The Amp Shop at 841 Haywood Road, opened on July 1, 2000, as a pro audio repair shop. Inside, John Schuske repairs broken equipment and builds guitar amplifiers by hand. Though the shop’s primary customers are local musicians, area clubs and churches, Schuske has also provides services for national and internationally know artist as they tour through the Asheville area.

In June, Schuske started building his first tube amps by hand. “I won’t build solid state,” the 65-year-old said. “Vacuum tubes, old vacuum tubes, they sound better than solid state. They have a warmth to them. That’s what was used back then and they’re still just being used today.”

The machines Schuske builds in his workshop are reproductions of older amps built in the 1950s and ’60s by Fender and Marshall, including the Fender Tweed Deluxe, the Fender Blackface Princeton Reverb and the Marshall Bluesbreaker, among others.

Because Schuske works with local musicians, he wanted to make boutique amps accessible. For example, a Marshall Bluesbreaker amp fetches more than $2,000 online. Schuske sells his for $1,330.

On average, Schuske estimates that he sells between four and five custom amps a month. However, he has not given up the audio repair side of the business.

Last year, the shop processed 611 repair tickets on items including DJ equipment, speakers, wireless microphones, guitars, keyboards, effects processors, amps, recording equipment and other gear used on-stage or in the studio.

“It’s an industry and a lot of people make money from it, but it brings lots of happiness to people — on both sides of the stage. I know a lot of players that enjoy playing. I enjoy building amps. It’s not drudgery — it’s fun. It’s creating something from nothing,” he said. “I’m going to keep building amps until I can’t.”

The above article is an excerpt from an article published in the Citizen-Times.

See full Citizen-Times Article, click here.

Photo credit: Twin Reverb AB763. Courtesy of The Amp Shop.

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