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 Custom 50 Amplifier - "Dick Bauerle" Skyline Special - MSRP: $3999

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Users Guide      Specs      Owners Manual

 

 

 

The story behind our amp….

 

Guitar Players are notorious for “chasing the tone”.  We’re always looking for “perfection” in a guitar amp, think we’ve found it, then hear something we think is better and buy another amp.  On and on it goes, the “chase cycle”.  First it becomes an obsession, but oftentimes it evolves into an all-out addiction.

Eventually, we have a knack for finding something wrong with our current amp and its tone:

·         Great clean sounds, OK overdrive

·         Great overdrive, not enough clean headroom

·         Too big, heavy to move, or simply too loud for the venues we play in

I think it’s safe to say that every guitar amp, be it Production Line or Boutique, has its share of pluses and minuses.  I am one of those addicted “tone chasers”.

And, that’s where the story of the Suncoast “Dick Bauerle” Skyline Special - Custom 50 amplifier actually begins.

For the past 30 years or so, I have been guilty as charged as being one of the most obsessive (addicted?) “tone chasers”.  I’ve been through dozens of amps thinking I had finally found the “answer”, only to change my mind at some point because something wasn’t “quite sounding/ feeling right”.

In my almost 50 years of playing professionally, I have at one time or another owned or played through most of the iconic amps of my era except that rare and “infamous” California “D” amp that has become so legendary…and expensive!

But I have played through or owned many of its “clones” in recent years.  While these amps all sound nice in varying degrees, I always got a sense after referring back to audio of the “real thing”- that there was some missing ingredient in most of the clones.

I decided a long time ago that “my sound”, the one I was chasing, was THE TONE of the original “D”.  And since a $40K amp didn’t fit too well into the family budget, I had to remain satisfied (?) with my clones.

But that all changed in 2013.  

Robbie Konikoff, both a business associate of mine and friend going back to our High School days, told me about an exciting line of guitar amps he had become involved with: Suncoast.  I visited the website and my initial impressions were favorable. But there are many, many independent amp builders out there these days with established, known reputations, so I was of course skeptical about pursuing things further at that time.

But Robbie continued to insist that Suncoast’s founder - Jim Suchora, would and could build me the amp of my dreams.  It would meet both my exact specifications and lofty… expectations.

We finally all met face to face in January of 2014. Shortly into our 4 ½ hour conversation, I realized that I had found the “cure” for my addiction.

I also found out that Jim Suchora was no stranger to world class music gear and the musicians who used it.  He had been a synthesizer service technician at Moog Music back in their glory days.  He has traveled as a personal tech to Keith Emerson, plus many other artists too numerous to mention.  Servicing and tuning Moog synthesizers for many famous tours with some of the most illustrious musicians of all time.

But, Jim also final tested Lab Series Amplifiers for Moog Music during the Norlin years.  After Lab Series, Dan Pearce started his own company and designed the G1 amplifier, which I have previously used and endorsed.  This amp is still highly sought after and coveted by some players today.  Robbie also worked at Pearce amplifiers after Moog Music.  Jim worked closely with Dan Pearce in the CAD design and development of its predecessor the G2r amplifier.  So although a “synth guy by trade”- Jim’s real passion was guitar!  The founding of Suncoast in 2011, allowed Jim to follow his guitar amp muse.

Our meeting started with me playing through Jim’s existing models, and I liked what I heard, a LOT!  Then Jim, Robbie and I talked for several hours more about creating another amp, one that could finally satisfy my endless craving for tonal “perfection”.  We talked about the pros and cons of many amps and decided upon a possible road map for this new creation.  As its most basic criteria, it had to:

·         Sound great for both clean and overdrive tones

·         Be ergonomically friendly

We discussed many other detailed features as well, almost all of which you will find on the Custom 50.

In the ensuing months, Jim and I did extensive research for the amp we wanted to create.  We exchanged volumes of information, sound clips, and emails so that we would both always be on the same page.  We investigated a lot of things so that we could separate myth from reality about that “D amp”, which was to be our basic tonal foundation.  We also came up with several initial drawings before arriving at what you see as the final version.  

Suffice it to say, we both feel no stone was left unturned. And we both feel that we have achieved our goal in creating an awesome amp that sounds fantastic and is extremely friendly for both the live stage and the studio.

Will this amp be perfect for everyone? Probably not.  Nothing ever is. But if you are a player who needs fabulous tone, extreme versatility to cover most all playing styles, and incredible functionality, you need to check this amp out. 

My “tone chase” is finally over - Thank you Jim & Robbie!

Dick Bauerle

Guitarist, Performer, Recording Artist

Buffalo, NY

 

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Last modified: 03/31/17