‘Pure Tone Amps’: A Talk with Michalis Serpetsidakis

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Hello Drooblers! Today we are introducing a special kind of an artist. His name is Michalis Serpetsidakis and he is a man who crafts his own sound, literally! His handmade tube amplifiers – “Pure Tone Amps” give you an amazing and vintage sound with great clarity. You can hear one of the amps in action HERE. We are very happy that such interesting and creative people are joining us in Drooble!

IMG_3042 resizedA lot of kids want to be astronauts, policemen, superheroes – how does one decide to start building amplifiers?
Well, this is not a kid’s dream, believe me, as a kid I wanted the same things you refer. It’s more of an adult dream. I started it as a hobby and still enjoy it as one.

How did your relationship with music start in the first place?
I started playing guitar in the age of 12 years old. I also enjoyed listening to LPs.

Is there anything in common between the feeling creating music and that of creating music gear?
There is an excitement and a satisfaction. Especially when finishing each amp and getting the wonderful feedback too. During the creation of an amplifier, you have to be devoted to the goal and be constantly calm. It’s amazing to know that people feel fantastic using your creations and are able to create better music or enjoy their music better. I believe it has many common things but in the same time has many common things with crafts and sculpting.

IMG_7486 resizedI can’t just go to any amplifier producer and ask them to make mine look like an ice-cream machine. I mean I could, but I’d have to sell my kidney for it. How did you end up with the fun twist in your designs?
When I thought to start making my amps I stayed true to the idea to make them as I think it’s better to be done. The mechanics and the practicality gave room to the design too. It’s a sum of all and in the top place is the need for wonderful tone.

What was wrong with existing amplifiers that made you consider contributing to the niche?
The tone was there but some mechanics and the practicality was not. Trying to evolve these things I believe I unlocked some tone more and added the features that I believe make an amp versatile enough.

IMG_6951 resizedHow did you learn to do it anyway?
There was a period of time that the tube amplifiers kept being used but the people who knew how to repair and keep them alive were lost, at least in my place. So when I got my first tube amplifier, a Twin Reverb I realized that no one was there to fix it. I ordered books from abroad and got some early 60s electronic books that were taught in Greek universities back then and started reading……. I became instantly in love with the wiring details and the looks of various amplifiers. After several years of having all these in my head and constantly studying them I thought I should try doing it my way.

I am guessing you’re also a musician yourself? What do you play?
I play the electric guitar but unfortunately, I don’t have much time.

And what do you listen to? Any favorite bands or solo artists?
I listen to various things. In the same time, I’m open to all styles. Some of my favourites are Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ry Cooder, Tom Waits, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler, Bill Frisell, Barney Kessel, RHCP, etc.

Do you have an impression or an opinion on today’s music industry? Is it helping musicians get heard or is it limiting their options and blocking their potential?
Maybe I’m not the right man to express an opinion but since the LPs and CDs are gone I feel lost a bit. I can’t follow things too much….. Or I don’t know how to do it yet. There was limiting to need a company to manage this, probably, but now there is so much flow that cannot be heard in the way it was done back then.

Did you like this interview? Find thousands of awesome musicians on Drooble.com!

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