Amp Anarchy!


Listen Up Amp Manufacturers! Your amps sound great, but that is not good enough.
You know, I have been through a sea of amps over the years and I never had the one I really liked. I mean really, really liked. There was always something that bugged me about the one I was lugging around from gig to gig. That list of grievances has been getting longer the older I get. Somebody needs to come to grips with what guitarists really want their amp to supply.

My gripes today include but in no way engulf my amp psychosis as follows:
Most cabinets are built with low grade particle board. I know you manufacturers went out of your way by covering them with simulated vinyl “leatherette,” but stop building the boxes out of roof sheathing. Just stop it. Its’ heavy for one, and now that I brought it to everyone’s attention, it is just plain unacceptable, starting now. No wait….here it comes…NOW!

Currently, I have a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe that is close to meeting my whining list, but it is in no way completely satisfactory. I find myself in the position more frequently than I would like, of having to use someone else’s amp during a show, in the dark, because I let another player come up and do a couple of songs with my rig, and I end up playing someone else’s guitar and using their amp when they need to leave the stage to break up a fight or hide from somebody. That amp always has the mystery power and standby switch. Being a blues player, tube amps are almost exclusively on stage, hence the standby switch. Sometimes its on the back, or the top or front, or sometimes I can’t find it period. From now on, no – make that NOW, all tube amps are to have the power switches on the upper right top of the amp, and the power switch WILL be red AND lit, and the standby switch WILL be blue AND lit.

Which only brings me to another point. Unless the light crew dedicates a flood to the control side of the amp, it is in the dark. Now, my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe has a red light which lets you know when the power is on – but that is it. The rest my friends, is Braille 101. My cell phone gives me 1000 times more information from a tiny light than my expensive amp does. Crate has some nice amps that have lit panels on them, but the one I used in a studio the other day was not a tube amp and all the lights were red. Once again, manufacturers, throw me a bone here. Make the gain knob Green and LIT, starting, you guessed it—NOW!

Let’s not just blindly paste things here and there, how about a little thought and practicality?
My vision is going. I wear reading glasses. The writing on the panel of knobs is so small that I have to get on my knees to see what settings I am at. Not on some amps, but every friggin’ amp I touch. Manufacturers “ALERT”. Use the biggest font that will fit on the newly LIT panel, you know when that is to start. I am done saying it.

Other than that, casters will be mandatory and if the foot switch jack is on the back of the amp, I will kick my foot through the speaker right in the store. VOX is already hip to me and put a kick-proof speaker cover on their amps. On the front, close to the floor line will work for me. Left or Right, I will live with it. A pick dispenser would be cool. Maybe the tweed can be “pre-ripped” too.

Since this article has been unleashed on the internet, you can bet your competitors are re-tooling as you read this. Print this on paper and take it to the boardroom now. You might make V.P.


Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Guitar Amplifier


Peavey Windsor Guitar Amp

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