who helps me in the shop, stuffing and
soldering the boards. I do the rest of
the wiring, all by hand, and test the amp
through the burn-in process—all of which
takes me about six hours of work per
amp. And I’ve got two guys in our shop’s
cabinet section: one who does the woodworking and another who does the finishing work with Tolex.
How many total hours go into making a
It’s difficult to say, since we’re four people
working on different amps at the same
time, but I would estimate that about 12
hours of work go into each amp, cabinet
included. It takes us so long because
we don’t use any amp kits. Everything’s
done by hand, and all of the sockets and
switches are chassis mounted—there’s
nothing board mounted. It’s a time-honored technique that’s worked really well
for us. We seldom hear about problems
with our amps.
So how many amps do you average
Around five or so.
Would you ever consider selling Splawn
amp kits to those who’re electronically
No, because of the liability involved and
also, to do it right, I’d want to be available
to answer any questions that customers
might have about assembling their kits.
Between designing and building the amps
and all of my other responsibilities, like
paying bills and ordering parts, unfortunately I don’t have the time for that.
What’s it been like to work in North
Carolina, a great distance from any major
It feels good, since it’s where I grew up
and where I got started playing music and
working on amps. The cost of living is
pretty low, so I don’t have to worry about
overhead like some makers do. But it is
hard being away from the big scene—I