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Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head  

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For the TubeMeister 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head, Mr. Hughes and Herr Kettner packed all their know-how and over a quarter of a century˜s passion for tube amps into a remarkably compact chassis. Thanks to... Click To Read More About This Product

Available 06-09-2017 You will not be charged until order ships. Email me when this is in stock.

Gear returned in mint condition. If you're looking for a virtually new instrument in possibly less-than-perfect packaging, this is a great value.
  • Includes 45-Day, No-Hassle Returns
  • Includes full manufacturer's warranty
Gear returned in great condition, with only minor signs of use, such as slight scuffs or pick marks. It looks and plays like new and may be considered an equivalent to display units found in retail stores.
  • Includes 45-Day, No-Hassle Returns
  • Includes full manufacturer's warranty
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For the TubeMeister 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head, Mr. Hughes and Herr Kettner packed all their know-how and over a quarter of a century˜s passion for tube amps into a remarkably compact chassis. Thanks to German engineering, it can go from a roar to a whisper, shaking the boards on stage, tingling spines in the studio, and raising goose-bumps in the still of night - even during silent recording.

Serving up three different sounds at the touch of a footswitch, the soulful Tube-Meister 18 is the go-to guitar amp for gigging. Its four-step power soak brings the sound of the big stage into small clubs and your own four walls. And courtesy of the built-in Red Box and silent recording capability, you can lay down pro-quality tracks at any time day or night.

  • Warm tube tone with phenomenal dynamic range that sweeps from sparkling clean to throaty crunch
  • Harmonically rich tube distortion and the gain reserves to go from edgy overdrive to soaring lead sounds
  • Re-voices LEAD to summon modern high-gain sound that pairs plenty of punch with endless sustain
  • Passive voicing section tweaked to evoke the best frequency response out of each channel
  • Preamp section sporting two 12AX7 tubes
  • Push-pull power amp that pumps out stage-approved 18 watts
  • Oversized transformers with tons of headroom
  • TSC-protected power amp featuring auto-bias and status LED
  • Footswitch connection enabling remote channel switching and BOOST actuation
  • Serial FX loop for adding effects-flavored spice to the sonic stew
  • Quad-stage power soak with silent recording capability
  • Balanced RED BOX OUT with authentic speaker emulation
  • Channels: 2
    Power: 18 watts
    Footswitch/Stageboard: FS-2 optional
    Protective Cover: Softbag included
    Dimensions: 356mm x 156mm x 150mm
    Weight: 5kg
One year warranty on solid state amps. 2 year warranty on tube amps.

Pro Coverage gives you added warranty protection for your new gear. Stepping in where the manufacturer's "normal wear and tear" coverage ends, our Pro Coverage program offers you upgraded coverage if your product ever fails Read More.

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  • Repair costs covered for up to three years from date of purchase
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  • Customer Reviews

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Hughes & KettnerTubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head

(based on 29 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars




of respondents would recommend this to a friend.


  • Excellent sound (5)
  • Portable (5)
  • Easy to use (4)
  • Good power output (3)
  • Warm / comfy (3)


No Cons

Best Uses

  • Performances (5)
  • Amateur recording (4)
  • Home studio (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (4)

Most Liked Positive Review


Great Amp -- (Jerry Garcia Tone in there)

This amp both looks and sounds great. I play a lot of Jerry Garcia/Grateful Dead music and occasionally gig so I normally use the clean channel with the gain rolled up. I have...Read complete review

This amp both looks and sounds great. I play a lot of Jerry Garcia/Grateful Dead music and occasionally gig so I normally use the clean channel with the gain rolled up. I have this paired with a JBL E-120 in a custom Baltic birch 1x12 cab. Really does a good job of getting into the Jerry Zone (Jerry used modified Fender Twin preamps with McIntosh power amps connected to E-120s for much of his career). The power soak function is really useful: 1 watt at home is plenty loud; 18 watts for gigging in bars is great. I have yet to mic through the PA or use the redbox DI function. The size, weight, and bag make the head highly portable -- which is helpful if you know how heavy an E-120 is! The only marks against the amp from me would be the lack of on-board reverb and the difference in volume between the clean and gain channel. The first problem I solved with a TC Electronics Hall of Fame mini reverb which works well. If you need reverb, factor the cost of a reverb pedal into the purchase price. As for volume discrepancy between channels, it's not really a problem, just a fact to consider. Even when just practicing the full 18 watts is desired to keep up with bass and drums to keep relatively clean tones. As a bonus, the blue led/plexi front just looks cool. I get many compliments whenever out in public with the amp.


Most Liked Negative Review


It is pretty, but...

