Jet City are a US-based company who design affordable amps that are manufactured in China to cut production costs. Originally Jet City was an offshoot from/partnership with the famous high-gain classic amp company Soldano, who originally built their name with the SLO-100 watt high gain heads back in the ‘90s. However that relationship seems to have ended these days, although the Mike Soldano-designed amps remain in the lineup.
This new Jet City Custom 22 is a re-working of an earlier model: the Jet City Amplification JCA22H from a few years back. This time it has been tweaked by Martin Kidd. Martin is famous for his UK-based Cornford amp designs, and the more recent Victory Amps.
I gigged for a few years with a 50 watt Jet City head and for more than half of those gigs it was just too loud. It sounded great, but was far too large in wattage terms for most small venues. So, a 20 watt amp is probably more than enough for most of us to use live.
Jet City cut costs by manufacturing in China, and it shows. For example, the tolex finish isn’t as great or as thick as on amps costing three or four times the price, but I can live with stuff like this for such a huge saving to my wallet.
A lot of my friends have successfully been using Jet City amps in live band scenarios as well. The general consensus that we have all agreed on is that you will probably want to upgrade the valves used (as the stock Chinese ones are a bit naff) and that the effects loop is pretty unusable on many of the models (as they are based on an old Soldano effects loop, which was made with rack effects in mind and not guitar pedals).
However, for the money these amps are a great basis for amp modding and tube swapping or other forms of experimentation. I like this, as I am a bit of a dabbler when it comes to guitar amps and love to customise them either by modifying the circuits; there are loads of mods available online for these amps, like trying out different vintage valves in them.
The tone of these new Jet City Custom 22 models is firmly in the British rock sound, which could well be ascribed to Martin Kidd tweaks to the standard models. There are also two foot-switchable channels on this model, making it more versatile than the original 20 watt models from a few years ago, which were all single channel amps.
They have also added a Bright switch and a Mid Boost switch, which were both common modifications that people were doing to the original models as well, so these are useful additions. Plus Martin has ‘fixed’ the effects loop, so that it will now take a regular guitar pedal without any fuss. All in all, these seem like good useful additions that have really added to the usability of these amps for a gigging guitar player.
RRP: GBP 225.00