Recently in Test Animals (Artists) Category

Rusty Wright Shows Blackheart Some Love

RWBCheader.jpgYou guys remember the Rusty Wright Band, right? Here's the original story if you want to catch up. In short, The Rusty Wright band is a killer blues band out of Flint, Michigan. They play everywhere and have recently started using their Blackheart Amps for rehearsal and studio work.

Well, they just did a really nice podcast with Mike Yusi of UCRadio Podshow. He asked them about their gear and they had to mention their cool little Blackheart amps. Here's the bit about Blackheart:

Of course, you should check out the podcast in it's entirety. Click here for part one.

Thanks for the kind words, guys.

Hope you keep on playing your Blackheart and spreading the music!

Little Giant, meet Doron Zor


I love the smell of a fresh review in the morning. And this one is killer. It’s from a notable member of our Test Animal group, Doron Zor.

It covers the Little Giant Combo (BH5-112) from the musician’s perspective. Check out Doron’s site…one track will clue you in that he knows his stuff. His ability to blend into virtually any style says something about the versatility of this little combo. Without further ado…the writings of Doron Zor (the first bit reads like a haiku…awesome!):


The Little Giant.

By Doron Zor


One channel with a five-watt/three-watt selector.

Three-band EQ which allows easy manipulation of frequency.

The difference between the five and the three-watt feature makes all the difference in the world when you step into a studio situation.


Many players will agree with me on this. Who wouldn’t want to play an amp at bedroom volume and yet still get the same huge sound that you get when the amp is cranked? I had the pleasure of working with this amp in the studio the very same day I received it. I found that even at low volume i still had tons of “punch” to my sound. I used a Sennheiser e906 and Shure SM57. Very common and simple microphones.

(No EQ, compressors or any other modification was done to the sound).



Breakup Point

Due to the fact that the Little Giant is a Class-A amp. You can count on it to respond to your attack.  If you use humbuckers, most likely it will breakup faster than a guitar with single pickup configuration.



Sounds and Options

This amp has got to be the easiest plug-and-play amps I have ever used. Whether you play jazz, rock, funk, blues, smooth jazz or whatever you can come up with. You can just tweak the onboard EQ to suit your sound. Before I had the Little Giant I used pedals to get certain sounds. Now I find, I just need to move some buttons around and I can achieve a great tone.


Studio Situation

Recently I was hired for a smooth jazz project. The producer is a huge Lee Ritenour fan. You know…that big semi-hollow body sound with a slight overdrive. I had all my pedals ready to produce any sound that was required for the job, but never had a chance to use them. While firing the amp up and coming up with ideas for a solo. The producer turned to me and said, “That’s it! That’s the sound i am looking for”. Using an AKG 414 as the main mic, the amp delivered an amazing amount of response and feel.



During the course of my first two weeks with the Little Giant, I wanted to put the amp to the test. Throwing all kinds of pedals in front of it and stacking different layers. Just wanted to see when the amp will choke up. I laid a drum track, recorded a rock bass riff and pushed the amp with a BB preamp by Xotic pedals. When I stepped on the pedal using the 5-watt position, I noticed the amp still had some air. By adding a compressor to the chain, I was hit with the richest rock tone I heard in the longest time.


Thinking to myself…how to flip the mood and go for the extreme opposite??? BB King-style blues sound should do it, trusting the BB Preamp to deliver due to its name (Blues Breaker). Mind you, I had to change from the 5 to the 3-watt stage. The 3-watt on half volume is warmer than the 5-watt at the same volume stage. Rolling the gain down from the BB with a slight treble tweak really did sound very similar to the tone of the blues king himself.


Thank you for reading,

Doron Zor


Another email from one of Blackheart's "Test Animals" out in the field:


Hi Pyotr,

I bought my Little Giant Combo about a year ago, maybe 6 months ago I bought a Handsome Devil head so I could play live with a little more clean headroom.  I've been entirely impressed with both amplifiers, as were the studio engineers I worked with a few weeks ago.  After tweaking some effects and trying to come up with a good distorted sound through my pedal board and the Giant, I said "f*ck it" and just rolled everything to 10.

