We are a small family-run business based out of Victoria, BC. We have been building, restoring, modifying, and repairing guitar amps since 2009.
My dad, Gord, is a Professional Engineer and has spent most of his career working in Computer Systems and Manufacturing Engineering. He was first introduced to the world of tube amps through his father, my grandpa, who was also a Professional Engineer and who designed tube-based industrial control circuits in the 1950’s. My dad got his first good guitar, a road-worn 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty” when he was 16 and has been a passionate musician ever since. He introduced me, Michelle, to the world of guitars as soon as I was big enough to pick one up.
Gord bought his first Les Paul with the money he earned from a variety of student jobs but he didn’t have enough money for a good amp. He built his first amp, with his father’s assistance, shortly after he got the Gibson. This first amp was all solid-state and, while it was loud, it wasn’t very interesting. This was 1970, and the world was discarding tubes as an obsolete technology. Gord did some research and realized that tubes were still the right technology for guitar amps. He resolved that he would build himself a tube amp as soon as he could find the opportunity.
Eventually, my dad left the world of Information Technology and devoted himself to designing and building a really, really good guitar amp. He worked with my grandpa to acquire as much knowledge as he could about tube circuit design. We still use some of the tools, test equipment, and textbooks that my grandpa used in the ’50s and ’60s in our electronics and wood shops now. Gord read everything he could find related to “good” tone and realized designing a good amp is a combination of engineering and art.
Large volume tube amp manufacturers are constrained by the trade-off of sell-able features versus profit margin. Some features may be added to increase showroom interest, but often at the cost of features that enhance tone. It’s also apparent that many commercial amp designers are only interested in replicating designs from the 1950s. Those designs were never intended to be over-driven. An over-driven tube amp requires a different approach to design.
Gord and I are really happy that we get to work with so many musicians, music lovers, and like-minded members of the community. Whether we are building a custom amp from the ground up, restoring a vintage amp to its former glory, or just giving someone’s favourite amp a little TLC, we are grateful for the opportunity and love doing what we do. So to everyone who has brought your gear in, had us build you something, or accompanied us along this journey in any way – thank you!