Thanks for your note and your support over the years! You asked about why we would use 23 frets instead of the more often seen 22 and the lesser used 24 fret variations...The simple answer is, it depends on the guitar re: the size, shape, etc, etc. and the relative position of the pickups. In a few cases, there was simply a space to add an additional fret. This additional fret has nothing to do with intonation, since that is determined by the two "witness points" (i.e. bridge saddle and nut). We figured that one extra fret would add slightly more versatility than 22 frets, and slightly less than 24 frets. I guess what I'm trying to say re: the 23 fret setup is that...we COULD, so we DID!
As you know, Peavey always goes out of its way to be BETTER, and most of the time that means that we have to be "DIFFERENT." While many of our competitors are seemingly focused on "recreating the glories of the past," Peavey focuses on building the best we know how to do. Fortunately, our expertise has been growing exponentially for well over 44 years. I built my first amp when I was in the 10th grade (which was long before most of today's amp builders were born). If experience is the "great teacher," I've been "in school" a long, long time. Thanks to the support of folks like yourself, I haven't "flunked out" yet! Today, we cover the range from simple vacuum tube practice amps, to the most advanced digital modeling technology available with our Vypyr® modeling amps and our ReValver™ amp modeling software.
Back in the mid-70s, we instituted computer controlled machinery into the manufacturing of guitars. Back then, ALL my competitors said, "Peavey is crazy"...Unbelievably, 35 years later they're still saying, "Peavey is crazy!" This seems very strange, because after we proved that you could make guitar parts with computers, everybody began doing it and have been for a long, long time. I never cease to be amazed at many of the established companies who claim, "Peavey is crazy," and then copy our products, packaging, and methods of manufacturing...Go figure!
In any case, what keeps me interested in this music and sound business is the opportunity to learn, grow, and create new and innovative products. This is how we've managed to earn more patents (in our fields of endeavor) than all of our competitors combined. My original goal was to be the "BEST" and that hasn't changed. Of course, being the BEST, literally means you have to be DIFFERENT and we are! Hopefully, this response to your question is evidence of that. Keep the faith and keep in touch.Best regards,
Thanks for your comments. I much appreciate your recognition of the fact that we've always tried to build great gear for the musicians and sound men of the world at fair and reasonable prices. Sadly, many people apparently believe that "the more you pay the more you get." Thank God that is true only some of the time, and is never true with Peavey, simply because we DON'T price our gear at "what the market will bear." We price our equipment so as to make a fair and reasonable profit, and to pass along the very best equipment at the lowest price possible to our customers.
You mentioned our Classic® series of amplifiers, which are very unique in a number of ways. First of all, I am particularly fond of the sound of EL84 tubes. These tubes were developed in England during the early 50s as a competitor for the venerable 6V6 tube that was introduced by RCA in 1937 as an output tube for car radios. The 6V6 utilized an RCA patent, and is what engineers call a "beam-power tetrode." It requires much less drive voltage than its older brother (the 6L6) and has a lower heater current since it was primarily aimed at car radio output stages. The EL84 is not a beam-powered tetrode, but is a pentode (5 elements) that was specifically designed for what the British used to call "domestic hi-fi sets." The EL84's technical characteristics are somewhat similar to the American 6V6, but it also has unique characteristics that make it very interesting as an output tube for guitar amps.
Every technician and/or engineer always has "opinions" about which tube and/or tube configuration sounds best. My opinion is that EL84's generally have the best overload and distortion characteristics of any tube, better than the 6V6, EL34, 6L6, etc, etc. It's for this reason that I insisted that all of our Classic® amplifiers be designed around EL84 output tubes, as opposed to the usual 6L6 configuration. I believe that our EL84 powered output section is hugely responsible for the incredible sound and versatility of our Classic® series, especially when compared to competitors offerings utilizing either 6L6s, or in a very few cases, 6V6s. A quick listen to ours vs. theirs will quickly convince most players of this.
You asked which of our amplifiers is my personal favorite...That's easy. My personal favorite is our "Classic Delta Blues" amp. The reasons are fairly simple. First of all, the "Delta Blues™" IS powered by four EL84s, yielding a little over 30 watts into a specially designed (guitar voiced )15" speaker. Above, I described a few of the virtues of EL84s, but the fact is, EL84's still can sound "gritty" when driven into overload. Many people think that tubes "clip" with the waveform edges being "rounded"...That's not true. Tubes clip just as "squarely" as transistors do, albeit usually asymmetrically. Any "rounding" (smoothing) comes from the output transformer approaching saturation. As it does, the extremes of the frequency response drop off rapidly, thus pleasingly rounding off some of the "grit" and edge from the overdriven output tubes. Even with a properly designed output transformer that allow some of the above described effects, some of the grit can get through, and that's why I tend to prefer a 15" speaker that has been specially voiced for guitar. 15" speakers add a lot of "fullness" at the bottom, and because a 15 doesn't extend too far out at the top end, it tends to smooth out any residual "grittiness" from the overdriven output tubes.
