Last weekend, I displayed my amps at my first guitar show. Besides the obvious marketing aspects, I met some great people there. Although lots of vendors had amps, especially vintage amps, I was surprised that there were only a few other amp vendors there. There were many choice pieces there, including some ’57-59 tweed Fender Bassman amps.
One of the amp vendors was Brown Amplification from McKinney, Texas. They make heads and speaker cabinets, but not combos. Since I only make combos, I sent them folks looking for heads and they sent folks to me looking for combos.
The first folks I met were the team from Wathen Audiophile. They make some really choice speakers and amps, but they were mainly displaying their select line of preamp and power amp tubes, all cryogenically treated with their proprietary treatment and selected to their own very strict specifications. Each individually serialized tube includes its own laboratory test report for Heater vol, Plate vol, Screen vol, Grid vol, Transconductance, Grid Leakage, Plate Current, Plate Resistance and Gain. They were kind enough to supply me with a 12AX7-WCM that I used Sunday afternoon in my Texas 2:10 Special in the V1 preamp stage. That amp got rave reviews (more on that later).
In the booth next to ours, between us and Warthen, was RBi Music, featuring FRET-King guitars by Trev Wilkinson . I use the Wilkinson compensating brass saddle Tele bridge on my guitar. I really like those guitars, especially their JD Duncan Jerry Donahue model (my personal favorite) and a beautiful Elise semi-hollow model. Rick Taylor and I got along well, and I let them test drive guitars on my amps, to our mutual benefit.
I had an interesting conversation about guitar amps and the music scene with Mark Daven of the Guitar Radio Show. Mark’s a great guy, and was nice enough to give me a shout out is his blog about Guitarlington 2015. Lauraine O’Toole from Avalon Multimedia dropped by for a visit and had some nice words for the Texas 2:10 Special.
I also got to meet Kevin Butts at Killer B Guitars. I had to do this after Mark Daven brought a beautiful Killer B lefty T style guitar over to play through my amps. This guitar not only sounded great, but it was a work of art. I had to tell the builder how impressed I was with his guitar.
The Texas 2:10 Special
Although the tube tremolo on the Texas Tone 12 always warms my heart, and gets good response, on Saturday the Texas 2-Step got the most attention. The ability to go from single-ended Champ to push-pull Deluxe circuits, and easily moving from clean to saturation, brought lots of positive response from listeners.
On Sunday, however, the Texas 2:10 Special was the star of the show. Two incidents stand out. A nice lady with a Tone Forge T-Shirt came by to get some brochures, and told me that the Texas 2:10 Special was the best amp in the show. Late in the day, a very talented Nashville guitarist named Nathan came by, looking for the star amp. He said he had heard about the amp (Texas 2:10 Special) and had come by to test it out. He played and played on that amp, covering a variety of styles quite handily, all the while raving about the tone and responsiveness of the Texas 2:10 Special. Rick from RBi let him play the JDD and Elise, but most of his playing was on my personal Telecaster. He was most impressed with the amp, and I hope to get in touch with him again when he comes back to Austin.
All in all, it was a great time, and a great showing for my amps. It’s always good to get feedback from musicians, and it’s extra special to get such positive response from people for whom music is their livelihood.