I'm trying to find an alternate to my Fender Bassbreaker (er... another one as good) but am so far striking out. The cleans on this are smooth and gassy but the lightly...Read complete review

I'm trying to find an alternate to my Fender Bassbreaker (er... another one as good) but am so far striking out. The cleans on this are smooth and gassy but the lightly driven don't come close to useable (for me). It is a hard rock beast though with heavy crunch and devastating distortion but I always had to tweak the EQ a lot when switching between channels - that's a hassle - and I didn't like how the tone muddied up when I rolled of the guitar volume. The Bassbreaker with a Soul Food, Badbooty MXR through the front and delay in the loop creates godly tones from all genres... hard to beat.

Reviewed by 29 customers

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(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


Great Amp!

By Andrew Erickson

from Avon, IN

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

I have been in the market for a good lunch box head - the Tubemiester 18 delivers nicely. The clean channel is pristine at any volume (probably the best I've ever heard from a lunchbox). The lead channel is very versatile and the lead boost is over the top with gain. The EQ is very responsive and easy to dial in - really great for treble tones. My only issue with this amp is that the distortion is not vintage sounding to me (not like an old school Marshall or other classic tube amps). It's got a more modern sound (which is pretty much H&K's sound). All in all, it's probably the best amp head I'ved owned and the power soak is OUTSTANDING - great for all volumes. And hey this thing has pretty blue lights - can't go wrong with that!!

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


My favorite amp


from Denton, TX

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

I'm a guitar center employee in the guitar department and I had always seen this hughes and kettner head but never gave it a chance for some strange reason. I had to demo a guitar and I just picked this amp randomly, set the eq flat and slowly turned up the master. I immediately placed an order. Every one I've recommended it to loves it. The EQ is very responsive and boosts very nicely. You don't have to cut out any mids to get a tight bass. The clean can be very versatile depending on how you set the volume, gain, and wattage on the back to reduce headroom. The blue channel is good for anything from a light distortion to a pretty thick crunch. Great for classic rock or Block Party type sounds. The red channel is what sold me. Most lead boosts just make an amp louder and a little gainier. This one is an entirely different distortion. Half way gain already sounds like Rage Against the Machine. I compared it with the Mesa Mini Rec (awesome), the ENGL (pretty cool), and the DV Mark (nice clean), but none trumped this one as far as features and sound; especially for the price. It's dumb loud, drives a 110 - 412 no problem. If you're on the fence, buy it.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


Give this one a try! Just don't use with a G12T-75 speaker

By Michael Roe

from Dayton, OH

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

I have had this amp now for about 6 months. I first got it to downsize my rig( a Marshall JMP-1, DSL 100, and JCM 900 1960B cab). At the time if Marshall would have sold the DSL 15 head with an FX loop, I most likey would not have even tried this head out. I just tried this out on a whim at the local GC. At first glance it seemed pretty cool with two channels and a boost plus the all important FX loop. I was shocked how cool the blue lights were and , to be honest, that definitely helped on me liking this amp. I have had many of the low wattage amps in the past(Epi Valve JR-stock and modded, Blackstar, Jet City, etc). I just never seemed to find one that I liked. The main reason for that was the power amp stages of most of these heads use EL84 tubes which I haven't been a fan of. Years ago I even had a Mesa DC-3 and it too had EL84's in it and it plagued from the same old tone of all these EL84 amps- Flabby bottom end! So, back to the tubemeister! My first impression was, wow, much better bottom end then any other EL84 based amp. It was still their somewhat but I thought well maybe I can work with it. After getting it home and really trying it out, i paired it with my JCM 900 1960B. I was quite surprised how loud this was in 18 watt mode. It definitely could do the job in a live band situaution. After the short honeymoon stage, this amp never grew on me and I disliked the tone more and more. Not only was the typical EL84 tone annoying me but it just sounded harsh and brittle. I let the amp sit for months and even tried to sell it with no luck. Then recently I got called to duty for a project and the other guitar player only had a Marshall class 5 amp. So, I thought, oh well, the H & K would mix with his tone ok. I since sold my 4x12 so I went to GC and picked up a Egnater tweaker 1x12 with a G12H30. After pairing the Tubemeister up with this cab I was blown away how good this little monster could sound. With that tweaker cab this amp sounds soooooo much better. It lost the harshness and brittleness and the flabby bottom end was just about gone. Our first jam session was awesome. The next week we hooked up I brought a BBE Sonic Maximizer and put it in the loop. I am now in love with this monster of an amp. This little puppy now kicks some major mojo. I love the Celestion G12T-75 speakers with EL34 amps but with the Tubemeister it kills the tone. H & K should put a disclaimer sticker on the amp that reads, "Caution if you want this amp to sound good, Do Not Use A Celestion G12T-75 Equipped Speaker Cab". Oh, and BTW, the Marshall Class 5 with a TC electronic Nova Drive is an awesome pairing as well. The other guitar player had a bunch of different pedals trying to find the right one for his C5 and I loaned him my Nova Drive and I don't think I am going to get it back! Oh yeah, the Tubemeister doesn't need any pedals in front. As a matter of fact the clean sounds are so good that I don't use any effects with it. It has a very warm, swirly, creamy clean tone that is just beautiful(keep in mind I don't care for Findurh or meeesa clean tones). There is sooo much gain on tap with this head that if you need to drive it with extra, you might want to learn how to play first. I am definitely eyeballing the Tubemeister 36 watter for future investment. Not because this isn't loud enough, but just for the added flexibility.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Herr Kettner and Mr. Hughes hit home run

