Tech 21 SamsAmp Classic

Today’s guitarists take amp and cab simulation pedals for granted as an option to add a variety of tonal flavor to their “real” amp and cabs. But things were very different until the year 1989, when the only amp/cab sound one could get was through… an actual amp/cab combo, as heavy and cumbersome as those at the time!

Then the first Tech 21 SansAmp came out, and it was a game-changer. That little black pedal, by itself, created a whole new effect niche.

Featuring amp, cab, and also mic positioning simulations activated through a host of DIP switches, the first SansAmp had all the “seeds” that ended up inspiring today’s uber-complex digital amp and cab modeling units – and it was 100% analog. Its unique 8 DIP switch + 3 mode approach allowed for an elevated number of combinations and tonal flavors, like a gift that keeps on giving, and one mode worked well for bass as well!

It soon became a favorite not only of guitarists but also recording engineers, with legendary producers Tchad Blake famously using a bunch of them during mixing on drums and percussions.

At virtual NAMM 2021 the NYC company announced that they decided to put the SansAmp Classic back into production due to popular demand (it was discontinued in 2016).

Check out a few new and old videos of the Tech 21 SansAmp Classic, below.

The design of the Classic inspired many of our products but there’s still only one original. Of all the pedal models, this is the most sophisticated. Its unconventional design not only keeps the unit compact, it is key to the wide range of sounds you can achieve. Made almost entirely by hand, the main module contains a bank of eight Character switches, which adjust the fine and subtle nuances of tonality, harmonics and dynamics. A three-position Input switch gives you a choice of pre-amp styles: Lead (Marshall®-style), Normal (Mesa Boogie®-style), and Bass (Fender®-style) which is excellent for rhythm as well as bass guitar.

The SansAmp Classic’s knob controls shape pre-amp contours, power amp contours, volume and final tone.

SansAmp Classic was specifically engineered with a flat output to provide maximum flexibility and control with external EQ.

There are countless (we know, we’ve tried) combinations and permutations for you to explore.

The 3-position input switch gives you a choice of pre-amp styles:


For Marshall®-type pre-amps with mid-range and highs emphasized


For Mesa Boogie®-type pre-amps


For Fender®-type pre-amps (excellent for rhythm guitar as well as bass)

The knob controls shape pre-amp contours, power amp contours, volume and final tone. With SansAmp Classic, there are countless (we know, we’ve tried) permutations for you to explore.

Sample style settings include: Vintage (AC/DC) and Hot-Wired (Van Halen) Marshall®; Mesa Boogie®; Hiwatt®; Fender® Lead (B.B. King), Rhythm and Bass; and Ampeg SVT®.