Which is the best guitar among 3500

Test: Eich GT-3500 Head & G212W Cabinet

by Nils Finkeisen,
(Image: Dieter Stork)

Traditional purism does not seem to be in demand with current guitar amplifiers and only very rarely does a modern non-master volume rock amplifier see the light of day these days. The Eich GT-3500 is such an exception.

Of course, there are reissues of amplifiers from the fifties, sixties and seventies from the big names in our industry like a dime a dozen. Only a completely new development with a modern paintwork has been a rarity since the two-thousanders. Strictly speaking, the basis on which Thomas Eich developed his amplifier is not entirely new either, because Thomas was the product designer for THC ("totally hand-crafted" - not tetrahydrocanabinol!) Amplifiers at the time and already designed similar amplifiers back then Amps developed to market maturity. Now Mr. Eich is manufacturing very self-confidently under his own name and with - according to his statement - a somewhat improved recipe, his modern purist. Et voilà, it became the GT-3500.

PROCESSING, LOOK AND CONTROLS

The new product range of Eich electric guitar amplifiers and thus our test candidate is presented in charming white Tolex with black "racing stripes".

The cover fabric on the top, as well as the 2 × 12 box available to us for testing, is unfortunately not applied very cleanly, here and there a small air bubble has formed between the tolex and the wood of the housing. This is not a serious defect, but shouldn't happen in this price range. Otherwise, the processing of both products is at a high level. Nothing wobbles, the potentiometer axes turn neatly with no unwanted mechanical play, the jack sockets are absolutely tight, the gap is perfectly maintained and all screws are hand-tightened so that nothing rattles.

Such perfect workmanship as we find it with the Eich products would supposedly be typically German, but unfortunately it is actually a rarity. What is also very positive, in addition to the meticulous workmanship, is the amazingly back-friendly weight of the box - after all, an oversized 2 × 12 - and also of the top.

Thomas Eich has apparently paid close attention to the wood used for the housing and thus torn out a few kilograms. With many other manufacturers, such a measure would unfortunately have been neglected for cost reasons and comparable products therefore almost always weigh two or three kilos more.

At first I guessed it was a light pine tree, but Thomas told me on the phone that it was partly multi-layered poplar - an extremely good and contemporary choice, I think. The actual structure of the GT-3500 is a relatively simple amplifier. A single channel, no master volume, no insert path. Of course, we are given an input volume control, a typical, more British, three-band equalizer and a presence control for the negative feedback to shape the sounds.

(Image: Dieter Stork)

That is almost enough, as we will see in a moment, but the actually interesting and above all not quite common feature of the GT-3500 is on the back of the top. There are three switches here in order to be able to select the correct volume of the amplifier as precisely as possible and still achieve a suitable power stage compression - even at medium volumes: once a half power / full power switch to switch off two of the four 6V6 power amplifier tubes, this is accompanied by a triode / pentode switch and a class A / class A / B switch.

In half-power, triode, class A mode (all switches are switched up), a nominal power of only 9 watts is achieved. If you turn all three switches down and thus operate four power amplifier tubes in pentode mode with Class A / B operating point in the typical, modern push-pull principle, the GT-3500, as you can already deduce from the product name, delivers a whopping 35 watts . These three switches, which can be used in any switch position combination, do not technically replace a master volume potentiometer, but they help immensely in finding the right response of the amp at the desired volume.

SOUND

Since I still have good memories of the amplifiers designed by Thomas Eich in the early 2000s, I was not completely surprised at the first, quick test of the GT-3500. The amp sounds exactly as I hoped it would. I only know such a colorful, loud and rich overtone spectrum from very modern and extremely expensive high-gain amplifiers - but then the air is also really thin - a Larry can do that, a Bad Cat or Matchless almost and a really good Marshall 1959 Plexi, built by happy Brits in the sunshine on an early Friday afternoon, can do that too.

But none of the amps mentioned can do it as well as the Eich GT-3500 - if we want to stick to civil volumes. Of course, the calibration amplifier is very grateful to play and reacts extremely nuanced to the pickup selector switch, volume potentiometer and touch dynamics of the guitarist and is also very low in background noise.

The coordination of the 2 × 12 box with the amplifier was almost perfect. The Eich custom loudspeakers fit very well and support the basic sound character of the amp better than the Celestion Vintage 30, G12M Heritage or Jensen C12N types that I used for comparison.

The volume potentiometer makes it possible to set the point between clean and crunch very precisely. That sweet spot that many guitarists are looking for is exactly what the GT serves. Nothing more and nothing less, because the gain reserves are by no means sufficient to be able to play modern rock or even metal with classic pickups and the tuning of the power amplifier is not exactly dry and tight.

However, if exactly these varieties belong to the repertoire, then the Eich GT-3500 surprises with an unexpected good-naturedness. The box likes tube screamer, OCDs, clone clones and even the Fortin 33 Boost and can therefore be used as a pedal platform. However, it affects people for purposes other than those intended ...

(Image: Dieter Stork)

SUMMARY

With the Eich GT-3500 top part, Thomas Eich offers a recognizable character actor among the single-channel electric guitar amplifiers, which actually has no alternative on the market. You seldom hear such a lively, almost erratic overtone spectrum at a volume that is just as useful.

The amplifier is probably best in the studio, because this open sound is not only absolutely musical, but also highly pragmatic as a sound basis in front of the microphone. The GT-3500 is also very useful as a pedal platform, but that borders on blasphemy ...

PLUS

● Extremely open sounding all tube amplifier
● Overtone spectrum
● Dynamics and transparency of the sounds
● light weight

MINUS

● Tolex with slight defects

(published in Guitar & Bass 04/2020)

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