Our "Delta Blues™" amp puts out about 30 watts, which is really not very much power, so it's fairly easy to "ride" the amp close to its maximum output. This can even be done by your playing technique, so that you just have to push the strings a little harder to drive the amp into that "chimey overload." The 15" speaker in the "Delta Blues™" smoothes out the high end, and the result is a "crunchy" overdrive sound with a "chimey" (not raspy) top end. When the output stage is in overload, additional harmonics are generated, which makes the 15" speaker SOUND like it has more top end than it actually does...Trust me, it's a "harmonic" thing!
In any case, the combination of the four EL84s, in a decent size enclosure, with a properly (guitar) voiced 15 produces an incredible Blues, Country/Rock kinda sound, which is what I grew up listening to. I was a Blues fan long before it was "cool" to like Blues. Many of the early Blues guys played through amps that had 15" speakers, so for me, the "Delta Blues™" wins hands down tonewise...It isn't the loudest, nor the most powerful one we build, but for me...for my sound...the "Delta Blues™" is as good as it gets, and it's as good as I've heard....Amen!Best regards,
You asked an interesting question that I'm not sure I can fully answer since it involves feelings (perceptions) rather than facts and reality.
I'm sure you're aware, that Rock 'n' Roll (as we know it) began in the South and really started taking hold in the mid-50's. From about 1955 to the early 60's, so-called "Rock 'n' Roll" started out with a number of artists primarily from the South...for example: Elvis, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Ray Charles etc, etc. Rock 'n' Roll became a cultural phenomenon that swept our country. By the early 60's, Rock 'n' Roll/Pop music had somewhat "degenerated" with lots of "pretty boy singers" predominating the charts...In essence, Rock had become a little "stale" and the Motown sound was just getting started...Meanwhile, in England their musicians were profoundly influenced by American Rock 'n' Roll and they proceeded to "re-voice" American Rock. Thus, the so-called "British Invasion" started with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and a host of other British artists. Rock music exploded again with the "English sound."
During the first Rock 'n' Roll boom, most of the companies making musical products were family owned: Leo Fender owned Fender, Bill Ludwig owned Ludwig, the Steinway family owned Steinway, etc, etc. The 1960's-1970's were the "Golden Age" of the "Conglomerates" in the USA. With the coming of the "British Invasion," music exploded again and most of the family owned music manufacturing firms in the US were taken over by conglomerates. Columbia Records Distributing (CBS) bought Fender, Thomas Organ bought Vox, The Norlan Corporation bought Gibson, etc, etc. This trend really was in "full swing" by 1965, which is the year I graduated from college and started Peavey Electronics.
When the conglomerates began to take over many of the larger (and more established) music companies an interesting process began. Prices went up rapidly and (in most cases) the QUALITY went DOWN. In only 2-3 years, many products DOUBLED in price. A Vox "Super Beatle" in the mid 60's was $1500. This is when gasoline was about 33¢ a gallon and a six-pack was a buck. Today, that price would be at least 10 times what it was then. $1,500 is incredible for a 100 watt solid state amp with four 12s and a horn tweeter in the mid-60's.
In looking at the "musical" marketplace in the 60's, I decided I would DO just what most every musician I've ever met eventually got around to saying, i.e."I wish some company would make GREAT gear at FAIR prices." This sounded like a pretty good plan to me, so I never did try to price my product based on "what the market would bear" (as did all of my competitors). I figured up the cost of my parts and components, the labor, and overhead; then added on what I thought was a "FAIR AND REASONABLE" profit. It just so happens that my product was priced at least 20-30% BELOW my "conglomerated competitors" who apparently thought that it was "okay" to make a huge gross margin!
As it turns out, Peavey was incredibly successful. We implemented the latest production technology, automated equipment, and the industry's best industrial design and packaging. The truth is, we did make a BETTER product for LESS because we didn't have the huge "BURDEN" of a CORPORATE "SUGAR DADDY" (spell conglomerate) to "feed." Amazingly, this is still true today! I still own my company, I still call the shots, and we do a lot of things that my "conglomerated competitors" are not willing (and sometimes not able) to do.
