Egnater Tourmaster Half-Stack Bethesda MD

Egnater’s new Tourmaster amps aren’t of the modular variety, but with four completely independent channels, and a slew of thoughtful features, the Tourmaster aims to give you a ton of tonal flexibility in a bulletproof, gig-worthy package. Read on to know more about them.

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Egnater Tourmaster Half-Stack

Even with four channels, the Tourmaster amps are a cinch to dial in.

The Tourmaster amps sport tons of back-panel features.Amp designer Bruce Egnater has been in the biz for three decades now, and he is perhaps best known for the tone tweaker’s nirvana he created with his Egnater Modules— swappable tube preamps that plug directly into a special tube power-amp chassis. It’s a design that both Egnater and Randall (with its MTS series amps) still employ. Egnater’s new Tourmaster amps aren’t of the modular variety, but with four completely independent channels, and a slew of thoughtful features, the Tourmaster aims to give you a ton of tonal flexibility in a bulletproof, gig-worthy package. I tested both the 2x12 combo and 4x12 Tourmaster half-stack with a Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster, as well as a Gibson Les Paul and SG, and a PRS SC 245.

The imported Tourmaster is a handsome, well-constructed tone machine. The beige/black color scheme is sweet as hell, and the Tolex covering on the Baltic birch cabinet is flawless. The amp’s color scheme also carries over to the grille cloth, which, along with the Brit-styled white piping, is a nice touch. Included with the Tourmaster is a rugged six-button footswitch that controls channel switching as well as Reverb and Effects Loop on/off.

The hippest feature of the Tourmaster is the Power Grid wattage control. Basically, this function allows you to set the output wattage for each of the amp’s four channels. First, you decide if you want the amp’s max power at 100 watts or 50 watts via the Half-Power switch located next to the Power Grid. Set this switch to 100 watts, and you can choose between 100, 50, or 20 watts. Set it to 50 watts, and you can choose between 50, 25, or ten watts. 

Plugging in a Gibson SG, and dialing in a clean tone on the Tourmaster’s first channel, I was actually taken aback with how easy it was to pull crystalline tones from a humbucker-equipped guitar. Suffice to say that Strats and Teles yielded even more shimmering top-end detail, but the Tourmaster was able to deliver bold, fairly complex clean tones with every guitar I used. Even with the Gain control cranked, this channel stayed pretty darn clean unless I really dug in with a heavy attack. With the Voicing switch set to Classic, the tones are decidedly British, with a strong barky midrange and cantankerous top-end bite. Back off your picking attack, however, and the notes pop and ping with wonderful clarity. Lay into your guitar, and a subtle crunch enters the picture for a complex “in-between” tone.

Switching to Channel Two, the tonal character is a lot like Channel One, except it has a tad more delectable grind that ebbs and flows with your picking attack or your guitar’s volume setting. Again, these tones are more British than the typical Fender clean thing, as they exhibit a brutish yet musical toughness that still sports a healthy dynamic range—from Sticky Fingers-era Keef to a mildly overdriven chime akin to the Edge’s. While I preferred leaving the Voicing switch in Classic mode and using the Contour control to adjust the mids, I...

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