We just returned from Summer NAMM in Nashville, TN. It’s always a great time hanging with my brothers in the industry! Highlight of the trip was hanging with the Wrecking Crew at Blades Custom Amplification. Billy is an uber super guy and builds a fantastic amp! These are all handwired, point to point(no pcb), made in the USA at a fraction of the cost of overseas mass produced botique amps. How can you not support that?!? Billy has a clear winner here! If you’re looking for the “EVH brown sound”, Jose modded Marshall Plexi type of amp, you definitely need to check out the Blades Firebolt and Venom. I’m proud to endorse this American Made company! See a quick demo video I shot of the firebolt here.
I gave up a long time ago trying to find the one guitar, amp, or pedal that would be the “end all – be all” realizing that different gigs call for different tools. There are many great companies with great products. I choose to play the guitars & amps that resonate with me… that make it a pleasure for me to create music and do the stuff I do. With that being said, other noteworthy companies I was impressed with were Bootleg Guitars, 3rd Power, & Valvetrain.
Bootleg Guitars – Hands down, the best playing guitars at Summer NAMM! Jon Hill definitely knows what he’s doing and it shows in his master craftsmanship of these fine instruments. The attention he pays to the neck and fretboard alone elicit a playing experience second to none. These guitars were fast and effortless to play. I played many guitars at the show, but these were the clear choice in my book!
3rd Power – I appreciate that James took the time himself to show me his amps. He clearly has both a passion and a technical understanding of what he’s doing that clearly surpasses most amp builders… and he’s a great player too! I test drove the RPO100(Really Pissed Off 100watts!) & 2×12 cab. This amp had a serious range of tones, is super responsive, and has some serious chest pounding thump. The air this amp was moving felt like standing in front of a dimed full stack.
Valvetrain – If you’re a chicken pickn’ fool this is your amp. This amp has beautiful clean tones, and takes pedals well. Don’t just take my word for it. There are plenty of “A List” country players using these amps.