Amps made for pedal steel find big interest in guitar market
TIM MARCUS knew what he was doing, and that might make the tale of Milkman Sound that much more perplexing. A touring pedal steel player and audio/video tech, he decided in 2010, after years of tinkering with guitar amplifiers, that he would attempt a kit build. After assembling a MojoTone Tweed Princeton, figuring out what worked and what didn’t… what he liked and didn’t like, there was still little hint of things to come. Pedal steel players have historically not been spendy types when it comes to amplification. It would not be unusual to spot an aging Peavey nearby. Undeterred however, Marcus decided that a boutique amp voiced specifically for pedal steel was something he wanted to pursue, if only for himself.
Working for BBI Engineering in San Francisco, Marcus cut his teeth on large-scale audio/video builds for museums, conference centers… even churches. It was with BBI he learned the importance of building things to last. If you’re going to build an A/V system for a museum exhibit that could see tens of thousands of children pawing, scratching and pulling at it, you’d better make it solid, and up to the challenge.
“I started building amps for steel guitar,” recalls Marcus. “At the time there was nothing really. There was no boutique option for pedal steel at the time. Now there is a lot (Quilter, Dr. Z, etc…). I got laughed out of the room several times because when there is no boutique market, there are no boutique prices. So when you come in at that price point, people are like ‘What?! My Peavey was $500! I’ve had it since 1978!’ Then those guys buy one of my amps and they’re like ‘Oh my god! I had no idea this guitar sounded like that.’”