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Michael Lee Firkins: My First Distortion Box

| July 27, 2011

I got my first electric guitar and amplifier at Mid City Loan in Omaha, NE, in 1979. Mid City Loan was a huge pawn shop with rows of great guitars and amps. My dad took me there for my birthday after I somehow convinced my folks that I deserved either an electric guitar <em>or</em> a go-kart. I was given the choice of a Fender Bronco, or a Gibson SG. I chose The SG of course! AC/DC was a favorite of mine, as well as Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin, and the Gibson seemed like a better guitar at the time. I tried out a Fender Princeton Reverb and out the door I went. I immediately went home and set up in the driveway to blast all the neighbors. I wanted everyone to know "I Play Guitar"! Everything sounded great: "Sweet Home Alabama," "Green Grass and High Tides," "Free Bird,"&nbsp; and "Stairway to Heaven."<br /> <br /> Then one day a friend told me I needed a "preamp" for my guitar. Preamp? What's that? You know, a distortion box. He brought one over, and <em>wow</em>. Okay, distortion! So, good ol' Santa Claus brought me one on Christmas day. All of the sudden, my Princeton sounded like "Back in Black" and "You Shook Me All Night Long." I still remember playing those tunes and saying, "It really sounds like the record"! It was a yellow DOD Preamp 250. All was distorted, until one day&mdash;it just stopped working.<br /> <br /> I took the MAT bus downtown to Mid City Music, which was right next door to Mid City Loan. I showed the man at the counter my Preamp and told him, "It don't work no more." He said, "Did you try the Battery?" I said, "Battery?" He opened up the back and swapped out the battery. :0)<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /> All was distorted in the world again <em>until</em> I was running across the street to catch the bus home when my DOD Preamp fell out of my coat pocket and a Cadillac full of dudes swerved and <em>aimed</em> to hit my pedal. Crunch! Knobs flying, the sound of metal bouncing. It was kinda shaped like a "U" now. But, when I got home, it still worked!<br /> <br /> <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong></strong></span><a href="http://www.michaelleefirkins.com/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>michaelleefirkins.com</strong></span></a>

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