gear history

Need more headroom or gain? Spin the bottles.

[Originally published: 9/2/2019]
You might guess from the title of this column that I love Fender amps. And you’d be right. From a musical and engineering perspective, I think vintage Fender blackface amps are the best ever made. With bright, American-style speakers, they deliver pure and natural tone. Their channels, with volume and EQ, are intuitive for any guitar, bass, or keyboard player. It’s impossible to not find a decent tone in less than 10 seconds. From a technical perspective, their handmade tube-based circuits are simple, and they were built with high-quality components. And today, there are easily available parts and schematics, and an abundance of other online technical information, which makes it possible for many techs and players—including you—to service these amps.

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The Vox V241 Bulldog is (almost) a dead ringer for a Mosrite, but plugging in reveals a mellower sound that is less Ventures and more … Pinky Perky and the Beakles?

I mention this all the time, but I have a real fascination with old music catalogs and print media. The other day, as I was perusing all my catalogs and magazines, I came across my grungy Vox catalog from 1966. The Beatles were on the cover! On page 6, the print reads: "Vox: It's what's happening to the world's top beat groups." The text goes on to list some rather interesting band names that must have been using Vox gear.

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The Firstman Liverpool Deluxe looks extreme, but would you believe it once appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show?

I've had this month's story on my shelf for quite some time, because I could really weave so many interesting threads and connections to this guitar. How does one honor a tremendous man with huge contributions to music when limited to a single page? But I'm feeling like it's time to tell at least part of the story behind one of the most interesting people I've ever met through my love of guitars.

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