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Fryette Amplification of North Hollywood, California is a manufacturer of high-quality hand built electric guitar amplifiers, speaker cabinets, power amplifiers, sound effects pedals and pedalboard accessories. The company was founded as VHT Amplification in Studio City, Los Angeles, California by Steven Fryette in January 1989 and was the first to produce a true three-channel vacuum tube amplifier.
A few years after moving from Seattle, Washington to Los Angeles, California in 1976, Steven Fryette landed a job as a repair technician at Valley Arts Guitar. Fryette honed his skills doing custom work, repairs and modifications for the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Steve Lukather, Larry Carlton, Tommy Tedesco, Ry Cooder, Buzz Feiten, Carlos Rios, Duane Eddy, and many other legendary players.
After several years of building experimental prototypes for a new all tube stereo power amplifier and the first of a long line of multi-channel, multi-featured amplifiers under the PITTBULL moniker, Fryette decided to go live. VHT Amplification officially began in January 1989 on the dining room table of a small Studio City, California apartment just two blocks away from Valley Arts.
The First Amplifiers
Advance orders for the 2150 Power Amplifier were immediate and overwhelming, prompting a move to a larger two-bedroom apartment. In 1991, Fryette then moved to North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California into a converted store front next door to Bob Bradshaw’s Custom Audio Electronics’. Although the company’s time here was short, the Classic Power Amp and the first Pittbull Classic Head and Combo amplifiers were launched here.
In 1992 the company moved to its first commercial building in Newbury Park, California. Many of the current flagship models were launched from this facility including the Pittbull Ultra Lead, Pittbull CL Series Pittbull Fifty Series, Pittbull Forty Five Series, and the popular Two/Ninety/Two and Two/Fifty/Two Power Amplifiers. This period also marks the beginning of Fryette’s association with Eminence Speakers resulting in the development of the P100E, P50E and P75E 12 inch guitar speakers.
In 2001 VHT moved its operation into the SWR Sound Corporation facility where the company released the Valvulator GP3 guitar pre-amplifier to accompany its power amplifiers. In conjunction with the development of the GP3, the company applied for their first patent for its Dynamic Sensing circuit. Dynamic Sensing solved the problem of making a stand-alone pre-amp behave more like a tube guitar amplifier head.
In 2002 VHT Amplification relocated to Burbank, California. After moving to Burbank, the company designed & produced the Super 30 combo. The Deliverance Series followed, consisting of single-channel amplifier heads & speaker cabinets. The award-winning (1) Sig: X three-channel amplifier came next incorporating the patented Dynamic Sensing Technology.
On January 1, 2009 the company name changed to Steven Fryette Design, Inc. Under the brand, Fryette Amplification, the company continues to manufacture all of the products that were current under the VHT name. The Memphis Thirty combo, incorporating its specially designed AR75 speaker, is the first new Fryette Amplification product release to come out of Burbank.
In 2010 Fryette Amplification relocated back to North Hollywood, setting off a renewed focus on innovation and creative thinking, resulting in the development of the Power Station, LXII Single Space Stereo Tube Power Amp, S.A.S and Boostassio Pedals, Valvulator GP/DI Desktop Recording Amplifier and Aether handwired modern vintage amplifier.
Rack mountable power amplifiers were the genesis of the company. Early customers such as Metallica, Steve Lukather, Alice In Chains, Anthrax (American band) and Megadeth, helped solidify the company as one of the pioneers of the rack revolution. Fryette power amps constantly evolve and their success continues with two current models, the EL34 powered Two/Fifty/Two & the KT88 powered Two/Ninety/Two.
The Pittbulls were the second amplifier series created by Fryette, which includes the flagship KT88 powered 120 Watt Pittbull Ultra-Lead three-channel head, the Master Built EL34 powered 100 Watt Pittbull Hundred/CLX three-channel head, the award-winning (2) dual-channel EL34 powered Pittbull Hundred/CL head & its counterpart the Fifty/CL head. The series also included the EL84 based Pittbull Fifty series, the Pittbull Forty-Five series as well as the EL34 based Pittbull Fifty series heads and combos.
The Valvulator I is a Vacuum Tube Buffer-Line Driver and a Multiple Output Regulated DC Power Supply. It was designed to solve the problems of diminished high frequency response caused by cable capacitance, decreased signal level and high frequency response from impedance effects, and signal degradation caused by the design of circuitries in effects devices. The Valvulator I solved these problems using a vacuum tube based Buffer circuit to transform the guitar signal from high impedance to low impedance.
In January 2005 Fryette unveiled the single-channel KT88 powered Deliverance series amplifiers and cabinets. The Deliverance amplifier concept was simply to demonstrate that the versatility and unique sonic quality of Fryette products is a quality of itself and not simply a byproduct of a feature intensive amplifier. This series includes the Deliverance One Twenty, the Deliverance Sixty and the Deliverance speaker cabinets.
In January 2007 Fryette unveiled the award-winning (1) three-channel 100 Watt Sig: X amplifier, a completely new design from the ground up offering a feature set designed to allow guitar players the capability & flexibility to dial in their own unique or signature sound. The model name Sig: X was in response to the market’s saturation of artist signature model products.
Fryette manufactures the FatBottom Series & the Deliverance Series guitar speaker cabinets. Both are CNC (Numerical control) milled, constructed with Baltic Birch & front mounted with the Fryette P50E speaker. The FatBottom cabinets have a strong outward projection with a tight & focused sound. The Deliverance cabinets utilize the Fryette V-BRACE technology producing a looser feel than the FatBottom cabinets.
The Memphis Thirty was the first new product release under the Fryette name. The Memphis also marked the return of combo amplifiers to the Fryette line. The Class A, 2 channel Memphis Thirty 1x12 was the first amp in the new Memphis Series and features EL84 power tubes, 30 Watt & 18 Watt power modes & a unique removable hatch on the front panel allowing users to easily access and change pre-amp tubes.
S.A.S and Boostassio Pedals
Released in 2010, the S.A.S Distortion and Boostassio Boost pedals feature a unique EF86 driven tube design coupled with a variable Bias control to tailor the distortion behavior of the EF86.
Introduced in 2014, the Power Station is an innovative product design which couples an adjustable reactive load with an internal 50W, 6L6 power amplifier. The Power Station serves as a power attenuator, power booster and reamping device with a passive line out and post load amp effects loop. The internal power amp response can be adjusted using dedicated Presence and Depth controls based on Fryette's original Depth Control design introduced in 1988 and subsequently adopted by every major tube amplifier builder on the market today.
Also introduced in 2014, the Aether amplifier is Fryette's paradigm shifting take on vintage modernism. In the Aether amp, the preamp, speaker and reverb unit reside in the speaker cabinet while the power amp and power supply occupy a separate compact lunchbox style housing.
- Guitar Player, July 2008
- Guitar Player, October 2009