Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Two of My Favorite Things

The first is a circa 1961 Vox AC 30 guitar amplifier. This was, and is, a favorite of the early Beatles, The Edge, Tom Petty, Brian May, and Radiohead, to name a few. It is renowned for its lovely chiming tone at low and medium volumes, and a sweet, singing distortion when turned up higher. I was lucky to pick this up for a hundred quid in Sammy Benson’s music shop, back in Limerick, sometime in the 80's. It was old even then, and I really didn't know what a steal I was getting. Tube amps fell out of fashion in the eighties, until everyone discovered that the amps that replaced them sounded like shit. I've probably spend the bones of a grand refurbishing it over the years, but plug in my Les Paul, turn the amp half way up, and it sings. Also, I could easily turn my original investment into a couple of thousand if I sold it on eBay. These amps are highly prized, and relatively rare. They are also cantankerous as all get out, but at 46 it needs a little love and care. Circuits designed to last ten years are well past their prime . I see the amp repair guy at Haight St Music Center so often that all I have to do is say is, "It's John" when I call, and he knows who I am. He loves this amp even more than I do!

The other is a late model human who didn't cost a dime to make, but will probably see us out-of-pocket half a million over his first twenty years! Like the amp, he has his difficult moments, but mostly he’s a curious sweetheart. And right now, he weighs a LOT less than the very heavy amp.

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Blogger Annie Rhiannon said...

That is one gorgeous baby.

4:00 PM  
Blogger The Hangar Queen said...

She's lovely alright.The youngfella is adorable as well :)

9:36 PM  
Blogger Kav said...

Class. He looks like he's doing De Niro's "You talkin to me?" scene.

3:10 AM  
Blogger John Mc said...

Thanks! He is a cutie, we'll keep him!

9:40 AM  
Blogger Bock the Robber said...

Everybody says the same thing about amps built with valves.

I suppose it must have something to do with the more relaxed response times of a discharge valve as opposed to the instantaneous digital thingies.

And also it must have something to do with complicated stuff we humans shouldn't know about.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Spencer said...

Mr McDermott,

I am writing to enquire about this picture.
I would like to use this on my myspace music as a background.
I like to have your authorisation...
I precise that I will hide the face of the baby and just show the bottom of the picture.

Best regards

A french student in art school,

9:08 AM  

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