By Gregory Reiber

from Roseville, CA

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

Have put this amp through its paces for a couple of weeks. Clean channel is very clean but gets warmer and takes on a hint of "grit" with the gain up past 2:00. Lead channel has a nice bite but very smooth, not harsh. Lead boost gets way loud with thick beefy crunch, but short of full-on metal. At full power this little box is crazy loud, but the power soak and direct out are excellent. At home, the 1 watt setting is perfect. Small gigs (or church) with cab mic'd to PA, 5 watts is plenty for backline fill. Full power would cover a club especially on lead. The direct out does great speaker emulation with a Vintage 30 feel. Build seems solid, carry bag is a nice touch. Controls are easy and logical, and the blue glow is lava-lamp cool. The only reason not to get one is if you need the Tubemeister 36.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Very versatile guitar amp. Don't let it's cute look's decive you!

By Jim Fleischmann

from Cherry Hill NJ

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

I have had this amp for a few weeks now. I really love it. It is a great looking little head and it sounds as good as it looks. The power soak feature is awesome, even at one watt the cleans remain clean. The clean channel is so amazing, it is pretty much Hi Fi sounding, it just sparkles but as transparent as it is there is warmth to the tone. I was amazed at the dynamics. On the lead channel if you roll off the volume on the guitar it cleans up beautifuly. You can go from clean, to the tubes breaking up, with just the pick atack, when you have the volume pot on the guitar dialed in. Don't take my word for it go try one! One of the first things I noticed was the difference in sound between my guitars with this amp. I have a Les Paul jr with p90's, a strat and a tele, as well as a custom built hot rod guitar with a bill laurence humbucker and a locking trem. The guitars all sound great but there is a big difference in tone depending on what guitar I have plugged in (the way there should be) You can't go wrong with this amp, no matter what genre you play. I may do another review in a year or so after I have really put the amp through the paces. I love that it is so small and easy to take with me. I just slip it in the nice paded bag that came with it, and gab my 1x12 cab and I'm ready to go! I just tried the amp through a friends 4x12 greenback loaded cab, and wow! No problem driving the 4x12 cab, I hate lugging a 4x12 around, but I may have to buy one just to leave at home! The bass responce out of a 4x12 is hard to beat. Don't get me wrong the amp sounds great no matter what cab I plug it into. I have been using a Jet City 16 ohm eminence 1x12 cab, and that sound is also amazing. This is the best amp I have heard on a one watt power setting, I have noticed a lot of other amps that offer a extreme low wattage setting don't sound as clean on a lower wattage setting, or they become to quiet to hear, but not this one! Good luck with amp shopping, I don't think you can top this amp for the money. If you are looking at more expensive amps don't forget to check out the Tube Meister 32 that version is totally midi controlable, and has a seperate EQ for both lead and clean channels, and it is still under a thousand dollars!

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Amazing amp!

