Saturday, October 17, 2009

Flot-A-Tone Amp

Last night I dropped into the Q Worldly BBQ in Cherry Creek to catch Al Chesis and the Delta Sonics show. I didn't bring a camera or recorder because I expected Al to be playing through his usual Bandmaster clone amp, and I've written about that elsewhere.

Well, surprise, surprise... As I arrived Mr. Chesis was setting up a cool vintage amp: an early 60's Flot-A-Tone. These were manufactured by the LoDuca brothers in Milwaukee from the early 50s to the early 60s and sold all over the country. Al's amp looked like a G600 model, which uses two 6L6 power tubes (or tubes from the same family) and two 12AX7 tubes, a 5U4 rectifier, and a 12-inch Jensen speaker.

I didn't get a chance to talk much to Al... harp players can be terse when setting up against the clock; I'm the same way. The amp sounded great. He had it sitting on a milk crate right behind him, in front of the drum kit. Al was playing through his trusty old JT-30 microphone with MC-151 crystal element.

The picture at the top of this article was taken with my cellular phone. I also used my phone to take a short MP4 movie of his playing. Al Chesis is a monster player and his band is tight and talented. The club was packed. A very fun night.

UPDATE: I talked with Al on the phone today (Saturday). The Flot-A-Tone is not a replacement for his regular gig rig, a Bandmaster clone by Mission Amps. He recently bought the vintage amp from a friend and wanted to try it out in a gig setting. The "Q" is small so it was a suitable venue for the 20-watt Flot-A-Tone.

I am partial to 6L6 combo amps with a 12-inch speaker, like Al's Flot-A-Tone and my 5F2H. They have a nice honky tone with good definition, and good crunch when you want it. Lately many harp players clamor too much for huge bass tones from monster 4x10 amps. Little Walter never sounded like that.

1 comment:

Rick Davis said...

Is that pronounced FLOAT-a-tone or FLOT-a-tone? I've heard it both ways...