You might be forgiven for thinking that all amplifiers now look the same and have pretty much the same standard features. But not so the Pignose Legendary 7-100. Here’s a small practice amplifier that truly bucks the trend.
The Pignose Legendary 7-100 looks like it’s been around for a hundred years and features some interesting and unique design aspects. It’s a great little amp that, despite its lack of features, is still able to do a lot whilst sounding good in the process.
So, let’s get this Pignose Legendary 7-100 Review underway and see what all the fuss is about.
This won’t take very long. The Pignose legendary 7-100 keeps things nice and simple.
The only controls you’ll find, or rather control, is the pig-nosed shaped volume/control knob on the front of the amplifier. Turn it upside down and inside out, but that is that. Honestly.
Having such little in the way of controls on an amplifier these days is likely to give you a bit of a jolt. On modern amplifiers, even at this size and price-point, we’re used to Bluetooth, auxiliary inputs, EQ controls, built-in effects, amp modeling capability, and most probably an app to give you a gazillion other sound options once you’re hooked up to the internet.
Though it’s great to have plenty of choices, there are advantages to this kind of minimalistic design.
This little amp is highly responsive to any changes you make to either the volume on the amp or on your guitar. With the volume down low, it plays clean. Wind the volume up, and the distortion quickly comes flooding through.
Essentially the Pignose is like an amplified fuzz pedal.
There’s no doubt that the lack of features and controls forces you to get creative with your guitar and your external effects. Though you are limited to the number of sounds you can get from this tiny amp, it can still deliver some killer tones, both clean and dirty, that you wouldn’t be able to get from other small amps at this price.
Features & Specifications
This thing is tiny. It measures just 7.8 x 5.6 x 11.2 inches and weighs a mere 4.55 lbs. In fact, the Pignose is so small you can strap it to your belt and walk around with it. This is, of course, facilitated by the fact that the Pignose runs on 6 AA Batteries.
If you don’t want to run it on batteries, it can also be operated with mains AC power. The connection is on the back. The adaptor is not included in the price but isn’t expensive and is pretty much of a must-have option.
The Pignose can put out a total of 5 watts of power through it’s only 5” speaker. This is really only enough power to use as a practice amp unless the speaker is mic’d up. However, if you need to make some more noise, the good news is there’s an output jack on the rear panel to give you the option of connecting to another speaker.
Build Quality & Design
We think you’ll agree that the Pignose looks distinctive and quirky. It looks like nothing else out there. Its design seems to be something out of the 1930s, but the Pignose Legendary 7 is all together more modern than this.
The amp was invented in 1972 and was first given to Terry Kath out of the band, Chicago. This was subsequently shown at the NAMM convention in 1973 before going into production. Once it hit the market, it became the first-ever portable practice amp.
Since its release, it’s gone on to be used by famous guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. It’s also been immortalized in the film Crossroads. If you haven’t had the chance to watch Crossroads yet, it’s worth a watch.
Since the Pignose was first produced in 1973, it’s stayed pretty much the same. It has metal protectors on all of its corners, so it can take a few bumps and knocks on its travels. It has a simple metal carrying handle and a couple of hooks to let you fix the amp onto your belt.
The amp has a hinged opening that gives easy access to the guts of the amplifier. This has the advantage of allowing for quick access to change batteries or to run any necessary maintenance or repairs. Not that there’s much to repair on the Pignose.
The ability to open the amplifier like a box also allows for the storage of things like cables. Though more probably these days for your phone charger and battery pack.
Another benefit of the hinged amp is that by opening the box, it also allows you to change the sound.
Let’s take a look at that…
As we’ve just mentioned, one of the unique features of the Pignose is the ability to open the amplifier’s Cabinet to affect the shape of the sound. You can open the back of the amp up to 180 degrees to give yourself plenty of variations to give you some subtle tonal changes.
The quality of the sound from the small and affordable Pignose Legendary 7-100 is really where the action is. The cool thing is that the Pignose is a solid-state amp, but it has an unmistakable tube-like amp quality to it. It has an amazing chimey and vintage twang that we immediately associate with tube amps.
It got a great clean tone and sounds beautifully warm. But, when the volume is cranked up, you get that fantastic distorted tone that feels so, so Bluesy. Then, when everything is pushed up to maximum volume, the distortion has a fuzz like quality to it.
Regardless of how you use the Pignose, the sound never distorts or turns into something that sounds and feels too harsh. The fact is it always retains its vintage warmth, and we applaud it for this.
The Pignose is a small, and despite its lack of controls, versatile and great sounding amp. This little amp can undoubtedly give much larger and more expensive amps a run for their money. We can certainly see why this fun amp has been a popular choice with so many famous artists.
If you are looking for more versatility than the Pignose offers, it’s well worth checking out our in-depth reviews of the Best Portable Guitar Amplifiers, the Best Mini Amp, the Best Guitar Amplifiers under 200 Dollars, and the Best Modeling Amps currently available.
You may also be interested in our in-depth review of the Fender Super Champ X2 Tube Amp.
Pignose Legendary 7-100 Pros & Cons
- Can be strapped to your belt and played.
- Runs on batteries or mains AC power.
- Easy to use.
- Can be connected to an external speaker.
- Sounds amazing.
- You can store your sandwiches inside the box.
- It has no modern-day connectivity.
So there you have it. The Pignose Legendary 7 is everything you don’t expect in a modern-day amp. It hasn’t a lot in the way of controls and sound-shaping but, at the same time, is able to do so much with so little.
The Pignose Legendary 7 is a great sounding amp at any price. We love the warm vintage and Bluesy tones. We love how it sounds when played clean but particularly when it’s pushed hard and distorted. It sounds amazing.
This Legendary Pignose 7-100 is so far up our street it’s got the keys to all of our front doors.
We love it.
Enjoy your music and enjoy your playing.