Three chords, an electric guitar and…

Three chords, an electric guitar and…
Reviewer: telecaster
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Amped:
The Illustrated History of the World's Greatest Amplifiers
Hardcover: 
208 pages
First edition
May 07, 2012
ISBN 10:
0760339724
ISBN 13:
978-0760339725

An illustrated history of the world's greatest guitar and bass amplifiers, from the quaint 1937 Rickenbacher M11 to the latest and greatest Matchless.

Anyone guess the missing ingredient for shear sonic bliss?  Yep…a vintage tube amp!  Amidst the jungle of guitar amp books that has sprouted in recent years there stands Dave Hunter’s Amped: The Illustrated History of the World’s Greatest Amplifiers, Voyageur Press.  Not to spoil the review but do yourself a favor if you are at all into guitar amps, buy this book!  Grabbing you from the outset with a stylish cover design like a mid- 60’s Fender blackface (bonus: what component of the cover amp is not found on a real Fender blackface amp?  Read on.), this beautifully illustrated volume pays homage to all the greats of the golden era of amp manufacturing.  Fender, Gibson, Marshall, Vox, Ampeg, Supro…they are all there.  Going further, the book features some lesser known, yet still interesting, amps by Gretsch, Selmer, Watkins and more.  Each is featured with fantastic photos in striking color along with entertaining descriptions of the amp and its place in history.  For the hard core enthusiast, there is plenty of tech talk discussing plate voltage, top boost circuits, El 84s, long tail phase inverters and other esoteric components that arguably contribute in a big way to the sonic characteristics of these amps.   Along the way, Hunter enlightens us with insight into the artists that made these amps notable.  Who doesn’t want to see Mike Campbell’s fawn AC30 sitting on its road case, or read once more about Page using a Supro cranked up loud on Led Zeppelin’s first album? It’s a nice touch too that Hunter extends his foray into the amps made more recently that are coming into “classic” status of their own. With features of Randall Smith’s Mesa Boogie Mark I (arguably the start of “boutique” amps) to amps from Matchless and Dr. Z,  Amped makes the point, at least by implication, that history is a great teacher !  Oh yeah, the answer to the bonus question: it’s the vibrato channel volume knob (also featured on the book’s spine – a cool design touch) that “goes to 11”.  Maybe on Spinal Tap’s Marshall head, but not on a blackface Fender!