BOUTIQUE AMPLIFIER HEAVEN
descended on Tennessee recently in the
form of Creation Audio Labs’ second
annual Nashville Amp Expo, which took
place August 21st and 22nd at the Hyatt
Place Hotel. More than 100 vendors
showcased an estimated 300 handwired,
tube-driven beauties ranging from
the smallest 2-watt micro head to the
staunchest 400-watt behemoths. Amps
from the likes of Fuchs, Mesa/Boogie,
Egnater, Reinhardt, Satellite, Ark,
Metropoulos, Simple, and many more
were available for gear-hungry attendees
to test drive—and purchase! The
amp-centric show also had its share
of boutique effects pedal and guitar
exhibitors, including Visual Sound, Mad
Professor, Pigtronix, Modtone, Soloway
Guitars, Redentore Guitars, and Peter
Malinoskiart Guitars. The two-day event
was highlighted by a series of informative
seminars ranging from guitar
recording to tube and speaker shootouts.
The evening schedule was dominated
by performances from local bands.
Here’s a sampling of what the show had
to offer. —Blake Wright
This prototype of Cornell
Amp sports an EL84
power tube, two 9-volt
outputs to power effects
pedals, a 1/4" speaker out
and a headphone jack.
Controls include Gain,
Bass, Treble, and Output.
A second footswitch
engages a boost.
showcased a prototype
Stage 6, which features
dial that notches
up the tone from smooth overdrive to an insane
wall of fuzz, a Boost switch, and a Tone switch
that brightens the signal.
Visual Sound spotlighted its budget
Garagetone pedal line, which includes
the Axle Grease delay, Chopper
tremolo, Chainsaw distortion, Drivetrain
overdrive, and Oil Can phaser.
The Drivetrain is based on the old Reverend
Drivetrain II pedal, originally
designed by Visual Sound’s Bob Weil.
Reason Amps’ 20-watt
Grande employs two 6V6
power tubes and three
12AX7 preamp tubes,
and it can be switched to
run at half wattage. It
also boasts a digital
reverb, a series/parallel
effects loop, and a global
Master Volume control.
A prototype of the Nolatone Ampworks Black Tooth 50 head.
The 50-watt amp features an overdrive channel with dual gain
controls driving two differently voiced gain stages, and a
clean channel with a Fat/Lean toggle switch.