Duane Allman’s 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 is a photo of Duane and Bob Keller (band’s bassist at the time) singing through a microphone together on stage, dating sometime to 1967 [Hour Glass – Duane and Keller]. On the photo, Keller’s amp can clearly be seen as a Fender Bassman Blackface, but unfortunately, Duane’s amp is hidden right behind him. We do, however, see that the amp is plugged into a Vox cabinet, identical to what a Vox Super Beatle would come with from the factory.
Larry Steele’s Story
What is most likely the correct version of the story comes from late Larry Steele, a Jacksonville local who later served as stage manager and as co-writer for the band .38 Special. Larry recalled in an article on his website meeting The Hour Glass at the Comic Book Club on July 12, 1968., as they were loading out the gear and setting up the stage. A guitar player himself, Steele vividly remembers seeing a few Vox Super Beatles but also finding out that Duane didn’t use any of them.
Inside the club, most of the band gear was now spread across the dance floor, with the exception of the four Super Beatle enclosures. I watched as one of the guys carried the old Fender Bassman straight up to the stage, picking up a chair from beneath one of the tables along the way. He placed the chair at stage left and put the amp in the chair, tilting it slightly against the back. At the same time the other two roadies were pulling tables together, off to each side of the stage, upon which they would eventually place two each of the Super Beatle enclosures. At this point I was really confused. “Who plays through that beat-up Fender?” I inquired, pointing to the old tweed-covered amp. “That’s what Duane plays through!” the guy on the stage hollered back. “You won’t believe the tone he gets out of this thing!” I was repulsed. “Duane Allman plays through that piece of shit?” I protested. “With all these Super Beatles, he plays through that?” “Yeah, he won’t play through the Vox. Those heads are solid state, man. That’s okay for bass or keyboards, but Duane won’t play through any of that shit. Besides, he really likes Gregg’s voice coming through those Beatle bottoms.” [1968 – The Hour Glass in Jacksonville, The Load-In, Larry Steele]
Just a note – in case Larry Steele’s website is offline (as it happened to be at the time of writing this), you can access it by using Google’s Web Cache. Also, Larry published a book in 2016 (Steele, Larry (2016). As I Recall: Jacksonville’s Place in American Rock History. ISBN 1530443024) in which he goes into more details about some of this stuff.