are there. My employee Danny Arango was
a big part of that amp, because he grew up
Then there’s the 35-watt Overdrive 35,
which is a 6L6-based, class-A design. You
can get a lot of different sounds out of
it, from tweed clean and tweed crunch to
Dumble-style fusion—even close to Marshall
sounds. I’m a huge fan of running things in
class A. I think the response is completely
different—it feels livelier. You’re not going
to get as much power as with class AB, but
when you roll the guitar volume back on a
class-AB amp it still breaks up quite a bit.
When you do that with a class-A amp, it
becomes very clean, and it responds much
better to your pick attack and guitar volume settings.
Why should people spend a lot of money
for a custom amp?
I can’t understand the mentality where a guy
will drop crazy money on a goldtop or a ’ 59
Les Paul reissue and then play it through a
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. The amp is a bigger
part of the equation. A ’ 59 Les Paul through
a transistor amp is going to sound like a Les
Paul through a transistor amp. But put an
Epiphone through an amazing tube amp, and
that guitar will sound really good.
What is the essential difference between your
amps and the other custom amps out there?
The layout and the construction. A lot of
manufacturers are doing a massaged kit.
They’ll use a chassis from a kit supplier and
basically make a Marshall or Fender. In the
process of doing repairs, we’ll often open
up “custom” amps and see another Fender
or Vox clone with a different logo on it. We
design our own chassis and a sheet metal
company manufactures them for us. Most of
our amps have true point-to-point wiring, as
opposed to using a tag board. It is all about
the purity of the signal path and having as
little as possible in the circuit that is going to
denigrate the tone and the sensitivity. When
you have lengths of wire running close to
one another you get interaction, even though
there’s no contact. Your signal is not pure. So,
where the components are located, how the
wires are run, and keeping the links as short
as possible are all important.
Does this affect the sound or the feel?
Both. A lot of times when you play through
an old amp and push it hard, you’ll hear buzz-iness on top of the note—a shrillness. You
can dial that out, but it shouldn’t be there to
begin with. That’s parasitic oscillation. You
don’t hear it as amp noise, but when you’re
playing, it’s present as an impurity. A well-designed amp takes out those impurities and
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