Guitar Amplifier Encyclopedia by Brian TarquinGuitar Amplifier Encyclopedia by Brian Tarquin

Guitar Amplifier Encyclopedia

byBrian TarquinForeword byMichael Molenda

Paperback | November 1, 2016

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This book is for the fans of guitar amplifiers and the history that lies behind them. Starting with early amp models like the Gibson EH-150 that was first used with Gibson’s EH-150 lap-steel guitar and later the Charlie Christian ES-150 guitar, it then delves into the development of Fender, Vox, and Orange amps, and goes right up to the modern boutique designers like Industrial, Dr. Z, Fargen and Fuchs. Also featured are such tube amp classics as the Seymour Duncan Convertible head, ahead of its time in offering tube-switching before THD Amps existed. Other amp designers profiled include:

•Seymour Duncan
•And many, many more!

Emmy Award-winning guitarist, composer, and producer Brian Tarquin takes on the unique subject matter of the electric guitar's sidekick and partner-in-crime to create this informative and enthralling reference guide. Interviews with various amp makers as well as players, and a foreword by Michael Molenda (Guitar Player magazine), will all bring the reader closer to those glowing tubes and tones. Guitar Amplifier Encyclopedia provides an expansive education on all the best amps' every nuance, and how they each changed the history of sound!

Allworth Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, publishes a broad range of books on the visual and performing arts, with emphasis on the business of art. Our titles cover subjects such as graphic design, theater, branding, fine art, photography, interior design, writing, acting, film, how to start careers, business and legal forms, business practices, and more. While we don't aspire to publish a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are deeply committed to quality books that help creative professionals succeed and thrive. We often publish in areas overlooked by other publishers and welcome the author whose expertise can help our audience of readers.
Brian Tarquin is a multiple Emmy Award-winning TV composer/recording artist and owner of Jungle Room Studios. He been honored by the SESAC Network Television Performance Award, appeared on the Billboard charts, and had several Top 10 Smooth Jazz Radio hits. Tarquin's boutique record label, BHP Music, Ltd., released the Guitar Master ...
Title:Guitar Amplifier EncyclopediaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:140 pages, 11 × 8.5 × 0.4 inPublished:November 1, 2016Publisher:AllworthLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1621534995

