When did the bass cabinets come into play?
That was a whole new thing. I got laid off
for eight months from my day job. I started
reading about bass cabinets. On the surface,
guitar cabinets are relatively simple—open
back, closed back, number of speakers ...
there’s not much to them. There are factors
that affect the sound, such as wood
and grilles, but with a bass cabinet so much
more goes into it—so many little nuances
such as the paper, the cone, even the pulp
of the paper used in the speaker make different
sounds. Different speaker suspensions
create different sounds, as well, so I spent a
lot of time working on that.
How were your initial bass cabs different
from others on the market at the time?
You have calculations for tuning the bass
cabs, and the engineers know this and sort
of leave it there. I took it steps further with
bracing and some other things I don’t want
to share, but let’s say that I found flaws in
the designs and set out to change them. I
realized soon after that I could make something
that sounded good without following
the procedures from published books of
A PS 400 head and a PS 210 cab stand guard outside the Epifani production facilities in Brooklyn.
How did you get your products into
I showed my new bass cabs to some friends,
and they were like “Well, nice . . . . ” If
you tell someone your car is better than
a Mercedes, they will be interested—but
ultimately they will buy the Mercedes
because that’s what they’re familiar with. So
it was tough. I found out that the Fodera
bass shop was nearby, and I literally just
cold-called them one day and asked if I
could bring some cabinets by. We set up
the appointment, and as they played their
basses through my cabs, they started looking
at each other. I thought they hated it,
but the looks were actually those of amazement.
I had built my cabinets using the
best components I could find at the time,
so bringing my A game must have worked.
Soon after, Fodera introduced me to some
of their artists, which led to the first Epifani
production bass cabs.
So when did you move out of the garage?
In 1994, I moved into a one-room shop
that was in the same space as a furniture
factory. I did everything in that little
room—from the coverings to assembly.
The good thing about the space was that
I could use all of the woodcutting tools
from the furniture business, so that helped
me out tremendously. As I started making
cabinets, I opened a dialogue with
Eminence to push the speaker manufacturer
into some new designs. One change I
wanted to make was in the suspension. Up
until that point, speakers used an accordion-
type suspension, which was problematic.
This led to creasing in the speakers
from the voice coil pushing forward and
the suspension stopping the speaker, but
the center would still be moving outward.
We developed the M-roll suspension to
combat this, and it has now become the
Who were some of the artists that shaped
your early designs?
I made a 2x12 cabinet for Matt Garrison. I
remembered using a Music Man 2x12 cabinet
back in the ’70s, but no one was making
that configuration anymore. Because I
liked the sound and saw the potential in a
2x12, I went with that design. With two
12" speakers, naturally you have more area
than with an 18", and that means you can
move more air. But, more importantly, it
was tuned at a frequency that was better
suited for the time. Sadly, the tuning of bass
cabs remained unchanged for a number of
years, so I adjusted the tuning frequency
to get out of that 70-80 Hz range that was
standard back then.
One night, I took a cabinet down to
the Blue Note, where Lincoln Goines was
playing. I dropped off the gear, parked
the car, and walked back to the club. In
the time that took, Lincoln had already
played through it, and he said “I want
it.” Lincoln said he knew in the first two
notes. He was my first client. The speakers
were very fast, very accurate—perfect
for that Jaco sort of playing. I think that
was one of the best designs, acoustically
and technically, but I couldn’t keep
it because of the dimensions. It wasn’t
made for a line of speakers. When you’re
asked to make a line of cabinets, you
sort of become restricted in what you
can do—because stacking and keeping
things uniform aren’t the best formulas
for all cabinets.
Can you talk about your relationship
with the great Anthony Jackson?
Anthony Jackson was a monster player
that everybody respected. In the beginning,
I thought he was full of . . . well,
you know—because he is literally
genius, and I thought “Nobody is this
smart.” I used to mess with him—not
in a bad way, but to see if he was full
of shit or not: While he was playing,
I would turn a knob, like, an eighth
of an inch, and he would turn around
and say “You touched 450 Hz! I told
you I don’t like that!” I had never met
someone like that before. He would
always be pushing the envelope of
knowledge—not just on the surface,
but literally seeking knowledge worldwide,
requesting special components
like imported speakers and silver speaker
wire. His cabinets weighed a ton
because he wanted 1" wood instead of
3/4". Things like that kept me pushing
forward and experimenting.