Do you compensate for the
variables introduced by the
recording studio itself—
mics, mic placement, room
acoustics, etc.—as you listen
I think if someone wants to
match the sound of original
recordings, it’s much easier
with live recordings. The studio
recordings have too many variables that we
don’t truly know. I base my amps’ sounds on
the essence of the original sound or of an original amp. They all varied. There is no single
original sound of these amps. That’s the beauty
of it. I also think one shouldn’t copy someone
else but use it to learn and build off of.
People get caught up in modifying things.
I modified my Tube Screamer every possible
way you can, but for my personal taste, I
like it stock—the way it was originally made.
unit or getting more knowledge by tweaking
a custom unit. I do repair old stuff, just not
new stuff—but I don’t actively seek [old-gear
repair work] out. It’s more like, if someone is
stuck—like their old Marshall stopped working and they’re worried about taking it to a
tech they don’t trust. People sometimes contact me from the internet and want to send
in stuff for repair. I tell them to get the work
done locally, if possible, because there’s that
risk of the amp being damaged in shipping. I
kind of treat it on a case-by-case basis.
With anything I’ve ever sold, I’ve always
told them, “For the rest of your life, if you
ever have any problems with anything, just
let me know. If you change your playing
style, I’ll re-tweak it.” I’m always worried
about what the customer wants—that’s how
I do everything.
Do you also do repair work or mods?
In the beginning, I did it for experience or
for people who needed it, but I usually try
to stay away from it. A lot of modern amps
are built very differently from the older ones,
and the time I spent working on amps that
could just get fixed at a local music store was
time I wasn’t spending on building a custom
That type of honesty is pretty rare. A lot
of guys will do whatever it takes just to
get work in the door.
Why are NOS parts are so important?
The old resistors in ’60s Marshall plexis
sound much different than resistors made
from the ’80s until the present. They have
a smooth, warm, classic sound that I don’t
hear in modern resistors—it’s easily heard
in an A/B comparison for most positions in
the circuit. And I’m not talking about old
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