By Bob Pletka 08/09/11
first met Jack Anderson at the Portland Oregon Rose City Guitar show in 2002.
Being a vender with my own booth for Eurotubes at the show didnít give me much
time to do more than spend a few minutes listening to his amps, but I was
impressed to say the least. Guitar shows are noisy affairs and hardly an ideal
environment for critical listening.
My booth at the show was across the room and up about fifty feet from the Anderson Amp booth, but even with the rapid fire assault coming from dozens of guitar amps emanating throughout the room, I could always tell when one of the Anderson Amps was being test driven.
That sound which is lush, warm and extremely pure, stuck in my head. The drive channel sounds were rich and smooth, and I thought that one day I would get serious about owning one. The 2004 Rose City guitar show came and went, and once again I got to know Jack a little better and the sounds I remembered were again lived up to and surpassed.
At the 2005 show I pulled the trigger on ordering a 20/45 Anderson which I will own and play for the rest of my life. Jack custom builds every amp with nothing but the player in mind. He worries every component into place, meticulously dresses every wire, and in the end builds you a piece of art where the build quality is only surpassed by its sound. Jack usually has a waiting list of several months up to a year, but itís SO worth the wait! His prices are unbelievably low when compared to most hand built amps, and you would never meet a nicer guy.
As the photos in the ďAnderson AmpsĒ album show, Jackís amps are contagious to say the least. The following are short write ups on each of the Anderson Amps owned by the Eurotubes crew. The Green Anderson shown by itself on the Trutone cab is an ď18/20/30Ē model and uses a pair of EL84ís and a pair of 6V6ís. It belongs to a longtime customer of ours Kris Siewell.
Eddieís Anderson Amps:
HmmmÖ.Whatís better than having an Anderson Amp? Having two Anderson Amps! Weíre all still cave men at heart right? At any rate, in the pics youíll see a red setup and a purple setup. The red rig came first and you can read all about it right here: http://www.eurotubes.com/euro-AA.htm This is still my go to setup and possibly the one thing I own that Iíd risk my life in a fire saving.
During a visit to Jacks place a couple years back I had the opportunity to play an 18 watt head he had just finished along with a matching stand-alone reverb unit. There arenít very many low wattage amps out there I really dig but this setup was just a blast. After a couple of years passed I found myself craving ďthatĒ tone. So I decided to scratch the itch and get back on Jacks waitlist. Iíve always had a thing for purple so this setup was done up in classic purple tolex with a matching vertical 2X12 cab. The head features a full EQ section with switchable volume controls and bias vary tremolo. The 2X12 cab is loaded with one 75 watt alnico Silver Bell and one 75 watt alnico Blue Dog. Unlike most 18 watt builds, Jackís is not cathode biased. Itís fully adjustable and uses a GZ34 rectifier. This makes for a very potent setup with lots of headroom (relatively speaking) and a more aggressive overdriven tone. Lately Iíve been using a JJ 5Y3 along with a pair of the new EL844ís. This creates a very noticeable drop in output and headroom. This combination makes for the perfect bedroom/practice setup!
Model 100-2R, otherwise known as the Brit-Boost Machine, Jayís band calls it ĎMoby Dickí- i.e. the White Whale. This amp was conceived as 100-watts, two channels with reverb, and switchable gain boosts for each channel. After a few minor modifications, the gain boost was hardwired into the drive channel, while the clean channel evolved into two sets of volume controls: A single for sparkling clean power, plus a pre and master volume setup for dialing in some chime and classic crunch.
Lots of bells and whistles here: Global volume boost, channel switching, reverb, and two serial effects loops: one at the input, one post-preamp. All of these added functions are switchable, hence the myriad of LEDís on the front panel, which the guys refer to as the ĎStarship Enterpriseí. This versatile amp really sings with any of the JJ octal power tubes, but the hands-down favorites are the KT77 and KT66 for their British flavor and midrange complexity.
The oversized 2x12 cabinet is loaded with Weber 75-watt ceramics, a Blue Dog and Silver Bell, wired for 16 ohms. The icing on the cake is of course the white tolex, which is in honor of the late, great Randy Rhoads. More details to follow in a full length review soon, meanwhile feel free to drop Jay an email at Eurotubes@cnnw.net if you would like additional info.
When I first started working for Eurotubes one of the first things I noticed were all of the killer amps in the studio. There are vintage Fenders, SUNNs, a Marshall Silver JubileeÖheck, there is even an old Vox AC50! The next thing I noticed was that even though all of these awesome amps were available to play, the amps that got the most play time and attention were the Anderson amps that both Bob and Eddie own.
So after getting to hear and play both amps I knew that someday I had to have one! I contacted Jack Anderson to get on the waiting list. I decided to get the 18/20/45 model. Jack builds amps tailored to the player so we discussed the tones I was after. They are completely hand wired and carefully built with lots of care and attention to detail. On top of that, Jack is a really nice guy and is great to work with.
I think of my 18/20/45 as the ďSwiss Army KnifeĒ of guitar amplifiers. Itís fixed adjustable bias and can run a pair of EL84ís (18 watts), a pair of 6V6ís (20 watts) or a pair of any octal power tube (45 watts). It is tube rectified so depending on what power tubes Iím running it can use a 5Y3, 5U4GB or GZ34. It has a tube driven effects loop, tube driven reverb and bias vary tremolo.
Since you can use so many different power tubes the tone and dynamics of the amp really change. So far Iíve run EL84ís, EL844ís, 6V6ís, 6L6ís, EL34ís, E34Lís, KT77ís and KT66ís. Iím looking forward to running 6550ís, KT88ís and 6CA7ís in the future. So far my favorite combination has got to be 6V6ís along with a 5Y3.
I get a chance to play a lot of cool amps but to me the Anderson reigns supreme. Its tonal depth and the way it responds to your playing dynamics never fail to amaze me.
I went for Jackís 20/45 model which can accommodate 6V6ís, 6L6ís, EL34ís, E34Lís, KT77ís, KT66ís, 6550ís and KT88ís. NICE! The best part about getting an Anderson Amp made is that you can almost have anything you dream of. I went with the two channel setup with a foot switchable tube boost, tube tremolo and tube driven reverb. In my opinion this is as good as reverb gets!
Itís dressed in Burgundy tolex and basket weave grill, and the cab is loaded with one Weber Alnico Silver Bell and one Weber Alnico Blue Dog. I have run every tube listed above in the amp but I have to say the JJ KT66ís have found a permanent home in the amp. I use a long plate gold pin JJ ECC803S in V1 and a couple more gold pin short plate ECC83Sís for the drive and boost. There are a total of eight preamp tubes in the amp and its tube rectified with a GZ34.