Before leaving the house last Monday, I managed to pair the John Page Ashburn with Blackstar's HT Metal. The objective was to hear if a high gain amp like this one could be useful with single coils if it's running on lowered gain.
The Blackstar HT Metal range is pure distortion mayhem when cranked up. It has no crunch channel, you deal with clean or super saturated distortion, nothing in between. The only way to enjoy some restrained drive is to back the gain down. Some amps sound half dead with such settings but the HT Metal is no such amp.
The Ashburn Classic here features a trio of vintage output single coil pickups. They don't sound useful at high gain settings. In fact, they inject frustration with the lack of punch & make you wonder if there's something wrong with the instrument. These Bloodline pickups thrive on mild drive; a Tube Screamer pedal or anything of similar performance would generate an awesome outcome. So how did they fare with a tamed beast like the HT Metal?
Simply put, they are impressive. If you fancy how Nick Johnston sounds like, this pairing generate tones as such. My version simply lacks a little warmth due to the maple fretboard there.