Get It While It’s Hot: Go Check Out Krank, Rico Jr., and Strictly 7!

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Recently, Krank Amps has closed their doors. Citing poor management that forced the core crew to leave, including Tony Krank himself. While we look forward to seeing what amps Tony and the gang comes up with next, we can’t help but think if we need to pick up one more Dimebag Krankenstein Amp before they’re all gone.

That got us to thinking; some of our favorite manufacturers have been having rocky times as of late. But, trust us. You don’t want to count these guys out. We know that they’ll pull through because of all of the awesome gear that they offer. And knowing that fans of TheToneKing.com are always about awesome gear, we thought we would name some of our favorites that you might not already know about.

 

Krank Amps:

I pretty much summed it up in the intro, but this company made some killer amps before they closed their doors. Good news is that Tony Krank is still doing pedals with STiFF. Bad news is that Krank Amps is no more. Here are three of our favorite Krank amps that you might wanna pick up before they’re all gone. With 4 – 12AX7s and 4 – 5881 power tubes, you

 

Krank_Revolution_series-1_coverThe Revolution –The Rev, as it’s affectionately called, is a 120-Watt, 2-Channel Tube Head with 3-Band EQ.  Every head that Krank made was a beast, but if there’s one head that will introduce you to that Krank tone, it’s the Revolution. It’s a monster, but it’s one that can be controlled by even those who are new to the Krank sound.

 

 

 

 

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The Krankenstein  – 120-Watt, 2-Channel Tube Head with 3-Band EQ. Designed by Dimebag Darrell before he died. There’s nothing more that really needs to be said about that. We wrote about Tony’s experience building this amp with the legendary guitarist two years ago.

Besides for being a great piece of gear, this amp is a piece of history. A must have if you can find one.

 

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The Jr. Series Heads  – 20 or 50 Watt Tube Versions of Krank’s existing line. While they didn’t start the mini-head revolution, they were definitely ahead of the pack. When these were first introduced, they showed that you didn’t need to have triple digit wattage to get monstrous sound.

 

 

All of these were definitely high-water marks in what will be remembered as a cool amp company.

 

 

 

Rico Jr. Guitars

 

Hearing about Rico Jr’s health issues has been heart breaking (check his facebook page for up-to-the-minute details). The guy’s a legend in the biz, and we wish him nothing but the best. Thankfully, it looks like he’s headed back to work. But we still wanted to mention a couple of guitars by this legend that we couldn’t pass up if he does choose to close up shop.

 

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Hybrid Vixen (discontinued, but grab one if you can!) – As you can see by our vid, this guitar is a particular favorite of ours. Any of the Vixens (imported Hybrid or USA handmade) are great guitars, but if a straight USA model is a bit out of your price range, the Hybrid series is the next best thing, and as noted – grab one if you see one, because last we checked, Bernie Rico is out of the import business, and is solely focused on his USA Custom Shop pieces.

 

 

 

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Hesperian 627 (Custom) – Besides for having a cool name, the Hesperian has more of a classic look and feel. Of course with its custom design, you get what you want. So, how far you decide to take this guitar is up to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jekyll 727 7-String – When it comes to Rico Jr’s 7-Strings we’re torn between the Jekyll 727 and the Nemesis 724. Both offer fast fretboards and solid neck-through construction. While the Jekyll is a little more reserved its appearance, the Nemesis looks it’s planning on stabbing you right in the face.  Really, the only thing that put the Jekyll over the top was this freaking kick ass Splatter Work finish that Bernie did personally.

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Strictly 7 Guitars

 

There’s really no reason to press the panic button on Strictly 7 Guitars quite yet. Really, the only bad news out of the camp is that our old friend Ola Englund has decided not to renew his Strictly 7 contract and moved on to Washburn

The move makes sense for Ola considering that Washburn and Randall are both US Music and Randall is building Ola’s Satan signature amp. Keep it all under one roof, right? That being said, there’s a reason why Ola started with this company. You wanna check out what Strictly 7 has to offer.

 

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Solar7 – There’s a reason why Ola still considers his Solar7 prototype the best guitar he owns. Neck-thru construction, Ebony Fretboard, 16” radius, 26 frets (Yes! I said twenty-freaking-six frets!), Hipshot or Floyd Rose bridge, Sperzel non-locking tuners, and Bare Knuckle Aftermatch pickups make this guitar the favored weapon by most Nordic gods.

 

 

 

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US Active 9-String  – Sometimes less is more. But, in this case, more is more. A dude shows up slinging a 9-String, people know he ain’tafraid of nuthin’. We suggest the Neck-Thru version because why the hell not? A 20” radius makes sliding through arpeggios and shredding through scales a breeze. Choose to have either EMG 808’s or Seymour Duncan Blackouts. Whatever’s your flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

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US Passive 8-String Bolt-On – Some people have to have a bolt-on. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. Some of my best guitars have been bolt-ons. If this be your pleasure, check out the one with the Floyd Rose. Nothing says
“beast” like a dude dragging his pick across a low “B” before driving it into the ground with a dive-bomb.

 

 

 

 

We’ve been fans of all these dudes for a while. It sucks to see Krank gone, but some of their gear is still out there. On top of that, Tony Krank is still doing STiFF pedals. So, you still have that same attitude, just in a different form. As for Rico Jr. and Strictly 7, knowing them, they ain’t going anywhere for a while. As long as there are people out there looking for great gear, companies like them will always survive.

 

 

Tell us about some of your favorite manufacturers in the comments below. Make sure that everybody knows about the companies that you dig so that they’ll all be around for a long while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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