We have been exploring different aspects of music lately, a few weeks ago we did an interview with a sound guy and got a look at live music production from his perspective. This week we have another interview with someone that is essential to any good musician that loves their equipment.
Tom Currie is a local musician who happens to be really good at fixing broken amps. Anyone who plays around town on the regular knows that equipment is prone to breaking down at any time and it's not always easy to get it fixed. Most musicians buy equipment that they love and invest money into it to keep it long term, so when it breaks they look into fixing it instead of buying something new. With amps, newer does not always mean better. Lots of people love to play on older tube amps and these items frequently need to be repaired.
Tom has made himself the go to guy when someone's equipment breaks and I wanted to tell all of our readers about his side hustle, Detroit Amp Lab, so they have someone to turn to when something fails on them. Check out what he had to say about amps and give him a call the next time that you are in trouble.
HID- How did you learn to repair amps?
Tom Currie- "I’ve played in bands for nearly 20 years. I guess it just came out of necessity. When I was a teenager, I would blow up my amps and have my dad help me fix them. He’s a pretty knowledgeable guy when it comes to electronics. From there it was really trial and error. I found myself buying broken amps on ebay just to get more familiar with tube amps. From there I would repair band mates amps and finally decided to start my business back in 2010."
HID- What kinds of problems do you you routinely fix?
Tom- "Most problems I find in repairing guitar amps are worn out tubes. Other issues I find quite often are bad solder connections and burned up components. I work on each amp as if it were my own. I take a lot of pride in what I do."
HID- Have you ever found anything weird inside of an amp that you were repairing?
Tom- "Lots of marijuana stashed in amps."
HID- How long does it usually take you to fix something and get it back to someone?
Tom- "It all depends on the issue with the amp. If a customer wants new tubes installed and to set the bias, I can usually do that on the spot. Some amps take a day or two if I have parts on hand. Others up to two weeks if I need to order parts. I will give the customer a general time frame when an amp is dropped off."
HID- Where do you do your repairs, out of a storefront or out of your home?
Tom- "Right now I’m repairing amps in my garage in Ferndale. I’ve made a large workspace that gives me the ability to work on amps whenever I need to. Eventually, I would like to rent out a space in the Ferndale/Berkley/Royal Oak area. Probably a basement space in an existing store."
HID- How can someone get in contact with you if they need you to do work for them?
Tom- "The best way for someone to get ahold of me is giving me a call or send me a text. My phone number is (734) 306-6716."
HID- Being an amp expert, can you tell us what your favorite brands are and why?
Tom- "I’m a huge fan of 1960’s era Fender amps. The quality of amp builds back then were much better to what they are now. You put on any indie rock record from the 90’s and most of the time, they are playing old Fenders. To me, a ’65 Fender Deluxe Reverb is the best sounding amp ever made. I’m also a fan of Silvertone amps that Sears sold back in the 1960’s. They are cheaply made but just have this unique brittle lo fi sound to them."
HID- Anything else you think our readers should know about you and your business?
Tom- "First and foremost, I’m a musician. I record my solo stuff under the name The Narrows and most recently I’ve played in The Cold Wave and Red Iron Orchestra. I’m a huge gear nerd. I know how to get amps sounding their best. I’ve worked on hundreds of amps over the years and would really like to help you get the most out of your amp."
To learn more about Tom or to contact him for work head over to DetroitAmpLab.com or on Facebook at ww.facebook.com/Detroit.Amp.Lab.