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Papa Gates' Schecter Hellwin Amp AMA

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Nov 11, 2019
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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!
Well it's pretty much a mix between a Kustom Double Cross and a Marshall JVM. Syn was using a JVM right before the Hellwin was made so that would probably be your closest bet. The Double Cross is a little hard to come by as well, but there are an abundance of JVM's available, as well as different versions and wattage options.
 
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Eric Kane

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Nov 11, 2019
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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!
That is difficult to answer. I guess like Alex says, given the lineage of the Hellwin, probably a Marshall JVM or a Kustom Double Cross. But I don't think my JVM sounds like my Hellwin... Everybody's ears are different I guess...

I think you can sort of get in the ballpark with a lot of different high gain amps. Or, you might want to just hold off a little while and see what Syn's new amp and pedal combo sounds like.
 

[DELETED]

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Nov 11, 2019
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That is difficult to answer. I guess like Alex says, given the lineage of the Hellwin, probably a Marshall JVM or a Kustom Double Cross. But I don't think my JVM sounds like my Hellwin... Everybody's ears are different I guess...

I think you can sort of get in the ballpark with a lot of different high gain amps. Or, you might want to just hold off a little while and see what Syn's new amp and pedal combo sounds like.
Well the Hellwin is more of a Double Cross internally, but just modified to sound more like a JVM as James said. I'm sure it doesnt exactly like a JVM, but it was given qualities like a JVM. The Hellwin sounds very "Marshall-y" to me for sure. But the fact that Syn was using a JVM when the Hellwin was made will get you sorta close. At least close to his tone at one point in time. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for us!
 

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Nov 11, 2019
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That is difficult to answer. I guess like Alex says, given the lineage of the Hellwin, probably a Marshall JVM or a Kustom Double Cross. But I don't think my JVM sounds like my Hellwin... Everybody's ears are different I guess...

I think you can sort of get in the ballpark with a lot of different high gain amps. Or, you might want to just hold off a little while and see what Syn's new amp and pedal combo sounds like.
I should also point out that I've never used a JVM or that many Marshalls for that matter. I'm just going off of what James Brown said, what Syn was using, and other things people have said.
 

Cooper Brady

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    That is difficult to answer. I guess like Alex says, given the lineage of the Hellwin, probably a Marshall JVM or a Kustom Double Cross. But I don't think my JVM sounds like my Hellwin... Everybody's ears are different I guess...

    I think you can sort of get in the ballpark with a lot of different high gain amps. Or, you might want to just hold off a little while and see what Syn's new amp and pedal combo sounds like.
    That's right! I completely forgot that he'd be releasing a new amp. Do you know if it'll be another AxeFX pack or a genuine tube amp? Regardless, thanks for the help.
     
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    Cooper Brady

    Free Bird Player
  • Nov 2, 2020
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    Well it's pretty much a mix between a Kustom Double Cross and a Marshall JVM. Syn was using a JVM right before the Hellwin was made so that would probably be your closest bet. The Double Cross is a little hard to come by as well, but there are an abundance of JVM's available, as well as different versions and wattage options.
    Thanks. I've been eyeing some JVM205s so that's great.
     
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    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Brian Haner Sr.

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    Nov 11, 2019
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    I appreciate you starting this thread, Alex. We always get a ton of questions about it and frankly, I just never used mine enough to be an authority on the subject.
    I would add this - whatever the Hellwin started as, it certainly didn't end up the same. Syn and James spent months on it, and there were many tweaks. Syn even flew back to spend a few days with James to get it totally dialed in. I have played through a ton of amps and I have never heard anything like the Hellwin. It's a unicorn for sure.
    On a personal note, Alex worked with my daughter and besides being a great musician, he has become a dear friend of our family. I felt the Hellwin, (which literally had about 10 hours on it) would be well-taken care of, appreciated and USED! Syn was excited the I told him I was giving it to Alex.

    I think Alex will be a great addition to the school. He's a great player, very knowledgeable, and just a super nice guy.
     

    Ed Seith

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    That's right! I completely forgot that he'd be releasing a new amp. Do you know if it'll be another AxeFX pack or a genuine tube amp? Regardless, thanks for the help.

    It is a genuine amp. I think a combo, but I think there was something else that made it a little more versatile than a basic 1-piece combo - memory is sketch on that. Not sure it's tube or valve, but Syn has referred to it as a "platform amp," meaning an all-clean amp meant for sculpting tone with pedals.
     
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    I appreciate you starting this thread, Alex. We always get a ton of questions about it and frankly, I just never used mine enough to be an authority on the subject.
    I would add this - whatever the Hellwin started as, it certainly didn't end up the same. Syn and James spent months on it, and there were many tweaks. Syn even flew back to spend a few days with James to get it totally dialed in. I have played through a ton of amps and I have never heard anything like the Hellwin. It's a unicorn for sure.
    On a personal note, Alex worked with my daughter and besides being a great musician, he has become a dear friend of our family. I felt the Hellwin, (which literally had about 10 hours on it) would be well-taken care of, appreciated and USED! Syn was excited the I told him I was giving it to Alex.

    I think Alex will be a great addition to the school. He's a great player, very knowledgeable, and just a super nice guy.
    No problem! I think it’s really exciting to own this amp, and even the Bogner that Syn used on some of the records. But I think it’s even more exciting to be able to share these amps with people and talk about them since there seems to be interest. I appreciate the kind words as well!

