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The North American Guitar Amplifier Museum

National Guitar Amp Museum

The “Wall o’ Heads” features a 1963 Gibson GA-5 1x6 combo, a 1968 SOC head (a rebranded silverface Fender Bassman), a 1966 Fender Bassman, a 1966 Fender Bassman “kickback” 2x12, a 1963 Fender Bassman, 1968 Fender Bassman, 1972 Ampeg B-25, 1970 Sunn 1200S, 1973 Traynor Custom Special – YBA3, 1976 Ampeg SVT,1970 Ampeg SVT. Then begins the Wailing Wall, with its 1968 WEM Control ER-15, Vox AC15H1TV, 2006 Tone King Meteor 40 Series II, East Studio 2 (serial no. 001), 1964 Fender Twin Reverb with original JBL D120s, 2000 Budda Super Drive 45 series II, 2000 Budda Super Drive 30, Budda 2x10/2x12 cab, and 65 Amps London. Photo by Tina Nachodsky

Yeah, it seems that’s where everything starts—in somebody’s house or basement. So it sounds like the studio and the amp collection started simultaneously?
Yes. And when we moved here in ’90, this place was so much bigger [than the old location]. We thought we were going to take all our stuff and fill this space, but it filled like that much [holds hands close together]. Then it became like every hoarder’s dream—“We have to fill this space!” So we did. [Laughs.]

Rinaolo: It was a labor of love—“If you build it, they will come.” At the time—before eBay and before everyone knew everything about vintage stuff—these were just “used” amps. The guitar market had taken off, but the amps had not gone through the roof yet. We were finding them at little stores like Gordon Miller Music and Links Music in Pennsylvania. Anywhere you went, they had used amps—and they were pretty well priced, like $250 to $450.

Nachodsky: They were cheaper than that—at Petros you had to turn sideways!

Rinaolo: Petros was a whole other story.

Nachodsky: They were all tube amps, and they were like 50 bucks for a run-of-the-mill Fender Bandmaster. They’d have four or five of ’em. The Twins were $150 at one point.

Rinaolo: You could walk into someone’s house and they’d say, “My grandfather had an old amp,” and you could pick it up for a couple bucks. I mean, nobody knew what anything was at the time. But now with eBay, everything is “vintage.”

Nachodsky: A lot of guitar players went contemporary in the ’80s and ’90s and into the 2000s—a lot of guys were not playing tube amps, or if they were, not old tube amps. A lot of people had a rack processor with a stereo power amp so the chorus could go out to two stereo cabinets.

The east wall features bass and echo gear, including ’60s Premier 90 and Danelectro 9100 reverb boxes, a ’61 Watkins/Guild Copicat tape loop, a ’60s Cordovox 1x10, ’60s and ’70s Echoplexes, a ’73 Roland RE-201 Space Echo,’60s and ’70s Ampegs—a Gemini I and II, V-4s, SVTs, Portaflex fliptops (B-18-N, B-15, and SB-12), a Reverberocket, and a J-12 Jet—a ’69 Gretsch Twin Reverb, a ’59 Magnatone 213 Troubadour, a ’70s Kustom 100, a ’72 Plush P-1000S, ’70s Sunn Concert Lead and Concert Bass heads, and ’70s Acoustics—a 450 head, a 301 1x18 cab, and a 134 combo. Photo by Tina Nachodsky

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