Me and Famous 1940's Rocker "C.B. Blaha"
A Few Pictures of the Old Shops
I started Jabco Amp Modification in 1978
after returning from a USA - Canadian Tour as
Guitar Tech with The Rod Stewart
During the late 1970's and 80's, I worked as a
guitar and electronics tech for touring professional groups traveling all over
the USA - Canada - Australia and New Zealand.
From 1978 up until 1987... I would split my
time working on the road for months at a time, and then concentrating on amp
designs and mods when I returned back to Hollywood. Most of my custom work
came from local ads or word of mouth. Usually the answering machine
would be full-up when I got back off the road. People whose friends had
my mods...who also wanted their
amps and pedals done.
A pretty cool mod that I started doing in
1977... was for Cry-Baby Wah-Wah Pedals.
It boosted the output of the pedal and gave it a much fuller, fatter tone. At
the time it was very popular and is still used by Prince - Michael Schenker -
Guns & Roses - Zakk Wylde - Billy Duffy - Jesse Johnson - Dee Dee James
In the late 1970's... I also had DIY
Modification Kits that were pre-assembled with photo instructions. If you
browse through the ads in back issues of Guitar Player Magazine from 1978 and
1979 you will see examples of a dozen different Modification Kits that I
offered for Cry-Baby Wahs as well as Fender and Marshall Amps. This was years
before Torres, Lee Jackson, Soldano...and others started offering mods &
kits. My original kits are no longer available.
In those days... the Mesa Boogie MK 1
was the ultimate amp rig to have. But, unfortunately, it was also
outside the budget of most of the local guitar players. With the release of
Van Halen's first album, there also became a demand for the new Marshall
My Fender Mods were basically Mk I Boogies with
a few new options. The Marshall Mods were also very high gain-sustain ...what
you would expect a Marshall amp to really sound like. So...between 1978
and 1997 I must have modified a thousand Marshall and Fender amps for players
in the L.A. area.
By the summer of 1987...
I had enough of touring and opened my first little shop "Jabco Amp
Repair & Modifications"
It was located in a small building
off of Sunset Blvd that was also occupied by Max Guitars (legendary Hollywood
Custom Guitar builder). At the time, the Hollywood Music Scene was at
it's peak. A half dozen local bands lived and rehearsed in the garages
behind the shop. A couple finally got signed...Guns & Roses...Little
Ceaser...and others. The Sunset Strip club scene was at an all time
peak...jam packed every Friday and Saturday night.
In late 1989...
I moved the shop to a larger building next door and re-opened as "Amp
Crazy" ...a retail store specializing in Vintage Tube Amps and
Vintage Pedal Effects, as well as our usual repair and modification services.
The shop was located on Guitar Row off of Sunset Blvd in Hollywood along with
18 other New and Vintage Music Dealers. Our shop always managed to have
a huge inventory of Vintage Fender - Marshall - Orange - Hiwatt - Vox -Ampeg -
Gibson - Mesa -MXR - Electro-Harmonix - Fuzzes & Special EFX ...and all
the other cool equipment from the late 1960's and early 70's.
We were dealers for new Hiwatt..Laney..Bedrock...and the first to offer Sovtek
Tubes, Pedals & Amplifiers.
By the mid 90's... we
included a small number of new and vintage guitars. We still offered Complete Service
and Repair for musical electronic equipment...both tube and solid-state,
specializing in Vintage Amps. We were also a Authorized Service Center for
Marshall and Mesa Boogie as well as continuing to do all of our custom Tweaks and Mods.
By 1997... the L.A. Music
Scene had slowed to a crawl. The Roar of the Sunset Strip had become a
Whimper. Major record deals for L.A. bands were almost unheard of.
Touring of Major Rock & Roll Groups was at an all-time low. It
seemed that everyone just went out and bought a "Mac & Pro
to their living rooms.
So...in 1997... I decided
to close the Amp Crazy retail shop, and to get back to custom amp design and
modifications tailored to the individual player.
past few years... have brought back an interest in some of the more
classic tube sounds from the 1960's and 70's...as evidenced by the growing
number of Boutique Amps on the market.
Many of these amplifiers are "based on" and "closely copying"
some of the earlier circuits from Fender, Vox and
With the prices for these custom amps soaring...many people have opted,
instead, to have their existing amps customized to include some of these newer
boutique sounds and features.
There has also been quite a bit of interest in duplicating some of the
Marshall modifications that were very popular during the 1970's and 80's.
Lately... I have had quite a few requests to build many of these custom
circuits, with additional options and features added along the way...
And then...there is the usual backlog of typical repairs.