Demeter Mighty Minnie Pedalboard Amplifier
Years ago, backstage after a concert, slide-guitar virtuoso Sonny Landreth mentioned to renowned amp designer James Demeter that it would be nice to be able to do fly-in dates without having to rely on an amp backline of unknown quality or bringing along his irreplaceable Dumble, valued at more than the price of an average American home.
Demeter came up with the TGA-1-180D, a 100-watt amp with a tube preamp section that fits neatly on a pedal board. Also known as The Mighty Minnie, it features Gain, Bass, Middle, and Treble controls; a Master control with a pull boost worth 20 dB of gain; and a Standby footswitch – all in a metal case measuring just 10″x4″x6″.
With the same all-tube, hand-wired Bassman-style front end as the full-size TGA-3 Demeter began building in 1985, the Mighty Minnie’s signal is routed from the tube preamp section to a small custom-made Jensen transformer and then on to a Class D solidstate power amp with an audiophile-grade transformer. The Jensen preamp transformer, along with 35 years of experience in selecting resistors and capacitors, give the Minnie unusual warmth for an amp that is half solidstate
Rated at 100 watts into 8 ohms, this little sucker is luh-OWD! Like the tiny horn Jim Carrey used in The Mask to blow the windows out of a car, the Mighty Minnie is way more mighty than mini when connected to a 2×12 cab. There’s even a warning on the back of the unit to check your speaker ratings before plugging in.
The clean tones are round and big with a good amount of shimmer. It’s extremely easy to dial in the right amount of edge, and the overdriven sounds are virtually indistinguishable from most good amps with tube power sections. For players with amps in the 18- to 30-watt range, but who want to drop into an Eric Johnson-style clean passage, the Minnie delivers with the tap of a foot. Way more convenient than carrying around an extra Twin Reverb.
The Demeter Mighty Minnie is not just an auxiliary amp. Jazz player or clean country picker? You’re good to go. Blueser or classic rocker? Here’s a great range of mid-grind. And don’t worry about this amp affecting the sound of a favorite pedal – time-based effects like delay, chorus, and reverb come through loud and clear. And with an overdrive pedal in front of the Minnie, even shredders will be mightily pleased and ready to go toe-to-toe with anyone hauling a half-stack.
This article originally appeared in VG July 2014 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.