ANTHONY “BIG TONY” LUCAS
When it comes to guitar tone, it’s not just
about the amp – the speakers also have a
profound effect on how that tone comes
out. Manufacturers are certainly aware
that the choices they make must compliment their amps. This month, I spoke with
Scot Sier, Budda Amplification’s Founder
and President, about amplifier design and
What role overall does the speaker play
in the Budda tone?
The speaker is vital to the inherent quality
of the sound. I use the analogy that speakers are like tires on a high performance
car. Without a high quality design that can
handle the power of the drivetrain, you may
end up off the track and out of the race.
the best tonal qualities of our amp’s circuit
and cabinetry. We originally loaded our
amps with Celestion Vintage 30s, but with
the help of feedback from Budda players,
we designed our reliable, reference-quality
Phat 12 speaker with Eminence. It nails all
the right frequencies and gives our artists a
fuller range of creative expression.
What’s the process for creating a new
amp? Do you attempt to fill a niche or
try to emulate something similar on the
Do you design the amp around the
speaker or design the amp and find a
speaker that compliments it?
How do you decide the power of the
amp and what role does the speaker’s
power handling capability play?
Neither really! Our design process comes
from listening to what Budda artists, producers, engineers, guitar techs and players are
looking for in a tube amp. We’re fortunate to
have created a unique sound that musicians want to share.
We first design the amp and then we
design the speaker, ensuring that our signature clean and overdrive tones will be accurately and consistently represented.
Do you aspire to create a specific tone
when designing a Budda amp?
Our range of power ratings serves the
needs of players from small, intimate club
settings to full stack stadium venues. At
every power level, we preserve the reference, musicality and complex overdriven
tones. The speaker not only has to handle
the power of the Budda circuit – it must
also maintain the clarity of the note at all
gain settings. The Phat 12 accomplishes this
and helps maintain the personality of each
of our power tube configurations.
Yes, for both the clean and overdrive
modes. Our tone doesn’t imitate older vintage or current amplifier designs. Our dual-class, hot-bias circuit offers a sound that is
harmonically complex and gain sensitive to
pick attack. The clarity of the instrument’s
tone is important to us.
Which features of the amp are you most
pleased with? What’s cool and/or different about your amp?
The Budda Rhythm Channel creates clean
tones that serve as a platform to express
the choices guitarists have made for their
instrument’s wood, electronics, fret wire,
hardware and neck attachment. You want to
hear those nuances conveyed as accurately
and musically as possible through your
amplifier. Our amps have been used as a
reference for many guitar, effects and digital
modeling manufacturers in designing their
How do you go about finding the right
speaker? What factors do you consider?
The way they sound, especially the powerful and immediate response to pick attack
at all gain settings. Our amps are designed
for ease of use, functionality and purity of
signal path. The amps and speakers punch
way above their weight class in terms of
wattage, and the use of real pine cabinets
keeps them light and easy to gig with.
First and foremost, it must handle the output
of our circuit. A great speaker should focus
on the midrange frequencies that are produced from a stringed instrument’s A 440
tuning. The complexity of your instrument
and the amplifier’s tone (the volume, harmonics, etc.) should be faithfully reproduced
so what the audience hears is the same as
what the guitarist hears on stage.
For more information on Budda
Amplification and their products, please
Our Drive Channel also maintains the Budda
“house sound” of full-bodied, harmonically
rich tones. Infinite sustain, note clarity and
timbre are expressed as you crank the amp
in overdrive mode. Used creatively, the amp
itself is as much an instrument as the guitar.
Do you prefer custom designed or off-the-shelf speakers and why?
We prefer custom speakers that bring out
Anthony “Big Tony” Lucas
is a guitarist and Senior Lab Technician at Eminence
Speaker LLC, where he specializes in guitar-speaker
design and customer support. Big Tony has been with
Eminence for over 10 years and is responsible for many
well-known guitar speaker designs.