Here’s the thing…at some point or another, we all get that funky itch to buy a brand new guitar amp. Fresh off the shelf. Hot as a…like a uhh, I dunno something HOT! We all want that precious new amp to be exactly what we’ve always dreamed of, right? But with great guitar amp, comes a flood of ridiculous questions…
How many watts do i need?
What brand is going to hold up the best on the road?
What does john Mayer play? hehehe
Is this going to look awesome ?
…and an incredibly intimidating slew of other things that keep all of us tone nerds awake for nights on end. It can be a rather daunting decision. I think we can all agree on that.
fear not, my funky friends…
…for there is a man out there who has, thus far, dedicated his doings to the art of totally custom builds. That man’s name, is Ben Verellen. Verellen Amplifiers began in a very comforting way…after 8 years of studying electrical engineering at the University of Washington and several years as a touring musician.
I had the pleasure of visiting Ben’s hub in Seattle, WA where he was nice enough to show me around the place, get me a large glass of water, answer all of my ridiculous questions and then bury his head back in his work. And I truly do not mean that in a derogatory way; Ben was super busy and I was super excited to see someone so dedicated to their work. When I asked Ben about the aesthetics of his amplifier line he said…
“we knew woodwork and we really liked the idea of a rustic ‘northwest-y’ kind of look, so that led to the branded wood idea. The white ink screen-printed at home onto a black chassis had the feel of a cut-and-paste punk show flyer…which is our roots.”
Now, if we can all take a moment to browse the Verellen Custom Shop, I think we will all agree that the “cool factor” knob on these amps goes to eleven.
I’m getting off subject, please accept my apologies. The true focal point here is that Ben builds all of these amplifiers on a circuit-to-circuit basis. I’m not exaggerating. He builds these amps for rock MONSTERS like Scott Shriner (Weezer), Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters), Dave Knudson and Cory Murchy (Minus the Bear), and many others, to 100% custom spec.
“No one else is doing that as far as I know. No one else is foolish enough, haha.”
And while that may be a daring enterprise, Ben is able to pull it off with an excess of style and still manages to upkeep a healthy social life.
“I like to throw big parties where I make everyone eat gourmet homemade corn dogs.”
We like that too Ben, we like that too.
Hey here are some pictures from his shop…
So, while I have had the opportunity to hear a number of different Verellen designs, I can’t actually bring myself to describe the sound of Verellen right now. To put it simply, it would be unjust. The man is taking an incredible leap out into the world of sound amplification. He can do anything. He is a super hard-working dude who is completely dedicated to giving the consumer EXACTLY what they are looking for, right down to the last detail.
Is this something we’re prepared to argue with?
No…the answer is no…for those of you who are still wondering.
Aside from being an innovator in the amplifier scene, Ben is also a gifted musician and plays in a couple of bands in the Seattle area. One band, dubbed Helms Alee, is the culmination of Ben and…
“two insanely talented and creative women who all throw ideas in a pot and sincerely enjoy what we get out of it.”
Check out Helms Alee on Bandcamp and give them some love. They rock way hard and really deserve your love…or your like…I’m not sure how it works.
Back to it now…
Ben uses Mojotone Hiwatt Style Power Transformers in his amps on a regular basis. And while he often goes with the custom laser-etched baffled boards on his head cabinets, he does use the occasional piece of Mojotone Grill Cloth on his cabs. If you want more information on ordering a custom amp from Verellen Amplifiers, please visit the following link to look over his order info. Once again I would like to thank Ben for having me in his wonderful shop. It was an honor to meet him and a super cool environment to be in…unfortunately, I can’t end a sentence with a preposition so…cool. < adjective
Lastly, everyone raise a glass and knock one back for ol’ Ben Verellen, another tone hero!
Awesome stuff! The Sword (one of my absolute favorite bands) also uses the Verellen Skyhammer Amplifier on their latest album, Apocryphon.