Here's where the "crux" of your question begins...Many people falsely believe that old adage that "you always get what you pay for." While this may be true in a few cases, it is definitely NOT the "universal case." To use PRICE ALONE as an "INDICATOR" of performance, quality, and reliability is a questionable practice...The only possible way that price could/would be a reliable indication, is to ASSUME that "ALL companies were the SAME" (I.e. same design, same corporate organization, debt structure, etc, etc)...Everybody knows (or should) that all companies are no more the SAME than all guitar players are the SAME...Actually it's both naive and incorrect to even consider such an irrational assumption.
In pricing any product, ALL "factors of production" must be considered. A company that has little or no debt can build equipment more efficiently than a company with hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, on which huge interest has to be paid, which is always passed through to the customer (who eventually pays it)! Such is NOT the case with Peavey, nor has it ever been! Ironically, for more than 44 years Peavey has, provided the best possible product, at fair and reasonable prices. Meanwhile, while most of our competitors have been sold, resold, conglomerated (or re-conglomerated) etc, etc.
So the crux of this issue, is that some people apparently believe (falsely) that Peavey, one of the very few companies that has consistently delivered quality products, fair prices, top performance, and unmatched reliability for over 44 years is somehow "not as good as other manufacturers." Why? Because they have CONSISTENTLY offered the musician world class products at REASONABLE PRICES instead of "charging what the market will bear"...Go figure!
Incredibly, a lot of intelligent people ardently believe that "the more you pay the more you get." When I ask people if they believe this adage, almost everybody says "yes"...UNTIL I ask them a very simple question..."Have you ever paid big $$ to go to a concert and the show sucked?" Almost everybody answers yes to that question, and then I simply ask if they felt they "got what they paid for." Interestingly, THE UNIVERSAL ANSWER IS ALWAYS NO! Then, I ask if they still believe that you ALWAYS get what you pay for," which is the exact same premise relating to price of Peavey vs. our competitors.
To me, the irony of all this is that Peavey has been giving musicians what they asked for, for over 44 years; yet somehow, some still consider Peavey to be "cheap" equipment, and therefore erroneously assume that our gear is "not as good" (or better) than the competition. Frankly, I built my first amplifier in the late 50's, which is BEFORE most of today's "amp gurus" were even born. If experience is the "great teacher," I've been "in school" LONGER than any of my major competitors. Over 44 years, we have earned well over 100 patents, which is more than most of our competitors combined (in our fields of endeavor). I guess what I'm saying, is that the "irony" is that I feel a little like the "Rodney Dangerfield" of the musical equipment market. I've often wondered if that would be the case if my company was based in California, New York, etc, etc. Peavey has won MOER product awards from industry trade magazines than any other in the fields we serve, and the good news is all this is STILL going on and I'm STILL involved EVERYDAY IN EVERY WAY! When I started my company back in 65, my goal was NOT to be the BIGGEST, NOT to be the most profitable, but to be the BEST! Obviously, you can't be "THE BEST" without being "DIFFERENT"! We are! Over the years, Peavey equipment has gotten better, better, and better. We even make our own loudspeakers, while most of our competitors are just "box stuffers"...It's the "DIFFERENCE" that counts!
Building and being the best is not easy, but after 44 years, that continues to be my company's and my personal goal. The good news is, "the fat lady sure as hell hasn't sung yet at Peavey! Meanwhile, history seems to be "repeating itself" because a whole new bunch of conglomerates, investment bankers, and/or "takeover artists" are once again buying up music and audio companies. The advantage is that I WAS THERE watching in the 60's and 70's, and I saw what happened. I feel reasonably certain that the end RESULT will be the SAME this time around...We'll see. In the meantime, please know that Peavey continues to set the pace re: tone, technology, reliability, etc, etc. all at fair (not cheap) prices. Keep the faith.Best regards,
I really don't understand your question in a number of ways. 250 Hz is not "standard" in any way as far as a "notch" (that I assume is what you mean when you say "cut-off band"). Most guitar amplifiers do have a built in notch, which results from an "intersection" of a low frequency and high frequency boost. My experience has been that this "notch" is usually somewhere between 350 Hz and about double that. Some amplifiers are designed in such a way as to allow that "notch" to be swept over a considerable range. I recall only one manufacturer using a 250 Hz center point for their notch. It's very low, and would probably affect the "fullness" of the sound on the bottom end. The most common "tone stack" is actually a form of "notch filter" that yields the characteristic guitar sound; therefore, a slight variation of this is used by almost every major guitar amp manufacturer. 250 Hz is a little below what my experience has shown me to be most commonly used. One thing's for sure, nothing is "standard" with guitar amps!
