The Dirty Town Amp
For the past few years we have been developing our own amplifier and have come to a stable product that is currently available for purchase. Our amp is a hand-wired turret board, 18 watts, all tube with EL84's. This is truly an amp that is easily maintained, able to be customized, and will have longevity.
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“These guys have succeeded in building more than just an amp. It's an actual instrument.”
So last week, I picked up my brand new hand wired DT18 amplifier from Dirty Town Guitar and Amps. They're located in beautiful and historic Lakewood, OH.
You may have heard me talk about these guys. It's no lie, they have gone WAY above and beyond the call of duty to help me out with anything I've needed. As long as they've been there. They are always about helping real working players get their work done.
A couple years back, Dennis D Bielinski called me up. He said they were going to start building their own line of custom amps, they had a prototype finished, and would I take it out to a few gigs and give them some feedback on it. I kept it about a year. I was hoping they'd forget about it and I could just run away with it. They didn't. Dammit.
Anyhow, Dennis told me that he wanted me to beat on it for a while, because I don't sugar coat anything, and I'd tell him if it sucked. He was right.
It didn't suck. But it did need some more work, in my never been humble opinion. Well, they did the work, they tightened up the circuit design, and it's now in production. It's also amazing.
I took my shiny new and improved DT18 out on the road with Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils. I'm knocked out. No kidding.
I'm a huge fan of Brit voiced amps. You'll never catch me playing anything with an "F" logo if it can be avoided. This is my new favorite Brit amp. It has the Vox top end sparkle and "karaaaang" that I really love. But it's got a tight low end and behaves more like an old Marshall, which I like even more. Especially in the way it compresses and gets really focused with the gain cranked.
The reverb is super reminiscent of the classic Vox designs. I never liked Fender reverb. It's overpowering. It washes everything out. This 'verb sits more behind the notes rather than on top of them, like an AC 30. Added bonus is that it's a two-knob setup, with a dwell control. So you can tame that Vox reverb tail, which was always, and is still, too long.
What I really noticed though, is that these guys have succeeded in building more than just an amp. It's an actual instrument. I did the last gig of the tour without my pedalboard. I just plugged straight in, cranked up the gain to about 2 o'clock, and used the volume knob on the guitar to clean it up or drive it. The touch dynamics of this amp are as good or better than any other boutique amp I've ever plugged into. You truly do get what you put into it. Such a relief!
It's not a high gain monster. Even at 18 watts, I think it's got the volume and tightness to play heavy music, but you'd want a pedal for serious high distortion.
That's not what it's for though, in my opinion. This amp, in my opinion, takes the best characteristics of two of my favorite Brit classics, and dumps them into one easy to manage 18 watt head.
If you want three channels, and shit tons of bells and whistles, look elsewhere. If you like Brit voicings, and you're ready for a grownup amp, call these guys.
It's no secret, they do a lot for me. But I'm not paid to use their amp, nor do I get it for free. And Dennis D. Bielinski is totally right about me. If it sucked, I'd tell you.