SESSION AWARD BLUES BABY 45 (SOLID STATE)

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TCatTCat Frets: 16
I have been playing old time blues and Americana of one sort or another for just about 40 years, and was always totally convinced that no solid state tranny could truly nail that "just on the edge of breakup" sound.......you know the one I mean.... where you can just use your vol control at 7 and then whack it up to 10 for your solos !!  I did try solid state a couple of times with  vox and fender modelling amps, but compared to the real thing...they were badly lacking.       BUT......Then I stumbles upon SESSION AWARD  AMPS.....a name I remembered from the late 70's and 80s.  I saw what I thought were some positive vibes on the web and a few interesting clips and feedback on youtube................so I took a nervous dive into the world of solid state, and bought SESSION AWARDS recently launched BLUES BABY 45, knowing that their smaller powered model (22w I think? ) would not have the required headroom.

Long story short, the amp EVENTUALLY turned up, and sounded alright while messing about in the bedroom. Then I used it for the first time at a prestige gig. First set, the BB45 sounded sort of ok'ish....if slightly brittle and sterile, but I thought OK...new speaker needs breaking in etc  etc.......Like any new amp being used for the first time, we all have to play about with the settings to find our sweet spot.  Then mid way through the second set, this SESSION AWARD BB45 amp just ceased to function.......nothing....total silence...no bangs, crackles, smoke. smells, buzzes etc.....nothing !!  A horrible experience with very pissed off band members, audience ,promoter and me !!  Luckily, I always have backup amps, and after a long and awkward break, we finished the gig using a valve amp.

After weeks of hell, I finally got the "repaired" SESSION AWARD amp back. I used it at the next gig........and guess what folks?????.........yes, thats right, it didn't even make it through the first set this time !!  Exactly the same, it just ceased to function....

 I wont use this forum to describe the agony of trying to get this resolved, but I still have a £480 pile of junk if anybody wants it, although to be fair, the tweed cab that SESSION AWARD source in, and the Celestion A  type speaker are perfectly fine.......... 

REVIEW CONCLUSION.......

MY OPINION WOULD BE TO AVOID THIS AMP AT ALL COSTS, ........BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE,  BY FAR AND AWAY THE VERY WORST LOAD OF JUNK I HAVE EVER BEEN  FOOLISH ENOUGH TO BUY. I FEEL AS THOUGH I'VE BEEN SUCKED IN LIKE A COMPLETE MUG.
IN MY OPINION, THESE PEOPLE ARE AMONG THE WORST I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED AS A CUSTOMER.

PS.....just as a footnote........been 40 years playing almost weekly live gigs with VALVE amps. Guess wow many total and complete breakdowns ?............... Answer .....NONE !  (Perhaps three or four minor mishaps fixed in minutes. )

A BRAND NEW AND THEN "REPAIRED" SESSION AMP......TWO GIGS and TWO MAJOR TOTAL FAILURES....... THE KINDEST WORDS I CAN SAY ABOUT THE BLUES BABY 45 IS.............."PLEASE DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS."
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Comments

  • Pete24vPete24v Frets: 219
    Wow, I had the 22w version and loved it! Gigged it many times, used it 7hrs a day teaching and it didn't miss a beat. 

    Have you contacted Stewart at Award Session? 
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  • Take it to a local amp repair service for a second opinion...
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  • richhrichh Frets: 296
    I've never played this particular amp, but gigged one of Stewart's amps for years, week in, week out, and found it really reliable.  One time I blew a fuse. I spoke with Stewart the following morning and he was really helpful, explained the correct fuse to fit, and I got a few spares in, but never had a problem again.
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  • SessionmanSessionman Frets: 24
    edited March 2017

    Hello everyone,

     Oh dear… what a sad time!  I am very surprised by the opening post, because Award-Session does not have a recorded incident that  exactly matches the description provided by the OP.  We are also unable to match the posters name to any customer.

     If that person has a genuine grievance with us, for whatever reason and whoever he/she is, then I would like to suggest that they contact us directly.

     In case anyone feels Award-Session has acted unreasonably at any time, then there is always the UK legal system at their disposal.  But we have not heard from anyone’s legal representative, so that is very is unlikely to be the case.  We would always prefer to settle any disputes whith our customers directly long before it got to that stage.  We are ordinary people and musicians just like our customers.

    Award-Session will not stand for any kind of bullying or blackmail… particularly when any situation is aired in public on any forum.

