Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

LA Amp Show 2009

The new and cool gear from 2009''s LA Amp Show

One of the best gear hangs of the year takes place every year in LA. Dozens of amp companies descend on the Airtel Plaza Hotel (technically in Van Nuys) and turn it into a tone buffet for the hundreds of people who show up, guitar in hand, ready to plug in and wail away on the latest offerings from established boutique builders, larger companies and complete unknowns who are trying to make a name for themselves in the industry. Luthiers, pedal makers and accessories manufacturers are there too, not to mention a host of LA-based monster players who help demo gear or just drop by to play what’s new, but for the most part the LA Amp Show is all about the amp builder.

Along with its sister event, the NY Amp Show, the LA Amp Show is one of the biggest gatherings of amp builders that is open to the public. In many cases, the actual guys whose names are on the front of the amps are there—Reinhold Bogner, Andy Fuchs, Richard Goodsell, etc.—sitting in a hotel room, just hanging out. They have their marquee amps with them as well as their newest lines, and quite often a prototype of what they’re working on next. You basically go from room to room and test-drive the amps of your choice under the supervision of the actual builder, or in some cases a company representative who had a hand in the design. It’s a cool way to get the 4-1-1 on an amp right from the people who know it best. It’s also a good opportunity for builders to get feedback on their gear. People who have attended Amp Shows long enough know that feedback from previous shows have played a role in helping builders tweak their next designs. Not too shabby for an experience that costs twenty bucks, eh?

Some people took advantage of the opportunity to ask David Channing of Channing Amps about the amps he builds for Jeff Beck. Others plugged in and cranked up the Dave Friedman-built Marsha Brown Eye that Jerry Cantrell had on stage just a few nights earlier. Some attendees played around with prototypes of the Egnater Tweaker and the Bogner 3-channel Goldfinger. Of course, people just hung out just to hear cool amps and see what was going down.

There was more going on than we could get to, unfortunately. As you could imagine, we took our time in many rooms and ended up missing the chance to hang with some of the exhibitors. Too many amps, not enough time—ah, what a sweet dilemma. As if that wasn’t enough, there was also a panel discussion, a jam, and giveaways. We did see plenty of stuff to like, however. Here’s a sampling of what we came across at this year’s LA Amp Show…

The Reunion of the Steves in the Fryette Room
Check this out: Steve Hoke (left) read about amp guru Steve Fryette (right) in Premier Guitar a few months ago and wondered if it was the same Steve Fryette he knew from Seattle 40 years ago. He’d played in several bands with a Steve Fryette but had no idea if it was the same guy. Well, it was. The two Steves reconnected via email and arranged to hang at the LA Amp Show where Fryette’s 30-watt Memphis (center) was turning heads. The newest Fryette amp features some innovative designs, like 30 to 18 Watt power shifting, switchable voicing and a funky array of tubes: a Tung-Sol 12AX7, 4 Chinese 12AX7ACs, a 12AT7 and 4Sovtek EL84s.
Listen to the story of the Steves reunion...

Nolatone Ampworks CL-30
Paul Sanders calls this amp the “Chimey Limey.” Hand-built to give you the best of ‘60s Brit-rock tones, the CL-30 features EL84s, a GZ34 rectifier, custom Mercury Magnetic transformers and Celestion Alnico Blues speakers.
Watch the demo...

Brown Note D’Lite Overdrive Edition 22/33
Tonehound Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam) was hanging out in the Brown Note room, so we had him demo the D’Lite Overdrive Edition 22/33 for us under the watchful eye and discerning ear of Brown Note’s Moss Hudson. The amp is capable of delivering 22 watts of 6V6 or 33 watts of 6L6 tone. Anderson had a Reverend guitar with him that was set up for slide. A big fan of preamp distortion, he had a ball coaxing several shades of howl and growl out of it, and he also showed us a cool capo setup for slide that he’s working on.
Watch the video...

Channing CL45
David Channing’s Classic Series features his Unified Turret Board construction, Mercury Mag iron, 2 preamp channels and a 2-pan chassis that’s built for optimal preamp shielding. The 45-watter is what Jeff Beck has used lately; it’s set up with 2 EL34s and a power module that switches between various international voltages.
Watch the demo...

Wizard Amps Modern Classic 100
 Raj Phanse test-drives the 100-watt version of the Modern Classic while Wizard endorser Steve Segal listens. The amp features EL34 tubes and goes from vintage clean to modern-style high gain with a beefed up low end.
Demo coming soon!

Bogner Amplification
Goldfinger Reinhold Bogner brought the prototype for the 3-channel version of his Goldfinger amp. The 45W amp features 6V6 tubes, a built-in reverb and two effects loops.
Watch the demo...

Two-Rock Guitar Amplification Limited Edition 10th Anniversary
The company that Joe Mloganoski and Bill Krinard started 10 years is being celebrated with this 50-watt tube-rectified amp that’s also available in a 100-watt version. It has 2 channels, 6L6 tubes and a footswitchable FET preamp boost.
Demo coming soon!

Goodsell Amplifiers Unibox
Richard Goodsell showed off the latest edition to his lineup, a 10-watt growler powered by rare 6BM8 tubes. The amp also has a 12AX7 in the preamp and a 6X5GT rectifier.
Watch the demo...

Jaguar Amplification Jaguar 7
Henry Clift’s version of a low watter is loaded with an EL84, 12AX7 and a GZ34.
Watch the demo...

Egnater Tweaker
This was the world’s first glimpse of Bruce Egnater’s latest amp. The 15-watt Tweaker provides an EL84 or 6V6 roar that you can tweak as you see fit with USA/Brit, Hot/Clean, Tight/Deep and Normal/Bright switches.
Watch the demo...

Fender ’57 Champ Reissue
Talk about a classic. This hand-wired jewel sounds like you’d expect it to with its 3 tubes (6V6GT, 12AX7, 5Y3GT) 8" alnico (Weber) speaker, pine cabinet and single volume knob design.
Watch the demo...

To see demos of even more gear from the amp show, click here...

Alex LIfeson, Victor

Anthem Records in Canada and Rhino Records will reissue the first-ever solo albums of Rush's Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee. Lifeson’s 1996 album Victor and Lee’s 2000 offering My Favourite Headache will be re-released on August 9, 2024.

Read MoreShow less

The new Jimi Hendrix documentary chronicles the conceptualization and construction of the legendary musician’s recording studio in Manhattan that opened less than a month before his untimely death in 1970. Watch the trailer now.

Read MoreShow less

The "Sandblasted" SE Series features a swamp ash top with a unique sandblasted finish in five color options.

Read MoreShow less
Fall Out Boy Rig Rundown [2024]
Fall Out Boy Rig Rundown with Patrick Stump, Joe Trohman & Pete Wentz Guitar & Bass Gear Tour

The string-section trio for the iconic Chicago pop-punk band has gone digital, but Patrick Stump, Joe Trohman, and Pete Wentz still aren’t afraid to get weird—and sometimes, downright dangerous.

Read MoreShow less