|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (March 2014)|
|Founded||Surrey, England (1966)|
|United Kingdom, United States|
Hiwatt is a British company who manufacture amplifiers for electric guitars and electric basses. Starting in the late 1960s, together with Marshall and Vox, Hiwatt contributed to the sonic image popularly termed "British sound".
Dave Reeves started Hiwatt and Hylight Electronics in 1966. In order to raise capital for his young company, Reeves accepted a contract to build a line of amplifiers for Ivor Arbiter's store Sound City. By mid-1968 and the contract with Sound City fulfilled, Reeves focused on his own brand, Hiwatt.
By 1969, The Who and Pink Floyd were the most well known users of Hiwatt. Later that year, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) had a Hiwatt custom made for him. Jethro Tull and Manfred Mann were other famous users at that time.
By 1970, Hiwatt produced PA amps as well as 50-watt (DR504), 100-watt (DR103), and 200-watt (DR201) all-purpose amplifiers. Until that time, Reeves had been building all of the amps in his garage with the help of his wife Daphne and Doug Fentiman. In early 1970, Reeves accepted that he could not keep up with demand and began looking for well qualified electrical technicians to be contracted.
Harry Joyce Electronics was selected and by mid-1970 was wiring chassis that were then sent to Reeves for final assembly and testing. This arrangement lasted until Reeves's death in 1981 and Harry Joyce Electronics continued to wire chassis for the short lived Biacrown Electronics (1981–1984)
Between 1984 and 2013 there have been various owners of the Hiwatt Trademark, namely Richard Harrison and Fernandez who owned the trademark for North America and Japan. In 2013 Hiwatt was brought back under full British control.
Hiwatt continue to produce amplifiers by hand in the UK. Hiwatt also continue to use British FANE speakers which are custom built to Hiwatt's exacting specifications.
2014 saw the introduction of the Hiwatt Little Rig Series of amplifiers which are 20W/0.5w versions of the already popular Hiwatt Signature series and are based upon amplifiers used by David Gilmour, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend.
Also new in 2014 is a range of Hiwatt Effects pedals including the generation Fuzz, Dynamic Compressor and Power Boost. Each model is made by hand in the UK.
Hiwatt has been used by some of music's biggest acts including The Killers, Coldplay, David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Arctic Monkeys, The Darkness, Styx, Albert Hammond, Jr., Joe Walsh, Noel Gallagher, and many more. The Who namechecked Hiwatt amplifiers in their song "Long Live Rock".
Jimi Hendrix can be seen using a Music City amp head on the 1968 Miami Pop Festival footage.