Saturday, July 21, 2012
My modest collection of harp amps (as of today, anyway). Clockwise from lower left: 1970 Fender Champ, 6 watts; 1953 Masco ME-18, 20 watts; 1991 Fender Bassman Reissue, 45 watts, Mission Chicago 32-20, 32 watts (in fixed bias mode). I think I have all the bases covered.
The order I acquired the amps is Champ, Masco, Mission, Bassman. Through the years I've had maybe two dozen harp amps, but these are the ones I hung with over time. The first harp amp I paid money for was an Ampeg B-15N flip-top full stack (used, in 1979); the most recent is the Bassman.
I cannot help myself -- All of them have been modified for blues harp except the Mission which is a custom built amp. When I bought that first Ampeg-- and many amps that followed -- I was frustrated by the tone and didn't have the foggiest idea how to improve it. And, I couldn't find anybody else who had a clue either. So I dug in and figured it out myself. The quest for tone can be a cruel mistress, but the payoff is sweet. NOTHING sounds like a good player blowing though a great amp. Y'all know exactly what I mean.