I'm sure you've heard plenty of stories with the same result, but the three of us were blown away at the gain and tone of my Fender TC-90 through the Giant.  Attached is the song I recorded that day, "Screaming."  Both guitar tracks are TC-90 through the Little Giant Combo, one is just guitar and amplifier, one I used a Boss DS2 for a slightly different distorted sound.

Here is another track, "Cheated."  We just finished a small whirlwind of shows (playing locally at least 2-3 times a month since January) and we'll be working out a playlist and deciding what to record for our first real release.

Feel free to send these tracks around to anybody who might possibly want to (or need to) hear them.

Thanks again for your feedback and help!


Ian Graham

Here's some background info on Ian's band, DeVille:

DeVille started with a visit to Craigslist. Guitarist Ian Graham wanted to play in a band again after a financially driven music hiatus (the Little Giant was his rescue). When he found GiGi Gordon looking for someone to play guitar and sing with, he took a chance. What came of their first meeting, originally meant to be a lesson/jam session, was the framework for two songs.

After a few weeks of writing, Ian and GiGi decided to take their songs and build a band around them. Another visit to Craigslist brought Trevor Thrift, a powerhouse drummer with a background in jazz and metal; further searching brought in Patrick "Patches" Mitchell, a punk/pop enthusiast, on bass.

The combination of Ian's blues and punk inspired guitar work, Trevor's hard-hitting drums, Pat's driving, melodic bass-playing and GiGi's soulful, personal vocals creates a powerpop sound that's simultaneously accessible and unique.

DeVille has been building its fanbase around the DC area and networking nationwide as they write and perform. They've recently released their debut single, "Screaming," and an EP is soon to follow.

Here's a video of DeVille playing "Cheated" live at the Rock n' Roll Hotel:

Blackheart Amps and British Pop-Punk


We recently received an email from Cherry Blossom Melodies, a pop-punk group out of Norwich, UK. By the way, they are looking for a drummer…Anyway, their bassist, Robb just got his hands on a Blackheart Little Giant head (BH5H). Here’s what he had to say:



Says on your website to send in stories and picture.
Right. Here’s the story…BLACKHEARTS RULE! (Not bad. eh? I’m thinking It’s a number one best seller)
I played my first show with my new little giant yesterday!
Man, what an amp! It really did me proud and suits the tone my bands is going for -

Here's a bit of background on the group, courtesy of bassist, Robb:

Okay a bit of info on the band and myself.. well where to start? The band's been going since late '07, and I joined in October '08. We've play a few tours up and down the UK and are hoping to hit Europe in late summer. We've play a handful of big shows support artists such as Kris Roe from the Ataris, and Mike TV - new up and coming UK pop band. but most of the shows our of our own back with a fairly good turn out! We racked up a few endorsments since we've been going, a few local music shops and JPS strings. We have received to label offers from indie labels within England but have declined both as neither suited what we're looking for in that sort of commitment.

As for myself, I've been playing guitar for 5 years and will be studing creative music at univestity in september. i've played in a handful of different bands over the years ranging from deathmetal to jazz, although cherry blossom melodies. my current project looks the most hopeful.

Thats about it really, not much else to it!


Here's a slice of video that Robb was nice enough to share:

We sure did enjoy that. Thanks for your support, Robb. Keep the stories coming!




We recently received an email from one of our best supporters, the Rusty Wright Band out of Flint, Michigan. They recently purchased two “Little Giant” stacks (BH5H head & BH112 cabinet) and found out that Blackheart amps can go from “practice amp” to “recording rig” in no time at all.

