Mod Like A Rockstar – Kasha Amplification’s QUIKMOD III helps you create tone, not model it!

ModKitsDIY

Kasha QuickMod

It’s gig night.  You’re sharing a bill with a few other acts, and the venue is supplying the backline.  Upon arrival at the show, you find the backline is a 1×12 tube amp.  It’s a nice enough amp, but even with some pedals helping out it’s not the type of amp that will readily supply the hard, heavy, saturated tones your music has made its name on.

Or maybe you’re in the studio, layering some guitar tracks for a few new tunes.  Your main amp is doing the job admirably, but to give the blended parts dimension you need a wider range of clean and dirty tones.  Auditioning different amps would be nice, but this is a pro studio we’re talking about; time is money.

Enter the Kasha Amplifiers QUIKMOD III, a pint-sized unit that fits easily in the accessory case of your gig bag, yet literally taps into the huge potential of nearly any tube amplifier on the market. The QUIKMOD III contains two tubes; it’s not a pedal, a speaker simulator, a modeler, or a solid state substitute for a preamp tube.  It’s a pair of real preamp tubes in a compact case with variable gain controls that neatly and quickly connect directly into your amp. It does this by interfacing directly with the amp’s preamp section through the V1 tube socket via a specially designed cable.  The QUIKMOD III integrates into the preamp section of a tube amplifier and retains the natural characteristics of the amp.

“You plug it in, you turn it on, get your great tone, and that’s it,” John Kasha recently told TheToneKing.com.  “The QUIKMOD III really is part of the amplifier….the simplest way of thinking of it is that it’s a tube.”  But it’s a lot more than just that.

 

So Who Is John Kasha?

Jake E Lee

Click to Enlarge – Jake E Lee

John Kasha put years of know-how and professional amp modding experience into the QUIKMOD III, a unit smaller than many pedals on the market.  The QUIKMOD III was born out of the modification work Kasha did back in the heady ’80s rock scene for some of the biggest names in guitar.  Names you certainly know, such as Jake E. Lee (who liked the QUIKMOD unit so much he attached it to his Marshall with duct tape), shredder extraordinaire Chris Impellitteri, and Dio’s Craig Goldy. (see photo on right).

Ultimately, it was the tedium of repeatedly opening up and getting into guts of the amps Kasha was modifying sparked the idea of the QUIKMOD III preamp-integrated concept.  “[I discovered that] I would love to have a device that would just plug in so I wouldn’t have to keep drilling and breaking into the amp, which de-values the amplifier,” Kasha said.  “Back in the ’80s, nobody really cared, but now it’s a totally different story.”

The QUIKMOD III is just another example of a long line of tried-and-true products that Kasha has brought to market.  Kasha’s knack for developing products that offer simple solutions to complicated scenarios, like messing around with the guts of an amplifier, is fully on display in the QUIKMOD III.

 

Under The (Really Small) Hood

The front panel of the QUIKMOD III appears to be dead simple: gain and post-gain knobs and a boost switch.  But much power lies within.

The interactive gain and post-gain controls are the primary tone shapers on the QUIKMOD III.  With these controls, you can dial up gain characteristics that are tight and moderately chunky by setting both controls at roughly the same position.  If you really want to lay on the chunk, cranking the gain and keeping the post-gain relatively low is your one-way ticket to super-fat tones.  Then, you can slather even more tonal goodness with the QUIKMOD III’s unique boost function.

“I don’t think anybody is doing a boost like we’re doing.  When you kick in that boost switch, it’s like you’re doubling or fattening [your notes],” Kasha said.  “It fattens it up without changing the tone….if you want [your leads] to sing like a violin, it has that ability.  It’s different because you’re doing it in the tube.  We’re not [boosting the gain] outside the tube.  We’re changing the [internal] characteristics to beef [the tone] up,” Kasha said.

QUIKMOD III is hand built in the USA.  You can order them stock or have them customized to function in your specific amp by Kasha – click here.

Marshall, Fender, Vox, Orange, Supro, and many other amp makes will take to the QUIKMOD III like a groupie to a backstage pass, and Kasha can even build you a QUIKMOD III that will work with alternative preamp tubes, like EF86 tubes.  Though 12AX7 tubes are the reigning standard in most tube preamp designs, a 12AX7-type QUIKMOD III can accommodate preamp tubes with the same pin arrangements, such as 5751s, 12AU7s, or 12AT7s.  These tubes are lower gain than a typical 12AX7 and can sometimes improve definition, reduce noise and smooth out the tone.  Many players often experiment with them in 12AX7-based designs.  Whichever of the preamp tubes type you prefer or wish to experiment with, the QUIKMOD III can handle it.

