Customizing Guitar Amplifiers

This blog post goes out to the kids. Yeah the kids. The emo’s, screamos, dreamos, the yet to has-been-ohs, etcetera, etcetera. The beardies, the weirdies, the wannabe’s, the dripsters, the guys who wear flannel. The sloths – Emo and bearded all over – at the same time. Saweet. Yeah dig? You know what Stevie Wonder’s favourite colour is? Yes? It’s corduroy.

You probably think those dweebs in the KIA car advert can play their instruments. LMFAO. ROFLMAO. GAFL. It’s about time you listened to Live at Leeds instead of that weepy, fey, skinny, beardster tripe you got free with your spineless frappuccino at Starbux.

generic Japanese mass produced black box

Okay. When that generic Japanese mass produced black box with the blinking lights and the shitty, fisher price, robot, all-in-one, delay-chorus-flange-arpeggiator chipset thing  is starting to look as grotty, cheap, nasty, and tatty as it eventually begins to sound after you’ve pushed it up full tilt one time too many…

Emo Screamo Dreamo

What can you do?

Well you have two options if you do not have the clams | beans | moulah | dough | spondoolicks | green | dosh | cash | work ethic | will | job | to upgrade to something that actually sounds good. Sheesh, life can be tough.

Trust me, I feel your pain, I spent a few years on the other side of nowhere, chewing on thin air – when I couldn’t get my hand on a purple tolex SOLDANO, I played through a Line 6 Spider.

It stood up for a while but by the time I’d cranked it a little, it rattled like a snake with toothache and sounded like a ton of rubble in a spin dryer. Rough. Anyway, the options to those of you without the money to buy a serious guitar amplifier:

1. Destroy.

Smash it to pieces with a sledgehammer, vandalise it with paint or simply set fire to it. Hey, it was fun right up until the last minute.

2. Bastardise.

Bastardising, is the English Ruffian’s term for “customise”…So, while you are ripping your amp to pieces – give it some real personality with some cool speaker grill, speaker cloth and such.

Lick My Decals off Baby

Bastardise…it means rip off all the old crap and replace it with the kind of funky, freak-out, brightly coloured decals, switching, tolex, speaker grills and speaker cloth that you can get your hands on. Or maybe, you don’t ride a Harley or Drive a steampunk Rat Rod. Buy a fat jar of industrial strength EVO STIK and head out to your garage / toolshed.


Punk Sloth

For those of you who don’t already “like, totally live on Pabst” and Woodbines, you might also seek special D.I.Y. liquids such as Guinness, Armagnac, Lagavulin, Kronenbourg.

Make sure you have everything ready before you begin. If you are not sure where to buy these ask an irresponsible adult to help you out. Here are some links to the kind of parts you might need to customise your guitar amplifier.

Tolex Amp Covering

Not to be mistaken for a rather expensive and gaudy watch sold by Derek Trotter, Tolex is the trade name of a flexible vinyl used for covering Fender Amplifiers that has now become the generic term for guitar amplifier and guitar case coverings.

Generic Tolex is available in a huge range of colours and patterns – Fawn, Sparkle,  Silver Levant, Lime Green, Red Wine,Rough Blonde, Snakeskin, Bronco, Palomino, Bravura, Neo, Pink, Blue, Black.

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Speaker Grill and Speaker Grill Cloth

Don’t be a sloth – get some cloth.
Well, that poxy 8″ ‘bus-woofer’ made out of bamboo pulp in Mistah Kurtz sunken Namcoh shack is never going to cut it when you finally get to jam with Dan Aurbach but at least it will look half decent if you hide it’s queasy cycloptic eye with some hardcore speaker grill.

This is why Bentley, Rolls Royce and Lamborghini pay much attention to the radiator grilles, ventilation and other discontinuous, colloidal membranes on their supercars. Yes, it’s because it looks fucking cool.
You know what to do.

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If you really want to look classy, and crazy, take the Flash Gordon route to switchgear – break out the old school rheostatic potentiometers and emblazon your box with as much huge, hard-core 1950’s decalcomaniac dialling you can find. Don’t do it to your guitar and add a mirrored scratchplate, you will look like a whore.

Look for “knobs” in pro audio equipment on Ebay  – the thing here, isn’t working. Sorry.