This is a post much unusual compared to my normal photos/banter, but I’m creating it to fill a void in the internet (Addendum: This has since been corrected). Earlier this spring I found myself searching for a guitar amp with a higher gain capability than my Matchless Clubman. The only real specs for it were 1. High Gain, and 2. significantly cheaper than my Matchless. After consulting around, my friend Josh Day suggested I check out Phaez amps (as he owns a little 4w Phaez head that he uses as a practice/demo amp). Josh had purchased his on ebay, and said the experience was pretty good (the guy even added a direct out after the auction was over at no charge), but he also knew that he did custom amps for people too. I did some searching on Harmony Central, and ebay, and found that this was true.
The process, however, wasn’t as straightforward or as explicitly spelled out anywhere on the internet as I would hope. Thus, this post exists to hopefully answer some of your questions in advance (assuming you ended up on this post by searching for Phaez amps, and like my experience, didn’t find anything else).
First things first, yes, you can contact him (Randy Fay is his actual name; Fay’s amps = Phaez amps, get it?) by sending a message to ontariomaximus on ebay. He has another email address too that we used for some of our back and forth conversation, but for starters, I’d suggest just using that. You’re going to end up sending payment on paypal anyway, so you may as well have something there. And no, I can’t tell you how much your project will cost, but I’ll just discuss what mine ended up being. I asked him what it would cost to do a primarily high-gain head, with a possible second channel for clean operation. Additional requests were: between 10-25watts (to roughly match my Matchless, har har), a half-power switch (so I can practice it in my apartment at acceptable levels), a direct out (for easy recording), and it would need a head cabinet as well (by “default” I think he sells his heads as a plain chassis, but he will build you a cabinet as well if you like. I’m not sure about whether he’d do a combo or not).
What he came back with was a 6V6 design based on his “Daisy Cutter” circuit at 25W, for $450, plus another $135 for a clean channel (which is based on the Trainwreck Rocket/Matchless Lightning), and another 190ish for the head cabinet. This was already looking like a great deal. All that was needed was a downpayment (mine was $150 or $250; I can’t remember) and the rest would be paid upon completion. He also in a separate email sent me a whole slew of possible head cabinets, which I’ll post as a gallery at the end of all this. You can actually buy my exact amp, minus cabinet, here.
The biggest variable in ordering the amp ended up being the time to delivery. One of the harmony central reviews said they got theirs in 7 weeks. Mine was quite a bit longer, which is partially because I had a head cabinet made too, and partially because my head cab didn’t leave a lot of room for knobs so he had to order some Marshall-style knobs which had been backordered, but altogether I think mine was about 3 months, which was fine by me considering I ended up with an amplifier completely custom made for me. Not only that, but he named it for me.
He must have gotten the town I live in from my Paypal info or something, but that’s what he decided to name the amp, which I was thrilled with. I haven’t taken the time to crack the amp open and look at the innards yet, but it is point to point, and it feels very solidly built, but doesn’t feel overly heavy. My specific design even includes ports on the top to keep the tubes cool (or to keep it looking cool, at least).
Anyway, on the whole I’m really happy with the amp, and it sounds awesome, and ended up being a great deal, especially considering what most handmade boutique amps cost these days. If you’re in the market for something with it’s own sound and style, you should definitely look into ordering one.