Craft design sensibilities and rowdy tones come together in a handsome and sometimes savage-sounding amp.

Otis Amplification Trudeau at half and full volume—Fender Stratocaster bridge and neck pickups.

While much lip service is paid to “vintage vibe,” many players seem to like the associated cosmetics more than the sounds. Most electric guitarists in the ’50s and ’60s had to be resourceful, and players crafted their sounds with what they could get their hands on. Manufacturers, meanwhile, unencumbered by the sanctity (or marketability) of certain tube, speaker, or transformer types moved along design tangents inspired by component availability and their own whims.

In many respects, Otis Amplifiers and the Trudeau reflect the freedom of those times. But they also embody a modern, resurgent spirit of independent craft commonly seen in the stompbox- or furniture-building communities, but less frequently in the capital-intensive world of amp building. Trudeau manifests this spirit in a 15-watt, dual-6CZ5 amp that feels homespun, thoughtfully built, and departs in very cool ways from Fender and Vox templates for small amp sound.

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