Duane Allman’s Fender Champ

access_time First seen circa 1970

Most likely the amp used during the Layla studio sessions with Eric Clapton in late 1970. Tom Dowd, who produced the album, gave different reports on what exact model of the amp was used for the recording. There’s mention of Fender Blackface Vibro-Champs, Princetons, and Deluxes, and even same unknown Gibson combo. Howard Albert however who worked as an engineer on the album gave a pretty clear statement regarding the amps:

If you looked through the control-room glass, the piano was to the left, and on top of the piano, which had the lid closed, were our [Fender Tweed] Champ amps that Eric and Duane both used.

Howard Albert (Derek & The Dominos ‘Layla’

What’s most likely is that Eric himself primarily used a Tweed Champ which was used extensively on the album, and Duane played through a Champ that could have been his, or as Howard stated – locally hired or belonged to Criteria studio. Clapton had recorded with a Champ before (first solo album). He saw Delaney Bramlett using one (probably in September 1969 when they recorded Comin’ Home). Bramlett gave Clapton a tweed Champ as a present that was beefed-up with bigger tube and a Lansing speaker (JBLansing or an Altec Lansing) [Guitar Player magazine, March 1996][Tom Wheeler, The Soul of Tone, p. 175]. It is also possible that Clapton used this Champ during the Layla sessions.

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Why is “Fende Tweed” in square brackets? Usually that means that the person being quoted didn’t actually say that, but it was implied. How was it implied in this case? My guess is that the author just assumed it.

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access_time 1969

Marshall Bass 50w Model 1986

Used towards the later part of his career. For the most part, he had two 50 watt bass heads with three Y-Cables so he could use both of the HI-inputs of both the channels of both his Marshalls. The heads were played through two half-open back cabinets fitted with JBL D-120F speakers, although on occasions he would also play through a (Cerwin) Vega P.A. system [Richard Albero, Guitar Player magazine, May/June 1973] (please note that […]

access_time 1969

1968 Fender Silverface Bassman (Head)

Used in the early days on the Allman Brothers Band. Duane purchased this Fender Bassman in early 1969 from Lipham Music Company in Florida and used it for a brief period before it became Dickey’s backup amp. [Willie Perkins: The Allman Brothers Band Classic Memorabilia, pp. 6 – 7] The amp was also used by Duane later on, on September 23rd, 1970 at the Fillmore East. It is visible from 3:56 to […]

access_time 1969

Marshall Lead 50w Model 1987 Tremolo 

According to Galadrielle Allman’s book “Please Be With Me” (p. 182 – letter from Duane to Holly Barr, Ralph Barr’s wife (Ralph Barr was guitar player for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)), Duane bought this Marshall amp probably sometime in early to mid 1969 (the exact date is not mentioned in the letter), together with a Gibson Les Paul Gold Top and a Gibson Heritage acoustic. Dearest Polly, I got a Les […]

access_time 1969

Fender Showman Blackface (Head)

Duane used a number of different Fender Showman Blackface amps in the early days of ABB. [Willie Perkins: The Allman Brothers Band Classic Memorabilia, pp. 4 – 7] A few of these amps can now be seen at The Big House Museum, and not all were used exclusively just by Duane (one of the amps available for viewing, for instance, was used by Berry Oakley). On page 5 of Memorabilia by Willie Perkins, […]

access_time 1965

1960s Fender Deluxe Blackface

Duane was seen using this amp on the photographs taken of Allman Joys performing at a High School graduation at Seabreeze, Daytona, sometime in 1965. Chronologically looking, this is the first amp that Duane was ever seen performing with, although it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s his first amp altogether. This version of the Fender Deluxe amp was built from around 1964 to 1967, which means that Duane possibly bought it brand […]

access_time 1969

1966 Fender Twin Reverb Silverface

In early to mid-1969, ABB purchased a Silverface Fender Twin Reverb with two JBL speakers at Lipham Music Shop in Gainsville, Florida for $605,00 [Willie Perkins & Jack Weston, Memorabilia, p. 5]. Based on the serial number (PA 1045), the amp was made in January 1966. [Fender Tube Amplifier/Amp/Serial Number, Date – Dating, Speaker code & Tube Information] Also, according to Don Butler, the Twin had the output section rewired at some point to be […]

access_time 1967

Vox Super Beatle

According to some sources, Duane used this amp in the Hour Glass era (1967/1968). However, there doesn’t seem to be any photos of him actually using the amp, and as we’ll discuss a few paragraphs below, it seems that even though the band traveled with several of these amps, Duane himself preferred not to use it. What could’ve also potentially started this whole rumor of Duane using a Vox Super Beatle […]

access_time 1970

Pignose Prototype

According to Bobby Whitlock, Richard Edlund gave one of the prototypes to Eric and one to Duane during the Layla sessions in 1970. [Bobby Whitlock: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Autobiography, p. 92]. The Pignose amplifier is considered to be the first portable electric guitar amplifier. It’s a five-watt battery-powered miniature amplifier with one five-inch speaker. Richard Edlund gave the prototype version of the amp to a number of the popular guitarists of […]

access_time 1968

1960s Fender Twin Reverb Blackface

This amp was seen on photos taken during the Muscle Shoals era (late 1968), so it is possible that it didn’t belong to Duane but to the FAME studios. Nonetheless, he did still use the amp, so it deserves to be mentioned here. Please note that although the photo below only shows the amp partially, there are photos out there that confirm that this is indeed a Fender Twin Reverb. Due […]

access_time 1969

1960s Fender Showman Silverface

Seen on photos taken at Atlantic Recording Studios in Manhattan in January 1969. The amp was most likely owned by the studio. Embed from Getty Images

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