3) Randall Amplifiers: Dimebag Darrell of Pantera almost singlehandedly put Randall Amplifiers on the map, using their RG-80, RG-100 and Century 200 solid-state heads to sculpt his singularly punishing signature tone. These early Randalls, fetchingly upholstered in gray marine carpeting, were quite groundbreaking in the early eighties, largely due to the shocking amount of gain they could produce. And unlike many early solid-state amps, this gain had a smooth, musical quality that was complemented by the amp's tight, punchy low end. They also had a pristine clean sound, which, in conjunction with the meaty distortion capabilities, made these amps a big hit with eighties shredder types like George Lynch of Dokken infamy. As further evidence that these pioneering transistor amps were no joke, Don Randall, the founder and namesake of Randall Amplifiers, was previously a high-level manager at Fender, working closely with Leo himself to bring products like the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Twin Reverb, and Bassman to fruition. Apparently Don had always harbored a lingering affection for solid-state designs, and after leaving Fender he went right to work building a better solid-state guitar amp.
4) Lab Series Amplifiers: The Lab Series amps were built by Norlin, which was the parent company of both Gibson and Moog in the mid-to-late 1970's, and were intended to be a very technically advanced, high-end line of solid-state amplifiers. That concept may sound comical now, but the Lab Series amps were packed with features, impeccably built, and designed by none other than that late, great American genius, Bob Moog. Lab Series amps have excellent clean and drive tones, complex equalization and tone filtering controls, and very good onboard compression and reverb. They are known for their powerful output as well, and were some of the first solid-state amps whose power and volume was actually equivalent to a similarly rated tube amp. The Lab Series were used and endorsed by a wide range of players in their heyday, including Allan Holdsworth, Ty Tabor of King's X, and even B.B. King.