Peavey Ranger 212 Guitar Amplifier Review

Peavey Ranger 212The Ranger 212 was a nice addition to the Peavey lineup, featuring an all tube power amp that kicks a bodacious 120-watts into a pair of Peavey’s vintage-style “Blue Marvel” 12-inch speakers. The Ranger’s dual-channel circuitry is set for classic clean-and-dirty work, and excellent reverb and vibrato effects are on tap as well.

The clean channel lived up to its designation, remaining free of any distortion through most of the volume knob’s rotation. The treble control demonstrated strong resonance around 2.5kHz, and dominated the tone-shaping duties. The mid and bass controls affect the sound somewhat less, and while this may put off players seeking low-end womp, it makes an ideal sound for chording or playing country leads.

The lead channel’s pre and post controls shape its overdrive voicing. Even at its cleanest (pre: 1, post: 10), this channel’s fatter voicing and desire to spank came through. Upping the pre to 5 and backing the post to 4 coaxed some grind from the Ranger, but in this twilight zone, the highs were harsh and “gargly” and simultaneously generated excessive subharmonic distortion. Setting the pre to 8 and the post to 2 produced much more realistic and full distortion, with a bright and scooped crunch that was particularly good for over-the-top soloing or playing sheets of saturated chords.

Peavey’s addition of resonance and presence controls to the power amp section is a nice touch. The resonance adds a rounder bottom end while the presence helps to control the extreme highs, and both become more useful as the overall volume increases. With a switchable effects loop and 120 watts at your disposal, the Ranger is a hefty hunk of a versatile amp for your back. Sadly, the Peavey Ranger is no longer in production but can be found used. Keep an eye on Gear-Search for used music gear. I would recommend checking out the Peavey TransTube Special 212 combo guitar amplifier.


  1. I own one of these monsters and it really isn’t a bad amp. It IS heavy. With good tubes and a speaker upgrade you can use it to amplify a guitar in any band that performs real music. I’ll leave that alone….. Initially I had to do a lot of tweaking with the tone controls to get sound that I wanted. Seemed to be a little heavy on lows even with the bass turned down all the way – this problem was solved by turning up the treble control to about three o’clock. Tremolo works really well,I don’t use reverb so won’t comment on that. FX loop is nice. I keep it as a spare tho I don’t use it much any more. I don’t believe it can be broken short of a direct hit from an RPG.

  2. the ranger 2×12 is a hell of a amp.
    i’ve been playing it for more than 6 years, and it still has it killer tone, from fender to marshall.
    i’m using 4 speakers in series, so i can turn up the master full,and the post at 2, and i have the killer sound i’m looking for.
    i play les paul,strat, tele, all original and i am very satisfied.
    i don’t need no other amp.

  3. This is one of the very finest, versatile amps ever made. I grew up on 6L6 tube amps back in the 60’s. This amp is powerful, clean and very well built. I’m an old Country picker with an old Tele and I really dig this amp. It’s reliable and consistently sounds great night after night. It’s only had one total tube change since I’ve owned it. I can’t say enough great things about this amp. But, as a real-world working musician, this amp is the real deal and has never let me down. It’s really all the amp you would ever need. Yes it’s a little heavy, but it’s a quality built amp. Sort of like comparing a well built SUV to a puny, little smart car.

