In the last few years boutique amps have fallen into favor quite a bit, but as a sub-segment of that “lunchbox” style amps have become even more popular with guitar players. When you think of a lunchbox style guitar amp the Vox Nightrain comes to mind, or the Mesa Transatlantic. But more than likely you’ve seen one of the little ZT amps, because they look just like a lunchbox with a speaker in it (basically the same size). These have been very popular little amps for a long time, and we’ve seen all kinds of manufacturers come out in the last year or two with little 5 watt amps now two. Kustom has a 5 watt stack, the Ephiphone valve junior has been around 5+ years, even Fender came out this year with a “pawn shop” series of amps.
The amp I’m reviewing today is one that just came on my radar – the ZT Lunchbox Combo. It’s basically the lunchbox amp concept taken to the next level. It’s a larger size, with a 12″ speaker, and the housing (the entire amp really) is just barely bigger than the speaker itself. This is a solid state amp boasting 200 watts, with just barebones features, treble, mid, bass, volume, and gain. It even has effects loop on the rear and 8 ohm supported speaker out.
If you read the reviews of this amp online you’ll find nearly everyone says that it’s very beefy sounding (which we found to be the case). This is despite the fact that it’s in very tiny metal housing and the entire unit is only 22 lbs. And yet at that size and weight it’s perfect (at 200 watts) for nearly any type of gig you might want to take it too.
Being a solid state amp, another thing you’ll find is that it’s VERY pedal friendly. I’ve heard some people say that this would make a good jazz amp, but I found it equally as useful for a country or rock guy in a working blues or wedding cover band. With the right pedals you can easily go from SRV to Judas Priest, and back to dance rock or Skynyrd. Some say that the covering on the metal starts to peel over time, but then again this thing is metal – and I haven’t owned a traditional amp that didn’t have some type of damage or tolex coming off in places.
Here’s a video with some blues rock through the ZT Lunchbox combo amp:
Here’s another video review that shows the combo along with the extension cab and some pedals:
You can find all kind of versions of this amp (small and combo, new and used) on ebay right now:
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