Hottie Amps

Turning old toasters into guitar amplifiers may seem like an idea you’d only come up with when you’re a little toasted, but that’s exactly what J.C. Escudie of Portland, Oregon, is doing with his line of Hottie amplifiers ($149 direct only). By retrofitting vintage toasters from the ’40s and ’50s with a 9-volt battery-powered amplifier (made by Zinky Electronics) and a 6" Jensen speaker, Escudie has given new life and utility to these classic icons of the American household.
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Our Hottie came housed in the chrome-plated shell of a 1939 Sunbeam, which features cool art-deco motifs on its sides, but many different styles of toasters are available. The Hottie’s crumb pan pulls open to access the battery (which is secured by a metal spring clip), and the amp features input and output jacks. All volume and tone adjustments are done on the guitar.

The Hottie distorts quickly, spreading its transistory grind at home-approved volume through the two toast slots. You can get a little more sonic oomph from the Hottie by laying it on its side and opening the crumb door, but to fully experience the amp’s powers, you’ll need to connect it to a speaker cabinet. Plugging it into a Marshall 4x12, for example, yielded the sonic equivalent of well-browned Texas toast at a perfect volume for recording or practice. The amp sounds great for slide and hard-rock riffing, and, unlike some micro amps, it doesn’t flip over at the slightest tug on the cord. I’m sure some toaster collectors will grumble over the fact that Escudie’s creations will never heat up an English muffin again, but what better way to enjoy a funky appliance that’s no match anyway for that six-slice wonder you just scored at Wal-Mart?