The Bad Lieutenant was a custom project build for Jeff Ament. After hearing the tone of the Sarge, Jeff bought a Super Sarge to play bass and record through. Before going on tour with Pearl Jam he asked us to double the power of our Super Sarge for his live performances, and the Bad Lieutenant was born.

Our goal was to replicate the tone of the Super Sarge while increasing the wattage to roughly 80 watts. This was accomplished by designing the amp with a single preamp stage driving two output sections. There are two vintage output transformers, each putting out about 40 watts into 8 ohms. Jeff uses this in his live performing rig to drive a 2x15 cabinet. The cabinet has 2 speaker jacks with each 15” speaker being driven by one of the 40 watt output sections.

His FOH engineer also requested a DI signal directly from the amp; the issue being that he wanted it to be a post output transformer. This was done by inserting a Hi-Fi grade balancing transformer in parallel with the secondary of one of the output transformers. We created a voltage divider that takes a very minute portion of the output signal, balances it, and send it to the FOH console. The result? A DI signal that takes full advantage of the tonal characteristics of the beautiful vintage output transformer. This is really the way all DI’s on tube amps should be done, but it is expensive and difficult, so most manufacturers take the signal from further upstream and use op-amp circuitry instead of a Hi-Fi grade balancing transformers.

Jeff’s bass tech sent us a “Hi-Watt style” head for the enclosure. I gave him the exact dimensions, and his builder was fantastic to work with.The Bad Lieutenant has proudly served all over the world and has performed in front of millions of people as part of Pearl Jam's stage set-up.

Thanks Jeff!

Contact us if you are interested in a custom project of your own