Portable tones in a pipe: The Pipe Amp from FuzzHugger
By Paul Ridden
October 19, 2010
FuzzHugger has just unleashed a portable, battery-powered amp that packs some serious volume and gorgeous 1960s fuzz tones into a pipe housing. The appropriately named Pipe Amp is about the size of a vintage effects pedal, doesn't have its own clean channel and can be used to drive a 4 x 12 cabinet. The fact that each one is hand-built and available in strictly limited quantities only adds to its must-have charm. Let the fuzz begin...
Hand-built in limited quantities by FuzzHugger's Tom Dalton – who undertakes all the wiring and construction, sandblasting and painting himself – the Pipe Amp is billed as "a big-sounding, super rugged, portable practice amp." It's powered by a 9-volt battery which is accessed via a cool twist wingnut to the side, and benefits from only being powered on when a guitar lead is plugged into the jack. Removing it turns the unit off.
The "surprising volume" comes courtesy of a 3-inch speaker surrounded by a 1-inch protection cone, and a red channel selector on top gives players push/pull access to just two modes. There's no clean option here, just overdrive or fuzz. The selector also acts as a trim feature that works with a guitar's volume control to determine output volume and tone. On the opposite side is a line out socket to drive an 8 ohm speaker or cabinet.
So far, Pipe Amps have been snapped up as quickly as Dalton can make them, by eager fuzz lovers keen to get at the promised nice fat tones. The units have been made in cream, black, green and pink and are available now for a special price of US$95.
Dalton put together the following video shortly after manufacturing the first Pipe Amp: