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Thread: Dick Dale: The Blonde Amps Were an Accident

  1. #1
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Dick Dale: The Blonde Amps Were an Accident

    I found an interesting interview with Dick Dale on YouTube.



    Some interesting tidbits:

    * Leo built the first high powered amps for Dale because Dale couldn't get enough loud and clean out of his Fenders. Leo responded by building the Showman.

    * Leo needed to go to JBL for speakers that could handle the Showman's power.

    * Dale asked for the aluminum dust cap on the JBL D130. He wanted to hear his pick attack.

    * Blonde tolex was an accident. Leo had run out of black tolex, needed to cover an amp for Dale in an emergency, and had to use blonde tolex. Leo was embarrassed and asked Dale not to let anyone see it.

    We've heard most of these things before, but it's nice to hear them straight from the horse's mouth.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

  2. #2
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    This needs a "LOVE" button.

    Justin
    "Are you practicing in the lobby of the municipal library? It's still a guitar amp and it SHOULD make some noise (!!!)" - Chuck H. -
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

  3. #3
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    I found an interesting interview with Dick Dale on YouTube.



    Some interesting tidbits:

    * Leo built the first high powered amps for Dale because Dale couldn't get enough loud and clean out of his Fenders. Leo responded by building the Showman.

    * Leo needed to go to JBL for speakers that could handle the Showman's power.

    * Dale asked for the aluminum dust cap on the JBL D130. He wanted to hear his pick attack.

    * Blonde tolex was an accident. Leo had run out of black tolex, needed to cover an amp for Dale in an emergency, and had to use blonde tolex. Leo was embarrassed and asked Dale not to let anyone see it.

    We've heard most of these things before, but it's nice to hear them straight from the horse's mouth.
    Of course, once wannabe Guitar Gods saw the real one using Blonde Tolex, they all INSISTED on it.

    I always joke about a Sotheby´s auction of used smelly Jimi Hendrix underwear, straight from Woodstock/Isle of Man or some Studio session .... I guess it would fetch high prices.
    Juan Manuel Fahey

  4. #4
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    One question: would Fender have been out of BROWN Tolex, not black? I didn't think anything was covered in black til 63, except the Champ, which was just covered in tweed til they ran out of that, and the last "tweed" Champs were covered in black when the line was revamped?

    I wasn't around to see it, so I'm just asking for clarity...

    Justin
    "Are you practicing in the lobby of the municipal library? It's still a guitar amp and it SHOULD make some noise (!!!)" - Chuck H. -
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

  5. #5
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    One question: would Fender have been out of BROWN Tolex, not black? I didn't think anything was covered in black til 63, except the Champ, which was just covered in tweed til they ran out of that, and the last "tweed" Champs were covered in black when the line was revamped?

    I wasn't around to see it, so I'm just asking for clarity...

    Justin
    Here's some clarity: Mr. Dale, wonderful as he is, has been known to "embellish" some of his stories. There were JBL speakers with aluminum dust domes before the D130 for instance. Perhaps DD insisted on having an aluminum dome, OK. But "responsible for inventing it" I'm not so sure. Same thing for the cream/black tolex mixup. Perhaps Fender was out of brown. Meh, so what, it's his playing that counts! Miserlou!
    J M Fahey likes this.

  6. #6
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    oh, I don't care if the old guy's memory is 100% accurate, I just love hearing the stories. Dale and Fender were close -- according to dale, Leo was like a second Dad to him. the poor local surfer kid walked into Leo's shop and got backroom access to Leo the great, who ran a big company that was still small enough for the guy in charge to listen to kids that walked in off of the street. Dale was in the right place at the right time to be one of the first guys to get a Stratocaster... and the rest is history.

    Did Leo really invent the Rhodes? No. Did the blonde tolex first get used because Leo ran out of black? or brown? Or was it that he had actually run out of tweed? i don't think it matters. It's an interesting story just the same. And you're right Leo -- JBL had used aluminum domes before, but Dale told Leo to use the aluminum domed speakers because they had that extra edge. Funny how decades later some people love to hate the JBLs for exactly the reason that Dale wanted them -- that sharp-ended attack.
    J M Fahey likes this.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

  7. #7
    g1
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    I liked Dick's story about pumping iron to fend off a heart attack, or whatever the particulars were.
    Certified Dotard

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