Hayden Classic Lead 80

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There’s a good reason this is called the Classic Lead, it’ll rock your socks off! Should have been called the Classic Led, really…

This truly is a belter. Even before you hear it, anyone can sense it’s pretty ominous with the all-black vinyl covering and leather grips. There is an air of uncertainty, yes, but also class. Just look at that chrome trim and neon-style Hayden type face. What is truly classic though is when you turn it on and it comes to life. Not only can you see right through to the EL43’s glow red hot but the whole front panel illuminates all the innards; “I’m here, and I’ll hurt you!”

Sure it’ll hurt you, and with only an understated 80 watt output. When designing it, Hayden wanted the low end saturation of a 50 coupled with the presence of a 100. It really is a case of all pants and no trousers with this head.

The whole thing is hand-wired and made with only the best materials and components. By using through-plated boards, minimum two-watt resistors, polypropylene caps and other quality parts, it really is a step up from common-place brand institutions like Marshall.

Tonal deliverance is just astounding. If you’re a softer player and you love your Twin Reverb this is not for you! The lack of a negative feedback loop makes for a quicker dynamic response. Consequently, the two channels differ hugely in their range. The first is a fantastic classic crunch channel, emulating a tube-less AC30 – perky. Whereas channel two is reserved for hard rock, and when turned up past 12 o’clock distortion is plentiful and fuzzy. This is not an amp for perfect clarity but that can be sorted with Hayden’s immaculate EQ settings.

At £1,249 the hand-wired Classic Lead 80 is a steal! Nothing comes close in this price bracket.