    For those that read the story on how I obtained the amp, it legitimately goes to show how selfless and genuine the Haner family is. I even offered to pay for the amp, and they wouldn’t accept it. Without their generosity, we wouldn’t even be on this free platform right now discussing this.
     

    SkRiPTZ

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    Yikes you guys are coming for my throat right away lol. I was in a band, and we did a song with Syn's sister, McKenna. I was the one that kind of facilitated the feature, and we were lucky enough to spend time with Papa Gates, Suzy, and McKenna. We stayed in touch with them and they were incredibly nice and generous to us. Papa Gates and Suzy were moving earlier this year, and I had gone to see them a few times before they moved. I had asked them both multiple times if they knew of anyone looking to sell a Hellwin or if they wanted to sell theirs so they knew I was interested. The timing was just right, and he made the tough decision to let it go since they were moving. He pretty much said if I helped them do some packing up, he'd leave the Hellwin with me. Papa Gates has tons of amps, and doesn't usually need an amp with that kind of power, so it didn't get as much use as he thought it would get, and he knew that I would use it and trusted that I would keep it, and keep it safe. They know I'm extremely grateful for it and that it's there's whenever it's needed.
    So cool! Must have been amazing to collaborate with such talented individuals.
     
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    [DELETED]

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    So cool! Must have been amazing to collaborate with such talented individuals.
    It really was. McKennas vocals are so beautiful, I love listening to her vocal stems. She nailed the harmonies on the spot too. Both Papa Gates and Suzy threw out some melodic ideas that just complimented it so well and I was just impressed by everyones natural music ability
     

    [DELETED]

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    Thats pretty cool! I own one too and I mostly use it as a recording amp more than anything! I am actually curious with cool tips you could have about how to best optimize the sound and if you found like some really good settings that you could share!
    I wanted to come back to his comment. You can see Syn's live settings in this video here which I just tried out and it sounds pretty damn good. Since the amp isn't on, idk if he has the boost on or not, but he probably just uses the boost for leads. Also keep in mind that his cab is in an Iso booth so our results may likely be different than his. And there's no guarantee that those were his actual settings, as I've heard that people have purposely changed their amp settings on videos like these to not give away their sauce lol. But it sounds good regardless!
     
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Radu-Cristian Perde

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    I wanted to come back to his comment. You can see Syn's live settings in this video here which I just tried out and it sounds pretty damn good. Since the amp isn't on, idk if he has the boost on or not, but he probably just uses the boost for leads. Also keep in mind that his cab is in an Iso booth so our results may likely be different than his. And there's no guarantee that those were his actual settings, as I've heard that people have purposely changed their amp settings on videos like these to not give away their sauce lol. But it sounds good regardless!
    Ouuuh good find! And thats not an issue, I have acoustic panels at home that I use to creat an Iso booth when recording (I made a video that i posted here!) And yeah well I'll try it out and see what gives!

    I also just remembered that I bought the Hellwin brand new and so it came with its manual and in the manual, Syn actually gives settings he used on the HTTK recordings! I can try to find it and post it here if ever!
     

    [DELETED]

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    Ouuuh good find! And thats not an issue, I have acoustic panels at home that I use to creat an Iso booth when recording (I made a video that i posted here!) And yeah well I'll try it out and see what gives!

    I also just remembered that I bought the Hellwin brand new and so it came with its manual and in the manual, Syn actually gives settings he used on the HTTK recordings! I can try to find it and post it here if ever!
    Oh right I forgot about the manual! I actually have a digital version of it, if you need it as well
     

    Eric Kane

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    Wondering if anyone has production quantities/serial number info for the Hellwin? Being a huge fan of Syn and the amp, and knowing they are pretty rare, I have been searching for any information on numbers produced and such, but haven't been able to find anything. I had even asked Schecter directly a while back, but all I got back from them was "Unfortunately, that series has been forever discontinued."

    Do any of you guys have any of that type of information? Or maybe know someone with an in at Schecter? Or have any other ideas on how to find that kind of info?
     
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    [DELETED]

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    Alex, this is great! Thanks! I did not have the manual.
    No problem, I always try to find digital versions of the manuals to my gear


    Wondering if anyone has production quantities/serial number info for the Hellwin? Being a huge fan of Syn and the amp, and knowing they are pretty rare, I have been searching for any information on numbers produced and such, but haven't been able to find anything. I had even asked Schecter directly a while back, but all I got back from them was "Unfortunately, that series has been forever discontinued."

    Do any of you guys have any of that type of information? Or maybe know someone with an in at Schecter? Or have any other ideas on how to find that kind of info?
    Mine has a serial number on the back, but I have no clue what it indicates, if anything. Have you tried asking them directly about your serial number? [email protected]
     

    Eric Kane

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    No problem, I always try to find digital versions of the manuals to my gear



    Mine has a serial number on the back, but I have no clue what it indicates, if anything. Have you tried asking them directly about your serial number? [email protected]
    I did not ask them specifically about my S/N. I was looking more for something like "produced from May 2013 through December 2014, total of x number of units produced" or whatever. I have a theory as to what the actual numbers within the S/N mean, at least for the USA models. I think the first two digits might be year produced, next two might be month, and then the next four would be unit number off the line. Not 100% sure on that - that's just my thought based on how Schecter has numbered other models. I'm really more interested in knowing total quantity of units produced. I don't know why that would be a closely guarded secret - it is what it is. But Schecter apparently didn't want to answer it.