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What’s so Special About the Peavey Decade?: A Secret WEAPON!

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Amps are quite important, they play such a remarkable role in tone shaping for guitar players. Some players do not use effect pedals, they rather depend solely on their amps for tone shaping. This explains why guitar amps remain such an important accessory for most players. 

When mentioning guitar amps, some brands stand out a bit more than others. Some brands are a lot more popular because, over time, guitar players have come to love and trust them. One of the brands that always make it to the top of the list of guitar amps is Peavey. 

Over the years, Peavey has built a reputation as one of the best manufacturers of guitar and bass accessories in the world. It has become a household name in the guitar and bass worlds respectively. It is loved and respected in the guitar world by even the most renowned players. 

Peavey was founded by Hartley Peavey as far back as 1965 as a one-man shop. Currently, Peavey Electronics Corporation remains one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of musical instruments, guitar/bass amps and professional audio systems in the world. 

The company distributes more than 2,000 products to more than 130 countries the world over. Even in the vintage guitar/accessory market, this ubiquitous brand remains a very sought-after name. 

That being said, although Peavey boasts of a lot of solid and well-loved guitar amps, one model from its line of amps has become unexpectedly popular in the past year. The Peavey Decade, for some reason, has become a well-sought-after amp all of a sudden. 

Although many older folks will remember this amp as one of the first guitar amps they ever laid hands on as far back as when they first had a guitar, it still doesn’t explain the sudden awakening of interest in the hearts of many guitar players for this amp. 

Not until about a year ago, many players and vintage amp collectors never regarded the Peavey Decade as anything other than an ordinary vintage amp with nothing exactly exceptional about it. But the popular guitar player, singer and record producer Josh Hommes changed people’s perception towards this small guitar amp. 

In an interview/documentary, Josh Hommes (founder of the rock band Queens of the Stone Age – formed in 1966) stated that the Peavey Decade was the “secret weapon” to their sound. After the unveiling of this secret, the demand and price for this little vintage amp surged. 

In this article, we will discuss this amp, in-depth and tell you everything you will need to know about the Peavey Decade guitar amp.

A brief history of the Peavey Decade

Established in 1965 by Hartley Peavey, Peavey Electronics Corporation has a storied legacy in manufacturing amplifiers and audio equipment. Hartley Peavey’s entrepreneurial journey began above his father’s music store, painstakingly crafting amplifiers individually, one by one.

However, Hartley Peavey built his first amplifier in 1957. Peavey Electronics has become one of the largest audio equipment manufacturers in the world, known for its quality, affordability, and innovation.

Regarding the Peavy Decade, its manual print dates back to 1982. So 1982 is the speculated year in which Decade was launched. That’s also the date on which it was possibly copyrighted. 

Peavey Decade – General Overview

The Peavey Decade is a compact practice amplifier that packs impressive performance and features into a small package. Designed with the technology and electronic components of the 80s, this amp offers musicians a high-quality practice experience at an affordable price. 

Despite its small size, it delivers many harmonic textures and equalization options typically found in larger, more powerful units.

One of the standout features of the Decade is its special input preamp with unique circuitry. This preamp provides high gain, dynamic range, and functional versatility. 

Notably, it includes the SATURATION™ effect, which emulates tube amplifiers’ sustain and overload characteristics even at low volume levels. This feature is particularly useful for practising when and where high volume is not possible, such as in hotel rooms or homes.

The Decade offers equalization controls, including a crucial middle control for achieving rich and full sustain. 

These controls allow musicians to shape their sound according to their preferences and musical style, reproducing the tonality and harmonic content of larger stage equipment at a reduced and controllable level.

The amp’s construction is rugged, with a high-quality cabinet and electronics powered by a full-wave silicon rectifier and a larger filter bank. Despite its 10-watt power amplifier, it delivers more acoustic output than traditional 10-watt amps. 

Overall, the Peavey Decade stands out as a powerful practice amp that offers musicians impressive capabilities and the ability to fine-tune their sound. 

Its compact size, versatile features, and affordability make it an attractive option for musicians seeking a high-quality practice amplifier.

Peavey Decade Specifications

The Peavey Decade is a compact practice amplifier with a power output of 10 watts. It features an 8″ specially designed speaker with a carefully contoured frequency response and a wide dynamic range. 

The Decade incorporates a special input preamp with unique circuitry, providing musicians with high gain and dynamic range. 

The Decade offers bass, middle, and treble equalization controls to shape the sound, allowing musicians to achieve their desired tonal shaping. A post-gain control is also included for precise control over dynamics and overall volume. 

The amplifier’s cabinet is built with rugged construction and high-quality materials, ensuring durability. The electronics are powered by a full-wave silicon rectifier and a larger filter bank, optimizing performance. 

The Decade amplifier offers versatility with its various connectivity options. It includes a preamp-out jack, connecting external power amps, tape decks, and other devices. 

In addition, with the possibility of utilizing a 12V accessory patch cord, the Decade provides the flexibility of portable operation in various automotive settings. 

These convenient attributes enhance the versatility of the Decade, catering to various setups and accommodating the needs of musicians on the move.

What makes the Peavey Decade So Special?

The Peavey Decade stands out for several reasons. Firstly, its compact size and affordable price make it accessible to musicians looking for a high-quality practice amp. 

Despite its small footprint, it offers impressive performance and features typically found in larger and more expensive units. 

Next, its SATURATION™ input provides super high gain and harmonically rich circuitry, delivering mellow overload and sustaining characteristics similar to tube-type amps at maximum gain. 

