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10/26/2021

Guitar World Reviews the Delta King 12

Guitar World // October 28th, 2021

The discontinuation of the Blues King last year left heads being scratched. One of the strongest contenders in the Fender Blues Junior’s affordable small valve combo amp market in years was being phased out.

Fear not! Supro had a plan all along, and the Delta King line represents either the successor or a relaunch depending on your perspective. So what’s changed, and does this combo still stack up as one of the best in its class?

One difference is obvious: the four racing stripes are a knowing throwback to the brand’s heritage, but it’s a bold look that may divide opinion for those who prefer a lower-key appearance and feel it’s too reminiscent of a certain sports brand.

We think it’s good to see some flair in the often conservative world of combo cab design, and the dark blonde with metallic highlights ups the ante further. You just need a pork pie hat and braces for the full look!

But we’re personally not fans of the vintage-style backwards-facing top controls here; they make little practical sense for most players who will be standing in front of the speaker to change settings, and are greeted with them being upside down.

That said, the rest of the story is good news. The Delta King 12 is loud enough for pub gigs with the boost engaged, and really throws a physical punch that belies its small and portable dimensions.

Unboosted, it’s a smoother and sweeter clean tone. We tested with a Tele, SG and a LP Junior-style electric with vintage P-90 and ’50s wiring. With the gain engaged, the FET-driven overdrive is more flexible than the vintage look may suggest; especially with P-90s and our brighter SG ’buckers.

If you’re willing to adjust your drive from the guitar’s volume (and you should) it can go from harder rock to sweet blues drive without touching a pedal. Our Junior-style guitar shines in this context.

The amp doesn’t include a footswitch (the optional SF4 will enhance the amp’s potential), but when we tried stacking with a Tube Screamer and Keeley D&M Drive, the DK 12 delivered plenty of defined metallic chunk and huge sustaining leads.

However, there’s really enough here to go beyond the blues it excels at without external drive pedals. The onboard analog spring reverb is pleasingly organic and if you want to add your own, the line out and power amp in are effectively your effects loop here.

Tremolo would make this a knockout successor, but would likely force the price higher. As it is, this is a superb combo for smaller gigs, recording and home, though it’s not an evolution if you already own the Blues King 12.

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