Carr Super Bee Review – Classic Blackface Sound On Steroids!

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Carr Super Bee Review -  an image of the Carr Super Bee logo

Do you like classic Fullerton Blackface tones and early-to-mid CBS sonic sizzle? In this Carr Super Bee review, I’ll tell you why this 10 Watt amp combo can take you from clean chime to gritty overdrive.

The magic is powered by Carr’s 4th Generation Attenuator, which can take you from full power to 2 watts and down to a whisper without affecting the amp’s tone!

Keep on reading to learn more.


Carr Super Bee

9.5 out of 10
$2500
Carr Super Bee Review – A front angled top view of the amp

The Carr Super Bee is a 10 Watt Class A/B amp that can sound like a Fender Deluxe Reverb, Super Reverb, & an overdriven CBS combo.

If you want to go directly to the amp’s specs then click here.

Design
9.2/10
Functionality
9.8/10
Overall Quality
9.9/10
Price
9/10

Pros

STING Control

Power Attenuator

Point-To-Point Wiring

Cons

No Reverb Footswitch

No Effects Loop

No Channel Switching

What Is The Carr Super Bee?

Carr Super Bee Review – A photo of the amp, angled to the right

The Carr Super Bee is a 10 Watt, all-tube, single-channel amp designed to give you a wide variety of Blackface and early-to-mid CBS Fender sounds in a compact combo configuration.

Its power output can be set to give you the total 10 Watts, or scaled-down, using the adjustable attenuator.

It features a tube-driven reverb with a spring tank for lush organic sound.


Carr Super Bee Review - The Carr logo

Carr Amplifiers Company Profile

Carr Amplifiers is an American company in Pittsboro, North Carolina that builds boutique guitar amps. Steve Carr founded the company.

All Carr personnel are guitar players with a deep love for music and great guitar tone!

Their equipment features unique circuit designs with premium components and point-to-point construction, just like how guitar amps were built in the “old days,” with hand-built cabinets.

Carr amps represent the epitome of great tone, versatility, and reliability. Each Carr amp model has a distinct character and sonic personality that will help you achieve your signature sound.

Volume levels can be adjusted for the home, studio, and on-stage performance without compromising your tone.


Carr Super Bee Review – A rear view of the amp

Who Is The Carr Super Bee For?

The Super Bee is for players who are looking for a low-powered boutique combo amp that can create a wide variety of sounds, based around Fender blackface and early-to-mid CBS designs.

A built-in variable power attenuator makes the amp ideally suited for use in low-volume settings such as bedroom practice, studio recording, and performance in small venues.

If you’re looking for an amp that can take classic Fender tones from the ’60s and ’70s to the next level in richness and complexity then the Super Bee is for you!


How The Carr Super Bee Works

Carr Super Bee Review - The amplifier control panel
The Super Bee Control Panel (top view)

The Carr Super Bee is a 10 Watt Class A/B amplifier designed around the sonic characteristics of three Fender tones, called “64, 68, and 72.” Each of the three tones is selected with the amp’s “STING” control.

The “64 tone is essentially a ’64 Fender Deluxe Reverb. The other two settings give you a medium-gain version of ’68 Super Reverb and Carr’s hot-rodded version of a ’72 blackface-type amp that really rocks when pushed into natural overdrive or distortion. These settings give the amp what Carr calls its “Classic Black Face Super Reverb Fullerton sounds.”

The STING settings can be combined with a unique power attenuator to give the player control of the amp’s volume without noticeably affecting its overall tone and playing dynamics.

The power attenuator is activated by flipping the attenuator switch down, which drops the amp’s 10 Watts to an adjustable range of “zero to two Watts.”

Carr Super Bee Review – A Close-up of the Super Bee control panel
Control Panel Knobs (Power Attenuator Control And Switch Are At Far Right)

To further juice up the amp’s tone and performance, Carr used two 6BM8 power tubes (more about this later).

Carr Super Bee Amp Specifications

ItemSpecification
Power10 Watts RMS in a Push-Pull (Class A/B) Configuration
CircuitPoint-To-Point, Hand-Wired
ChannelsSingle Channel
Equalization ControlsTreble, Middle, Bass
Preamp Valves (Tubes)2 ECC83 (12AX7), 1 ECC81 (12AT7)
Power Amp ValvesTwo 6BM8 (ECL82) Current Production
(Power Tube/ Preamp Tube combo)
Rectifier Tube1 EZ81
Inputs1 x 1/4″ Instrument Jack
EffectsTube Reverb With Spring Tank
Effects LoopNo
Line Outs (on back of amp)1 x 1/4″ Speaker Output Jack
FootswitchNo Reverb Footswitch Jack
SpeakerOne Carr Valiant 12” or One Eminence Copperhead 10”
(both 8 Ohm)
CabinetSolid Pine
ChasisAluminum
Cabinet CoveringMultiple Covering Configurations With Custom Colors Available
HandleStitched Leather
Dimensions10 Compact Combo – H: 15.5″, W: 21″, D: 8″
12 Combo – H: 17.75″, W: 21″, D: 9″
Weight10 Compact Combo: 33 lbs
12 Combo: 40 lbs
Price10 Compact Combo: $2430 
12 Combo: $2490

Super Bee Amp Recommended Settings

Here are the recommended settings from the amplifier’s user manual. These settings are simply a starting point to acquaint you with the vast range of sounds this amp can produce. Different guitars can have a significant effect on the amp’s overall tone.

