Other Amps

NAD - more CVA kharmic magic


Like GiffenF, I was lucky enough to head out of the NorCal Roundup with an amazing new Cave Valley Amp, built by our very own Powdog!

It's a hot rod based on the Hammond AO-44 10 watt chassis with a tweed Harvard pre-amp, running two 10" speakers, but with an added negative feedback presence control and a footswitch engaged boost, all wrapped in a faux Vox cabinet.

All I can say is "Wow!" This amp has so much gain and raw garage rock and roll nastiness - it's a welterweight that'll give a heavyweight a run for the money.

The voice is unique - it's janglier than an Fender and it's beefier than a Vox.


underside - presence control and boost pedal jack. notice how small the amp itself it. Just amazing how much volume this thing produces!


Sweet... I think the AO-44 was the 2-6BQ5 guy in the Hammond A-100 console. Crank that bad boy!


The AO-44 actually runs a pair of ECL86’s, which are triode/pentode tubes. It’s like a 6AQ5 and 1/2 of a 12AX7 in one tube. So two tubes yield a gain stage, a phase inverter and a pair of PP outputs. Just add a preamp.


That's one heck of a nice looking Gretsch. What is that? Looks like a 6120 but no horseshoe on the headstock. CC? Very cool amp too!


Journeyman, the guitar is a highly modified Aspen Green G5420. Besides the cosmetics, I wound the pickups myself, the bridge is an Embie-matic that I modified with home-brew piezo saddles, and it's got a custom stereo (magnetic/piezo) harness.

I've got a proper demo to make of the guitar which I hope to get done soon.

What I can say for now is that Powdog's amp really highlights the tonal range of the guitar - I'm hooked!


Ethan does some great quality work on his amps. 2 Knobs, thats all you need.


Very cool looking amp! Do we get a sound clip??


Mel & Powdog -- You both have talents/skills that I would LOVE to have. But I don't....

Looks/sounds like fabulous work by both of you! I'd love to hear sound clips of THAT (gorgeous) guitar through THAT (gorgeous) amp.


Will do. Hopefully in the next few weeks.


Since I don't seem to know how to leave well enough alone, I've been futzing with the amp. I figured that such a great sounding amp needed reverb and tremolo, and Surfy Industries makes great solid state three knob reverb and tremolo as DIY kits for pedals, so I decided to add these to the amp.

This involved moving to a bigger chassis as seen in the photo - the Mini 10 fills the center and right part of the chassis, and the two Surfy kits (along with a 12V power supply) are on the right. The controls are (L-R) two inputs, one going through the Surfy effects and the other dry, dwell, mix, and tone for the reverb, volume, treble, bass, and trem speed and intensity on the end.

Also, since I took the photo, I've swapped the WGS speakers for Celestion Golds, which really brings out the Vox-y character of the amp.

I made a demo video, while not using the 5420, the guitar I used has my Off Kiltertrons so you get the idea... CVA Mini 10 Twin Demo!


That's a classy chassis.


It's spaghetti wiring - the secret to great tone! ;)

Register Sign in to join the conversation