The McFly from Jackson Ampworks is the first amplifier to be released in our new American Series line and is our take on the best sounding and most flexible Tweed Style amp ever made. For the first time ever, you can get authentic Tweed era tones as well as Blackface era tones all from the same amp!
From the ground up, the McFly was designed as an original circuit and not a clone of anything that’s been done before. I wanted to design an amp that gave a nod to those very early tweed style amps from the 1950’s but in doing so overcome some of the limitations and shortcomings that are inherit in many of those amps. To make the McFly more flexible I wanted to give the player access to some of the cleaner tones and greater headroom that were found in the blackface era amps of the 1960’s.
Accomplishing these two goals was done over an 18 month long period of design/redesign/tweaking and testing with some of the greatest players in the industry until we felt that the McFly had achieved a unique voice all its own.
The McFly very proudly features a 6SN7 preamp tube as well as a 6SN7 phase inverter tube. This 8 pin preamp tube was the precursor to the modern 9 pin 12AX7 style preamp tubes that are common now and is in large part why the McFly has the wide frequency response it has. With the McFly, your low-end will remain crystal clear and punchy at frequencies well past the low E string on your guitar and your high end will breathe with the openness and air of a studio grade preamp as these unique preamp tubes allow the full voice of your instrument to be heard.
This preamp, which has two operating modes (50’s and 60’s) gives you two distinct preamp modes with which to sculpt your tone. The 60’s mode is the cleaner of the two modes and will give you more clean headroom and is perfect for musical styles where a warm vintage Blackface type clean tone is needed. The 50’s mode is more aggressive and has more preamp gain which gives the McFly its signature Tweed era tone! In the 50’s mode you’ll notice that notes sustain longer and will often take off into controlled feedback at will.
Instead of a typical Treble and Bass control like you’ve seen on other amplifiers, the McFly features a unique set of controls to tailor the frequency response of the amplifier. To control the low end frequency response of the amplifier, we have included a 6-position Body Switch which allows the player to select various configurations of components to sculpt the amount of low-frequency in their tone. Using a switch to control the frequency response provides an intuitive and more repeatable method of dialing in your low-end and reduces loading on the guitars signal which results in a more natural and open tone like you’d find in a studio grade preamp.
In addition to the Body Switch, the McFly features a master Tone control that effects the high frequency of your tone. Much like the tone control on a guitar, the Tone control on the McFly allows the player to dial in a tone that is brighter at the clockwise position and darker at the full counter-clockwise position. The McFly also offer a Bright switch which further extends the high frequency boost when needed.
To complement the 6SN7 preamp we have chosen to run a unique set of power tubes in the McFly. The McFly features two cathode biased 6V6 power tubes which allows the player to get the classic clean tones of a Blackface Deluxe amplifier in the 60’s mode or the aggressive rhythm tones of a Tweed Deluxe in the 50’s mode. The McFly also includes a cathode biased pair of 6L6-GC power tubes which offer a higher wattage clean tone in the 60’s mode and a more robust overdrive tone in the 50’s mode. If you’re familiar with Jackson Ampworks you know that we typically don’t leave well enough alone. We always expand a players tonal palette and offer more than they expect and we’re proud to say that with the release of the McFly, that tradition has continued. To help you create a host of new tones that blur the lines between Blackface and Tweed, the McFly allows the player to select both types of power tubes simultaneously! This feature allows the player to blend the rock solid and dynamic response of the 6L6-GC power tubes with the softened compression of the 6V6 power tubes to create a hybrid tone that is uniquely their own!
To round out the feature set for the McFly and to make the amplifier more useful in volume sensitive environments, we have included power scaling with the McFly. Power scaling allows the player to adjust the output power of the amplifier from max power (depending on power mode) to 1/8th of a watt! This feature allows the player to get true output tube distortion at a fraction of the original volume and will actually help to extend the life of the power tubes as they are not being run as hard when in the power scaling mode!
To guarantee reliability and that your tone is never restricted, we have custom designed an enormous 200W Output Transformer that couples the power tubes of the McFly to your speaker cabinet. Having an output transformer that is 3 times over-spec’ed first guarantees that you’ll never destroy it now matter how hard you run the amp, and second that every bit of tone that is created by the power tubes will be transmitted perfectly to your speaker cabinet will no loss of low end or high end. With our new 200W output transformer you will maintain the entire frequency response of the amplifier regardless of how loud you run the amp! Compare this with most amplifiers that lose low-end and high-end definition at high volumes and cause the mid-range to “bunch up” and lose overall clarity.
We are very proud of the McFly and feel that it is a very worthy conclusion to the over 18 months of design, engineering, testing, development and tweaking we have done to bring you the first amplifier in our new American Series line!