In recent years, many touring sidemen have turned to low-wattage amps. These small heads and combos allow guitarists to push an amp’s power stage without irritating singers and soundmen, while in-ear monitors mean they can hear themselves without having to move so much air.
The Supro Comet neatly fits this niche with its single 6L6 power tube wired in a class-A configuration, and a switchable plate voltage that allows for 14- or 6-watt operation. At the 2017 NAMM Show, thanks to Supro’s enclosed listening booth, I was able to hear the amp’s ability to deliver everything from crystal cleans to screaming distortion at the turn of a guitar knob, and at volumes friendly to even my ravaged ears. But until you play through an amp with your own guitars, in your own space, you never know.
Unboxing the amp back home in Nashville, the Comet’s 1959 Supro cosmetics—Black Rhino Hide Tolex, black piping, white welting, and gold faceplate—screamed “vintage.” I tested it with a 1965 Fender Stratocaster, a Fernandes Telecaster, a humbucker-equipped Fender Blacktop Jazzmaster, and a Harmony Rebel with gold-foil pickups.
Supro states that the lack of a beam blocker in front of the Comet’s custom-made CR10 speaker “facilitates maximum throw and crystal-clear treble response”—and I can attest to that—but my first revelation was how much bottom end the single 10 delivered. Next, I was amazed at the amount of clean headroom available, even in 6-watt mode. The literature says that the amp begins to break up at the 12 ’o clock volume setting. This will, of course, vary with the voltage coming out of the wall as well as the output of the pickups. With DiMarzio Virtual Vintage Strat-style single-coils, the Comet maintained a clean sound well past noon, producing a warm, giving tone without