglas control panel and authentic recreations of Kustom’s distinctive control knobs.
“The whole idea of the Coupe tube series was to take elements of the original Kustom products and include modern details that we’ve all become accustomed to, like channel switching, higher gain, effects loop and high-quality, double-sided printed circuit boards so every amp sounds the same. It was a lot of fun creating something new using the original Kustom designs, while being able to incorporate some fresh new ideas in the process,” said Brown.
“We’re excited to offer players an all-tube guitar amp that taps into Kustom’s heritage as one of America’s original rock n’ roll amplifiers,” said Mark Hunter, Kustom’s marketing manager. “The Coupes certainly have a distinctive look, but more importantly, they rock. Players seeking gutsy tube tones that are loaded with harmonic content will really appreciate the Kustom Coupes.”