ISBN - 13:9781621534990

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Read from the Book

The BeginningThe one instrument in the world that needed to be amplified at the dawn ofmodern music was certainly the guitar. Just think of those noisy Big Band hornsscreaming their obnoxious notes, how the hell could a guy like Charlie Parker beheard over such a commotion? I’m a fan of classic films and it always makes melaugh when I see a scene with a ban leader and his baton waving at theorchestra and there in the corner is the lonely guitar player strumming away untilhe is blue in the face, but you can’t hear a single note he’s playing. I mean why isthe guitar player even there if he can’t be heard; just to keep quarter note rhythmbeats? There is absolutely no wonder why the amplifier was invented for theguitar! We can thank Benny Goodman for one thing and that’s integrating thetalented black guitarist, Charlie Christian, which led to the electric guitar andamplifier. Whether you like the era’s music or not, we certainly wouldn’t haveHendrix, Clapton, Van Halen or Satriani with out Christian or Gibson for thatmatter.Amplification was first addressed for the electric guitar in the early 1930’sfor the Hawaiian guitarists who played this frying pan looking guitar on their lap.Companies like Rickenbacker, Gibson, Epiphone and National tried to fulfill theneed for volume by producing amps to go accompany their Hawaiian guitars likethe Rickenbacker A22, Gibson Roy Smeck, Gibson EH-185, Epiphone Model M,and Rickenbacker’s Electro Tenor amplifier to go with their guitars. You seeduring the pre World War II era, Rickenbacker had a large investment in theHawaiian guitar market. Opposed to companies like National, Dobro, Gibson andEpiphone who devoted their production to resonator and f hole guitars. TheHawaiian style guitar at the time of the late 20’s through the 30’s was a muchmore profitable market than the so-called Spanish neck guitars produced byGibson.Bandleaders of the 20’s and 30’s didn’t take the guitar seriously in theirmusic, looking upon it as a fad or as a quirky instrument. Guitarists like EddyLang were the exception, accompany singers like Ruth Etting in the 1932 film “ARegular Trouper” and Bing Crosby in the “The Big Broadcast Of 1932”. Langwould use the original acoustic version of the Gibson L-4 and L-5, before pickupswere introduced. Then there was Eddie Durham who was Count Basie’sguitarists who is noted as recording the world's first jazz electric guitar solo in1938. He performed it on a Gibson ES-150 guitar with the Lester Young KansasCity Five. Ironically, the same year saw guitarists George Barnes with Big BillBroonzy record electric guitar solos as well.Whether it was timing or just fate, Benny Goodman or all of the above,Charlie Christian was the poster boy for introducing the electric guitar intocontemporary music. Born in Bonham, Texas, on July 29, 1916, Charlie was borninto a musical family. Both his mother and father played the piano and trumpet assound score in a local silent movie theatre. In 1918, after the family moved toOklahoma City, Charlie began guitar lessons from his father. By 1928, hebecame heavily influenced by tenor saxophonist Lester Young; Charlie even scatsang Young’s solos while playing the guitar. In fact T Bone Walker was achildhood friend of Christian’s and they both took guitar lessons from Ralph "Big-Foot Chuck" Hamilton in the earlier 30’s. Moreover a chance meeting with EddieDurham in 1937 changed the course of Charlie’s fate, being so influenced byEddie’s guitar playing. Soon after that meeting Christian went out and bought aGibson ES 150 with the accompanying amp and started to wood shed. Within ayear Charlie was getting local recognition in the mid-west as a hometown hero.Christian was even playing the difficult styles of Django Rheinhardt's "St. LouisBlues" solo verbatim.By ’39 Charlie got the attention of producer John Hammond. With GibsonES 150 guitar and amp in hand, Charlie was set up for an audition with BennyGoodman by Hammond. In typical Goodman fashion he was not impressed atthe comping style of Christian, but later was blown away at Charlie’s solo abilityto keep up with him note for note. This was the year everything changed forChristian as he went on to record landmark songs with the Goodman Sextet,Septet and Orchestra, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, and the historic CarnegieHall jazz concert. Standout recordings of "Solo Flight” and "Honeysuckle Rose,"made Charlie a legend and a new master of jazz guitar. Then in 1940 Christianwent up to Harlem and participated in jam sessions at Minton's Playhouse. Hejammed with such future greats as Thelonius Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, formingthe