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Harp Amps

The gallery below is my collection of harp amps. It's a combination of some great custom harp amps and old tube amps that I've bought off of eBay and refurbished. You can either scroll down the page or click on the amp name below to jump right to the pictures and description of the amp.


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HarpGear Double Trouble  
HarpGear HarpGear

This is the HarpGear Double Trouble amp. This is a GREAT amp for small and medium venues. It also works well for large venues too if you put the signal through the PA as long as the stage volume isn't overwhelmed by the guitar amps and drums. I really like the tone of this amp and use it for small venues and jams. It's about 18 watts but it's a loud 18 watts with great punch that can really cut through. It's light and pretty compact (15"W x 18"H). It's powered by a 12AY7 preamp tube and two 6V6GT power tubes. The speakers are two Weber 8" AlNiCo speakers. It's pretty simple to use - just volume and tone knobs. The tone knob gives you a pretty good range of tones. The 8" speakers limit the bottom end a little bit, but I've had great results using a the "bass boost" provided by a Lone Wolf Harp Break pedal. It has 1/4" line out after the output transformer. The first time I tried this with a loud band, I just gave the tone a little more treble and it cut right through and I could hear myself just fine. I've been using this amp a lot recently and I REALLY LIKE THIS AMP. Brian Purdy of HarpGear is great to work with and answered all my questions. This is my go to amp for small and medium venues where space is really tight and the stage volume isn't too loud.[Back to Top]


Mission Chicago 32-20  
Mission Chicago 32-20 Mission Chicago 32-20

This amp is made by Bruce Collins of Mission Harp Amps. I had it for about a year before I really got into it and started gigging with it. It took a while for the speaker to break in and to figure out the best way to dial in the sound I wanted. It's in the range of 35 watts with a 1x12" speaker configuration. Now, I find it a great middle ground between the great warm tone of the smaller amps (which aren't loud enough to hear yourself with some bands) and the big sound of the larger amps (which are really heavy and physically too big for some venues). I really like the sound with my favorite crystal mic (with a pretty hot MC-151 element). It works well with the mics with controlled magnetic elements too, it's just got a little "edge" to it with the crystal mic. It has a "Deep" switch that they say is a proprietary feature. I don't know how it works but it does give a fatter bottom end. It also has a "Boost" switch that seems to give it a little more top end and distortion that I keep on all the time. (It's inside the amp cabinet and wasn't covered in the sparse manual that came with the amp, so it took a while before I stumbled upon it and figured out what it did). It's about the same size as a Fender Blues Jr and also has a 1/4"line out with a volume control (so you don't have to be slave to the sound man any longer). Anyway, I'm really liking this amp now and find it a great combination of portability, tone and volume. This is becoming my go to amp for just about any indoor gig. [Back to Top]


Meteor Harp Amp  
Meteor Amp Meteor Amp

I bought the Meteor from Scott Berbarian of Meteor Amps in 2006. I use it for outdoor gigs, large venues, or when I need LOTS of volume on stage, you know, when guitar players are cranked to bleeding ear volume. You can dial in whatever tone you're looking for and it is LOUD. You can crank it up without changing your tone and it's really resistant to feedback. It's a 50 watt harp monster with two 10" speakers and one 12". I prefer my CR element mic with this amp. Seems to work best for me in getting the sound I want and controlling feedback (your mileage may vary). Scott is great to work with too -- he called me before I bought the amp to talk about what I was looking for and describe the features of the amp; and he called me after it was delivered to make sure I was happy with and to see if I had any questions. This amp is used by a number of today's big name harp players, including my personal favorite among contempory harp player, Kim Wilson. This is an outstanding big amp for harp and I use it quite often. This is my go to amp for outdoor gigs and very large venues. [Back to Top]