Here’s what they had to say:

Just had to touch base and tell you how much we love, love LOVE the “Little Giants” my husband and I bought recently.  I ordered a pair of them thinking they'd be cool to keep at home so we wouldn't have to unload our heavy road racks for band rehearsals. I enjoy mine so much I insisted on using it at our next show. The audio tech mic'd it up and it sounded fabulous.  Rusty likes his so much he re-cut the main guitar track on one of the songs from our upcoming CD - replacing a track he originally recorded using his Vox AC30.

Also, last week when Rusty went down to do a guitar session for another artist he took his Little Giant with him, along with some of his other "high end" amps. They set the Little Giant at 3 watts, put some nice mics on it and dialed it to 10 and it sounded big as a house. Al [Hurschman] was so impressed with the tone they used the Little Giant for the entire session.

We're both a couple of gear hounds and as far as we're concerned, these Little Giants were the best purchase of the year!  Congrats on coming up with such a great product in such a small package! 

I've attached an MP3 (
Lost Souls.mp3) of the song recorded with the Blackheart.  Hope you enjoy it. It’s called Lost Souls.

All the best from the cold Midwest,

Laurie LaCross-Wright (& Rusty Wright)
Rusty Wright Band
Flint, Michigan

Please check out the tune and hear for yourself why Blackheart amps are being used more and more every day by both touring and recording artists.

We Support Our Troops... And They Support Us

ely-martinez-cw4mullens_lrg.jpg"Hello there, Ladies and Gentlemen..." begins the text laid out over a photo of two of America's finest, stationed in Iraq, holding up Old Glory. "Be it known to all who view this... That this flag was proudly flown on March 11, 2008 by B Co. 603d Aviation Support Battallion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3d Infantry Division, on a combat mission over Baghdad, Iraq for Blackheart Amplifiers..."

From The Nascent Blackheart enthusiast...

kyle_nascent.jpgBreaking My Little Giant In...

Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I brought my Little Giant combo on stage for the first time at our CD Release party (only owned the amp for a few weeks...) and it did a fine job dishin' the rock out. It's a keeper for sure... Can't wait for the Killer Ant either...


Handsome Devil Test Animal Video

tomw_3.jpgHave a look and a listen as Test Animal Tom Watterson takes a stroll through tone town on one of the new Handsome Devil 15 combos. Tom thoughtfully tests out the HD's tonal palette, experimenting with various levels of drive, Pentode/Triode settings and a general display of tasteful knob twiddling. We appreciate Tom's earlier work on the Killer Ant and Little Giant, so we asked him to  lay his holy hands on the unholiest of our new amps. No, they're not shipping quite yet but the rest of us Animals are working overtime to get them to you. It's well worth the wait... promise.

In the meantime, sit back, pop open a bag of pork rinds and prepare to be amazed....

Take A Look At Me (And My Little Ant) Now...

watterson-bh1h.jpgOur ol' pal Tommy Watterson just wasn't happy being a radio star, he had to try and make it in Hollywood. So he fired up his video camera and filmed himself demoing our latest Blackheart amp, the less-than-1- watt BH1H "Killer Ant" head. The result? Not exactly an epic, being that it's about a tiny single-ended, Class A amp with one tube and a solid state rectifier in it, along with 4, 8 and 16 ohm jacks so you can power any cabinet in the land. But listen to (and watch) this short biopic and you'll see why Tom continues to ignore other amps and only uses Blackheart. Well, let's hope video doesn't kill this radio star, since we know there are more Blackheart products in the hopper.

Click here to see the BH1H on the silver screen.

The Czech's In The Tube

czechband.jpgCzech band Expedice Apalucha recently did a live internet broadcast in Prague and guitarist Petr Stepan brought his BH5-112 for the gig. Note, he's playing with a full band here. Sure, the BH5-112 (and BH5 head) is only 5 watts, but they're 5 watts that count. Petr and his Little Giant (pun intended) fared well, though the band's lead singer is covered here by a picture of our groovy little combo. Sorry buddy.

Click here to uhhh, hear Expedice Apalucha's "sad and lonely" tune...

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