This is a reprise of the Polytone Amplifier Page from my old QRP HomeBuilder web site (2008).
Above — The Mega-Brute has an eight inch speaker and is über-portable. This amp tucks into almost any corner. On the rare occasion when I play for a function, I may use a 12 inch extension speaker, depending on the situation.
I’ve owned 4 different Polytone amplifiers and like their tone and compactness. I must disclaim this blog post by stating that what I have written is just 1 opinion. Discussing guitar amplifiers is akin to stepping into a quagmire. Guitarists often become quite emotional and speak passionately, or possibly even overly-critical when discussing gear. When you consider that most players don’t even perform in front of an audience, or record for mass distribution, the “gear wars” diatribe can get really quite silly. If your tone sounds good to you, then perhaps your amp is suitable (at least for this month).
For jazz guitar, there are countless amplifier choices and the list of of good jazz guitar amplifiers has really grown in the last few years. The trend seems to be towards more hi-fi sound (less distortion-more headroom and more power), smaller/lighter designs at somewhat increased cost.
Consider talking to Michael Biller at Sound Island Music if you wish to talk to someone with considerable knowledge and practical experience regarding modern jazz guitar amplification. Michael stocks many products his passion about helping you obtain your perfect jazz or double bass guitar tone really shines.
Polytone Mega-Brute Amplifier
Canadian guitarist, Glenn Murch once told me that Polytone guitar amps basically have one sound and you either like it or not. I agree with him. This sound is not
ultra-high in fidelity ( compared to more contemporary designs ), has a dark voicing, a distinct midrange honk and starts to distort at high volume settings. This is exactly why I like Polytone amps in some situations. To each, their own.
The Mega Brute combo amp has an 8 inch speaker. This is probably not the best amp to use if you play in a big band, but it works okay with a trio if you are happy with the sound it provides and the drummer uses brushes and/or soft hands with sticks.
I have owned Mini-Brutes with 15 inch and 12 inch speakers as well as the Mega-Brute combo amp and head. The various Brute-series amps are worth a trial if you’re in the market for a mid-price jazz guitar amp.
Official Polytone Page Click
Old Murch Music Polytone Page Click
Old Murch Music Polytone Schematics Page Click
Above — Rear view. The tolex work is quite excellent. I love closed back speaker
amps for that bass thump, although, in my opinion, ported designs are preferable. The porting seems to be via the via the low input instrument, pre-amp out and FX loop jacks!
Above — Top view showing the various control pots and switches. The sonic circuit was a great addition to the Brute series. The previous Brute design had an overdrive circuit which failed to merit wide acclaim. I personally do not use the sonic circuit and rely upon the main amp circuit. I like the slight break up of the power amp when driven hard, although it is by no means a Marshall-style crunch tone. Baxandall equalizer plus decent spring reverb.
Above — My Mega-Brute atop a 1 by 12 Marshall cabinet. This proved a pleasant
combination for R & B plus jazz-fusion work.
Above — The other Mega-Brute. An amp head which became known as the
Mega-Brain. This product was discontinued. The speaker is a Raezer’s Edge Stealth 12 speaker cabinet. I sold this head in 2004 and now regret it.
Above — Inside the Raezer’s Edge Stealth 12 speaker cabinet. Foam and
fiberglass insulation absorb standing waves + reflections, lower the box Q and hopefully smooths out the bass response.
Above — Another view of the Raezer’s Edge Stealth 12 speaker cabinet. I like Eminence speakers; especially the Eminence Patriot Swamp Thang.
Above — My old Mini-Brute with a 15 inch speaker on its side ready to carry. Bass for days!