The Decade’s equalization controls also contribute to its special qualities. With the ability to shape the sound using bass, middle, and treble controls, musicians can achieve rich and full sustain, replicating the tonality and harmonic content of larger stage equipment at a reduced and controllable level. 

This versatility allows musicians to tailor their sound to their preferences and musical style. In terms of artist association, the Peavey Decade gained recognition through its use by renowned musician Josh Homme. 

Homme, known for his work with bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures, has utilized the Peavey Decade in his equipment lineup. Homme’s preference for the Decade speaks to its quality and ability to meet a professional musician’s demands. 

The Decade’s construction is another factor that sets it apart. Its rugged cabinet, made of high-quality materials, ensures durability and longevity, making it suitable for practice sessions and live performances. 

The amp’s electronics, powered by a full-wave silicon rectifier and a larger filter bank, maximize its performance and deliver significantly higher acoustic output than traditional 10-watt amps. 

Furthermore, the Decade offers versatility through its various connectivity options. Including a preamp-out jack allows musicians to connect external power amps, tape decks, and other devices, expanding its functionality beyond a practice amp. 

Additionally, as mentioned above, its 12-volt DC receptacle on the rear chassis enables portable use with the 12V accessory patch cord, making it convenient for on-the-go musicians. 

Overall, the Peavey Decade stands out for its impressive performance and features and its accessibility, versatility, and association with respected musicians like Josh Homme. 

Its unique SATURATION™ effect, tonal shaping capabilities, rugged construction, and connectivity options make it a standout choice for musicians seeking a high-quality practice amp that delivers professional-grade performance. 

Peavey Decade – Controls

The Peavey Decade amplifier features various tone settings and controls that allow you to customise your sound. These settings can be adjusted to achieve American rock, British rock, and clean tones. Here’s a breakdown of the controls and their functions:

Low, Mid, and High EQ (Equalization)

Featuring a special passive-type EQ circuitry, the Decade amplifier offers precise tonal control. Adjusting the Low EQ control allows you to modify the bass level in the output signal, allowing you to make your sounds deeper, fatter, and warmer. 

The Mid EQ control significantly influences the midrange frequencies, enabling sound shaping in the crucial mid-frequency range. Lastly, the High EQ control determines the high-frequency content of the output signal, allowing you to tailor the amplifier’s sonic characteristics to your preference.

Pre-Gain Control

The gain control in the input circuitry determines the level of distortion and controlled distortion in the sound. When the pre-gain control is rotated clockwise, both the gain and distortion increase.

Post-Gain Control

By adjusting the sensitivity of the power amp’s input stage, the control enables you to fine-tune the amplifier’s overall gain structure. Post-gain control plays a vital role in achieving the desired sustain and dynamics while managing the output level.

Normal Input

The jack designated for normal playing delivers a clean response and controlled distortion when the pre-gain control is set to low levels. When you insert the plug into the normal input jack, you will notice two distinct “clicks,” confirming its proper insertion.

Saturation™ Input

When a footswitch is connected to the first “detent” of the normal input jack, it effectively disables the SATURATION™ effect. 

Otherwise, this jack automatically activates the SATURATION™ effect, enhancing gain and harmonic content even when the output levels are low.

Preamp Output Jack

This jack provides an output signal capable of driving external equipment such as power amplifiers, tape recorders, or effects units.

D.C. Accessory Input

For portable use, the Decade amplifier can be powered using a 12V DC power source commonly found in vehicles, RVs, and similar settings. To utilize this feature, an optional DC patch cord is required.

Who Should Get the Peavey Decade?

If you are a guitarist or bassist, you can invest in the Peavy Decade for its interesting and unique sonic qualities. For example, when overdriven, it produces a unique tone that some have humorously likened to a hoard of mosquitoes. 

Another perspective is that while it may have an unconventional sound, it has a brilliant, dirty-sounding quality that many appreciate, especially in the rock and metal music scene. 

In addition, you can also use it creatively on your synths or other instruments, especially for underground or hard electronic music genres like dubstep. It can open new doors for sound designers. 

Next, you may find its saturation input harsh, but the overall amp’s sound and build quality are appreciable. It is known for its association with heavy and powerful tones in rock music, particularly in songs like “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age.

So if you are into those kinds of crunchy tones or play rock, metal, punk, or similar forms of music, Peavy Decade could be good for you. As shown in the video below, you can also use it creatively on a bass guitar for interesting tones. 

Further, since the controls are simple and easy to use, it’s equally suitable for beginners and advanced players. Further, its small size makes it a good option for gigging musicians and in small pubs and bars. 

Lastly, after Mark Ronson and Josh Homme commented on it, its prices increased. 

Many reviewers on forums suggest that it’s not worth paying more than $100, but its price has shot up to about $350, and people are willing to pay for it. Hence, the Decade may not be affordable if you are a musician on a budget.


In conclusion, the Peavey Decade guitar amp has recently emerged as a special and sought-after amplifier. Despite its humble origins as a vintage amp, it gained popularity due to its association with renowned musician Josh Homme. 

The Decade’s standout features include its unique SATURATION™ effect, versatile equalization controls, rugged construction, and connectivity options. It offers impressive performance and tonal shaping capabilities, making it suitable for various musical styles. 

While its unconventional and gritty sound may not appeal to everyone and may add a unique personality of aggression or attitude to your guitars and bass sounds, it has found favour among rock, metal, and punk musicians. 

However, its increased demand has also increased prices, potentially making it less accessible for budget-conscious musicians. I hope this article answers your question. Thank you for reading.