A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Day The Music Died?

Any image in this piece may be clicked on for a larger image.

It had been a while since I spent the day in Hollywood visiting some of my friends and some of the music stores.  My thought many times during the day was a lyric by Don McLean in the song American Pie ... the day the music died.

Back in the mid 70s through the early 80s we were treated to Disco.  It took time (way too long from my personal point of view) for Disco to die.  

I talk about the state of vacuum tubes and how there has been a steady decline over the last decades.  Today there are more "types" than ever and the offerings are worse than they have ever been.  As sad as I have been over the state of vacuum tubes the state of guitar amplifiers seems even worse.

Click on "read more" to continue ....

The theme seems to be charge by the knob.  The great icons of the past like Fender and Marshall have offerings that make my head swim.  Perhaps these feature laden, complex monsters are somebodies cup of meat but they do not fit the bill for me or folks that are my clients.

To cut to the chase if you don't want to read my diatribe ....  To you amp builders who are small and called "boutique" builders.... hang in there.  The reason for sales being a bit low are more due to the economy than to your products.  Many of you build spectacular amps and have much lower overhead that the huge, established companies that are doing everything in their power to flood the market to get back some market share.  As entry level players learn the real story these big companies are getting into deeper trouble each month.  Soon they may go the way of Disco.

When big retail outlets have give times the amount of used trade in gear than new current models from given maker it says something to me.  I have very little formal education in economics but it seems to be this is not exactly a sustainable business model.

Almost $2,000 for a 1x12 combo that has two channels and current production Tele knobs.  OK.  Maybe it's just me but I don't get it. 

Looks like Marshall jumped on the Dr. Z Carmen Ghia bandwagon with their top amp in this shot.  Two knobs.  Oh, excuse me!  It is only a one watt amp.  Guess you won't be gigging too much in any sort of live work.  You can do that with a Carmen Ghia which set the stage a few decades ago.  But .... it does support my theory of cost per knob whether it is usable or not.

The lower amp at half the cost .... solid state but it does have that cool British flag decal.  

A tear came to my eye and I got a bit choked up as I recalled a Poco live concert at UCSB in the 60s where they played those big blue 260 / 360 Acoustic amps that were the coolest looking amps on the planet, perhaps the loudest too.  What happened?  Perhaps somebody resurrected the name without the vibe.

The concept of "media circus" taken to the next levels?  To my amp and guitar making craftsman friends ... maybe sell direct or to small dealers that know tone, music, history and provide service?  I believe this sort of thing is on the way out.  Look at their financial data and you can smell the panic.

I thought the green Vox was pretty but .....

OK.  This may get some flack from folks but.....

I have fans who are fans of PRS guitars.  I have never met a fan of their amps.  Sometimes having your fingers in too many pies just makes more lackluster pies.

OK.  I found this very cool.  A handy little amp made of all metal!  Why didn't somebody thing of this before?  Oh, wait a sec.  A few decades ago Andy Marshall at THD had the Univalve.

Remember when Fender had a cool entry level guitar by the same name?  Shed another tear.  Then again, this one is a 150 watt modeling amp!  It meets the knob/price ration obtained by the use of cheap speakers, inexpensive iron and solid state internals.  Is that not a good thing?

Is this the treasure of the day or what!!! ???   Gigantoid head!  Big wattage.  Program tones so it can do it all.  Ultra value by the pound if by no other measure!

Bring it on!  It is futile to fault my "price now based by knob count" with proof like this!  I guess there is one positive note on Jim Marshall being in his grave.

You can find cool stuff but it does not associate with the "general population".

If you know where to look you can find some amps that made the music that made many of us love music in the first place.  The Vibroverb up there has a JBL in it, the original cool setup.

Some cool guitars and many have some great history behind them.  Then again, I know some amazing guitar builders whose instruments may be in the history books some day which are not being built with the cheapest parts and built as fast as possible.  I wonder what this wall in the Vintage Room will look like in 50 years?

But in the end every cloud has a silver lining ....

I got to spend some time with one of the best Nashville pickers and guitar builders and repair guys on the planet (the guy who built my red Tele), David Neely.  Greatest part of the day.  http://www.neelyguitars.com/

and ....

... a burger at The Sunset Grill

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