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Hughes & Kettner

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You would have to reach far back in the history books to find a time when Germany wasn't considered to be one of the world's foremost countries in engineering prowess. When it comes to the music industry, Hughes & Kettner has been upholding that reputation with its amplifiers, cabinets and effects units since the company was founded in 1984.

Hughes & Kettner is a high-end supplier to guitar and bass players, offering a full range of combo amplifiers, amp heads and speaker cabinets with choices at a variety of power levels and feature sets. Believing firmly in the excellence of tubes, Hughes & Kettner has taken a pioneering stance with its designs to bring to market the most high-tech tube amps you'll find. These machines offer programmable heads and digital effects above and beyond what you'd find on most similar amplifiers.

The tube-oriented design philosophy of Hughes & Kettner doesn't end with the amplifier. Most of the effects pedals made by the company are also driven by tubes, which is a rarity among effects processors—especially stompbox-type units. With functions including reverb, overdrive and recording, these pedals are perfect for further enhancing the sound of a tube amp or even adding a tube-like quality to a solid-state amp's tone.

The flagship of the Hughes & Kettner lineup is the Coreblade amplifier, a beefy 100W head that's a favorite of Rush's Alex Lifeson. You've probably also heard one of these amps if you're a fan of Kiss, since Tommy Thayer relies on H&K hardware as well.

Hughes & Kettner makes great amps—the patronage of Lifeson and Thayer is proof enough of that. It's also set itself apart as an innovator in pedals by using tubes even in stompboxes. When German engineering and the almighty vacuum tube come together, the resulting products can only be a good thing for the world of music.