Rare 30W model with 6L6 power! Serial number VG3-018, this is one of the early 30-watters from Jeff Bober and Budda. Before he sold Budda, Jeff had a small company that did some of my repairs and built some killer little amps called Budda, all hand-wired and built in small numbers. After gaining a reputation as the amp guru of the Baltimore area, doing Marshall mods and various repairs and hot-rodding, his extensive knowledge went into designing some of the best boutique amps ever made. After Jeff sold his company, he stayed on at the Maryland factory, aka “Budda East”, building both his original designs plus the new “Superdrive” series, which initially were still hand-wired. The hand-wired series, which offered little profit margin, soon fell victim to corporate thinking and was discontinued in favor of the “Superdrive II”, which were strictly circuit board designs. The 30-watt Verbmaster was one of Jeff’s hand-wired prior to the sale (this one’s a 2001 model). Most of these featured a quad of EL84’s but a few, like this one, were built with a pair of 6L6’s. This amp delivers complex tone characteristics, rich in harmonic structure and organic in nature. The tone can be described as a cross between a Deluxe and an AC30, with the aggressive attack of a Plexi. It’s a fairly complex amp for Budda, which generally featured 3 knobs and no frills, not even an fx loop. The Verbmaster features an excellent sounding reverb with two distinct sounds, “sand” and “surf”; Hi-gain and Normal inputs, each voiced differently; and the usual bass – treble – volume controls. The high-gain input adds a tube stage to overdrive the normal input’s gain stage, which in turn drives the unique tone-control stack. The back panel features an effects loop; slave output with level control; parallel speaker outs with a 4/8/16 ohm switch. Tubes are a pair of Russian EH 6L6’s power tubes, Russian Sovtek 5AR4 rectifier, with two 12AX7s, a 12AT7, and 12AU7 in the preamp/reverb. The dual reverb circuit features a darker sound with high-end roll off in the “Sand” setting, with “Surf” being a more over the top brighter tone. This amp breaks up very early and isn’t recommended for anyone looking for clean headroom – but for a non-master volume high-gain amp, you get a beautiful tube breakup at a relatively low volume. For many players, this will be the perfect amp for larger clubs. In typical Budda fashion there’s nothing conservative about the sample of the versatility of the smaller 18W Verbmaster (1X12), using only a guitar’s volume control (no effects were used), click here for a YouTube demo. Budda is know as much for their touch sensitivity and players who appreciate this characteristic will especially love this amp. OEM speakers are made by Eminence for Budda and sound very good. Budda hand-wired amps remain some of the best values on the market, and one of the few that weren’t clones of Fender or Marshall. I read where Budda is starting up their hand-wired series again, including a Verbmaster. I don’t have any reports on them yet but I can’t imagine sounding any better than this original model, built by the master himself. A killer amp for $1499.