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Fender Hot Rod Deluxe- Epic Speaker Shootout

According to the folks at Fender, the Hot Rod Deluxe (HRDX) is their best-selling amp of all time.  So while there are plenty of folks who diss the amp . . . obviously there are many MORE who like the amp enough to actually buy one! What’s up with that?  Seriously, is it a great tube combo or not?  If not, what can be done to MAKE it great?  A quick Google search returned plenty of “mods” that various folks have tried, with varying success. The average user, however, isn’t going to be qualified to actually whip out a soldering iron and start swapping...

Holy-Grail Guitar tone - Forge your own path

          "Big" Al Anderson, real-life guitar hero!For going on 15 years now I have taught audio, acoustics, and sound engineering at a local college.  As part of my introductory day-one lecture, I always make the statement “I’m going to teach you the rules.  Once you have learned the rules, I fully expect, and in fact hope that you will go out and break them”.  In any discussion of guitar tone, this exact same statement can be made.   Perhaps nowhere is the statement that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” more...

A Truly SUPER Fender Super Reverb Amp

Yessiree!  Here is a blog I promised a few weeks back.  Sorry to make you all wait for this COOL story. It all started with a craigslist post offering four original speakers from a vintage Fender Super Reverb Amp.  Of COURSE I wanted THOSE!  Everyone who knows me knows I’m both a speaker nut AND I love, love, love Super Reverbs. So I phone dude and he explains that all four are in good condition.  “Humm, so why are you replacing them then?” I ask.  “Well, they sound good, but kind of fart-out when pushed on the low end and plus I’m going on a major tour and...

Most Requested New Models Available NOW!

This is an awesome day to be me … because I get to announce to the world that two of the most requested new models are available NOW! The G12Q  is near and dear to my heart; up to now, it was a model that was only custom-produced in extremely small quantities.  Sweet, full, big, rich, expressive, touch sensitive.  Yea, it’s all that.  This speaker has been taking the breath away from everyone who hears it … and it ultimately won my 1967 Deluxe Reverb shootout! The ET-90, in fact an ET65 with a Heavy magnet.  This speaker has been heavily requested, and limited to...

Vintage Home Stereo Speakers: Repurposed as Rockin Guitar Cabinets

Hi fellow lovers of guitars, amps and … SPEAKERS, of course!  This blog is gonna be a blast for me to write and for you to read, too … I PROMISE!  Ever wanted a one-of-a-kind vintage rig that you and you alone possess?  Option A: spend BIG bucks working with a custom manufacturer.  Option B: find some groovy 1960s home stereo speakers and make it yourself BAYBE! (Imagine that last sentence in the shagadelic voice of Austin Powers). Recently the always groovy Brad Sample took a pair of vintage high-end Fischer stereo speakers and repurposed them into 1x12...

Memorial Day: The Musicians, The Artists & The Poets

Howdy friends! As I write today’s blog, the Memorial Day holiday weekend is just beginning. Here in the southeastern United States high temperatures are running nearly 100°F, and so it almost feels more like the Fourth of July! My little rock ‘n roll band is gearing up for an outdoor show in an airplane hangar. It’s going to be hot. But man oh man is it going to be awesome! I love holidays, and I love the United States of America. I know many of you reading these blogs are not Americans. Whoever you are and wherever you are, my wish for you is that you have received all of the...

Artificial Speaker Aging

Bear with me folks, this might be a fairly lengthy blog!  A few months ago I received this email from a very knowledgeable fellow, Rasmus in Denmark.  Read along, you’ll be glad you did: ___________________________Hi Vaughn,Thanks for all you efforts - and thanks for you pushing speaker business in the right direction. Long story short, I have been at fender guy all my life and a tone seeker for about 20 years. Been tweaking at noodling with amps, pedals, pickups etc. etc. Recently I have been through at seek for the right 10" for my vintage 65 Princeton Reverb, and been...

Guitar Players: Why Being LIKED Beats Being Talented

When I was about 14 years old my band was playing a gig at a little Bar-n-Grill in Superior, Iowa; a scruffy fellow walks up at break & invites us to his place to see how a REAL guitar player plays.  We were all little teenies and, lured by the promise of seeing a “real” Les Paul, off we went.  We arrived at this … well … it wasn’t quite a shack, and it wasn’t quite a trailer; truth is, it didn’t really look like a place any human would inhabit.  As we were all getting used to the stench and filth, out from under the bed comes an honest-to-goodness gold-top Les Paul...

The WGS Blackhawk vs Black & Blue (Paper vs Kapton)

Hi Yawl! This blog is one that has been heavily requested, and it’s one I’ve been just itchin’ to do myself.  In my earlier blog: Paper or Plastic? The Great Kapton vs. Plastic Former Question!, I used up all kinds of words describing the subtitle sonic differences between a speaker with a voice-coil wound around paper as compared to one wound around Kapton.  This week I put my guitar where my mouth is! For those of you who don’t want to watch the video, here is the skinny: ***Spoiler Alert*** The paper sounds just a little brighter than the Kapton.  There ya...

What Exactly DOES a Presence Control Do on a Tube Amp?

That mysterious control, usually found on the far right (or sometimes left) side of the control panel; what the heck IS it, anyway?  Most of us can figure out terms like Bass, Mid, and Treble, but “presence”, well that one seems a bit ambiguous.  Fact is, it IS ambiguous!  Enough so that it can mean very different things on different amps.  For the purpose of this blog, we will only concern ourselves with the true presence control found on some tube amps. Here is a question I received via email: The issue is that I have my presence control cranked really high...

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