I started building amplifiers in the late 50's. By the time I graduated from high school, I'd built quite a few amps for myself and my friends. This practice continued for most of my college career. In 1964, I decided that I wanted to build the best amps available. By the time I had graduated from college, many of the family owned music manufacturers had been bought out by huge companies like CBS, LTV, Norland, etc, etc. When I started Peavey 44 years ago (1965) I set out to do what every musician has always wished for..."good gear at fair prices"...That's what we've been doing since the company officially started June, 1 1965.
Good gear at fair prices was certainly a major objective, but another was building gear that was reliable. Some of my early amplifiers weren't as reliable as I'd hoped for, but by 1965, I had already had quite a few years of building amps under my belt. I used that experience with our first amplifiers, and every year since then, our experience has gotten better and better. One unique thing about Peavey is that we've had 44 years to EVOLVE and grow under the same ownership and management based on our own experience (as well as watching closely the techniques, circuitry, and approaches used by our competitors). Because Peavey is one of the few companies in our end of the music and sound business that has existed 44 years under the SAME OWNERSHIP and MANAGEMENT, we have the good fortune to remember history, so we've always tried to NOT make the same mistake twice. This also applies to closely observing our competitors and not making the same mistakes we've seen them make. This has resulted in Peavey having the most reliable gear available because we constantly utalize our unmatched record of experience. Interestingly, I built my first tube amp before many of the current crop of "amp gurus" were born! Yet, many of these guys claim to have some "magic"...Frankly, I doubt it. I've been in this business a long, long time and I've run into a lot of science & technology, quite a lot of technique (good and bad) and quite a bit of "art"...But NEVER any "magic." Strangely, guitar players (in particular) seem to believe in magic... I've NEVER encountered any "magic." I believe that what people don't understand they consider magic, but if you UNDERSTAND techniques and technologies, then it becomes SCIENCE.
You asked about the quality of our Chinese made gear. Early Chinese stuff was, frankly, not very good. The same was true re: Japanese goods and later Korean goods. Today, Japan makes high quality goods because they went through the "learning curve" with much of the techniques and technology "borrowed" from the USA, UK, and Europe; ditto the Koreans. For the last decade or so, China has been learning the same lessons and has progressed amazingly fast. Peavey was the LAST major manufacturer to move production of low and medium priced gear to China. We resisted that decision until it became clear that all of our competitors in those price ranges had already done so, and it was obvious that USA made gear simply could not compete pricewise with China made gear. When we finally got around to making that decision, we decided that we would design our products here, (including the packaging) and manufacture it in China using components we know and had experience with...This is in stark contrast to many of our competitors, who basically buy "off the shelf products" in China and merely change the faceplate or logo. Because Peavey designs all our products and the packaging (utilizing components that we know will work) our China made gear is apparently just as reliable as our US made gear. In spite of making a considerable amount of our low and medium priced gear in China, Peavey retains extensive manufacturing capabilities in the USA, including our recently opened 19th Street Custom Shop. All in all, we believe that our US based design, packaging, and component selection with Chinese manufacture is a good combination, which utilizes the best capabilities of our USA design team (and their vast experience) and our Chinese suppliers. Customers everywhere "claim" to want to purchase USA made product, but unfortunately, when confronted with American pricing, many opt for Chinese made goods. I suppose that's just a fact of life that has to be dealt with. In any case, I feel like we are offering the best product in every category, whether it's made in our extensive USA facilities or sourced in China (but designed in the USA).
You asked why, unlike some of our competitors, Peavey has so many models as opposed to having fewer models with subtle changes.
This is a rather complex question to which there's no simple answer. However, I would ask you to consider that the companies you mentioned have not come out with a "commercially successful" NEW guitar in 35 years. At Peavey, we're always looking for a better product. Our products cover an extremely wide range of music and styles. Over our 44 years in business, we have earned approximately 180 patents around the world. We believe that this very unique in the music and sound business, and verifies our ongoing "quest to be the best." Apparently, our competitors are "satisfied" with designs that are over 40 years old... I'm not! Musical trends and artists "come and go," and since our products are designed for artists or particular music genres, our products also tend to "come and go." An example of this are the so-called "shaped guitars," which were the "in thing" during the 80's. They subsequently went out of style, and now we see evidence of so-called "shape guitars" coming back (history repeats itself).
Some people have asked me if Peavey has a "signature sound" in our amplifiers...The obvious answer is no. We make amplifiers for specific artists, and we make amplifiers for specific genres. For instance, our JSX products were designed with (and for) Joe Satriani. Our Delta Blues was designed primarily for Blues players. Our Nashville series was originally designed for a small, but very difficult application...Steel guitars. While many of our competitors seem to get in a "groove," we voice our products to please specific customers because no one "size or flavor fits all."