Mini-Meteor Harp Amp  
Mini-Meteor Mini-Meteor

This beauty also comes from Scott Berbarian of Meteor Amps. It's the little brother to the Meteor Harp Amp below. The Mini-Meteor is configured with 2x8" and 1x10" speakers. It's setup so that you can switch the power tubes - it's 20 watt amp with 6V6's and a 30 watt amp with 6L6's. It's about 21" tall and weighs in about 40 lbs. Just like it's big brother, you can easily dial in the tone you want. I think the sound of the Mini is a little nastier with a little more distortion than the standard Meteor. It also has a line out and you can get it in just about any color you want. The 2x8" and 1x10" seems to be just the right speaker combination -- it can really cut through but has plenty of bottom end as well. It's another great combination of size and power and sounds great at all volumes. [Back to Top]


Sonny Jr. 4x10  
Sonny Jr. Sonny Jr.

I bought the Sonny Jr. 4x10 from Gary Onofrio a.k.a. Sonny Jr. of Sonny Jr. Harp Amps in early 2007. I'd heard great things about Sonny's amps for years and they are also used by a number of pro harpers, like Sugar Ray Norcia and Mitch Kashmar. It looks like a Fender Bassman and based on the high powered tweed amps of the 50's, but Sonny's improvements and modifications make this a harp amp through and through. It's rated at 40 watts. Sonny covers a lot of the technical details about the amp on his web site. This amp has tons of flexibility in how you set it up, depending what you're looking for. Sonny includes a few alternate preamp tubes and some backup components as well. It also comes with a great manual to help you out. This amp may not distort as much as the Meteor but this thing just drips with TONE. Gary was great to work with, available to answer any questions and help you set the amp up the way you want it. I prefer crystal element mics with this amp. The Sonny Jr. has a mod to Channel 2 specifically for crystal element mics and I like the sound I get by bridging Channels 1 & 2.[Back to Top]

Kalamazoo Model 2 - "Python"  
Python Python

This is the first customization I did myself. This is a vintage Kalamazoo Model 2 amp I bought on eBay. The speaker wasn't in great shape, so I replaced it with a 10" Weber Signature Series AlNiCo speaker. I did a little research on the Internet and found David McClain's (aka Casey4s) great tutorial for applying tolex. A little snakeskin tolex, black grill cloth and red chicken head knobs (it should be a law that all amps use chicken head knobs) and here it is. I also added a new leather handle. Electronically, I replaced the power filter capacitors to eliminate the hum and changed out the 2 conductor power cord for a modern 3 conductor grounded power cord (no amp is worth getting electrocuted over). Miles O'Neal's Kalamazoo Field Guide was an excellent resource -- anyone with a Kalamazoo amp needs to check this out. This amp sounds great for harp!! I can crank it all the up with no feedback, get real nice distortion and a nice fat sound. It needs to be mic'd for a gig, but as long as your band keeps its stage volume reasonable (which I reaslize can be a rare occurence for some bands), it works great. I've gigged with it a number of times and it's been excellent. I've also recorded with it quite successfully as well. [Back to Top]


Kalamazoo Model 2 - "Alligator"  
Alligator Alligator

This is the other configuration of the Kalamazoo Model 2 amp. In keeping with the reptile theme, I covered this with alligator tolex and (of course) added chicken head knobs. I did all the other mods as I did with other Model 2 except that I kept the original speaker. It has a slightly more distorted sound the the other Model 2 and gives the sound a little nastier edge. I've gigged with this in small venues and recorded with it as well with great results. [Back to Top]


Kalamazoo Model 1 - "SwampTone"  
SwampTone SwampTone

This is the next in the line of reptilian Kalamazoo amps. It started life as a Kalamazoo Model 1. I added the 3-prong power chord and replaced the filter caps. I kept the original 10" speaker. The cover is a green reptilian vinyl. This one has a custom faceplate with the "SwampTone" name on it, the Spinal Tap volume control and yellow chicken heads. The first instrument jack is slightly hotter than the second, so I can get a lot of flexibility in the sound by switching inputs and switching mics between Controlled Magnetic elements and Astatic 151 Crystal elements. With the CM in the first input, it can get suprisingly loud. [Back to Top]


