Do you love vintage fuzz? Appreciate absurd levels of care and rare parts? There is no one more on top of their game than Blackstrap Electrik. Matt has already been declared a Tone Bender god, and he’s expanded to Power Boosts, Fuzz Faces, and OD-1 replicas (with the original quad-amp chips). I picked up my MkII with NOS Mullard OC81D transistors, Wima caps, and UK vero board over a year ago, and it’s a permanent fixture on my board. If you have a chance to grab a Blackstrap pedal, you will be glad you did!
You may know Dan from 4114 effects and the Flux Capacitor Delay, which now borders on impossible to obtain (Paul Gilbert’s Flux apparently resold for $999!) and ended up on some pretty famous boards (Ryan Adams along with Gilbert). You might not also know that Dan makes some beautiful, meticulously crafted amps. One of those amps, a mini 5E3 Tweed Deluxe with built-in attenuator, happens to sit in my living room (comfortably on the bar cart to boot).
I don’t have any internal shots of my build, but take a look here, here, and here to see just what kind of attention to detail goes into these amps. Dan, like nearly all of the UK builders I’ve encountered since moving here, takes his craft seriously, and that means this little box will be kicking out classic 5E3 dirt (Neil Young: Cinnamon Girl/Southern Man, Eagles: Hotel California/One of These Nights, Larry Carlton with Steely Dan: Don’t Take Me Alive/Kid Charlemagne) for decades to come. This one is in the permanent collection…
My bar-cart friendly 12W 5E3 has a solid-state rectifier to make the footprint possible and dials down to just 1W on the back, giving me living-room friendly volumes when I can’t turn up, which is basically always. I’ll have to plug into the UA Ox to record some good clips, but in the interim, take a listen here.