The MOSFET (Metal-Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) was used in attempts to produce tube-like clipping in some '80s Marshalls, Carvins, and other high-powered guitar amps. MOSFETs never sounded much like tubes, but when used correctly, they produced a pleasing, singing sustain all their own-not unlike that of a TS-9. In fact, Blackstone's compact black box sounds far better than most MOSFET guitar amps ever did. Although it probably won't replace the Class-A style sparkle of a Klon Centaur or Matchless Hotbox, it'll give you a thick, tubby, Marshall-like '80s howl that's certainly in the same league. The best Strat/Dimarzio tones on Zappa's Guitar and Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar come to mind when I use the Blackstone with the Alnico single coils on my G&L Legacy. The Blackstone's two-channel design will revamp your whole program. Each channel has a dedicated Drive and Level control. One footswitch changes channels, and one mechanically bypasses the pedal; so your clean, overdriven, and distorted tones are usually just one click away. This, along with a Mid- Cut control, internal Treble and Gain controls, settings for Hi- and Low-output pickups, and a reasonable price make the Blackstone a winner all around. ($225, www.mindspring.com/~j.blackstone/)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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