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Anyone familiar with John Martin/Martone amps?

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,451
In the next few days I'm going to be checking out a shop that has a few amps by John Martin, some labeled "Martone". I've been able to determine that he was a tech in Philly until he died in '08, and he often built small amps reusing whatever cabinets he could find.

Is anyone familiar with his work? Any info would be appreciated.
 

tzamosti

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
697
Not much, but I do know he was connected with the guys at DiPinto in Philly...and I think they still have a few of his amps. Was supposed to be a great guy and one of the best amp techs in Philly. Not sure if I've played his amps, but he did some cool retro designs.
 

vmeyer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
261
Visited shop earlier today and walked out with a Martone Champ clone...absolutely incredible. Tone to kill. Ask about Jim Martin...the builder. Passed a while back. Wish I could have met him. This amp is a legacy...I will treasure. Good luck...by the way...the shop is a gas...and so is the owner....a well kept secret. Make sure you have time to spare.:aok
 

Mr. Crow

Member
Messages
1,681
Tinicum Guitar Barn, by any chance? I stop in there every couple months. It's about an hour from me in beautiful Upper Bucks County. Makes for a nice Sat. afternoon drive with my girlfriend. The owner, Karl, is a real nice guy.
 

sarms58

Member
Messages
22
Visited shop earlier today and walked out with a Martone Champ clone...absolutely incredible. Tone to kill. Ask about Jim Martin...the builder. Passed a while back. Wish I could have met him. This amp is a legacy...I will treasure. Good luck...by the way...the shop is a gas...and so is the owner....a well kept secret. Make sure you have time to spare.:aok

I' was just looking at that amp...but I might buy one of his radio conversions...
 

dewman

Member
Messages
5,750
you must be hitting DiPinto guitars in Philly (www.dipintoguitars.com) look for them under the 'vintage' webpage as Chris has his own line of guitars made overseas. John rebuilt a lot of PA heads and old amps and also had some of his own brews. Chris DiPinto sold me a few of John's amps when I lived outside of Philly and they were great sounding and affordable. I guess Martin passed away a year or maybe longer ago, so some builds are out there, and Chris seems to have some on his site. Worth checking out.
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,451
Tinicum Guitar Barn, by any chance?
Yup, that's the place. Karl is indeed a cool guy, and he has some amazing stuff for a little shop in the middle of nowhere.

Have you looked at the amps from Vintage47?
I haven't seen or heard their amps in person, but I've heard they make great ones. I'm content with the myriad originals floating around.
 

John_R

Member
Messages
1
Someone told me about this site and that someone was asking for information on John Martin and his amps, so I thought I would chime in...

John Martin was a very good friend of mine and well respected amp tech/builder in the PA/NJ/NY area. He was one of the sharpest guys I had ever met when it came to tube guitar amps. I spent many Saturday's with John helping him look for new amp projects at ham radio swap meets. He would find some old piece of junk PA amp, gut it and then turn it into one of the sweetest sounding guitar amps you'd ever hear. He was a master of turning junk into gold. If you get a chance to try one of his amps, by all means do! One warning, more than likely you'll also end up buying it. I have two of his amps which he custom built for me back in 2003. They are the best sounding amps by far of anything I own!

Here's a link that tells more about John and the all star jam that was held back in Aug 2008 in his honor.

http://www.phawker.com/2008/08/22/early-word-exit-the-fixer/

I hope that helps give you some more insight on one of the nicest guys I will ever know.


[FONT=&quot]John_R[/FONT]
 
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changeling

Member
Messages
1,762
john was the best at what he did 'round these parts. he put my ceriatone wreck clone together and even unbent the chassis that dhl "customized" for me. the martone tweed-style amps are as good as any fender amp i ever heard.
r
 

Oatman

Member
Messages
84
I had no idea John had passed. He fixed up the Traynor I have up for sale. I had only just recently met him and he suffered my endless inane questions about tube amps with class and grace. He really know his stuff and was happy to share. I was very struck by that generosity. Most amp-techs I've met are happy to yap, but not really so quick to share much, like they are sometimes guarding state secrets. But John was more than just an amp-tech it seems. I saw him working on several of his original designs. He seemed really about distilling and concentrating down the barest, purest minum of circuit and tone. He did exquisite work. He was showing me how to make a ground bus line once, and I was just amazed at how perfect everything was, while my solder and fabrication attempts look more like destruction than construction.

I also remember that fat ugly ass butt-faced black monster of a dog he seemed to be all about. What a sweetie they both were.

Sad news.
 

Chrisd2245

Member
Messages
14
I own two Martone amps made for me by John Martin, a '57 Tweed Deluxe clone and a Marshall JTM 45 made to the original '62 specs. Suffice to say, I am set for amps for life.

His passing is both sad and a loss for the Philly music community. I didn't know him well, but obviously I met him several times as he was building these, and he was always generous with his time and knowledge, and always a genuine pleasure to epak to and learn from.
 




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