For this blog a review article about the Squier SP-10 practice amp. I will briefly mention the history of this amp, the various models which have been around, give you some tips how to dial in clean- and distorted tones using different guitars, there will be a short section with ideas how to improve the sound of this amp and I will briefly mention some other, similar amps of this kind.
Squier started to produce the SP-10 around 1997. The amp has been ever since then included in starter packages including a cable and a DVD.
There is a bigger model of this amp: The Squier 15, which does have a 8″ speaker, a Master, Gain and Mid control. The SP-10 does have none of this, I will later on mention more about the controls of the amp and how to find your sweet spot for your tone.
Two years before the production of the SP-10 Squier did have a similar line-up of practice amps. They were called the Champ series. The Champ is a well-known classic Fender amp model, and the Squier series tried to replicate those sounds with their non-valve transistor amps.
The line-up included: Champ 15G, and the Champ 15GR (reverb model). Both amps came with a 8″ speaker and are rated at 15 Watts. There were two more models of the same series: Champ 25 GR (reverb model) and the Champ 15B. Both those amps came with a 10″ speaker.
All of these amps came with a Black face panel, just like the SP-10 and Squier 15.
For Who Is This Amp?:
People who start out learning to play the guitar and need a basic amp to amplify their guitar. Guitar Players who like to experiment with their tone and learn what can be done to alter the basic sound of the amp may also enjoy using this amp.
The early days of Rock ‘N’ Roll is full of guitar players who used all sorts of gizmos to add mojo to their sound. Ritchie Blackmore used to plug into a small preamp to add more juice to his guitar tone, then there is Jimmy Page who liked to use small amps in the studio to create his unique sounds. Small amps are often easier to manipulate compared to bigger, stage amps
Tips For Tones:
The SP-10 does have three controls: One for Volume, One for Treble and One for Bass. There are two Input Sockets at the front, one for Instrument, and the other one is for Headphones. There is a little switch for Distortion on the face of the front panel.
The tone controls on this amp are active: You will need to open them up a little to get a sound. Because there is no Mid control, Mid can be achieved by cutting down a little with the Bass control. Cutting down any of the tone controls will result in loss of signal, compensate for this by adjusting the Volume control. It will bring back the body,fullness and depth of your sound,. Check out the included video where I demonstrate this principle.
To find the sweet spot for your guitar you simply hold a chord and adjust the Treble and Bass control to your liking.
This amp is good for giving you the basic sound of your guitar.
The overall, clean sound of the amp does have a grainy character, something a lot of early 60s Brit amps used to have. The amp does not give a great deal of detail to your sound, but it is able to dial in a basic, grainy sound. The character of the sound is kind of hard and does not have the softness for which some Fender amps are known for.
Pressing the little switch will activate the distortion. The distorted sound is full-on and not subtle, this is partly because the amp lacks a Gain control. Cutting down the Volume control on your guitar will tone down the distortion, Yes I know, old skool approach, but it does work!
The character of the distorted sound is very bright. It is possible to change its sound a little with the tone controls, but not matter what you do, the distorted sound will remain trebly.
Guitars and Which Ones Work Well?:
The amp works well with either Single-coil- or Humbuck equipped guitars. If you are using a guitar with high output Pick-ups you may want to back of the volume of your guitar a little to keep the sound clean. Overall it should be fine to achieve usable, pleasant tones from any type of guitar model.
Mods To Improve Sound of Amp:
Adding a external speaker socket for the use of a external speaker will improve the sound of any small amp, the SP-10 is no exception to this rule. Use a 8 Ohm speaker, since the amp needs a 8 Ohm ratted speaker.
Using a bigger, external speaker such as a 12″ will add more body to the sound, it will not change the character of the basic amp tone!
Adding a Line-Out output will also do no harm: It will let you take the sound of the amp to any bigger amp. You could, for example, use the distortion of the SP-10 and connect it to the input of a bigger, clean sounding Valve amp.
Some of you may want to change Capacitors and Resistors: Better quality ones will certainly improve the basic character of this amp.
Last but not least: Adding a Gain control to the amp will let you adjust the amount of distortion you dial in. You may be able to fit the pot in the place of the Headphone socket.
Similar Small Amps:
The Squier SP-10 is of course not the only one of its kind, the are many, many amps of this seize. The Stagg 10 GA is of a similar kind, and probably of better sound quality: Its sound is more detailed compared to the Squier SP-10,. The Stagg does have a Gain control for the distortion, which is a improvement. Furthermore it also included a Mid control, something the Squier lacks!
The Chord CG10 is also a very good amp of this kind. This one is also of a more detailed sound compared to the Squier. Its controls are similar to the ones of the Stagg, including Gain and a control for the MIds.
The Squier SP-10 may not be one of the most refined amps you have ever plugged into, but it certainly is a fine amp to give you that basic guitar tone.
Beginners cannot go wrong with it and even more experienced guitar players may enjoy its basic clean tones.
Its tones are portable which makes it a great partner for when you are moving around!
Hope you enjoy the included video and this article.
Check out other articles on this blog here. Hope to create more articles in the near future about the SP-10, using it with some other gear and amps.
Hope to see you soon again,