Honest Man; Honest Amps – The Tone King interviews Mr. Hartley Peavey

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Honest Man; Honest Amps – TTK interviews Mr. Hartley Peavey

Marc Johnson and The Tone King     

In case you’ve been in a cave for the last forty-five years, Peavey is renowned for the most dependable and best sounding amps ever. Period. Recently, The Tone King met up with the man behind the name, Mr. Hartley Peavey, at winter NAMM and was floored by his earnest straight talk about his amps.“Guitar players, bless their hearts, want to believe in magic. They want to believe that somewhere there’s an old hermit that winds pickups by the light of the moon…and that’s why they cost so much. Well, that’s a bunch of BS. One of the things with Peavey, we’ve always told the truth.” While blunt, Mr. Peavey explains how Peavey keeps putting out great-sounding roadworthy amps at a reasonable price. They make amps that are as honest as he is. 

When TTK took their Classic 30 for a test drive here at TheToneKing.com, we loved the ride.  And it was Hartley’s hands-on coming-to-work-everyday work ethic that made the Classic 30 the amp that it is. When you talk to him, it’s obvious that he is involved in every decision with every amp that has his name on it.     

Like any good chef will tell you, the dish is only as good as the ingredients you use, and amps are no exception. Mr. Peavey understands that. Just listen to him as he explains how he uses a somewhat inexpensive 15” speaker in the Peavey Delta Blues on purpose because he wants to get that “cone cry” just like the early Blues amps had. Rather than trying to bump up the price of the amp with an expensive speaker, he opts for what sounds good.     

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Mr. Peavey wants to build amps for players. He’s interested in how an amp “responds” to the player. This unique idea is why, while there are plenty of guys playing Peavey, there is no “signature” Peavey sound. The sound comes from the player and how the amp responds to what’s being played. Simply put, Peavey amps are about as close to a ‘pure’ sound as you can get.     

“If experience is the great teacher, I’ve been in the classroom longer than anybody in the US.” Like Mr. Peavey says, he’s been around a long time and has never sold his name. Even after 45 years, he still goes to work every day and is always trying to make his products better. Best of all, he keeps his gear and prices honest. What else would you expect from an honest man.     

Watch the interview here

January 15, 2010 – Winter NAMM 2010     

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Filed Under: InterviewsTTK's NAMM SLAMM 2013

About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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