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Author Archives: Zac Childs

The Budda Twinmaster

Return of a Boutique Legend

In the early days of boutique-amp building, there were but a few contenders on the scene. One of the strongest amplifiers in those days was made by Budda. First released in 1995, the company’s Twinmaster presented 18 watts of raw tone that made it a no-brainer buy for many, and it soon found its way […]

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The Victoria VIC 105

Raw And Responsive
Victoria Vic 105

Victoria VIC 105 Price: $1,495 Contact: Victoria Amp Co.; phone (630) 820-6400; In the 1990s, Mark Baier put himself on the map making quality reproductions of choice ’50s tweed-amp circuits. For the last decade, Baier has broadened his amp line with models that are not reproductions, but the product of his own fertile imagination. […]

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ValveTrain 205

Five Watts, Just So

Rick Gessner is a tweed amp enthusiast who has more than made a splash since entering the fray in 2005. His versions of tweed-era Fender classics (with subtle refinements), along with his Spring Thing reverb unit, have been making waves with players from Pat Travers to Brad Paisley. The ValveTrain 205 is Gessner’s interpretation of […]

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Victoria Regal II Amplifier

Tube-Swappin' Time

Mark Baier launched the Victoria Amplifier Company in 1993, intent on reproducing the tones and aesthetic style of the great tweed amps of the late 1950s. He began twisting these classic designs into exciting variations that still pay homage to Leo. One example of this new direction is the Regal II, a vintage-Valco-meets-Fender-inspired amp with […]

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Fender G.E. Smith Telecaster

G.E.'s Electric

G.E. Smith is a guitarist, vintage-instrument authority, and holder of several past high-profile gig including 10 years as the bandleader on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” where he proudly displayed pieces from his vintage collection while laying down nasty licks with some of the coolest tone ever parlayed. Prior to that gig, he spent six years […]

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Keith Urban

Down-Under Uber-Picker

All photos by Rusty Russell. For a guy born in New Zealand and reared in Australia, Keith Urban certainly knows how to grab the attention of Yankee music fans. The supertalented artist not only writes hit songs, gather accolades, and recently married a movie star (that’d be Nicole Kidman!), he is also a straight-up hellacious […]

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Savage Audio Macht 12x

Sweeter Mids, Smoother Twang

The Savage Audio Macht 12x Savage Audio gained a solid reputation for its repair work before moving into amplifier production in 1990. Today, the company builds a full line of studio and stage amps with a list of players that includes Mike McCreedy and Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, Beck, Peter Buck of R.E.M., and […]

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Burriss Switchmaster 2×12, DB-Special , Shadow, Boostier, Boostier, and Chaloopa

All In! Burriss Amps and Pedals

Burriss Amps and Pedals Zac Childs Burriss Switchmaster 2×12, DB-Special , Shadow, Boostier, Boostier, and Chaloopa. Guitarist and amplifier repairman Bob Burriss started building his line of amps in 1994, after building many custom/one-off amps. In ’06, he introduced the Switchmaster, DB Special, and Shadow amps. All three have a hinged lower back panel that […]

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Brad Paisley

Keep Pushing Play

Photo: Rusty Russell. Ten years into what has become a stellar career, when Brad Paisley hits your town to play a show these days, it’s with nine semi tractor-trailer rigs and a fleet of buses. His five studio albums have all reached multi-platinum status and he has volleyed 12 songs into the #1 position on […]

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Brent Rowan

Nashville Trail Blazer

Photo: Rusty Russell Brent Rowan is a 29-year veteran of the recording industry who has worked with legendary country artists including George Jones, Glen Campbell, Chet Atkins, and George Strait, as well as current country superstars like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and Brooks & Dunn. Pretty impressive, but what you would expect from a top […]

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