Hand Built and Wired Guitar Amplifier Maker Designs for Tone Obsessed Guitar Playersby PRC Agency PR
Having played guitar in many bands, Bill Landry found himself in constant search for the ultimate guitar tone. After 25 years of not quite attaining the sounds he knew were possible, he immersed himself into the quest of handwired, custom amplification, taking the matter into his own hands.
The first priority was a rock tone that would surpass what he had experienced through other amps. It would be six years into the process and countless experimentation before Landry Amps had a guitar amplifier that would capture a variety of tones that satisfied his high bar of expectation.
Handwired amplifier construction takes more time, but essential benefits are derived from this level of design, especially when coupled with other unique features. It's the combination of these along with an almost obsessive attention to detail that seems to comprise Landry's "special sauce" that has guitar players like you talking.
The first and most important benefit of hand wiring is the tone. Hand wired amps usually have a board or boards that have either eyelets or turrets, or both, for mounting the components, and actual wires connecting them. Some very simple circuits have no boards at all, and the components are soldered directly to the tube sockets and terminal strips.
This, along with the layout and spacing of the components, allows for a more dynamic signal path. Most mass produced amps have thin printed circuit boards that rely on very thin flat traces instead of wires. This difference is revealed to many guitarists when trying different tubes, especially vintage ones (both preamp and power tubes). Generally, the mass produced amp will sound basically the same with modern or vintage tubes, while the hand built amp will reveal the nuances of both the tone and feel of the vintage tubes.
Another benefit of hand wired amplifiers such as the LS100, is the ease of repairing or modifying them. With almost everything mounted on the top of the turret board, the circuit is easy to follow, the components are easy to access, and anyone working on it won't have to be concerned with the heat of an iron melting the traces or causing them to lift off the board.
A third benefit of hand built custom guitar amps is sturdy construction. All of the tube sockets are mounted directly to the chassis, not the circuit board. This eliminates the flexing and stress put on the boards of circuit board mounted tube sockets when swapping tubes.
Landry found that turret board construction was a durable way to build an amp. In this model, resistors and capacitors mounted on the turrets are held away from the board allowing heat to dissipate more easily. Ultimately, this is another aspect of design that allows for the higher quality of tone.
Turret board construction is just one aspect of a hand built amp. In addition, the combination of the layout, quality of wires, quality of components, chassis mounted hardware, etc. that are inherent in a hand build amp, all add up as an important combination of essential details that allow for a more dynamic and expressive tone machine.
After spending countless hours and dollars searching for the perfect tone, the last thing a guitar player wants to do is kill it. A poorly or cheaply designed effects loop can do just that. The effects loop in all of Landry's amp models is designed to be transparent, so when effects are turned off, it's as if it were not there, and doesn't compromise the tone.
In Landry's quest for premium guitar tone, he also found that building with a negative feedback resistor value affects the feel and response of the power amp section of the amp, including the intensity of the depth control. Having the value switchable gives the player one more option for dialing in the tone he wants.
In a world dominated by mass-produced amplifiers, lots of short cuts are typical, but Landry's brand is about standing out from the commonplace. If you are the type of guitarist that is looking for the quality of tone that made you want to play guitar in the first place, this might be your answer.
Created on Dec 16th 2019 15:00. Viewed 419 times.