Introducing the All New Kendrick K-15 Combo Amp. Think of this amp as similar to the Kendrick K Spot, but with a slightly larger cabinet (23 W X 19 H X 10 D), a 15” Kendrick Yellowframe speaker (instead of the 12” Greenframe), E34L output tubes (instead of 6L6’s) and a Kendrick “GERALD-A” Output transformer (same one that was used on the Gerald Weber Signature Amp).
I played one only minutes ago and I can truly say it is an emotional experience playing it. I put the three control knobs (volume, treble and bass) about half-way up and used only a bit of the 3-knob reverb. When playing, I felt I was inside the note. The excitement level went through the roof when I went to my bridge pickup humbucker and started ripping out some licks from ZZ Top’s first album. Then I switched to neck pickup and rolled the volume on the guitar down just enough to emulate the output of a single coil pickup resulting in clean tones that were thick and chocolaty with just the right amount of shine on top. The Kendrick 15” Yellowframe speaker has very natural highs, smooth as silk yet shiny as glass, thanks to the smaller 1” voice coil not usually found in 15” speakers.
I am known for using a three-amp set-up, but if were only taking one amp to a gig, this one would be the one. It does a huge clean sound that is bigger than Dallas and yet the overdrive tone could be used as the definitive Texas Tone Del Maximo. And with the volume advanced to the higher settings, it doesn’t get any louder, you just get more compression. This means you can dial in just the right amount of overdrive and compression – throw those pedals away.
Let’s talk about the 3-knob, on-board all tube/spring reverb. I like to adjust the reverb to sound like a wooden dance hall. Turn the dwell control up all the way and the tone all the way down (this takes the highs off the reverb and the sound is totally “wooden building reverb” ); then turn the reverb up just a little at a time until you barely notice it. This will fatten the sound in an organic and natural way.
Here is the Guitar Player Magazine Review from February 2010
Aesthetically speaking, the K-15 is a stunner. The dark, sultry tweed is expertly applied to the light-as-hell and astoundingly constructed 100-year old antique pine cabinet. The “K” that adorns the front not only reeks bitchin’, it deflects laser beam highs away from someone sitting right in front of your amp—killer looking and functional. Awesome. Inside the triple chrome plated steel chassis is a über-tidy hand-wired circuit and on the inside of the cabinet is a glossy stainless steel second chassis that houses the K-15’s reverb circuit and controls. As with the amp chassis, the construction and attention to detail is unequivocally top notch.
Using various Fender Telecasters and Gibson SGs, I put the K-15 through its paces. At home in a low volume setting, the Kendrick is a blast. The clean tones pop out of the speaker with a rich, three-dimensional clarity that straddles the line between burnished, high-caloric tweed tones, and more slicing British textures. For my humbucker-equipped guitars I simply backed off the Bass control and inched the Treble knob up for husky, yet detailed clean tones that worked well for arpeggiated chord voicings and smoky, Wes-style octave soloing. With my Telecasters, I conjured a satisfying muscular twang from the K-15 that gave keening solos a meaty top-end sweetness and low-string single-note riffs an earthy growl. Not a glassy Bakersfield sting-machine by any means—the K-15 is about thickness. It also has the ability to sustain and sing when it’s running clean at barely above one on the Volume knob. Impressive.
Onstage, the K-15 starts grinding at around three on the Volume control, offering a gloriously touch-sensitive attack that tracks your picking dynamics impeccably. By backing off of my guitar’s Volume control I was able to clean up the tones nicely, but at times wished for a tad more ping from the notes rather than the slightly browner textures served up by the Kendrick’s tweed-like compression. This isn’t a criticism of the amp, merely a personal preference. Besides, once you turn the amp halfway up, you’re blissed-out in a fat-toned blues/rock fantasy land that begs you to play your best. Seriously. The K-15 yields inspirational amounts of “woman tone” thrust that begs you to take chorus after chorus, while the 15" speaker blasts sound like a sawed-off shotgun—way more than a single 12—so you’re able to be heard loud n’ proud. And all of this is before you even get to the K-15’s reverb, which is quite possibly the best going. With a full-sized Accutronics tank and Mix, Dwell, and Tone controls, you’re afforded almost every imaginable reverb texture—from subtle or extreme. Reaching back behind the amp isn’t always ideal onstage if you want to change things up once in a while, but it’s a small price to pay for reverb of this quality. When you consider the gushing, complex grind along with unparalleled reverb, construction, and sexy good looks, you’d be hard pressed to beat the K-15.