Review: Carr Mercury Guitar Amp

Do you play guitar at home? If you do, we’ll bet a dollar the neighbors have hollered at you to “quiet down with that racket.” Or maybe they just called the cops. We don’t know.

What we do know is there’s a solution that keeps both parties appeased: the Mercury. This stunning vintage-styled single-channel combo amp allows you to rock out without bothering people downstairs.

First, let us drop a little knowledge on you: Guitar amplifiers generally sound best with the volume cranked up, but this of course, is a great way to violate noise ordinances. What the Mercury does differently is allow you dial down the volume but still get tone that sounds like the amp is jacked to 11.

The Mercury accomplishes this with a 4-position power switch. Turn the output switch from 8 watts down to 2, 1/2 or even a 1/10th of a watt, then crank the volume up and the Mercury’s 12-inch Eminence Red White & Blues speaker will hang onto the optimized tone of an amplifier at high volume. When we blasted its behemoth overdrive at 8 watts, then powered down to 1/10th of a watt, the amp produced tones that sounded nearly identical.

In the belly of this little beastie is an Electro-Harmonix EL-34 tube that packs a surprisingly beefy punch at full power. The 3-position boost switch increases gain, unleashing a range of growling, vintage overdrive tones thick enough to rattle your ribcage. Its spring reverb unit adds lush, deep reverberation to the clean tones of my Les Paul Classic so spacious I nearly nodded off mid-strum.

While the power switch makes the Mercury versatile enough for solitary shredding, band practice and recording, using it at any major gig is a bit of a stretch. And at $2,290 (plus an extra $150 for the cream/gator finish our demo came with), this boutique rig makes sense for only serious aficionados. Hey, it’s definitely cheaper than hiring a lawyer after you’ve been charged with disturbing the peace.

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