Other Amps

A Sparkly Amp is a Happy Amp

1

Not sure whether it was my early affection for John Fogerty's playing and tone, the fact that the cool bands around my neck of the woods in my adolescence used them, or it's just the sparkles, but I've always loved the original Kustom amps. I know I'm not alone, because I have a friend who has been in search of a particular color Kustom head for a while now. And I think I found it here on craigslist recently. And in short, I bought it on his behalf. Still haven't had time to plug it in yet, but it'll happen today (it's not quite 8 am here and my neighbors wouldn't understand if I did it now).

Not sure what impedance cab to use, hoping that 4 or 8 ohms won't do any damage, but can't wait to hear it. Then I have to find a box to ship it in.

2

I came across a blue 200 watt PA head a couple of years ago. Price was great, but I didn't have any use for an amp with that much power. I know where a Kustom keyboard is, tho the owner won't sell it. I still see Kustoms around, but even newer amps like Sunn and Acoustic have been gone for years. Fogerty still uses his, I hear.

3

Those amps always make me think of Tijuana.

4

It's still early but I couldn't wait any longer. I plugged it into a closed-back 1x15 with an 8 ohm Eminence Big Ben in it, plugged a coiled cord (it seemed appropriate) between my Reverend AirSonic and the "High" jack on the amp, and flipped the power switch in one of its two possible directions. Had the bass and treble at noon, volume all the way down, tremolo intensity all the way down, and reverb at about 8 o'clock. Turned up the volume enough to hear it, and it hummed like a Tele under a bad fluourescent light. Sound was pretty OK but real trebly. Well that's disappointing. Experimented with different settings, never really got a good EQ out of it, then on a whim, turned the reverb all the way down and...no more hum. Switched over to the "Low" input jack and yow! This thing sounds killer, with all the bass I would expect out of a closed-back 15. Plenty of tasty-sounding EQ options. Far out, man. Next up will be a 2x12 closed-back with a 4-ohm load. After I'm sure everyone's awake.

5

I used to run one of these in my stereo rig. Twin Reverb for the bridge PU and the Kustom for the neck PU. Sounded great. Never used any FX, they're terrible but they sold these heads with no FX as well. Mine was the plain Jane black naugahyde. I hear naugas are an endangered species\

6

A bit of trivia from BZ -- he had stated they were the best selling amp of 1970. From ;68 thru about '72 they were hugely popular, and really were more reliable than the other solid state amps of the era. The '66 and '69 Fender solid states sucked, early Ampeg also. My beloved Thomas Vox (at least the big ones) had issues... but lots of those Kustoms are still rolling along. I like the one w. the huge 3-15 cab.

7

Those amps always make me think of Tijuana.

– Powdog

Tuck and roll, baby!

8

I cranked it, it gets loud. It doesn't really need pedals to get a good sound out of it at reasonable-to-extreme levels. In fact, my pedalboard tended to neuter the EQ on the amp when I played through it. With bass and treble set at noon, it was icepick city. Straight into the amp, it sounds pretty nice. And it'll even overdrive at fairly high volumes. It's got enough usable good tone to go with its stellar looks, so it should make its new owner happy. And if he doesn't like it, he can send it back to me and I'll keep it.

9

I almost bought one that looked similar about 25 years ago. It was stencilled "CCR" on the back and the seller -- a reputable local shop owner -- said he'd gotten it from a reliable Bay Area source. He wanted $250 for it but I thought it too much for something that didn't work. It's rough being a penthouse pauper.

10

I bet the new owner hopes it matches his 2-15 cab, and will work as well as a Bandmaster head for bass at Roundups...

11

Hey, maybe I'll try it through a bass cab. I found a box I can use to ship it.

12

Yup, it does sound pretty good through a bass cab. Even better through two of them. In this case, they're 2 Aguilar SL112s.

Here's an audio recording of it: Kustom Bass Amp Demo

The first segment is just one cab, then I plugged in the second one for the rest. I don't know why the last segment got so much louder in the recording, I didn't change any settings, the iPhone just decided to kick it up a notch. The rattles you hear in the background are the snares on the snare drum in the room, which just wouldn't cooperate today.

13

Those amps always make me think of Tijuana.

– Powdog

that kinda sounds like a racial slant, why does a sparkle Kustom remind you of mexico?

16

When I was growing up in Southern California, there were upholsterers in Tijuana who would always do (great) work for a better price than you would pay to a Southern California shop, so a lot of people that I knew would take their cars down there to be reupholstered. A tuck and roll job, like on the Kustom amps, was a job that those Tijuana shops specialized in and which was quite popular in the day. No racial slant by Powdog; it would easily remind him of those car upholstery shops.

17

The amp sounds as good as it looks, Frank. I’m sure your buddy will appreciate this. You’re a stand up guy.

18

That reminds me of a movie I saw once. I can't remember the movie but I'm sure someone will chime in. A kid was getting his seats done up like that in Tijuana and they kept telling him that they do cheap work because they fill the seats with cow dung. They went on some adventure down there while the job was being done. Man, what movie was that? It's killing me.

19

Sounds like something from Repo Man, but that's a guess. There was also a great dumb movie about the cross-border maybe-not-strictly-legal used car business called Used Cars.

Woulda fit in either of those.

20

When I was growing up in Southern California, there were upholsterers in Tijuana who would always do (great) work for a better price than you would pay to a Southern California shop, so a lot of people that I knew would take their cars down there to be reupholstered. A tuck and roll job, like on the Kustom amps, was a job that those Tijuana shops specialized in and which was quite popular in the day. No racial slant by Powdog; it would easily remind him of those car upholstery shops.

– Ric12string

ya that is something no one younger would even have a clue about so it sounds like a slam.

21

That reminds me of a movie I saw once. I can't remember the movie but I'm sure someone will chime in. A kid was getting his seats done up like that in Tijuana and they kept telling him that they do cheap work because they fill the seats with cow dung. They went on some adventure down there while the job was being done. Man, what movie was that? It's killing me.

– Suprdave

Losing It.

Circa 1983. and the line was, "They stuff your seats with horse sh*t."

22

Younger than what?

Looks like Tijuauna upholstery shops are still a thing: https://www.yelp.com/search...

And golly gee, if we couldn't figure out on what basis it was a slam...where would the slam reside?

23

Is it de rigeur to play a sparkly guitar through a sparkly amp? Or do the sparkles cancel each other out?

24

You can even make a "Sparkly" amp cover with the stuff.

25

You’re a stand up guy. -- Powdog

No, a stand-up guy would've spent the spare hour he had packing this amp so he could ship it to his friend tomorrow. But instead, I spent it putting a strip of LED lights under the hood of my van, in case I ever have to look under the hood at night. Which I hope I never do.

So it looks like it'll go out Thursday instead.


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