  4. I have been on and off tube amps for most of my adult life. I have been playing the guitar for around 35 years now. And owned tons of amps during this time. But I just got my hands on a Peavey Ranger 212. And I’m impressed to say the least. I’m not a metal player I play mostly old school rock like Hendrix, SRV, Santana, Zepp, AC/DC, VH. And this amp is perfect for it. When I first got it home I spent two days messing with it and I noticed a loss in volume and not a real good amount of drive in the amp. After inspecting it I found it had JJ tubes in. After some research online I found upgrades that might make this amp stand up and perform properly if it was tube related. But once I got time to pull all the tubes out and clean them a little and plug them back in I found of my power tubes were not fully pushed all the way in. I did this to the power and pre amp tubes. Fired the amp back up and hello volume and drive. This amp rocks I can’t wait to get a tube screamer and push this thing to the next level. This amp is a hidden jewel in the Peavey chain folks it reminds me of way more than a Fender Twin and I have owned about 30 Twins. It’s more Marshall DSL sounding or at least the one I have is. And mine is stock with the Blue Marvel speakers in it. I have owned the Duel in the past and it’s also a great little amp very much like the Ranger in tone. The only bad thing about this amp is it’s weight I’m pretty sure this is the heaviest 212 I have ever owned in my life. Built like a tank like everything Peavey builds but with massive transformers in it and solid wood. If you can find one of these amps used it’s worth more than what their asking for it. For some reason amps like these go in and out under the radar and it takes years before the price on them starts going up. But like I said if you can find one I’m thinking either people are hanging on to them or Peavey just didn’t make many of them. Very few videos on Youtube and very few for sale anywhere.

  5. These are indeed fantastic amps and I agree with those above that hear it sounding more on the Marshall side of things. The reason you don’t see many of them is because there were not many made. If you can find one….buy it and hoard it.

  6. My Ranger was purchased used in 2002 but sat in a closet for about 5 years with some popping noise in the clean channel and a an unexplained loss of volume at times in both channels. I got a wild hair the other day and purchased a new set of JJ preamp and power tubes (matched) and cleaned the pots across the board. It’s now like a new amp. Sounds great even with the Ruby speakers that it came with. I’ll probably get some better tubes and keep the JJ’s as spares.

  7. I traded even up in 2015 a Crate Blue Voodoo BHV120 head and cab for one of these. I feel I got the better end of the trade by far. Just last year, I’d blown a cap and had it completely recapped and retubed. It’s a beast of an amp, and I’d put it up against most half stacks just as it sits. I tend to use it clean, and just use pedals for drive, fuzz and modulation. The only thing I think I’d change on it would be the speakers. Some nice Enimence or Celestions would give it even better tone.

  8. I’m in total agreement with the comments left here. Look, my brother Sam passed suddenly a few months ago. My family was gracious enough to allow me to have most of his music gear and this amp was amongst his collection. I loved him dearly and I miss him tremendously. He was a fantastic blues guitarist and the sweetest person you could ever meet.I pulled the chassis and reseated the tubes and cleaned it. I put celestion 70/80’s in a 412 and it sounds killer! Next, the tubes:)

  9. 10 years ago i left a reply, i have tried many amps since that time, but the Peavey is still doing the job.
    So if you can find such an amp, buy it.
    keep on rocking

  10. This amp is still under the radar. They rarely come up for sale, and when they do, they are dirt cheap because nobody knows about them.  At 120 watts, this thing is louder than a Marshall half stack, but smaller (though maybe not lighter!). I don’t know anyone else who plays one. I took the Peavey logo off the front and nobody knows what it is, it’s just a black and chrome mystery machine.

    Tons of different sounds are available depending on how you tweak it. The drive channel can get you any kind of high gain sound you want, but is a bit too metal for me. However, overdriving the clean channel with your overdrive pedal of choice will get you a little dirt and a very natural distortion, whatever unique sound you want really, and it won’t sound like anything else. Without a pedal, the clean channel stays clean all the way up to jumbo jet take-off volume levels. Unless you are playing outdoors or in a stadium, you will rarely need to put the volume past maybe four. You’ll have enough headroom to cut over anything. If you are looking for a cookie cutter “les paul into a Marshall” or “tele into a twin” tone, you can approximate that, but you can also come up with something totally unique that doesn’t sound like anything else. It’s a very transparent amp and will sound like a great tube version of whatever guitar and pedal combo you run through it. The only downside is that yes, it is very heavy, but it is also indestructible. I’m pretty sure that if a car ran into it, it would be like hitting a tree with the amp remaining unscathed while the car is crumpled. Peavey amps aren’t known for being collectibles but if any of them are going to achieve that status, I would vote for this one. Pick one up now when they are under 300 bucks.

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