An Interview with
BY CHRIS BURGESS
It’s always about the player and playing
music, and what you hope to accomplish
by playing music. That’s always my starting
point. Even if I forget for a moment, eventually I’m forced back there because that’s the
point where all the inspiration is drawn from.
Music is a collective pursuit, everybody is
involved in that, and borrows, and intermixes
and adds. Some people, guys like David
Torn come to mind, innovate. When you get
an opportunity to interact with an innovator, very cool things happen. Generally, it’s a
pretty collective conversation. So when you
sit down and talk to players, you always have
lots of common ground to work with.
Producing a piece of equipment or an instrument for an artist to use, on the other hand,
is a problem-solving project. When you sit
down and talk about music, you’ll talk about
what you like, or somebody that you saw that
was particularly good. As the conversation
grows, you get into things that are common
ground, and eventually you start getting into
problems, like “I’m trying to do this,” or “I
don’t have the technique to do that,” or “I
heard something I haven’t figured out how to
do.” When you get to that point in the conversation, these are the things that make you
go, “Alright, how do I address that, or create
something to solve that problem?”
So the initial idea for a design really is about
being presented with a particular challenge?
The amps you make are…
After twenty years, VHT founder Steven
Fryette is building his highly regarded amps
under a new name: Fryette Amplification.
The VHT trademark has been sold to AXL,
which produces amplifiers bearing the VHT
logo. Fryette continues to hold all the patents and designs, and will continue to make
all of the VHT models currently in production. We spoke to him about what that
change means, about what he’s gathered
in his twenty years of designing and building amps, and about what we might expect
from him next. The following is a portion of
As somebody who’s been doing this a long
time, do you take a different approach with
each amp design, or are you following a
pattern that you’ve established?
[laughs] for lack of a better term?
Yeah… for their organic nature, for the way
players can interact with them, and I’ve heard
you spend a lot of time watching and listening to players using your amps. During the
process of developing and refining, are you
watching or listening for certain cues that let
you know you’re on to something, in terms
of the challenge you’re trying to solve?