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PRS Guitars Introduces HX Amplifiers Built with ‘Authentic Hendrix’ Touring Circuit

Jazzed Magazine • Gearcheck • June 24, 2021

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PRS Guitars is pleased to announce a new tone family to their lineup with PRS HX amps. While not an exacting historic reproduction of the amp model, PRS HX amps capture the circuit and the flexibility and power of late 60’s British-inspired Jimi Hendrix tone in a straightforward design.

A continuation of PRS’s popular HXDA amplifiers, PRS HX amps feature a refined control layout and a newly-documented Hendrix Touring Circuit. This circuit is heavily inspired by one of Hendrix’s personal amps purportedly used at Woodstock, which Paul Reed Smith and PRS Amp Designer Doug Sewell were able to study in 2018 with permission from Paul Allen and The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington and Janie Hendrix, the legendary guitarist’s sister, President & CEO of Experience Hendrix L.L.C. & Authentic Hendrix LLC and Founder of the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation.

“When the HXDA first came out, we were able to look at one of the amps used by the Allman Brothers for Live at the Fillmore. Now, we’ve had the opportunity to examine one of Hendrix’s touring amps and understand not just the circuit but the modifications and the parts choices that were made as Hendrix continued to use the amp,” said Paul Reed Smith. “These HX amps are intended to sound exactly the same as Hendrix’s touring rig, not look exactly the same. But we know this is hallowed ground. We feel privileged to reach back into history and bring something special into the current music landscape.”

The amp at the Museum of Pop Culture had been significantly modified by “Amp Doctor” Dave Weyer of West Coast Organ and Amp company. Not only did the amp need to work on American power and through the rigors of touring in the 1960’s, but Hendrix and Weyer were also dialing in Hendrix’s sound. Still, making an exact clone of the original was not possible or desired, as PRS Amp Designer Doug Sewell explains.

“This is not a painstakingly historical re-creation of the amplifier Hendrix used, but a snapshot in the development of a series of modified amps he came to use on tour and in the studio. Consideration was given to reliability, compatibility with his effects and guitars, the tones he achieved, and the feel and response of the amp,” said PRS Amp Designer Doug Sewell. “We have made an exhaustive search for all the critical parts that would enforce the original objectives Hendrix and the amp techs explored. We have married our part selection process with historical research and The Museum of Pop Culture amplifier to create an amp with the same great tone, feel, and reliability.”

PRS HX amps bring power and balance in both 100 and 50 watt formats. Designed to push the high-end so it is very clear, but not so much that it’s harsh, the PRS HX shines without glaring and allows for aggression that can be backed off for smooth, sweet tones. The PRS HX amps are also designed with internally bridged channels with individual volume controls. This eliminates the need for a jumper cable and allows players to more easily dial in their distortion level and tone through blending the lead and bass channels, bringing more modern convenience to the amp. PRS has also designed matching 2×12 and 4×12 cabinets for the HX Amp family. Loaded with modified Celestion G12H-75 Creamback speakers, these cabinets push and punch to complete the package.

Designing the PRS HX was not an exercise in over-engineering – it’s a fairly straightforward build with the right parts and circuit. We kept historic specs where it made sense, and we made substitutions based on availability, safety, and experience. In the end, I think we have made a great-sounding amplifier with exceptional build quality and enough power to blow your pantleg when you play it,” Paul Reed Smith.

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