Some amplifiers, such as Egnater and Genz Benz models, have preamps where the tube heater filaments are supplied by DC power.  While tubes work the same way whether the filaments are supplied by AC or DC power, you will need your QUIKMOD III specially configured to work with an amp running DC power to the filaments.  Easy enough: Kasha can add a switch to the QUIKMOD III that will switch between DC and AC power, ensuring that every amp in your collection can harness the benefits of the QUIKMOD III.

Line 6

 

Unleashing the Beast

Words barely do the QUIKMOD III justice, so make sure you check out TTK’s killer demo [coming soon].  But we’ll go ahead and see if we can impart some of the tonal goodness on tap through the written word.

“The QUIKMOD III can retain the basic tone of the amplifier, or you can add a third stage of gain to the amplifier.  And you’re [introducing those new gain stages] in a cascading way.  Cascading is the best because it really keeps the noise level down and it gives you much smoother distortion and sustain…typically, if you really push the gain hard, you’re going to get unwanted feedback [and] harsh distortion,” Kasha said.

For those regularly tuning into TheToneKing.com’s YouTube channel, you’ll understand the tonal magic behind cascading gain stages.  Many folks will spend big bucks modding those old Marshall Plexi amps to get the tones generated by cascading gain stages, instead of simply adding pedals to the front end or through the effects loop.  Why? It is a classic, go-to sound!  And the Quikmod III injects it right into the heart of the amp in less time than it takes to drop a new pedal into your signal chain.

This makes then QUIKMOD III a simple, straightforward modding option for those of us who have neither the time nor the inclination to do a lot of intensive, potentially irreversible modification work on our tube amps.  Connecting and disconnecting the QUIKMOD III is as easy as changing a preamp tube.  It uses no additional cabling other than the special proprietary cable included with the unit, and it draws all of its power directly from the amplifier.  It can even be activated via footswitch that adds channel switching capability to a single channel amp.  When switched off, the QUIKMOD III remains discrete and, in some amps, can even improve an amp’s base clean tone through a very slight gain reduction.

Connection

The search for tone doesn’t always take place in the comforts of our homes, on lazy weekend afternoons.  In fact, sometimes it really is a chase; it can happen when we least expect it, or when time is of the essence.  The Kasha Amplifiers QUIKMOD III is straightforward and versatile enough to account for any situation.  Who would’ve thought the experience and expertise of one of the most renowned amp techs in the biz, John Kasha, would fit in such a small package?

Quikmod III price: $250.00.

 

About Kasha Amplifiers:

Kasha remains a powerhouse in the world of gear.  John’s reproduction and modification of the original Magnatone (Evil Robot amplifiers) for guitar maniac Phil X favored tones in a rugged, modern package.  The amp line took off after the guitar-based internet shook retailer Fretted Americana’s phones off the hook, asking how the X-man got his killer tones.

For those players seeking modern tonal range and feature sets.  The Kasha Rockmod amplifier head features three independent tube channels, such as a classic Marshall crunch, an over the top lead channel called “BURN”, and a classic blackface Fender-style clean channel.  Each channel has a full EQ and a common active effects loop, boost, and digital switching and all surrounded by a shock-resistant chassis designed to handle the abuse inflicted by the professional musician’s hectic schedule.

Kasha’s rack-mounted Rockmod preamp line has helped players like varied as prolific songwriter and producer Dann Huff, George Lynch, Paul Jackson Jr., and Tracii Guns find the tones needed to drive a truckload of hits.

Kasha has also lent his tonal expertise to a versatile drive pedal that has broken all the rules, including the one that says pedals have to look boring: the Tone Box Skull Crusher.  The Skull Crusher received a top pick award from Premier Guitar Magazine.

Kasha has also co-designed JamHub’s ultra-compact Tracker MT16 digital recorder and Bandlab.com, the cloud platform where musicians and fans create music, collaborate, and engage with each other across the globe.

For more information about Quikmod and other Kasha products, please visit www.kashaamplifiers.com or email at sales@kashaamplifiers.com.

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