Billy Gibbons teams with Magnatone for its smallest and lightest amp ever

“In keeping with Billy’s directive to ‘retain the gain or feel the pain’, this little gem of an amp delivers a big tone in a compact size,” the company says.

Billy Gibbons

Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Credit: Terry Wyatt/Getty

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Billy Gibbons has worked with Magnatone to develop the company’s smallest and lightest tube amp to date.

The new Baby M-80 is not a signature amp per se, but Magnatone has stated that the ZZ Top frontman’s input was crucial in its development.

“Gibbons worked with Magnatone to perfect this amp’s small size and gain structure,” says the amp-maker. “In keeping with Billy’s directive to ‘retain the gain or feel the pain,’ this little gem of an amp delivers a big tone in a compact size.”

The Baby M-80 uses a Marshall-inspired ‘British’ tube circuit, using a 3x 12AX7 preamp. However, Magnatone has saved some space in the power section, with a pair of miniature NOS 6AQ5 tubes. They’re about half the length and width of the traditional EL34 power tube, meaning the manufacturer can shrink the overall size and weight of the amp. Despite its size, it can still generate 12 watts of power.

Billy Gibbons
Credit: Magnatone

Meanwhile, it features Master, Bass, Treble and Gain controls, with a mini switch to engage a Hi or Lo gain mode and, surprisingly for such a small amp, it has a tube-buffered FX loop. In contrast, its tone sculpting controls are a bit more limited.

The Baby M-80 also lacks a dedicated mids control, but the amp’s designer – “long-time Magnatone engineer and tube amp guru” Obeid Kahn, has honed the 8-10 range on the bass control to force the mids to dip, so a more aggressive tone can be created should you choose.

The Baby M-80 will be available from January in a 1×10” combo and head and there’s also a matching 1×10” speaker cabinet. It’s priced at  $1,999 for the combo, $1,899 for the head and $1,149 for the cabinet.

Last month, meanwhile, Magnatone had announced that they were working on a signature amp with Slash. However, the guitarist also confirmed in a statement released to Guitar.com that he will in fact be continuing his existing relationship with Marshall.

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