The Truth About Vintage Amps, Ep. 118 (Special Guest: Ben Harper)

This week, we’re joined by the one-and-only Ben Harper, who has a couple of questions for Skip right before his Lyon, France concert. Ben regales us with tales of a rare Weissenborn spotted on a Disneyland ride, Dumbles, and pre-show skateboarding (which Skip is a little worried about). He also spills the beans on his new touring amp of choice…a Two-Rock.

Before Ben joins us, we’ve got our usual assortment of listener-submitted questions on tremolo and speaker impendence, amp tech Larry Chung references, and a tamale suggestion.

Want to be a part of the show? Keep the amp questions for Skip coming to podcast@fretboardjournal.com! Voice memos or emails are welcome.

Don’t forget we now have a Patreon if you’d like to support the show.

Some of the topics discussed in this episode: 

:34 Special thanks to Shure for that MV7 that Skip uses; the Fretboard Summit (August 24-26 in Chicago; www.fretboardsummit.org)

1:51 PSA: Skip is retired through September

2:23 A forthcoming Danelectro documentary, early Nat Daniel-built Epiphone Model M amps

15:32 This week’s sponsors: Emerald City GuitarsStringjoy Strings (use the code FRETBOARD to save 10% off your first string order), Amplified Parts, and Grez Guitars.

19:05 Peter Jensen’s Magnavox 12″ speakers

20:54 Don Pepino canned tomato sauce (thanks, Rob), Remington Model 5 typewriters

22:27 A 1964 Fender Vibrolux Reverb with a replaced power transformer…but not really; Skip gets a visit from Larry Chung

29:46 The dangers of playing a bass through a small guitar amp; Versatone amps; Los Hernandez tamales in Union Gap, Washington (https://www.loshernandeztamales.com); Bruce Harvie & the Sound Flea’s ‘Overhead at Darrington’ (Bandcamp link)

38:47 A humming Ampeg GS-12 Reverberocket: Was the speaker affecting the reverb spring?

43:26 Changing the tremolo depth on an Ampeg Jet

46:12 Skip’s favorite trem circuit; a Massie that modulates the guitar signal; Chris Vincent  (https://www.instagram.com/djlavalamp/)

51:03 Tube amp kits (Mod 102 and Mod 102+ from AmplifiedParts.com https://www.amplifiedparts.com/products/amp-kit-mod-electronics-mod102-guitar-amp ); grilled asparagus; the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast

59:54 The rising cost of everything

1:02:17 Speaker impedance for a Gibson Falcon GR-19RVT Crestline

1:02:53 What to do with the reverb on a Silvertone 1484; JHD Audio Ice Cubes

1:06:09 Special guest: Ben Harper! Forestry; a vintage Weissenborn spotted on Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride; Ben’s new Two-Rock Bloomfield Drive (link); Marcus Eaton; Jimmy Page seeing David Lindley’s Kaleidoscope; Liuteria Guarnieri guitars (https://www.liuteriaguarnieri.com/en/acoustic-guitars/); Dumbles are like Basquiats; skateboarding before a concert; kicking Princeton Reverbs; tech Bill Webb; and vintage Gibson amps

Recorded July 19, 2023.

Hosted by amp tech Skip Simmons and co-hosted/produced by Jason Verlinde of the Fretboard Journal.

Support us on Patreon.com for added content and the occasional surprise and don’t forget to get a subscription to the Fretboard Journal (link). Digital subscriptions start at just $30. Ben has a huge feature in our 53rd issue!

If you want to see all the topics we’ve covered since our first episode in one extremely long web page (great for searching), just click here.

Above: One of Ben’s Dumble Overdrive Specials. Photo: Doug Van Doren / Fretboard Journal