The Pro’s Choice for Premium Tone On the Go
Packing a versatile selection of sweet tones and onboard effects into durable designs that are built to last, Roland’s CUBE amp series has long been the top compact choice for pros gigging in town, weekend hobbyists, and beginning guitarists. But did you know that many of the world’s best-known players love CUBE amps as well? That’s right—these amazing guitarists can play whatever they want, and they turn to the CUBE whenever they need a convenient, great-sounding amp for practice at home, backstage warm-up, and even small club dates and recording sessions.
Roland CUBE Amp Overview
Don Felder and the Micro CUBE Amp
Solo artist and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder uses the Micro CUBE amp for practicing, songwriting, and working out lead guitar ideas. We recently showed him our new Blues Cube Artist amp, which he was really blown away by. While talking with Don, he shared the story of how his trusty Micro CUBE amp made its way onto his last solo record, Road to Forever.
“I was working in my [home] studio trying to write a guitar solo for this song called ‘You Don’t Have Me,’” Don relates. “I was playing with the track, and I came up with what I thought was a really good solo idea. I had a Micro CUBE sitting on the floor, and I just grabbed the vocal mic that I’d been singing into, shoved it in front of this little Micro CUBE, and recorded that solo. I put a harmony on it, and just kind of pieced it together as a scratch demo, thinking that when I got into the studio, I would rerecord it. When I got into the studio and played it for everybody, they said, ‘Why do you want to rerecord that? That’s got a great tone. It sounds really good.’ I said, ‘No, no, no. Let’s set up some amps and we’ll try to do it again.’ And we tried rerecording the solo, and it just didn’t have that unique sound, which was a small, little amp sounding like a really big amp. So it wound up staying on the record as the final solo on ‘You Don’t Have Me.’”
Don Felder’s recording of “You Don’t Have Me” went on to become a Number One song on the Classic Rock Radio charts, and remained in the Top Ten for 11 weeks. Check out this rocking track and hear the unique solo tone captured by Don with his Micro CUBE amp.
Orianthi and the CUBE-80GX Amp
Australia native Orianthi has created a big stir in the guitar world in recent years, playing with both Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper. In addition to backing others with her wicked chops, she’s emerged as a compelling singer/songwriter with her latest solo release, Heaven in This Hell, and the single “Sex E Bizzare,” which features Steven Tyler.
Orianthi got a hold of the CUBE-80GX shortly after its release in 2013, and it’s become a go-to rig for practice and local clubs. “This amp is big enough to play a small club, so [it’s] not only for practicing,” she says. “It really projects and it has a lot of depth. That’s what I always look for in an amp—for it to have a lot of clarity and depth. It sounds like it has tubes; this one clearly does and I’m really digging this. Having everything built in, it’s not like you’re carrying a bunch of effects with you.”
The guitarist also praises the CUBE-80GX’s great sound and versatility. “The tone of an amp is pretty much everything to me with an electric,” says Orianthi. “When you have a good tone going through an amp, it makes you play better, and you can just get into that zone. It’s that tone that you hear in your head, you know, and that connection between the guitar and the amplifier, for it to all sort of mesh together. [The CUBE-80GX] can mold the sounds to basically anything.”
Orianthi and Her CUBE Amp
Randy Rhoads, Rudy Sarzo, and the Vintage CUBE-40
Bassist Rudy Sarzo goes way back with the legendary Randy Rhoads. He played with Randy early on in Quiet Riot, and then again in Ozzy Osborne’s band right up to the influential guitarist’s untimely passing during a 1982 U.S. tour. In a recent interview with Rudy, he talked about how Randy used to practice backstage with one of the earliest CUBE amps, the orange CUBE-40.
“Randy loved the sound of that amp,” Rudy relates. “He had JBLs or Altecs—I always get confused between the two—in his Marshall cabs. What he wanted was a real clean distorted tone. And [the CUBE-40) came very, very close to the rig that he was using on stage.”