Kalamazoo Reverb 12 - "Red Gator"  
Red Gator Red Gator

Well, this one completes my "Reptile Series" of Kalamazoo amps. I covered this one in Red Alligator, added a new leather handle, and added some non-standard (i.e., non-chicken head) brass knobs for an extra touch of class. You can't see it in the pictures, but the grille is covered with a -- dare I say it -- a very sensual black mesh fabric. As Borat would say, "Very nice!" I also did all the usual electrical things (3-prong chord, power filter caps). I kept the original 12" speaker. Both the reverb and the tremelo work. It has a pretty nice distorted sound but perhaps not as loud as you might expect though I'm going to test out with some new power tubes. And damn, it looks good! [Back to Top]


Harmony H410A - "Mojo Mama"  
Mojo Mama Mojo Mama

This is another great small amp for harp. It's a Harmony Model 410A from sometime in the 1960's. It's about the same power at the Kalamazoo Model 2's but seems have a 'fatter' distortion and I can use the tone knob to dial in just the right 'nastiness', depending on the situation. I did the typical replacements for the power cord and filter caps. I replaced the speaker with the speaker from the Rocket 88 below. I recovered it with some red garnet tolex that had a nice burnt effect to it. This time, I tried my hand at designing a new faceplate, which I had manufactured at BNP Lasers who do a fantastic job and are great to work with. Note the volume goes to 11 for all you Spinal Tap fans. The tone knob was labelled to accomodate the desired mood. Chicken head knobs were a given. It was renamed to the 'Mojo Mama,' and with a name like that, the grill cloth just had to be made from the same material as actual fishnet hosiery but it's a slightly different pattern than the mesh on the Kalamazoo Reverb 12 just above (and don't ask me how I know where to buy so many different styles of fishnet fabric). I use this amp quite often when playing with the Smokehouse Ramblers. [Back to Top]


Harmony H410A - "HarmoniKat"  
HarmoniKat HarmoniKat

This is the second Harmony H410A, which I completed in 2007. I wanted to try my hand at a feline them, so I covered this in a faux leopard fabric. Given the feline theme and the great tone the Harmonys have for harp, the name "HarmoniKat" just seemed obvious. I put my HarmoniKat logo on the faceplate and once again marked the Tone knob to match the feel you were looking for. I think this is the first amp I'll have to vacuum. This one worked out pretty well, so I see more faux fur in the future!! [Back to Top]
*** Note : no animals -- wild, domestic or faux -- were harmed in the making of this amp ***


Fender Blues Jr. - Tweed  
Blues Jr Tweed Blues Jr Tweed

This is my first harp amp, a Fender Blues Junior. I bought this in the mid-90's and used it exclusively for quite a few years. It was originally covered in black tolex, but a number years ago, I had it recovered in tweed by Gregg Hopkins at Vintage-Amp Restoration in St. Louis. He did a fantastic job giving the amp that classic Fender tweed look. The only other mods I made are the typical preamp tube swap that harp players typically make on these types of amps. It still has the original 12" speaker. I still use the amp occasionally, mainly when there's not much room on stage but the amp needs to be LOUD. In those cases I'll use a Kinder Anti-Feedback box and I can crank it up pretty loud before the tone starts to suffer too much (the Kinder AFB works well, but it has its limits). [Back to Top]


Fender Blues Jr. - Walnut  
Blues Jr Walnut Blues Jr Walnut

This is my second customization. I found a good deal on a Blues Junior on eBay and then sent it to Bill Boekhoff at Sultone Amp Cabinets. Bill did a beautiful job creating a custom walnut cabinet to accomodate four 8" speakers. I installed four Weber Signature Series 8" speakers. Three speakers have AlNiCo magnets. I had to make the fourth one a ceramic magnet to fit in front of the power transformer. The 'DeVille' logo on the front is actual chrome trim for a Cadillac Coupe DeVille that I found on eBay. I also did the preamp tube swap thing. It has a nice sound which varies slightly from the standard Blues Junior with a 12" speaker, but it's certainly heavier. It's almost too nice to gig with (I stopped gigging with it when a mic stand fell over and put a slight scratch in the side). Our guitar player, the Professor, uses it when we rehearse (but I make sure he uses a coaster when he sits his beer on it). He says it has nice tone for a guitar. [Back to Top]


