What I want for Christmas, other than World Peace, doesn’t yet exist, at least how I envision it. Santa, if you are listening, I want an all tube, all analog amp pedal. That’s right, a low wattage amp, that is in a stomp box chassis, that uses either preamp tubes like 12ax7’s, or subminiature tubes like the 6021’s found in my Duncan twin tube preamp pedal.. I’m talking about a mini amp, something that is generating 1 to 5 watts, yet capable of either clean headroom or overdrive, and has a reactive load cabinet emulator, and the option to run a speaker cabinet, go direct , or use headphones. Ideally the pedal amp could select between US and British flavored amp platforms, but I’d settle for one really convincing black face style amp sound. I know that there are products like the Warmnfat, and the ZVex micro amp, but as I understand it, neither has a cabinet emulator, which I would love for late night home recording. I just think it would be cool to have something I could run my stomp boxes into that didn’t involve miking an amp, or using a modeler, or buying an iso cabinet. If I don’t get it that, perhaps the incredibly close friendship I’ve developed with Richard Sales, in a really short time, will result in him giving me his vintage Maurer :>).
Speaking of vintage I have been helping my nephew restore a 76 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. These guitars represent the low water mark of Gibson’s darkest years, and this example is no exception. It’s a veritable butcher block of construction with a three piece mahogany back, a three piece un-matched plain Jain maple top, and a three piece (5 if you count the headstock wing laminates) maple neck. It weighs a ton, and due to being stored for too long in a too shallow case, it has neck and fret board issues I’m in the process of having corrected. In spite of that it sounds wonderful, the mini hum buckers sound beautiful, punchier and more focused than regular hum buckers, IMO. The eye opener to me is that even these poorly constructed Gibson’s are fetching upwards of $3000 now, and adding further insult, one reason is that most people who owned one back then, did what I did when I had mine… route it for standard hum buckers!!!! Luckily, my nephew’s is in pretty stock condition, other than the bridge needed replacement as the original had bowed.
Happy Kringle one and all.