sketches of bebop that would appear a decade later in New York. He evenbought a Gibson amp to become the house amp for the playhouse. However likeall great musical artists, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Randy Rhodes he diedyoung of tuberculosis in 1942. So the world was deprived of any great solorecords that were surely to come. But he laid the foundation for the electric guitaramplifier and ironically died the same year Jimi Hendrix was born, so one greatguitar spirit passes to another!Early Amp DesignersEstablished instrument companies formed in the 19th Century started to produceamplifiers when the new pre World War II electronic craze began. This wouldhelp many companies create a strong foothold in the new market. Here is a list ofsome of the early companies that were involved in producing guitar amps.a. Harmony: Wilhelm Schultz, a European immigrant, formed Harmony in 1892.The Chicago Company became one of the largest manufacturers of guitars andamps. By 1916 Sears Roebuck bought Harmony and in 1923 Harmony’s annualsales rose to 250,000 units. The company continues to be strong today andstands behind their proud heritage.b. Supertone: From 1914-1941 Supertone was the Sears brand name for theirmusical instruments. It wasn’t until the 40’s that Sears switched the name toSilvertone that people are familiar with today. Although keep in mind that Searsnever manufactured the amps themselves, they were always outsourced to othercompanies.c. Jackson-Guldan: A violin company based in Columbus, Ohio from the 1920s-1960s. They produced lap steels accompanied by small tube amps.d. Epiphone: This is a story that dates all the way back to the Ottoman Empirein Europe. Epaminondas, son of a Greek immigrant, apprenticed with his fatherin instrument making and at age 22 found himself in charge of the familybusiness when his father passed away in America. They had a showroom on 14thStreet in NYC, which became a hang out spot for New York musicians like LesPaul and Harry Volpe, who would jam there on Saturday afternoons. By 1935Epiphone became one of the greatest guitar manufactures, so it is no surprisethey offered amps early on through in the 30’s. Epiphone sold amps into themid-’70s and then reintroduced them in ’91 with the EP series.e. National/Valco: Like Epiphone these amps date back to the 30’s. But it was inthe 60’s when National introduced a modern group of amps to accompany theirnew Res-O-Glas space-age guitars. Then by ’68 they revamped the amp linewith large vertical and horizontal piggyback models. One of the last amps wasthe National GA 950 P Tremolo/Reverb piggyback.f. Bogen: In 1932 David Bogen founded this New York company andmanufactured a number of electronic products like the small guitar combo tubeamps. Some of the models were the GA-5, GA-20 including PA systems. Duringthe Rockabilly era, these amps were well favored by guitarists.g. Kalamazoo: As you guessed it - these amps were manufactured by Gibson,however they were considered low budget amps from 1933-1942. The namelater appeared on amps manufactured in the late 60’s.h. Guyatone: This company started producing amps in the 40’s thataccompanied their lap steel guitars called Guya. They made a host of amplifiersincluding Marco Polo, Winston, Kingston, Kent, LaFayette and Bradford brands.i. Vivi-Tone: In 1933 former Gibson employee Lloyd Loar along with some coworkersformed the company in Kalamazoo. They produced small amps to beused with early electric guitars.j. Supro: The National Dobro Company built these amps in conjunction withValco as budget amplifiers. But when Jimmy Page got a hold of this cheaplymade amp - we were shown a Whole Lotta Love! In recent years the Supro namehas been resurrected offering reissues of the old models.k. Electar Amp: These amps are sparse on the market and were onlymanufactured in the late 30’s. The early models, such as the Model C, Model M,Super AC-DC and the Special AC-DC were compact with 1x8’ speakers. Thelater model, Electar introduced the 12” speaker with larger cabinets for thecombos.l. Audiovox: This was a Seattle company formed in 1935 by Paul Tutmarc. Likemany manufacturers of the time they produced electric lap steels, guitars and ofcourse amps to accompany they’re other products.m. Dickerson: In 1937 the Dickerson brothers formed this company tomanufacture electric lap steel guitars and amps. In those days, lap steel guitarswere sold with their matching amps. They also made instruments for companieslike the Oahu Company to be rebranded. Finally after World War II Dickersonwas sold and renamed Magna Electronics, which became Magnatone.n. Selmer: Formed by World War I veteran Ben Davis in 1928, this company wason the cutting edge in the Britain. During the early 30's