What Does T-Watt Stand For?
Since Jack Kay, T-Watt’s Founder, is from Austin, Texas (actually Buda / Dripping Springs), the initial plan was to call the amp Texas Watt. However, everyone thought the name was too long so we shortened it to T-Watt. The “T” is for Texas and the Watt is for… well… “watts.” with special thanks to Gretchen Webb for the suggestion).
Visit the Gallery for a video of Jack Kay telling the T-Watt Story…
What is T-Watt’s Mission Statement?
Sound Matters More Than Price! Our amps are built without regard to cost of components, with tone/sound as the only criteria. That being said, we have also managed to provide options for most any artist who truly seeks the perfect “voice.” Try one and you’ll see and hear why people say, “There ain’t nothing else like it!”
Some definitions for terms used in describing amplifier design:
Analog: No transistors. T-Watt is made completely from analog/tubes. That said, I do make one exception. We have a solid state rectifier for those who believe a tube rectifier causes “sag.”
Straight-Through: This means there is only one plug going in, (I’m not sharing my guitar amp) and two speaker plugs coming out. There are no places where the circuit branches off, so therefore there are no places to “lose” signal anywhere in the circuitry.
Point-To-Point: Each component is connected to the next component in line, using the shortest distance possible.
Hand-Wired: Done completely by humans, one wire/component at a time. No machine-made construction anywhere.
Why are the amps so expensive?
Labor and parts. We start with parts chosen/designed to achieve the best tone and most versatility, without regard to their cost. Our transformers alone cost more than the total build-out costs for most amps you see in music stores. Everything is handmade. There are no printed circuit boards, no prefab, no machines. Just an amp artisan sitting at a bench, custom-building your amp to your specifications, one piece at a time. The process is very labor intensive. AND EVERY AMP SHIPS WITH A HARD SHELL FLIGHT CASE.
Why no effects?
See the straight through comment from above. Every time you add an input jack, an effects loop, reverb channel, echo channel, etc., you add another place in the circuitry to “leak” signal. If you don’t have any of these in the circuit, you don’t have anywhere to worry about signal leakage.
What if I don’t like the logo?
Our concept is to make the amp as serious as possible on the inside, and as fun on the outside as possible. That’s why we have hundreds of options for colors, grill cloth, handles, feet etc. We’ve even had requests to cover them in cow hides, fox, mink and beaver pelts! But if you have an objection to the logo, we have an alternate logo that just says “TW”. There is no need to cut yourself off from this tone machine just because you don’t like the logo.
What is the concept/theology behind T-Watt?
You can read the long version here, but to make a long story short, I went to the people I consider leaders in analog tube amplification (Bill Webb – amp artisan; Ron Condon – speaker inventor/maker/holder of several patents in the speaker industry; Patrick Selfridge at Mercury Electronics) and asked them to use their combined knowledge to build the best analog tube amp possible, regardless of cost… A real guitar player’s amplifier – the one I wished I would have had when I toured/recorded throughout the 60’s and 70’s. T-Watt is the result of that combined effort.
Do you offer other services?
When you buy a T-Watt, you get to customize everything. You can choose British or American tubes, your choice of speakers, coverings, cabinets, grill cloth, piping – everything. Since the amp comes out of the box with both the American and British circuitry, you have a ton of musical options at our fingertips from the get go. If you wish to have the tone stack completely designed/made for you, we bring you to Austin, put you in the music room/lab/studio with Bill Webb, Ron Condon and myself, and we physically swap out components, cabinets, speakers, etc. until you have exactly what you want.
Since T-Watt has both American and British circuitry in place, modifying the tone stack in any direction, for any tube amp ever made in Britain or America, is greatly simplified. And, you’re getting it all with over-the-top components. At the end of the day, you get the same “star treatment” usually only afforded to the Eric Johnsons and Ben Harpers of the world. Your tone is perfectly dialed in. We jam for a while, go eat Mexican food, and send you on your way.
Some little-known facts:
Our amps go to 11 – Thanks to ol’ buddy Tony Moore (of Iron Maiden – Counting Crew) for the insistence on this one. We’re working to get Tony on board as T-Watt R&D – UK Division.
We only use prime numbers – Thanks to Bill Webb, we only use 1,3,5,7,9, and 11. Granted, 9 isn’t a prime number. But Bill says, “number 9 gets a pass because of the Beatles,” and we think that’s good enough.
Cabinets – These can be the normal “high end” baltic birch, OR you can get “higher end” and order contiguous pine. You have no idea how hard it was to find pine boards wide enough to build cabinets the size that our the sound gurus demanded, without gluing or laminating. Thanks to Michael McWhorter and Andrew Simmons.
What’s with the “Ain’t Nothing Else Like It” tagline?
I started this project as a labor of love. All I’ve heard since is: “The parts cost too much;” “The speakers cost too much;” “The custom-built pine cabinets cost too much;” “No one includes a hard shell case with an amp;” “It’s way too labor intensive;” “You’ll never be able to make a profit;” “This is economic suicide;” “Jack Kay is too old;” “Bill Webb is too busy;” “Ron Condon is too cranky;” And on and on and on.
BUT, set that all aside and plug into a T-Watt for one evening. You’ll be married to it for life. The sound and versatility is simply amazing!
And that is people say, “THERE AIN’T NOTHING ELSE LIKE IT!”