SoundVolumeSTINGTrebleMidBassReverb
Mid 60s
American Clean
9 O’Clock6812 O’Clock1 O’Clock1 O’Clock12 O’Clock
Spacy Shimmer10 O’Clock641 O’Clock10 O’Clock3 O’Clock3 O’Clock
CBeeS10 O’Clock7212 O’Clock12 O’Clock12 O’Clock9 O’Clock
Texas Overdrive
(Attenuator On)
1 O’Clock729 O’Clock1 O’Clock9 O’Clock8 O’Clock
Clang ‘a’ Dang12 O’Clock641 O’Clock1 O’Clock12 O’Clock12 O’Clock
Fullerton Hot Rod
(Attenuator On)
1 O’Clock6810 O’Clock1 O’Clock9 O’Clock9 O’Clock
Angry Tweed
Coyote
(Attenuator On)
4 O’Clock727 O’Clock5 O’Clock7 O’Clock8 O’Clock
Canyon
100% Wet Reverb
10 O’Clock727 O’Clock7 O’Clock7 O’Clock4 O’Clock
(From The Carr Super Bee User Manual)

My Guitar Lair - Features and Benefits Section

Features And Benefits

Check Out These Great Carr Super Bee Features.

6BM8 Power Tubes

The 6BM8 tube is currently being produced by Electro Harmonix, a company known for its excellent tube quality and reliability.

This tube is essentially a cross between a 6L6 and a 6V6. The glass envelope of this nine-pin wonder contains one high-gain triode (preamp tube) and one power pentode. It also has a robust plate structure, which helps give it a better tone.

Available With A Ten Or Twelve Inch Speaker

This amp comes with either a Valiant 12-inch speaker or an Eminence Copperhead 10-inch speaker. The 12-inch speaker provides more bottom-end, while the 10-inch version can give you a more accentuated midrange tone.

Be sure to check out the sound of each speaker configuration to decide which one you like best.

Cabinet Comes in Many Covering Choices

The cabinet is available in a wide variety of coverings. Custom colors are also available upon request.

Point To Point Wiring

The Super Bee is hand-wired in a point-to-point configuration to maximize the amp’s power output and tone.

Sturdy Design

A lightweight aluminum chassis and a solid pine cabinet make this amp gig-ready and built to last for generations of players.


My Guitar Lair - Pros (Thumbs Up) Section

What I Like About The Super Bee

Here are some of the things that make this amp a real winner.

“STING” Control And Three-Band EQ

The STING control and 3-band EQ allow the player to dial in an excellent selection of Fender tones.

Carr Super Bee Review – STING control

The 64 setting provides warm low-gain sounds with a bit of a “scooped-mids” tone typical of a Fender blackface Deluxe Reverb. Cranking the volume control gives it a bit of an aggressive edge, especially with humbucker-equipped guitars.

The 68 setting gives you the bolder sound of a Fender Super Reverb that begins to break up in a “politely-aggressive” way with the volume control above 4 o’clock.

The 72 setting can easily give you a sweet sustain at a volume setting of about 1 o’clock that changes to a dirty compressed breakup with raunchy overtones that are great for electric blues soloing (think John Lee Hooker licks).

Carr Super Bee Review – Power attenuator control

Power Attenuator Control Is Very Usable

The power attenuator can lower your volume to a whisper without noticeably changing the overall tone, dynamics, drive, and playability of the sound you dial in with the STING, Volume, and EQ controls.

Takes Pedals Well

Although the Super Bee does not have an effects loop, it takes time-based and overdrive-type pedals exceptionally well on the amp’s front end.


My Guitar Lair - Cons (Thumbs Down) Section

What You Might Not Like About The Super Bee

No Effects Loop

An effects loop would have been a fantastic addition to the Super Bee. Perhaps it will be offered in a future version of the amplifier to give it an old-school design and modern flexibility.

See What Is A Guitar Stomp Box – Attractive, Little, Tantalizing, for more info about an effects loop.

No Reverb Footswitch

The Super Bee comes with a lush tube-driven reverb but is noticeably missing a footswitch jack. The reverb sounds so good that it is doubtful that you would ever want to shut it off.

No Channel Switching

The STING settings all reside in a single channel, so the amp’s settings have to be readjusted for each of the three sounds. A foot-switchable channel for each STING, EQ, and attenuator setting would have made the amp more usable.

