In 1989, Reinhold Bogner revolutionized the guitar amplifier after moving to the United States from Germany. It was during this time that the external multi channel pre-amp setup was being widely used and Bogner seemed to be unsatisfied with its performance, wanting to get back to the sound of real, cranked up tube amps. It may have been his meeting with guitar legend Eddie Van Halen that was the catalyst for his explosion onto the music scene, as Eddie hired him to overhaul his original Marshall Plexi.
Through the years, Bogner amps have changed considerably. You will learn in this article how Bogner guitar amplifiers have evolved over time.
Bogner Ecstasy 100
In 1992, external multi channel pre amplifiers dominated the guitar amp market. This type of setup was widely used because various sound effects could easily be achieved. And so Bogner developed the Ecstacy 100A and 100B. This is considered to be the very first production 100 watt Bogner amp. The “A” version represented the American sounding version, using 6L6 power tubes, the type of power tube traditionally used in American-made Fender amps; with the “B” version representing the British sounding version, using EL34 tubes, the type of power tube typically found in Marshall amps.
Ecstasy 101 (A.K.A the White Chassis)
Three years later, Bogner, still aiming for high quality sound coming from the amplifier, decided to come up with another version of the Ecstasy, the 101, also known as the White Chassis. This guitar amplifier is considered by many to be unmatched, even when compared to guitar amplifiers made today. This amplifier was very similar to the original 100 model, but it had more features to accommodate the demands of modern players. Over the years, the Ecstasy 101 went through a number of changes, including a stripped down version very similar to the original 100 model known as the Classic. In 1997, the Bogner 101 had a total overhaul. Instead of having just the usual white chassis (which the amp is known for), it was now covered in an elegant black.
This was introduced in the market in the mid-90’s but had limited availability. The prototype was said to bear the word Mojo on its back because this amp was originally a slightly different called the Mojo. This two channel amp had an interesting six position Schizo knob which greatly changed its sound.
Also known as the German Uberschall, the Super Sonic is a high gain monster with two channels. A six 12ax7 power tube section yielded to a EL34 power amp to crank out 120 watts, an enormous amount of volume. Over time, the company released three versions of the amp: the original, a first revision and what was referred to as “revision blue.” The different versions related to issues such as normalizing the volume between the channels.
The Shiva is a more subtle, well-rounded amp. It is designed to produce a shimmering, Fender-like clean tone, and a gain tone similar to a classic Marshall JCM800. This model possibly represented an attempt to expand market share by producing an amp that could be used by a wider audience and not just metal heads.
Bogner amps are played and loved by a who’s who of artists. Heavy bands such as Slipknot and Disturbed have used Bogner amps to create incredibly heavy sounds. However, world class guitar players such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani have also played Bogners to create some of the world’s most beautiful and tonally complex music. A Bogner amplifier is a true investment, so if you can get your hands on one… do it!