There are times when packing a full rig for a small venue tour is just not practical and sacrifices have to be made. When the topic of being forced to use awful-sounding back line amp rentals came up in a conversation between slide guitar master Sonny Landreth and veteran amp maker James Demeter, an idea for an amp small enough to mount on a pedal board began to take shape in the latter's mind. The Mighty Minnie hybrid single channel guitar amp that resulted is now being made available through Demeter's Custom Shop.
"The pedal board amp started as a concept from our chief tech Rick Mulikin to make a small monitor amp and speakers for a pedal board," James Demeter, the principal designer and owner of Demeter Amps, tells Gizmag. "We had been working with next generation Class-D power amplifiers for our bass pre-amps and realized that we could easily fit a 100-watt amp in a small chassis with a hand-wired, point-to-point, all-tube TGA-3 clean channel pre-amp. We had been very successful in warming up the sound and keeping all the tube tone in our Bass Amplifiers with our exclusive tube circuit driving a special Jensen audio transformer to run an 800 watt Class-D amplifier. We incorporated that technology in the pedal board amp."
The Mighty Minnie (TGA-1-180D) features the same hand-wired, clean channel Demeter tube pre-amp as the TGA-3, a Jensen audio transformer, and an audiophile-grade Class-D power amplifier. Sat in front of the caged tubes are chrome-topped knobs for gain control, bass, mid and treble tweaking, and a master volume dial that has a pull pot to give an extra 20 dB of range. There's a standby stomp switch, and a status light shows whether Minnie is active or not.
A regulated 9 V output port at the front can be used to power any neighboring pedals on the board, with the signal routed through the amp via a 0.25-in instrument jack. The Mighty Minnie is connected to speakers courtesy of two 0.25-in audio-out jacks to the back, which is also where you'll find the amp's power input and on/off switch. The 10 x 7 x 4.25 in (25.4 x 17.8 x 10.8 cm), 4.5 lb (2 kg) unit is reported capable of throwing out 60 W into 16 ohms, 100 W into 8 ohms or an incredible 180 W into 4 ohms.
"We set up the pre-amp so it can be run clean or can give you an old school Edge/Overdrive," explains Demeter. "The idea of the amp is to keep the sound clean and get most of your distortion using your pedals. I must say with a Humbucker or a single coil with a bit of boost that you could get a very good over drive tube amp sound."
Originally designed and built as a one-off for Sonny Landreth, Demeter decided to make more after a jazz guitarist friend, who was called in to help fine-tune the tone, asked to buy one, and then sold two more to his friend.
"We decided maybe this fills a niche that we did not anticipate," says Demeter. "So we decided to make more. We can customize a bit. We can put in line level inputs so the player can use a bass pre-amp with it or run his stereo through it, for example. We can tune the EQ bit and lower the front end gain for more head room for jazz players. We can also put in International power switches."
The Mighty Minnie is hand-built in Templeton, California and carries a list price of US$1,199, but is currently available direct from Demeter Amps for $899.
Product page: Demeter Amps