As Positive Grid began their quest for world domination, they released a series of very well regarded expansion packs that increased the range of amps and effects available, especially in the more metalist part of the world.
Now as part of their recent revamp of Jamup, there comes a new amp pack. What would it be, Marchall? Boogie? Soldano?
No! of course, the answer is Guru Amps.
I have to admit that the name of Guru is unknown around these parts, but I am informed that this is an Italian range of boutique amps as used by the likes of Tony de Grutella (no, me neither).
What you get for your £6.99 are three models, representing the 3 channels of Guru’s naked amp. 3 models in an expansion does seem a little thin compared to previous expansions, let alone the cornucopia of Bias, but quality will beat quantity, so lets go.
In goes my American Special Tele……and it does not like this at all. Even through my Guitarjack 2, the tone is quite brittle. This did surprise me as my Tele loves Jamup and thrives on Bias, but all 3 models struggled with the focused Tele tone.
In goes the Strat, and with much the same result – I struggled to get a strong tone out of any single coil. The increased drive of the crunch and Lead models did not help much.
So in goes a Gibson Melody Maker with P90s – this is a very impolite guitar that loves to make and the Gurus loved it. The clean model had a much more pronounced middly sweetness and the Crunch model had a lovely balance between articulate grunt and Johnny Thunders racket. It all got a bit messy when the Lead model kicked in, but the P90s were a much happier experience.
Last of all was a Gibson Explorer Melody Maker – One pickup, one knob, as basic an instrument as you could imagine, it’s pretty roughly assembled but for an out and out rock tone, it is hysterical.
This is what the Gurus were waiting for – all the models had a lot more weight to the tone and this got more pronounced the more drive was poured on. The Lead tone was clear, defined but very powerful – it is not a djent tone, but it is a lot more versatile.
Now it could be that my single coil experience could be just bad luck, but this package does not seem as totally succesful as previous Jamup expansions. There are great tones in there, but they don’t fall into your lap as other Jamup models seem to do.
There is also the big shadow of Bias looming here – Bias is so powerful, so versatile and so obviously a revolutionary product that what constituted a great expansion in 2013 may not cut it so well in 2014.
Guru is a good product, but it is not essential – and for a company who has been banging out essential products time after time, this is a surprise.