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Papa Gates' Schecter Hellwin Amp AMA

Donovan Etue

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    FUN FACT: The Hellwin was designed by legendary amp design James Brown, most famous for designing the Peavey 5150. James was working for Kustom at the time he was contacted about designing the Hellwin, and it's actually heavily based physically on the Kustom Double Cross amp (pictured below). The control layout on the front is extremely similar. Sonically and feature-wise, I think the Hellwin is based off a Marshall JVM. For more technical information on the Hellwin, you can listen to an interview with James Brown where he talks about the amp here.


    View attachment 1049
    I haven't posted it yet but I just bought a guitar from James! It's got a cool story too! From the limited time I've talked with him he seems like a real nice guy!
     
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    [DELETED]

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    I haven't posted it yet but I just bought a guitar from James! It's got a cool story too! From the limited time I've talked with him he seems like a real nice guy!

    I've only ever talked to him limitedly online, but he is very nice and helpful. He always helps out with technical information if you contact him
     
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    Donovan Etue

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    I've only ever talked to him limitedly online, but he is very nice and helpful. He always helps out with technical information if you contact him
    Definitely. The guitar I ended up buying from him was actually a gift from Syn himself when he was designing the Hellwin back how ever many years ago it was. From what he said he doesn't play that kind of instrument much anymore and decided he wanted to try and find a better home for it. A Schecter Synyster Custom S. He really liked the sustainiac and the guitar overall but he just doesn't play much anymore. So he listed it for a low price and figured it would go to a good home. I found the listing 4 hours after he posted and with a ton of convincing I got my parents on board to let me buy the guitar. He didn't mention any of the story about the guitar. Hell it didn't click who it was I was buying from til after I had already paid for it haha. I asked if he'd be open to autographing it or a note for me and he seemed happy to. It should be here Friday!
     
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    [DELETED]

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    Definitely. The guitar I ended up buying from him was actually a gift from Syn himself when he was designing the Hellwin back how ever many years ago it was. From what he said he doesn't play guitar much if ever anymore and decided he wanted to try and find a better home for it. A Schecter Synyster Custom S. He really liked the sustainiac and the guitar overall but he just doesn't play much anymore. So he listed it for a low price and figured it would go to a good home. I found the listing 4 hours after he posted and with a ton of convincing I got my parents on board to let me buy the guitar. He didn't mention any of the story about the guitar. Hell it didn't click who it was I was buying from til after I had already paid for it haha.
    You lucked out! Good for you man, I hope you enjoy it. I'm sure it's in great condition too. That's a hell of a story to tell!
     

    [DELETED]

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    Syn had said a couple times that the architecture was closer to the 5150, and in fact, the model he uses in the Fractal to imitate his tone is the 5153 Red 100w head. He'd probably have to weigh in, because I doubt I could fine that thread (it was way before the last site upgrade), but I do believe the tonal architecture and gain staging, of the dirty side of the head, was more 5150.

    But I've never actually PLAYED a Hellwin, so....
    And, well, if the guy that designed it says JVM, then JVM.. It will take me a while to work through a 3.5 hour YT vid, though :) .
    I just contacted James, and he says it wasn't designed around it

    IMG_9056.jpeg
     

    Donovan Etue

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    You lucked out! Good for you man, I hope you enjoy it. I'm sure it's in great condition too. That's a hell of a story to tell!
    I didn't realize just HOW much I lucked out til after I received a message back after purchasing it. I sent him a note before buying it when I was still debating whether I really wanted it. About 15 minutes later my heart was set but he hadn't answered back. So I went with it and bought it anyway. When I realized who it was and the story behind the guitar I mildly freaked the fuck out haha. It's in mint condition too. Definitely!
     
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    William Byerley

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    5150 is the EVH amp is it not? I only know it cause Gojira was showing his gear. So it's just a Modified Peavy amp? I misread/hear things often. Not that I want to buy anything, I thought it was another James Brown, i miss cali
     

    Donovan Etue

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    5150 is the EVH amp is it not? I only know it cause Gojira was showing his gear. So it's just a Modified Peavy amp? I misread/hear things often. Not that I want to buy anything, I thought it was another James Brown, i miss cali
    The 5150 was originally Eddie Van Halen's signature amp with Peavey. They made a few models over the years until I believe Eddie left Peavey as an artist. Eddie later created the company EVH which makes both guitars and amps as well as pedals. EVH kept the 5150 name and Peavey later called the 5150 line the 6505. Quite a few artists use EVH 5150's including Gojira and Trivium.
     

    [DELETED]

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    5150 is the EVH amp is it not? I only know it cause Gojira was showing his gear. So it's just a Modified Peavy amp? I misread/hear things often. Not that I want to buy anything, I thought it was another James Brown, i miss cali
    5150 was first released by Peavey, followed by 5150 II. Both designed by James Brown along with input and final say by Eddie Van Halen. Eddie took the 5150 name and made his own amp company that's owned by Fender, and that's what we have today, referred to as a 5150 III or 5153. Peavey changed the 5150 to 6505, and 5150 II to 6505+. However, I have confirmation from James Brown himself that the Hellwin is not based on the 5150.
     