You mentioned that you would like to see the T series updated...That certainly would be possible, but if we did then it really wouldn't be the T series. Back in the 70's, people wanted very heavy guitars because they thought that the heavier body gave the guitar more sustain. Because of that, we made our guitars out of Northern Ash and the basses (with bigger bodies) out of Southern Ash. As a result, most of our T series guitars were fairly heavy, and a number of people over the years have mentioned that they love the guitar but hate the fact that it was so heavy. They either forgot (or didn't know) that these guitars made in the 70's and early 80's were designed for the customer of that period who wanted heavier guitars...That trend changed, and that's when we decided to discontinue the T series.
I'd guess that if we reintroduced those great guitars today (with their significantly heavier bodies than what people today expect) their "reception" would be marginal. Please know that musical instruments (like music itself) is not a "constant," but is constantly changing and moving in different directions...We're trying to follow those changes. We've been successful because we've been able to do that, whereas some of our major guitar competitors have failed repeatedly when trying to introduce "new" guitars. They stick with the tried and true, even though their major products were deigned many decades ago. What would happen if the automobile makers were still making 1954 Ford's or Chevy's in 2009? My guess is that they really wouldn't sell except to a few collectors.
To sum up, we design new amps and guitars because Peavey can. Some of our competitors have been very unsuccessful in trying to come up with anything other than their 50 year old designs, so they have basically stopped trying and some refer to their countless "reissues" as "new"! (???)...Peavey continues its quest for perfection and always will.
Thanks for your support since '81! In our 44 years, we've designed an incredible number of guitar amps, bass amps, and sound systems. Peavey is one of the only companies that manufacture the entire "audio chain," from the microphone, through to guitar strings, and including speakers. We've faced design challenges most of our competitors (who don't build everything in the audio chain) have never seen. Doing it all gives us insight and understanding into the vital INTERFACE between the guitar, the amp, speaker, etc, etc. and lets us understand audio problems better than many of our competitors who only build one piece. We do it all; therefore, we have learned an incredible amount about the technologies and techniques of the interactions of the many "links" in the chain.
Generally speaking, the most difficult products are where we work with technology outside of Peavey. Virtually no single company on the planet has all the technology that extends across every possible field. This is true, especially in the digital age where there are numerous specialists whose expertise is in development of sounds, models, or applications such as in our MediaMatrix Digital Audio Network System...Perhaps the most difficult project we've done is bring to market MediaMatrix, which we introduced in 1993. This is an awesome software based digital networking system, having source code over 1 million lines! Think about that.
Recently, we worked very hard to bring to the market the most advanced modeling amp system out there. We call it the Vypyr. This was a 3 year program with many difficulties. We tried to utilize "appropriate technology," which means that if it was better to be accomplished digitally, we did; but if we could produce a better tonality using analog, we did. Frankly, one of the huge advantages of our Vypyr system is that it is a "COMBINATION" of the best of digital and best of analog! That's why it sounds so much better than the competition! With that said, I can tell you that it was an incredibly difficult project to meld two design teams (one digital, one analog) into a unified market changing design, which is what our Vypyr modeling amps have become. There've been many other difficult projects over the years, but as our expertise and experience has grown some aspects have become easier...On the other hand, the "EXPECTATION" of our customers has grown exponentially.
For many years, one of our most popular products was our Rage practice amp. This was a 15 watt amp, with an 8" speaker, a fairly small cabinet, and a somewhat basic feature set. Today, for the same price, we offer our Vypyr 15, which is also a 15 watt amp with an 8" speaker, but with an incredible set of analog and digital effects. The relative performance differential between our Rage and our Vypyr is enormous! The Rage was a basic 15 watt amplifier, and the Vypyr includes the best of the Rage (Transtube) plus incredible amp models, digital effects, etc, etc. and also includes LED indicators around each knob so you can tell where your settings are. Our competitors omit this vital point using just an "unlit" rotary encoder so you never know where the knob is set when changing programs or when you set the amps to begin with. Our "WYSIWYG" (What you see is what you get) costs more than competing systems, but is infinitely more user friendly.
Peavey has always offered the customer more "bang for the buck,' which we are able to do because Peavey is not controlled by some conglomerate, investment banking firm, or huge outstanding bank debt like most of its competitors. Peavey always has been a family owned enterprise whose focus has continued to push the "state of the art" for more than 44 years! As the expectations of our customers get higher, our challenge is to focus our experience and the best technology (be it analog or digital) toward getting even better performance, reliability, tonality, etc, etc. This quest continues today. In fact, that's what keeps me interested after well over 4 decades at the "helm" of Peavey.