Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If Money Was Not an Object...

A topic on Harp-L asked what amp we would use if money were no object. Here is my reply:

If money were no object I’d start with a clean slate. I’d find one of the best amp techs on the planet and huddle for months designing and building a harp amp. I’d take ideas from the Masco amps, and the Premier Twin 8, the Western Electric bassman circuit, and others. I’d let TONE be the determinant for all design decisions. I’d select every component for the quality of its tone. I’d use whatever sounded best, not whatever the conventional wisdom said was “right.”

Well… That’s exactly what I did. The result is the Mission Chicago 32-20 blues harp amp. I own the prototype, and it shows. It has some mismatched switches and funky stick-on labels. But the amp is priceless. It is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that is not for sale at any price. How many can say that about their amp?

During the development I lent the amp to pro harp players and asked their opinions and followed their advice. Do you like the fixed bias punch of a Bassman or the cathode biased crunch of a Masco? No problem; just flip a switch to select one or the other.

The amp has as much useful volume as a good 410 amp. I know, because I own a nice modified 1991 Bassman RI. It is 35 watts in a 35-pound amp. The texture and crunch from the amp are a good mixture of the more rigid 410 amps and the more compressed smaller amps. It has an amazingly rich tone I never get tired of hearing. The amp inspires me to play more and more.

But you don’t have to be a ‘price is no object” kind of player to get one. Bruce Collins at Mission Amps in Denver will build you one for $1149.00.

Mike Wezo did the same thing. His Megatone amps are also excellent. He decided money was no object and created his own line of amps that defy convention.

No comments: