Guitar Amplifier Encyclopedia

Allworth Press, 2016 - 140 Seiten
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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.

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The Beginning

The one instrument in the world that needed to be amplified at the dawn of
modern music was certainly the guitar. Just think of those noisy Big Band horns
screaming their obnoxious notes, how the hell could a guy like Charlie Parker be
heard over such a commotion? I''m a fan of classic films and it always makes me
laugh when I see a scene with a ban leader and his baton waving at the
orchestra and there in the corner is the lonely guitar player strumming away until
he is blue in the face, but you can''t hear a single note he''s playing. I mean why is
the guitar player even there if he can''t be heard; just to keep quarter note rhythm
beats? There is absolutely no wonder why the amplifier was invented for the
guitar! We can thank Benny Goodman for one thing and that''s integrating the
talented black guitarist, Charlie Christian, which led to the electric guitar and
amplifier. Whether you like the era''s music or not, we certainly wouldn''t have
Hendrix, Clapton, Van Halen or Satriani with out Christian or Gibson for that

Amplification was first addressed for the electric guitar in the early 1930''s
for the Hawaiian guitarists who played this frying pan looking guitar on their lap.
Companies like Rickenbacker, Gibson, Epiphone and National tried to fulfill the
need for volume by producing amps to go accompany their Hawaiian guitars like
the Rickenbacker A22, Gibson Roy Smeck, Gibson EH-185, Epiphone Model M,
and Rickenbacker''s Electro Tenor amplifier to go with their guitars. You see
during the pre World War II era, Rickenbacker had a large investment in the
Hawaiian guitar market. Opposed to companies like National, Dobro, Gibson and
Epiphone who devoted their production to resonator and f hole guitars. The
Hawaiian style guitar at the time of the late 20''s through the 30''s was a much
more profitable market than the so-called Spanish neck guitars produced by

Bandleaders of the 20''s and 30''s didn''t take the guitar seriously in their
music, looking upon it as a fad or as a quirky instrument. Guitarists like Eddy
Lang were the exception, accompany singers like Ruth Etting in the 1932 film "A
Regular Trouper" and Bing Crosby in the "The Big Broadcast Of 1932". Lang
would use the original acoustic version of the Gibson L-4 and L-5, before pickups
were introduced. Then there was Eddie Durham who was Count Basie''s
guitarists who is noted as recording the world''s first jazz electric guitar solo in
1938. He performed it on a Gibson ES-150 guitar with the Lester Young Kansas
City Five. Ironically, the same year saw guitarists George Barnes with Big Bill
Broonzy 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 into
contemporary music. Born in Bonham, Texas, on July 29, 1916, Charlie was born
into a musical family. Both his mother and father played the piano and trumpet as
sound score in a local silent movie theatre. In 1918, after the family moved to
Oklahoma City, Charlie began guitar lessons from his father. By 1928, he
became heavily influenced by tenor saxophonist Lester Young; Charlie even scat
sang Young''s solos while playing the guitar. In fact T Bone Walker was a
childhood 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 Eddie
Durham in 1937 changed the course of Charlie''s fate, being so influenced by
Eddie''s guitar playing. Soon after that meeting Christian went out and bought a
Gibson ES 150 with the accompanying amp and started to wood shed. Within a
year 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. Louis
Blues" solo verbatim.

By ''39 Charlie got the attention of producer John Hammond. With Gibson
ES 150 guitar and amp in hand, Charlie was set up for an audition with Benny
Goodman by Hammond. In typical Goodman fashion he was not impressed at
the comping style of Christian, but later was blown away at Charlie''s solo ability
to keep up with him note for note. This was the year everything changed for
Christian as he went on to record landmark songs with the Goodman Sextet,
Septet and Orchestra, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, and the historic Carnegie
Hall jazz concert. Standout recordings of "Solo Flight" and "Honeysuckle Rose,"
made Charlie a legend and a new master of jazz guitar. Then in 1940 Christian
went up to Harlem and participated in jam sessions at Minton''s Playhouse. He
jammed with such future greats as Thelonius Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, forming
the sketches of bebop that would appear a decade later in New York. He even
bought a Gibson amp to become the house amp for the playhouse. However like
all great musical artists, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Randy Rhodes he died
young of tuberculosis in 1942. So the world was deprived of any great solo
records that were surely to come. But he laid the foundation for the electric guitar
amplifier and ironically died the same year Jimi Hendrix was born, so one great
guitar spirit passes to another!

Early Amp Designers

Established instrument companies formed in the 19th Century started to produce
amplifiers when the new pre World War II electronic craze began. This would
help many companies create a strong foothold in the new market. Here is a list of
some 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 and
amps. By 1916 Sears Roebuck bought Harmony and in 1923 Harmony''s annual
sales rose to 250,000 units. The company continues to be strong today and
stands behind their proud heritage.

b. Supertone: From 1914-1941 Supertone was the Sears brand name for their
musical instruments. It wasn''t until the 40''s that Sears switched the name to
Silvertone that people are familiar with today. Although keep in mind that Sears
never manufactured the amps themselves, they were always outsourced to other

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 Empire
in Europe. Epaminondas, son of a Greek immigrant, apprenticed with his father
in instrument making and at age 22 found himself in charge of the family
business when his father passed away in America. They had a showroom on 14th
Street in NYC, which became a hang out spot for New York musicians like Les
Paul and Harry Volpe, who would jam there on Saturday afternoons. By 1935
Epiphone became one of the greatest guitar manufactures, so it is no surprise
they offered amps early on through in the 30''s. Epiphone sold amps into the
mid-''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 in
the 60''s when National introduced a modern group of amps to accompany their
new Res-O-Glas space-age guitars. Then by ''68 they revamped the amp line
with large vertical and horizontal piggyback models. One of the last amps was
the National GA 950 P Tremolo/Reverb piggyback.

f. Bogen: In 1932 David Bogen founded this New York company and
manufactured a number of electronic products like the small guitar combo tube
amps. Some of the models were the GA-5, GA-20 including PA systems. During
the 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 name
later appeared on amps manufactured in the late 60''s.

h. Guyatone: This company started producing amps in the 40''s that
accompanied their lap steel guitars called Guya. They made a host of amplifiers
including Marco Polo, Winston, Kingston, Kent, LaFayette and Bradford brands.

i. Vivi-Tone: In 1933 former Gibson employee Lloyd Loar along with some coworkers
formed the company in Kalamazoo. They produced small amps to be
used with early electric guitars.

j. Supro: The National Dobro Company built these amps in conjunction with
Valco as budget amplifiers. But when Jimmy Page got a hold of this cheaply
made amp - we were shown a Whole Lotta Love! In recent years the Supro name
has been resurrected offering reissues of the old models.

k. Electar Amp: These amps are sparse on the market and were only
manufactured 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. The
later model, Electar introduced the 12" speaker with larger cabinets for the

l. Audiovox: This was a Seattle company formed in 1935 by Paul Tutmarc. Like
many manufacturers of the time they produced electric lap steels, guitars and of
course amps to accompany they''re other products.

m. Dickerson: In 1

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