Amps: The Other Half of Rock 'N' Roll Review

Amps: The Other Half of Rock 'N' Roll
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Amps: The Other Half of Rock 'N' Roll ReviewAs the title of this book implies, it is about the role of guitar amplifiers in creating the unique signature sounds that many people instantly associate with various bands and guitarists they've heard over the years. While many musicians and the public tend to focus on the guitar itself in providing a unique sound, amps easily account for half or more of the sound quality and tonality of a performance. This book includes a good technical description of how guitar amps work, what makes them different from other types of amplifiers, and a worthwhile discussion of vintage tube amp tone versus the reissue models now being marketed by various manufacturers. It also has a useful troubleshooting section for dealing with various symptoms of an ailing amp. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is on the human nature side, providing excellent thumbnail sketches of the various companies and personalities that were involved in pioneering amplifier innovations, such as Jim Marshall and the legendary Leo Fender. The book also deals with the histories and/or products of other companies (including Vox, Ampeg, MESA/Boogie, Roland, Gibson and others), and has lots of photographs and reproductions of old advertising fliers. My only complaint about the book is that it misses the opportunity to give at least a little bit of technical specifications for the amps that are discussed and pictured. As just one example, on page 21 there is a photograph of a Fender Tweed Deluxe that was taken in Tuscon with the caption: "This cinder-block wall art surrounding Tucson's biggest meat packing plant seemed like the logical place to shoot this amp. Musta been the heat." The effort at humor aside, a more useful caption might have been, "This model Tweed Deluxe was manufactured by Fender between 1954 and 1961 and boasted a single 12" Jensen and 15 watts of power." It would have been a mistake for Fliegler to try to provide extensive technical specs on the numerous amps that are pictured throughout the book, but a little more detail in the captions would have been appreciated. I wouldn't want this one narrow criticism to overshadow the value of this entertaining and useful book, which will be of interest to players and collectors alike. The best thing you can say about a book is that it will change the way you think -- and that is exactly what this book will do for the performing guitarist who has underestimated the impact of guitar amplification in providing a unique and personalized sound. As a well known working guitarist and someone who also worked for Marshall, Fliegler has the credentials and experience needed to speak on this subject with a lot of authority.Amps: The Other Half of Rock 'N' Roll Overview

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