The Slivertone “Twin Twelve” 1484 is a classic sleeper amp. Manufactured by Sears in the 60s, the amp packs a ton of sound in a somewhat rickety plywood cabinet. Because of the poor build quality, and a tinny and temperamental reverb circuit, the amp has classically never been as popular (or expensive) as comparable amps like the Fender Twin Reverb. That said, the Twin Twelve has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity on the adoration of people like Jack White. White has used it throughout his career, and immortalized the amp in “In Might Get Loud”. The new Twin Twelve Channel Drive from JHS attempts to package up the amp into pedal form, and from the sound of the demo video recorded at the pedal’s NAMM debut, it does a fine job.
The sound of the Twin Twelve is defined by the raw grittiness of the overdrive when the amp breaks up. When you turn one of these things up, it sounds like a ’69 Chevelle with glass packs getting on the freeway. If you add fuzz on top of the natural overdrive, you get an incredible buzzsaw, “Raw Power”-like Stooges tone. From the demo, JHS has certainly captured the overdrive portion of the equation. Through a clean Fender Princeton reissue, when the pedal was engaged it added a significant bite. Importantly, the pedal seems like it has captured some of the edge of the original. While no solid state pedal can truly re-create the sound of an overdriven tube, the Twin Twelve pedal does not suffer from the septic smoothness that plagues many overdrive emulations.
The real test will come when one of these pedals is paired with a fuzz. They don’t attempt this combo in the demo video, but if this overdrive can serve as the foundation for re-creating some of the nasty, driven tones of the original Twin Twelve, it will certainly be a powerful weapon for any garage or punk player. At $199 the pedal is a little spendy (my genuine Silvertone 1484 was only 120 bucks more). JHS pedals are always incredible in both build quality and aesthetics, however, and the original amps are starting to climb, so the price tag will likely be well worth it to get some of that sweet Sears catalog tone. – Nathan Smith