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    Radu-Cristian Perde

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    I actually think that feature made a little sense, and likely wasn't too cost effective. If I recall correctly, that knob was designed for Schecter's Hellraiser, and then Schecter's president, Michael, suggested that they throw it on the Hellwin as well. It's just a potentiometer and likely some resistors and stuff. It's primarily just controlling the low end, which isn't that advanced. And it makes sense for Schecter's demographic since they sell a lot of baritone and extended range instruments with low tunings. I know Avenged usually sticks around Drop D, but their fans that play guitar likely venture into some metal in lower tunings.

    Papa Gates and I have talked about why the Hellwin didn't work out, and a lot of it was the cost. Fans of Avenged are usually a bit younger and therefore didn't have the thousands of dollars that this amp costed. If it were more affordable, a smaller combo, or even a minihead, it would've been much better and made more sense and many more Avenged fans could afford. The amp they released is for a more serious gigging or studio guitarist.
    Yeah thats pretty on the spot about why it didnt work out. I work at a music store and small combo amps sells like crazy. In my time there, I sold at least 50 Boss Katana and I wasnt there for that long. But you know how many high gain tube amps I sold in the span of a year? 4. And I live in a big city. The high gain amps I sold were mostly Mesa's and Marshalls, which are the big brands that are just known by everyone. And with today's new digital technology, tube amps dont have the same appeal they had. They will always have a space in recording studios and to those who know how to use them but for the average guitar player, it makes no sense anymore. Sadly the hellwin was a victim of it. Still an amazing amp!
     

    William Byerley

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    cool facts thanks, i like fender and evh, the other day i saw a video i think it was from Rick Beato, did a video demonstrating the sound, to me they kind of sounded the same (5150 and the peavy) The Hellwin is probably a good amp, Kind of heard slight changes in the bands tone over the years. I heard a couple of Trivium's songs, they are really good, saw them in Guitar World a few times. I only had room for one Metal band at the time because I had to adjust my ears and Avenged Sevenfold was a lot for me to take in, I've been a fan roughly 13 years and I'm still digesting music they made from back in the day. Do you call it a guitar hero if your roughly the same age? I saw one show in Hollywood ( a static lullaby ) and 2nd concert ever was the LBC one ( i was in the front from start to finish ) been training ever since
     
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    Ed Seith

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    Eric Kane

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    That is some great information. I had also heard it was a mix, but I heard Marshall/5150/Bogner. But I have a Marshall JVM and a Hellwin, and I don't think they sound similar, other than both being high gain. But this new information directly from James Brown clears things up. Very interesting!

    VERY long story short, I had an issue with my Hellwin, and had taken it to my local amp builder/technician, and he eventually found the Schecter "Hellwin technician guy" that was supposed to service them, and I am now in possession of the schematics for the Hellwin (which have the Kustom brand on the drawing title blocks, by the way - that didn't make sense to me at first, but it does now!). I don't have any experience building amps, but it had crossed my mind to try to learn something and then attempt to build a lower wattage combo version. If anyone has a Hellwin, and would like the schematics just in case you need work done on it or something, you can message me and I can try to send them to you.
     

    [DELETED]

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    That is some great information. I had also heard it was a mix, but I heard Marshall/5150/Bogner. But I have a Marshall JVM and a Hellwin, and I don't think they sound similar, other than both being high gain. But this new information directly from James Brown clears things up. Very interesting!

    VERY long story short, I had an issue with my Hellwin, and had taken it to my local amp builder/technician, and he eventually found the Schecter "Hellwin technician guy" that was supposed to service them, and I am now in possession of the schematics for the Hellwin (which have the Kustom brand on the drawing title blocks, by the way - that didn't make sense to me at first, but it does now!). I don't have any experience building amps, but it had crossed my mind to try to learn something and then attempt to build a lower wattage combo version. If anyone has a Hellwin, and would like the schematics just in case you need work done on it or something, you can message me and I can try to send them to you.
    I think the whole 5150 thing behind this amp just comes from James Brown's involvement, since that's what he's mostly known for and I think they even used that to market the amp. As for Bogner, that's just what Avenged was known to use before.

    And I'd love the schematics if you have them!
     
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    Eric Kane

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    I think the whole 5150 thing behind this amp just comes from James Brown's involvement, since that's what he's mostly known for and I think they even used that to market the amp. As for Bogner, that's just what Avenged was known to use before.

    And I'd love the schematics if you have them!
    Yeah sure, just message me with your e-mail address, and I'll send them to you!
     
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    Cooper Brady

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    Hey, new guy to the forum here. I've looked far and wide (on the internet) for a Hellwin head, but they have just vanished from existence. I can tell from the backstory to this amp that it'll never be for sale, and I couldn't afford it if it was. So in your opinion, being someone who has played through the amp, what is the best amp to get the Hellwin sound? Thanks!