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Kustom The Defender 5H Class A Guitar Amp Head

by Kustom
4.4 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
| 6 answered questions

Available from these sellers.
  • 5 Watts
  • When turning the Volume control down to get cleaner tones, Duo-Mod(TM) progressively reduces gain in multiple locations throughout the preamp circuit. The result is stunning clarity, even on medium-gain sounds that often sound lackluster in other amp designs. Then, when adding gain, Duo-Mod brings it on in multiple locations. The result is smoking hot rock tones with punch and clarity that simply blow away the competition.
  • 12AX7 Tube Preamp
  • Solid Pine Cabinet with Plywood Baffle
  • Designed in the USA
2 new from $186.95

Product Description

Is there anything more fun than a low-wattage all-tube amp head that provides authentic, cranked up tube tone at modest volume levels? We think not. And did we say "simple?" The new Defender 5-watt Model 5H guitar head has one knob! (Volume) But the fun lies in hearing what this knob does as you slowly turn it up. Starting in the counterclockwise position, you'll move through clean and clear tube tones to progressively dirtier sounds until this little sucker is just plain screaming! This "clean-to-mean" response isn't due to any overdrive or distortion circuit, it's just the sound of the single EL84 power tube moving naturally into increased output distortion. And it's great for cranking up and controlling the action right from your guitar's volume control - no channel switching required! Features include one 12AX7 preamp tube, one EL84 power tube and three speaker outputs (4, 8, and 16-ohm). By the way, the Defender 5H head is designed to match perfectly with the Defender 1x12 speaker cabinet. This cabinet is loaded with one 12-inch Kustom speaker that handles 30 watts. Check it out!

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 10 x 15 inches ; 8 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 9 pounds
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • Shipping Advisory: This item must be shipped separately from other items in your order. Additional shipping charges will not apply.
  • ASIN: B0036B8A20
  • Item model number: DEFENDER5H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,014 in Musical Instruments (See Top 100 in Musical Instruments)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: January 1, 2010

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
I'm an old guy getting back into electric guitars after 30 years of acoustics. Once belonging to the school of "If you can't play it right, play it loud", at 60 I wanted something to give my second hand American Strat a warm, creamy voice without breaking the bank. I bought an Epiphone Valve Jr. to use as a practice amp long enough to decide on a larger unit. What a piece of #@X$&! junk; lot's of noise and poor quality overall. After returning it, I stumbled on the Kustom Defender 5H. Praise the ghost of John Lee Hooker! What a sweet little amp! One knob to keep things simple (ain't nothing complicated bout' the blues). You can keep the volue low for sweet and creamy or crank the little dude up for some muddy distortion. Played at 8 ohms thru a pair of Carvin 12's, the shoe box sized Defender is plenty loud. As a matter of personal taste, I'll probably change out the Chinese 12AX7 and EL84 tubes with Gold Lion equivalents for reliability and noise control. The affordable Kustom Defender 5H is so good it'll "make you want to slap your Mama!"
3 Comments 29 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I was planning to purchase a Fender Deulxe Reverb II for home use the day I bought this little amp. For some reason I decided to plug into this little head alongside the Fender Reverb II for comparison... What a shock. I actually liked the tones from the little amp better! It made my Jazzmaster really chime in on the highs and broke up beautifully with a little pick attack--just incredible tone. Then I looked at the price!!! I WAS FLOORED! I bought this amp on sound quality, the price was just icing on the cake. I truly would have paid double the price without thinking twice about it.
Granted the Kustom breaks up sooner and the has less headroom on the clean tones than the Deluxe Reverb had, but it's only a 5 watt amp and for home use I can barely crank it to 3o'clock without making the neighbors crazy! I know it is blasphemy, but I think the Kustom had better, chimier, cleans with the stock 12AX7 than the Rivera Deluxe Reverb! It is plenty loud, in fact I ended up putting a 12AU7 preamp tube in almost immediately when I got it home beacuse it was so dang loud. With the 12AU7 I lost a little brightness, a good bit of volume, but got a lot more clean headroom. I ended up dropping $200 ( plus $20 more new preamp and power tubes--I'm picky about tubes) for the head and cab. It has been two months now since I bought it and I absolutley wouldn't do without this little amp. Go try one out if you can. These little amps really have beautiful tone and are simple to work on if you are wanting to make your KUSTOM customized. If your guitar has good tone then this little amp will let it sing out and AMPLIFY your sound without any extra crud. Skeptics need only plug into one.
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Verified Purchase
Bought this when Amazon had a 15% off special. They already sold this little gem for $15 cheaper than anyone else. Dirt cheap for a cool tube amp.

5 Watts? It might be at 5 watts when it begins to break up, but it's way louder. I have a fender champ 5W, and this is twice as loud. I replaced the tubes with grove tubes. And I don't know if it was worth it to tell the truth. The stock tubes didn't sound any worse. I might try it with some JJs I have.

A humbucker will absolutely overdrive this amp way too early. I can't even get above 10 o'clock with my LP Jr. before it's shredding. My strat with stock single coils makes it to about 1 o'clock before the shred starts. But still at 1 o'clock it's as loud as the champ almost wide open.

Good little amp. Glad I bought it.
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Verified Purchase
I wanted a small tube head to run pre's and pedals into, with the hopes of still being able to get some power tube saturation at moderate volume levels. The Kustom is way louder than I expected!

I'm running it into an Avatar G112 Vintage with an 8 ohm V30 speaker. The gain stages on the volume knob are funky, there are 3 or 4 noticable jumps in loudness and overdrive that my ears hear. The jumps are not divided evenly across the pot as you turn it, which is why I say it's "funky". Cranked up direct, you can get great over driven rock sounds. Back off your pickup's or pull the heads volume down and you can get a variety of bluesy/gritty in between tones. Very versatile if you spend some time with it. Definitely not enough gain for metal on it's own, but front end it with a pre or pedal and you're all set (and you'll probably need a gate / Decimator / etc. to tame it).

Regardless, it's a very cool little head and for $99 it's a no brainer!
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Verified Purchase
This little Kustom amp is very impressive the clean tone at a low volume is great and Kustom added some distortion at higher volume, this amp is well worth the $100. I would pay more after owning this amp...
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Verified Purchase
Its my first tube amp and its pretty loud. Happy to have purchased it. I will definitely recommend it to all my friends.
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Verified Purchase
This amp is LOUD. But, it has all the nice tubey goodness you would expecti from a tube amp. The 4, 8 and 16 ohm output is very nice. If your looking for a lot of clean headroom, look elsewhere, but there are Mods out there for that. There is only the one combined vol/gain knob (again there are mods). But, it is very easy to go from clean, to a little growl, to serious growl, to all out crunch. It is too loud for home/bedroom/apartment use, except for clean, or a little growl (depending on your pickup). With an overdrive or distortion oedal you can overcome that. It takes pedals extremely well. I'd also recommend an EQ pedal. You can do a lot with the guitar knobs, though. I am also getting an attenuator, because the amps normal gain sounds are very good. I just want them at lower volumes. But, for this price, this is amazing.
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