they produced amplifiersand became the first UK musical company to do so. They were the strongestdistributor of amps, which lasted well into the British Invasion.o. Premier: In 1938 the Peter Sorkin Music Company in NYC manufacturedthese amps. They introduced very small, radio sized amplifiers by the end of the30’s. Post World War II, they created the brand name Multivox which produceguitar amps until the 80’s. The 50’s and 60’s would see more ornate amp designsfeaturing dark brown and light tan coverings along with handsome wood grains.p. Hanburt: Harvey M. Hansen started producing electric Hawaiian guitars inSeattle and like many of his contemporaries sold amps with the guitars as a set.These amps were typical made out of wood and small in nature.q. Danelectro: In 1946 Nathan Daniel founded this diverse musical instrumentcompany in New Jersey. He started with building Sherwood amps for thedepartment store retailer Montgomery Ward and went on to supplying Sears withtheir Silvertone. Nathan produced his own amps under the company name andthe brand SS Maxwell. The Evets Corporation reintroduced the Danelectro brandin the 90’s.r. Alamo: In 1949 the conglomerate of Charles Eilenberg, Milton Fink andSouthern produced a variety of amps all the way until the 80’s.s. Webcor: During the 40’s The Webster-Chicago Company was mostly knownfor building recording equipment. However they also produced small amplifiersintended for vinyl turntables and PA systems.t. Masco: In the span from the 40’s into the 50’s the Mark Alan SampsonCompany of New York built an array of portable amp combos. They alsomanufactured tube PA systems for Blues harp players.u. Massie Before the formation of Fender during the 40’s, Ray Massie workedwith Leo Fender repairing instruments. Ray was Leos’s main repairman and ampdesigner; he would work for Fender later.v. Flot-A-Tone: This Wisconsin company in the 40’s and 50’s produced variousmusical amps for both guitar and accordion. They are well known for havinggreat tremolo systems and country guitarists like Ry Cooder are big fans of theselittle amps.w. Framus: A German company who manufactured amp heads, combos andcabinets. They began in 1946 as acoustic instrument company, but then addedelectric instruments in the 50’s. Like other brands we’ve seen, they were revivedin the 90’s.I’ve known Geoff for over two decades and he is a die-hard vintage instrumentand amp collector. I started out recording with Geoff in 1990 and soon becamehis assistant engineer at his recording studio Far & Away in New York. He was amentor to me in those days and I learned quite a lot from him about recording.He even took me to Les Paul’s house back in the day to hang with the manhimself and eat popcorn and experience the endless museum of guitars, amps,recording gear and stories that Les had to offer. Yes I received quite aneducation from my days with Geoff, so I couldn’t write a book about amps without having Geoff share some of his immense knowledge.Geoff has been involved in music recording since the early 70’s as heexplains, “We currently have a wonderful studio in Colorado and share our 40some tube amps with our clients. It’s great to have this huge palette of tone tochoose from when working on a project. The first amp I ever bought was a SearsSilvertone 1484. I found the receipt about a year ago. It cost $166.00. I used thatin my high school and college bands. I pretty much ignored it and lusted after aMarshall stack. It’s a lesson learned regarding full circles. I just replaced my longgone original with another 1484 and it sounds unbelievable. I have a Marshallstack that seldom gets used. And so it goes. In the 60’s we all had a life changingexperience with the release of the first John Mayall album with Eric Clapton usinghis Les Paul through the Marshall 18 watt “Bluesbreaker” amp. Concurrently,Hendrix’s, Are You Experienced album sound took our heads off. The leadguitarist in my college band had a Les Paul TV Model that he coupled to an oldVox AC 30. That sound has never left me. It opened my mind to the endlesspossibilities of tone and put me on a quest that seems to never end. I “outgrew”the Marshall stack era about the same time I was introduced to Tweed Fenderamps, specifically the 4x10 Bassman. I have had four of them and they are lifechanging. That led to a Tweed Deluxe and the entire line of 50’s Fender Tweeds.I still record a ragged ’54 Super that came from an accordion player in RhodeIsland. We kid that he must have dragged it behind his car to every gig. It stillsounds incredible. I brought a ’59 Champ to Les Paul’s house one night and heliked it so much he asked me to find him one which I subsequently did.”Geoff reflects how he became a collector of vintage amps, “What startedme collecting