A Little Pricey

The Super Bee is on the pricey side, but it’s what you expect to pay for a boutique amp of this quality, and Carr really gives you your money’s worth in both tone and reliability.


Beware of an issue in this review

Beware Of The Amp’s Volume Capability

May Not Be Loud Enough For Large Venues

The Super Bee is amazingly loud for just 10 Watts, but low-power amps have limitations.

The Super Bee works best as a practice or recording studio amp.

Connecting the amp’s external speaker jack to an 8-ohm 4×12 cabinet will allow you to play mid-sized clubs.

Bigger venues will probably require the amp to be mic’d into the house PA system.


Carr Super Bee Review – A front view of the amp in teal

Is The Carr Super Bee Legit?

The Super Bee can take you far beyond the three Fender sounds it was designed to duplicate.

It is ideal for country, rock, and blues players who need a low-powered amp that can conjure righteous tones that are very usable for rhythm and lead sounds.

It is not the best choice of amps for jazz players.

Don’t hesitate to buy this amp if it fits your performance requirements and price range!


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about Fender and Carr Amplification.

When Did CBS Buy Fender?

Fender was sold to Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1965 for $13 million, during which time both blackface and silverface amps were manufactured.

The CBS-owned company was purchased in 1985 by its employees under the direction of the division president (William Schultz) and renamed the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.

The company was moved to Corona, California because the sale did not include the original Fender Fullerton factory.

What Is Point-To-Point Wiring?

Carr Super Bee Review – A circuit board with point-to-point wiring

Point-to-point wiring was the original method of manufacturing electronic devices by hand before it became automated using printed circuit boards (PCBs).

Electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, vacuum tubes, and transformers were hand soldered to themselves or terminal strips (also called “tag-boards”).

Point-to-point wiring made a comeback in high-end audio equipment such as stereos and boutique guitar amplifiers. It offers a better quality circuit that improves the sound and reliability of these devices.

Why Is This Amp Called A”Super Bee?”

Carr Super Bee Review –  A photo of the comparison between the Super Bee car and amplifier

Apparently, the Carr Super Bee amplifier was named after the mid-sized muscle car that was originally made by Dodge from 1968 through 1971.

The car was later brought back as the Dodge Charger Super Bee model from 207 through 2013.

In Mexico, the Super Bee was marketed as a compact-sized Chrysler product from 1970 through 1080.

Could Steve Carr have an affinity for fast cars? 😊


Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts On The Carr Super Bee Review

The Super Bee is one of the most versatile amplifiers that Carr offers. It gives the player three classic Fender blackface and CBS sounds that are dynamic and touch-sensitive, with tonal characteristics that are musically inspiring at any EQ setting.

The Fender sounds are selected using the STING setting. The ’64 Deluxe Reverb and ’68 Super Reverb settings are organic and can take you from a warm chime to a saturated tone with medium aggression. Carrs’s version of a ’72 hot-rodded blackface provides screaming lead sounds that clean up beautifully with the guitar’s volume control for edgy rhythm work.

The power attenuator control allows you to lower the amp’s volume from 2 Watts down to a whisper without losing any of the tonal complexity of the sound.

To learn more about combo tube amps Click Here –> Best Combo Guitar Amps For Any Budget: 5 All-Tube Beauties!


A rock band of figures made from nuts and bolts.

Tell Me What You Think

Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this Carr Super Bee review, have any questions about this product, or want to leave your own review. I will be happy to help you.

  • Do you own a Carr Super Bee, or have you played through one? What do you think of the amp?
  • How do you think this amp compares to a Fender ’64 Deluxe Reverb or ’68 Super Reverb?
  • After reading this article, would you buy a Carr Super Bee amp?

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4 thoughts on “Carr Super Bee Review – Classic Blackface Sound On Steroids!”

  1. I think The Super Bee works well with pedals but really is meant more for getting its own dirt. I think it would probably be the better choice if you’re into southern rock and blues. Absolutely the choice if you want to plug straight in and get there.

    Thank you for nice review! 

    Reply
    • Hi, Markus

      Thank You for your comments!

      I agree with your take on the Super Bee. It was primarily designed for plugging straight in and dialing up anything from pristine Fender-type chime to tube-saturated raunch. I particularly like it for blues. You don’t need an overdrive or distortion pedal unless you really want to rock out. The 72 STING setting can easily take you over the top with natural overdrive and sustain.

      Time-based pedals like delay and chorus can give you some great sounds!

      I like the Super Bee with both single-coil and humbucker pickups.

      Frank

      Reply
  2. Great article. 

    The Super Bee is an outstanding achievement for a low-watt tube combo with built-in attenuation and reverb, and three souped-up Black-panel amp voicings delivered with power and authenticity.                                                                                                  

    Reply
    • Hi, Emmanuel

      Thank You for your comments!

      I love low-Watt combos! The Super Bee begs to be opened up full throttle and overflows with diverse types of totally organic saturation.

      It gives you Fender sound pushed to the next level of awesome!

      Frank

      Reply

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