By Matt

from Port Washington, NY

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

This is by far my favorite music purchase ever. Just for some background: I've been playing 32 years and have played for 13 years in a gigging power trio. My other amps include a late 70s Fender Champ, Marshall Vintage Modern 50 watt combo, and a '65 Fender Twin Reissue. My primary guitar is a 1958 Tom Murphy-aged Gibson Les Paul reissue and I also have 2 Fender American Standard strats, a Gibson SG Standard, and a few other guitars. Like a lot of others I've always loved the sound of low wattage amps. My Fender Champ is phenomenal with a tubescreamer, Rat, Fulltone OCD, etc. in front of it. Practically, however, I play in a rock band with a very heavy-handed drummer (Bonham-style) and most of the venues we play have indifferent soundmen and stage sound isn't that reliable. I thought 18 watts would be too little but the H&K Tubemeister 18 is very loud and can absolutely hold it's own. This is one amazing sounding amplifier with excellent clean sounds, a terrific distortion channel, and a great boost for soloing. One of the advantages to the lower wattage is it fills a smaller stage space perfectly: my guitar is not too loud but very articulate. You can hear subleties such as your guitar tone controls and different pick up combinations better than a 50 or 100 watt amp. Generally I use a VHT Pittbull 50 CL head at our rehearsal studio but I've found that the Tubemeister is much more useable. The clean sound is great but if you're looking for a lot of headroom (jazz, country, etc) be aware the amp breaks up at around 12 noon on the gain. This is probably not the amp for that kind of application. For everything else, this is just a fantastic all around amp. I've bought tons of equipment over the years but this is my favorite purchase. It seems to be solidly built and at 11 lbs, it's a game changer as far as gigging. For anyone who thinks that an 18 watt amp is not loud enough to compete with a live band, I would suggest giving this a shot. Believe me, I'm pretty sure my drummer is louder and heavier than yours so I was I'm a believer.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)




from oklahoma

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

this amp is by far the best investment in music i have ever made,this amp is ultra clean, super high gain, everything i was looking for and more, i had high expection, this amp blew them away. tone from super clean to a marshall like rumble, the lead boost will blast you out of your sit, and the power soak is the best yet, as other types of amps have similar abilities to turn down the wattage there's a point when they seem to lose there response, not this amp even at 1 watt it still sound alive and full of kicka!@ power, and the line level output on back a breeze to record, cons not alot in my book, a few cheap distrotion pedals didn't really sound well with it, the few overdrive pedals i tried on it they worked but the natural drive and gain of the amp sound so much better, so i just keep one on my pedal board just maybe to boost the clean channel.

(2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Truly awesome!

By scott dankel

from Chicago, IL

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

I'm a newbie to guitar and decided to get my first "real" amp. I now wonder if I'll ever get another! This is a premium quality tone machine with so much versatility, I don't even know what to do next. Each time I find a new tone that I like, its only a short time before I fall in love with another. The fun and excitement doesn't ever seem to end with this thing. I'm not sure what kind of math is used to translate wattage, because this thing has me stunned with how loud it is. The depth and "fullness" of the tone, at any level, also amazes me. If this is 18 watts, what in the world does 50 watts or 100 sound like? My head would explode! Don't underestimate this little rock star! Lastly, the obvious. It is a good looking rig, to say the very least. Especially paired up with the H&K cabinet. When its too late to jam, I still can just sit and look at it with the blue light on! Just makes me smile. To summarize - I really like mine. What a great product. Go give one a try.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Good On Stage Amp

By Charlie McLean

from Kansas City, MO

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

This will replace a 40-watt amp on stage. Clarity is great and plays very well thru a single Greenback. The only down side is the foot switch is an extra and the front panel back-light doesn't have a switch so it sticks out on a dark stage.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


They don't call it Tubemeister for nothing!


from Geneseo, IL

Comments about Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM18H 18W Tube Guitar Amp Head:

This amp was recommended to me by a good friend. He said he always wanted one and I should check it out. Well, now I feel guilty because I have one and he still doesn't! But I don't feel that bad: this thing rocks!!!! Before buying I read reviews and looked at some Youtube demos. There was absolutely nothing negative to say about the amp, so I was pretty confident I wouldn't regret buying it. As I expected, I love this thing! The variety of sounds is endless. I've got several effects pedals (wah, fuzz, overdrive, phaser, chorus, echo, compressor). Some I run through the front end, others through the effects loop on the back. Between these pedals and the built-in channels, there is no end to the smorgasbord of musical flavors I can sample! I love sustain, and I can get beautiful sustain from a variety of combinations of pedals/channels. And the best thing about it all is that I can get these sounds at reasonable volumes, thanks to the "power soak" feature. This feature is what really appealed to me as I researched the amp, and it works as advertised. Playable at 18W, 5W, 1W or speaker-less ("red box") mode, I mostly just play at 1W. Driving a single 12" Celestion Seventy 80 (which I mounted in my own cabinet), 1W is more than enough to fill my music room. 5W is serious! 18W.....well, there's just no need for what I'm doing! But what I really like is keeping the overall volume down and still getting that same sound as if I was really cranking it. My ears (and my wife) appreciate the ability to keep the volume at levels I can talk over, and yet that still allow me to get sounds that send shivers up and down the spine. And if I want to keep playing into the wee hours of the morning, I flip the power soak to speaker-less, and put on a set of phones: same amazing sounds, but only I can hear them. Anyway, you get the picture. If you buy the amp, you won't regret it. I bought it during a sale! Well worth every penny. My next move is to build a twin 12" cabinet and see what 5W or even 18W!! will do with that. Yikes!!

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