Randy Bachman’s Herzog Guitar Amp

Courtesy Pete Thiessen/Garnetamps.com

Photo: Courtesy Pete Thiessen/Garnetamps.com

“Growing up playing violin, I loved the sustain, especially of a viola or cello. So early on in the mid ’60’s, I found out that by plugging a small amplifier into a bigger amplifier, I could get this sound. Now I was taking the power out, which normally would go to the speaker and plugging it into the input of another amp. The result, for a few short minutes was a cool, great new sustained sound. Gar Gillies had a tv/radio repair shop, was a cool musician, and I wasn’t embarrassed to take in my amps, which were literally burned by the power misuse; fried, to say the least. Gar asked what the heck I was doing, and when I told him, he said, you’re insane to do this, its very dangerous. So he offered to help me do it a safer and less destructive way.” – Randy Bachman

The result of this collaboration was “Randy Bachman’s Herzog”, a preamp, which provided the guitar sound made famous on the Guess Who’s “American Woman”. At the time, this sound was a revelation – everyone wanted it – and became known as “The Winnipeg Sound”. Today, many guitar effects pedals come with an American Woman setting, which tries (in vain) to duplicate Gar’s original. Forty plus years later, Herzog’s are serious collectibles and the durability and quality of the design has become almost as legendary as the sound itself. Listen to the work of JJ. Cale, Neil Young, Gordie Johnson, Bob Rock, Lenny Kravitz and the Constantines (just to name a few) and you might hear a Herzog.

Shore, Randy. “Randy Bachman: Full interview” Vancouver Sun, Jan 21, 2009.
Molotkow, Alex. “The Constantines Are Your Neighbors” Exclaim, April 2008.

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