was that search for better and more varied tone. I still discoveramps that were not on my radar. We just acquired a ’64 Selmer Tru Voice Bass nTreble 50 Croc Era. I’m in shock. Where have these been my entire career? It’sfunny how we’ve had access to so many great amps here at the studio and stilldiscover gems about every couple of months. The investment aspect of vintageamps can’t be denied either. Many have outpaced other investment instruments.It’s a side bonus. It’s nice knowing that you can use your investment andincrease in value. If you’re out buying a guitar from a private individual alwaysask if they have any old amps. You might be surprised at what might be in thebasement. It pays to be educated on what is original and what is not. I wouldhighly advise having an amp repair guru close at hand. Sometimes mint oldamps need a ton of work and some of the rattiest looking things are stellar.”At Far & Away Studios, Geoff has seen a lot of amps and he explains howthey vary, “There are so many variables in electric guitar recording, for instance,the guitar, the amp, the volume, the room, the mic, the preamp, the tape orconvertors. There are so many technical reasons that amps sound differentlyfrom one another in the studio, that it becomes an involved discussion. You havevariations in power tube types, rectifier types, amount of negative feedback used,and of course speaker type. Ken Fisher (Trainwreck Amps) once pointed out tome that single speaker amps have a certain purpose. He said Billy Gibbons of ZZTop used a 100-watt Celestion on some of the early stuff. When you listen it doessound very direct and focused. That was intentional. We use one twelve inch orone ten inch amp for that feel. Our current studio favorites are 1960 through 1964Harmony H 305 or 306 amps. One channel has been slightly modded to producemore gain.”“I like two or four speakers for many tracks because the spill from theother speaker or speakers bleeds onto the mic and makes the sound a littlefuller. Sometimes it’s two mics, one on each speaker. Laws of physics dictatethat you must keep the second mic three times the distance that the first mic isfrom the source. For example, if the mic is 6 inches from the grill the second micwould have to be 18 inches to the side of the first mic. This assumes they’re both6 inches from the grill. This ensures phase alignment. We use distance micsoften as well. Ours are generally ribbon mics and dynamic mics. It wasn’t until Istarted working with Steve Carey of Fluxtone speakers that I realized how muchof the sound of an amp is directly related to the speakers. I always knew theywere important but now I realize they are probably 60-70% of the sound. We’vedone a bunch of comparisons switching amps and speakers to realize this. Thereare some cool YouTube videos of Brad Paisley demoing the Fluxtone equippedamps. They change the amp recording paradigm significantly.”How does Geoff feel about digital modeling amps, well, “I have realproblem mixing modeling amps and even solid state amps. There is somethingthat I would term “front to back imaging” that is missing from those sources. It’shard to describe but anyone can hear the difference when comparing them to atube amp. EQ never seems to help either. My most glaring example was duringthe recording of a death metal band with identical Boogie 8x12 stacks, onepowered by a Marshall and one by a MOSFET head. I stood in front of both tomake sure they were the same level and there were no pedals. I used the samemic and the same mic preamp. I recorded them to tape. There was a large gobobetween them. In the mix there was nothing I could do to make the solid-stateamp equal the depth and quality of the Marshall. The guys were playing thesame parts panned left and right. Had the Marshall not been in the mix, the solidstateamp might have sounded ok but it sure sounded weak against the tubes.We just panned them closer to center and moved on. Modeling is sure a coolidea but has a way to go to be convincing.”

Table of Contents

Forward by Michael Molenda editor & chief of Guitar Player Magazine

Chapter 1: Amplifier History
The Beginning
Early Amp Designers
The Vintage Collector
Les Paul

Chapter 2: Fender The King Of Amps
Guitars & Amps
The 60’s
A Change Is Comin’

Chapter 3: British Invasion
Star Power
Early Days
The Plexi
JCM Series
New Era

Chapter 4: DR. Z: Rise of a Boutique Builder
In the Beginning
Fenders Bench Mark
Tube Technology
Innovative Amps
Inner Electronics of the Beast
Proofs in the Pudding
UL Approved
The Future

Chapter 5: The Players
Jeff Beck
Zakk Wylde
Hal Lindes
Larry Carlton
Gary Hoey
Leslie West
Randy Coven

Chapter 6: Amp Designers
Divided By 13
Jet City
Jim Kelly
Line 6
Mesa Boogie
Paul Reed Smith
Seymour Duncan
Tone King