Peavey's budget amps have been providing beginner guitar players with a decent and reliable performance for decades. These days the situation is not that different. This is especially true considering the fact that solid state amps have evolved quite significantly. Peavey Backstage might look like just another economic small amp, but it comes with a twist. Because of its rather unusual nature, great performance and overall reliability, Backstage has become one of the most rewarding models in the budget segment of the market.
If you are just starting out and learning the basics of guitar tone, you will definitely appreciate a simple control layout on your first amp. Peavey Backstage delivers exactly that. With a clean and easy to use control cluster, the user should have no trouble dialing in exactly the type of tone they want. Going from left to right, we see an overdrive knob, which is basically your gain knob, a channel select button, volume knob and a two-band EQ. That is all there is to it. Even so, considering what this amp was designed to deliver, which we will go into in a moment, these controls are a perfect fit.
Gaining an advantage in the affordable solid state segment of the market is not as easy as it used to be. Every larger brand is trying to put a spin on their amps in this category, thus offering something unique to the users. Peavey's angle was to deliver a solid state practice amp that emulates the tone of a tube amp. And boy did they achieve this goal. With a faux tube circuitry and some 10 Watts of power, Peavey Backstage delivers a quite convincing experience. Its simplicity of design fits this narrative as well. In terms of build quality, everything is more or less on point. Durable materials, solid construction, the works. Finally, that single 6-inch custom speaker really is a remarkable addition to an already great package.
When it comes to the tone you can expect to hear, Peavey went above and beyond to deliver a true tube tone on a budget. A more experienced player will probably notice some telltale signs of solid state technology, but even they will appreciate just how good of a job Peavey did with this amp. Cleans are pretty crisp and defined both on single coil and humbucker guitars. Once you kick in that overdrive channel, you will be rewarded with a pretty refined tone that definitely resembles that of a tube amp. Best
thing of all, this amp plays very well with effects pedals, which was one of the main worries we all had. At this price, it's a steal.
Doing what Peavey did with their Backstage model was a risky decision, to say the least. Right off the bat, they knew the hordes of purists would rain down criticism all over such a project. However, at the end of the day, Backstage managed to deliver exactly what Peavey said it would, causing a lot of surprise among the community. If you are looking for a decent tube sound but are unable to get a real tube amp, this Peavey is definitely worth looking into.