     Award-Session has very clear Terms & Conditions set out on its website, which have been inspected and approved by Trading Standards in Winchester, Hampshire and, therefore, regarded as fair to both our customers and Award-Session.  However, for whatever reason, a few customers in the past have bought products from us and then made irreversible changes to that product which has meant Award-Session is unable to offer a refund on that product.  The cost of returning the product to standard specifications has meant these events are the only times we have ever refused to offer a refund to any customer.  We would, however, continue to offer a warranty (in most cases) if the item is returned to us for inspection… but that has never been requested.

    Award-Session believes everyone in the world understands that making any change to a bought product will void the customer’s rights to refund or warranty.

    We are a very small company, but I am always happy to help customers if I can.
      I have been known to drive from Basingstoke to Chatham to pick up and amp that was said to be behaving badly!

     I should point out that we are not able to discuss individual cases on a public forum such as this.

    "Just because it's never been done before, is the very reason to make it happen" - Me!

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  • jonnyburgojonnyburgo Frets: 5819
    Bit awkward, I've always heard them described as very hard working amps.
    "OUR TOSSPOT"
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  • KristoKristo Frets: 24
    I've had two of the 22w version and they were both awesome. No issues whatsoever and great tone. They only got moved on as I mainly play bass nowadays.
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  • robwrightrobwright Frets: 557
    I have several of the original Session amps from the 80's and I wouldn't use anything else! Great amps, super reliable and bulletproof. Haven't needed to send anything to Stewart but have only heard good things about their after sales service. Dare I suggest that the OP might be airing a very public grudge against the company? Is that what the forum is about?



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  • I have used session amps and a mate has had one ever since I have known him and always loved his tone. He bought a spare one as they were so cheap, but never had to use it. 
    Would OP like to say exactly what problem was and provide some backup? Otherwise this post should be closed in my opinion. 
    I too have had new amps both valve and SS break down, that's what happens over 30-40 years of gigging, if something can break down, it will! 
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  • cbilly22cbilly22 Frets: 286
    edited April 2017

    Would OP like to say exactly what problem was and provide some backup? Otherwise this post should be closed in my opinion. 

    Agreed. The OP is entitled to rant, justified or not, but perhaps not under the guise of a product review.
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  • GuyBodenGuyBoden Frets: 466
    I have an Award Session "SessionMaster", that's had no problems in over 25 years of use.

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  • rossirossi Frets: 400
    Prestige gig and new amp ?
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  • I have had a BB45 for over a year and it seems solid enough so far.
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  • I’ve been using a 1984 Sessionette 75 as my main amp for the last eight years and without doubt, it is the best amp I’ve ever had. At 15kg it is pretty light for its output. However, I’ve just purchased and received my Session Blues Baby 45 which only weighs 10.6kg. Nice and light, incredibly loud and ideal for an ageing rocker like me. Just checked everything out with it on different guitars…superb so far. I’m gigging it on Thursday and Friday this week….neither of them are “prestige gigs”, so should be OK. I have had dealings with Award Session for many years now, and can only speak highly of the quality of their products and good service.

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  • Fenderman53Fenderman53 Frets: 2
    edited January 2
    My two penny worth ...
    Playing in an established gigging covers band for over 10 years. Used a variety of 'must have' amps! e.g. Vox AC30, Fender Hot Rod II, Concert II, Deluxe Reverb, Blackstar Artisan, Dr Z EZG50 & Therapy. Yes, all very nice but need constant vigilance on those valves 'n caps etc. not to mention the physical workout needed to lug those heavy transformer lumps in and out of venues! So, was there a viable alternate for an ageing strummer?
    I looked around and took a punt on a BB22. Eureka! For my humble needs, it fitted the bill and ticked all the boxes.
    The BB45 was released a few months later and I took delivery of one. I built a 'head' cabinet for the amp chassis and this enabled me to use a 1 x 12 cab of my speaker choice plus reducing the back breaking weight of amp components.
    In every day, week in week out use, the Award Session amps have been superb and totally reliable.
    Stewart Ward at Award Session has always been very helpful with any queries and I can only speak as I find, a top class British product with none of the hype (and issues) often associated with some other brands.
    Can I tell the difference between one of my valve amps and the Award Session, yes, the valve amps don't stay the same or maintain their consistency. Yes, I can easily load in/out of the average club venue. Volume & Headroom easily meeting all requirements i.e. with an acoustic drum kit, keyboards, bass and twin vocals competing in the guitar frequency bands!
    A definite thumbs up for Award Session and the Blues Baby Amps from me.
     
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  • Latest 'Guitarist' (Feb 2018) features a review by Nick Guppy 8/10
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  • wg1wg1 Frets: 1
    Been using the same Sessionette 75 for 34 years. One repair and a service in all that time.
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