If you’re on the fence about picking one up, here are a few reasons that might push you over.
1. It has a great crunch/distortion tone
It just sounds really good. Many amps can get a great distorted tone, but not so many of this quality are at this price. The Club 40 has two different types of distortion. You can blend the two types of tubes for a more Marshall-y tone or a more American-style crunch. It can do everything from light crunch to high gain, and it does it all well.
2. It has a great clean tone
Ok, it’s not a Fender or a Vox, or whatever your favorite sparkly amp is. But, again, for the price, it has a great clean tone. At first, I was worried about the minimum tweaking capabilities on the clean channel (it only has a volume and a tone knob, and two flavors of clean engaged by a switch). But, I found that I didn’t miss anything. There is not a bad clean tone at any setting. I often find myself staying on the clean channel and using a few dirt pedals in front of it.
3. It has an emulated out
Most of us guitar players mic our amps live, but mics have their own set of problems. They have to be placed just right for optimal tone and they pick up all the noise on a loud stage. The Club 40 has an emulated out, which can send the amp’s sound out to the mixing board. It emulates the sound and feel of a mic’d speaker cabinet. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good. For me, the combination of this tone with my stage tone coming out of the speaker is great, generally better than when the amp is mic’d. I guess you could mic it as well and get even more variation to your sound, maybe even pan one to one side, the other to the other side. It can also be used to send your guitar to your favorite recording hardware, while keeping the speaker volume silent or low. I haven’t recorded with it yet, since I use Avid’s Eleven Rack for all my recordings.
4. It’s been road tested by many
Nothing is more telling of a product’s quality then the number of people buying the product. And, lots of people are buying the Blackstar Club 40. It’s in a price range that most can afford and the quality and reliability have been proven over the years.
5. It takes pedals well
As with most modern amps, the Club 40 has an effects loop for all your delays, reverbs, and chorus pedals. Most quality pedals you put in front of it, will sound great. I run a wah, octave pedal, a compressor, and a few overdrives into it. Sometimes i use my pedals for the crunch and distortion sounds, sometimes the amp’s dirty channel. This gives me a lot of options and levels of dirt.
Overall, I would recommend it to anyone who plays blues, rock, hard rock, metal, and even country or jazz. You can always add a couple of pedals if you need something more than the amp can produce on its own. You can also add an additional cabinet, for a more rounded sound, since the Club 40 has only one speaker. But, for the price and quality, there are few amps that can compare. It’s perfect for band rehearsals, small clubs, big clubs, and even big stadiums (if you’re so fortunate). These days, small amps are making their way to the big stages as well. Just mic it or run out of the emulated output into the million watt sound system at your local stadium.