Webster Chicago 66-1 Portable Amp  
Webster Chicago Webster Chicago

I really like this little guy -- it's a Webster Chicago Model 66-1 Portable Amp, built in the 1940's. Webster Chicago was primarily known for making wire recorders back in the '40s and '50s. When I got it, the covering was pretty ratty, so I recovered in an elegant two-tone suede look with gold piping. I actually works! I didn't do much to the electronics other than add the 3-prong power chord and I installed 1/4" jack to replace the permanent mic chord. It has only a slight hum, so I didn't think it was worth messing with the 60 year old wiring to replace the power filter caps. I kept the original 8" speaker. It's not very loud, but has a pretty nice tone that's pretty typical of small vintage tube amps. [Back to Top]


Gibson GA-5 Crestline - "Rocket 88"  
Rocket 88 Rocket 88

This was a restoration project that I had a little fun with. This amp started life as a Gibson GA-5 Crestline Skylark amp. I switched out the 10" speaker and replaced it with two 8" Weber Signature speakers, one AlNiCo and one ceramic. With a little help from 'Rooster', one of our guitarists (he's an electrical engineer from RPI), I added a Champ-style tone control. The twin 8" speakers inspired the new name, the "Rocket 88." I designed another custom face plate with the Rocket 88 logo from the car that inspired Ike Turner's classic tune. Since it was a rocket, it needed a safety switch to turn it on and off. The volume, of course, goes to 11 again and the tone control...well...just look at the picture. This was a fun project, but in the end, the sound was still a little bright for my taste, even with the tone control. [Back to Top]


Sears 5XL - "Champinator 5XL"  

Sears released a couple of amps back in the '60's under it's own brand instead of the Silvertone brand. They were the Sears 5XL and the Sears 10XL. Here is the 'upgraded' 5XL. This amp has very nice tone, but it was an electrocution waiting to happen. It had the typical 2 conductor power cord; it was one of the 'transformer-less' amps, so there was no power isolation; there was no fuse; and there was no pilot light to let you know if it was on or off. So, in addition to the new tolex, grill cloth, handle, and knobs (of course), I added a new face plate and renamed it the 'Champinator 5XL' (because who needs to spend big $$ on a Champ when you can get great tone out of an amp like this?). Electronically, I added a fuse holder, a pilot light, a grounded 3 conductor power chord, and (with Rooster's guidance) an isolation transformer. Now it's no longer an electrocution or fire hazard and still has great tone. The only problem is that the isolation transformer has introduced a noticeable 60 cycle hum. Rooster has given me a few things to try in order to eliminate the hum, but I'm still working on it. [Back to Top]


Sears 10XL - "Champinator 10XL"  
10XL 10XL

This is the second in the Champinator series, the Champinator 10XL (formerly a Sears 10XL). I did the usual power cord thing and added a fuse holder (originally, the fuse was soldered inside the chassis!). This is a more typical single-ended amp, so it already had the power transformer. What was unusual about this amp is that one of the former owners had spray painted it Battleship Gray, right over the tolex and grill cloth. Then, it must have been stored in a barn for years because, in addition to the water stains, it had hay and a bee's nest inside of it. Finally, someone must have stepped on it because the top piece of the cabinet was broken in two and I had to make a new piece to replace. All that said, this little guy cleaned up real nice and sounds great. Since I already had a bunch of other small amps (and it too looks too good to sit around), I sold it on eBay in December 2006 to a nice fellow in New York. [Back to Top]



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