While on tour, Randy began to immerse himself in classical guitar, and ended up giving the amp to Rudy. “He started getting really heavily into classical guitar,” Rudy says. “And then I got the GR-33B [bass synth]—I was taking it on the road, and I was getting into it, learning it. So Randy said, ‘Listen, use my amp, because right now I’m not using it.’ After a couple of weeks, he says, ‘You know what? Just keep it.’ I remember Ozzy would run into the dressing room, and it would be Randy with his classical, and I’d be making all these sounds [with the synth], experimenting. And Ozzy would yell, ‘Play some bloody rock and roll.’” [Laughs.]
Rudy still has the CUBE amp that Randy gave to him, and you can check it out in the following video.
Rudy Sarzo, Rhandy Rhoads & the CUBE Amp
Paul Sidoti Backstage with the MICRO CUBE GX
Among touring guitarists today, the Micro CUBE GX is hugely popular. With a wide selection of COSM amp tones, built-in effects, and a headphone output with COSM speaker modeling, it provides sound and practice features far beyond the classic orange CUBE amp that Randy Rhoads and Rudy Sarzo played backstage over 30 years ago. In addition, the Micro CUBE GX is extremely compact and lightweight, and offers the ultimate in portable convenience with battery-powered operation.
Nashville-based Paul Sidoti is a seasoned road musician who toured as bassist for Gary Lewis and the Playboys and guitarist/keyboardist on The Raspberries’ critically acclaimed reunion tour before landing his current gig with one of the biggest stars in country and pop music. While on the road, he relies on his Micro CUBE GX to provide compact tone on the move. “What’s nice about this amp is that I use this backstage to practice with, warming up before the show,” says Paul. “It’s a really, really cool piece of gear, and it’s a lot of fun to travel with.”
Richie Kotzen and Nita Strauss Use CUBE Jam for Practice and Gig Prep
Many of the current CUBE amps feature i-CUBE Link, which makes it easy to use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with the amp. The innovative i-CUBE Link interface provides two-way communication with the iOS device via a single cable, allowing players to use the CUBE’s great tones with various music software apps. Roland’s CUBE Jam app is the perfect companion for the CUBE and i-CUBE Link, providing song playback for jamming, a recording function, and many useful features for practicing and learning songs. And best of all, it’s free!
Veteran shredder Richie Kotzen discovered the benefits of CUBE Jam while preparing for a tour with The Winery Dogs, a power trio that also features bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Mike Portnoy. “[CUBE Jam] allows you to learn the song by picking a section and slowing down the audio without changing the pitch,” says Richie. “For people like me, who make records and then forget what they played and have to go learn it for a tour, it’s a perfect device. I’m actually using it to learn what I did on the latest record, and it’s coming in handy. It’s a great new product, and I’m very excited to be working with it.”
Micro CUBE GX user Nita Strauss, who plays guitar for Alice Cooper, shared a story about how the CUBE Jam app “saved her life” when she had to learn some music in a hurry for an artist she works for. “I had to learn two songs on very short notice, and I was listening to the songs in the car on the way to my studio,” Nita relates. “When I got to my studio, I plugged my headphones into my phone to try to go over the songs once, and there were some chords and subtleties that I hadn’t heard in my car speakers. And then I realized I had the CUBE Jam app on my phone. I loaded the song into the app, and I slowed it down to 70 percent, and I was able to pick out the subtleties and nuances that I hadn’t heard before. I honestly can say I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I didn’t have that app right there on my phone at that time. So thank you to CUBE Jam for that!”
Nita Strauss and Her Micro CUBE Amp
Choose Your CUBE Amp
From the ultra-compact Micro CUBE GX to the loud and proud CUBE-80GX to the incredible new Blues Cube Artist and Stage models, there’s a CUBE amp for any style or use. Check out the entire lineup at RolandUS.com.