I’ve never much cared for the look of your average guitar amp. I realize that a Tolex covered wooden box with grill cloth serves a purpose: it allows the amp to be carried around from gig to gig without damage to the sensitive electronics. But what if you have no intention of moving the amp anywhere? What if you intend to let it sit in one place in your living room or recording space? If it doesn’t need to be moved, why make it look unattractive?
My amps are Living Room amps. They are designed to be put in one place and will hopefully appeal to the eye like furniture or a piece of sculpture. I made two amps in 2014, which will serve as a prototypes for more amps to come. One amp follows a design similar to artists from the De Stijl movement of the early 20th century. Gerrit Rietveld was famous in part for his Rietveld chair. Piet Mondrian painted brightly colored rectangles, often bordered in black. I borrowed from these two artists to create my Mondrian amp.
The other amp is inspired by hot rods (and possibly robots) from the late 40’s and 50’s. It uses curving lines of steel and has few 90 degree angles. I powder coated the metal in candy apple red.
I made this amp in 2000- It has a rectifier tube, an EF86 preamp tube, and an EL84 output tube. It probably puts out about 4 watts. It has a simple tone control, which can be bypassed. It has a cathode bypass cap, which can also be switched out of the circuit. Volume, power and standby round out the controls. I used two Weber 10″ alnico speakers in the cabinet- one is open back, one closed back. I can pick either or both speakers, and can pick series or parallel connections when using both speakers. It is very versatile for such a small simple amp- I use it all the time!
This box allows me to send pre-recorded tracks out to a guitar amp for processing. I find it great for making a synth or keyboard sample sound more “lively”. Fully passive, it has a Jensen transformer, ground lift. I used some nice hardwoods, mortise and tenon joinery, and roofing copper.