30 YEARS AGO…
Bruce Egnater got his start three decades ago as a Jimi Hendrix and Cream-loving guitarist and electronics student frustrated with off-the-shelf amplifiers that couldn’t match the tone of players such as Iggy Pop, Ted Nugent, Bob Seger and Alice Cooper. As the 1970s Detroit rock scene emerged, guitar players wanted bigger, louder & more distorted tones. Since there were no amps at the time that did the job, Bruce set out to build his own amp that did.
To pursue his passion for the intricacies of electronics design, Bruce attended the University of Detroit Engineering School. While studying, Bruce worked at Detroit’s legendary Zoppi’s Music on 8 Mile Road, repairing a wide variety of musical gear.
In 1975, Bruce opened his own repair shop, which specialized in modifying amplifiers and, in the process, forged new and innovative designs that gave musicians the tools to find their tone.
AN INNOVATOR IS BORN…
Bruce’s grandfather, Ed Kreske, once told him “Don’t be the guy who digs the ditches, be the guy who makes the shovels.” As a 10-year old boy, Bruce was yet to realize what a profound statement this was or how it would resonate throughout his career.
Why does any of this matter? As a relentless tinkerer, Bruce aimed for new ways to get the tones he wanted, but that were not available in amps at the time. No one had yet invented the master volume control or designed a high gain tube amp. Like everyone else, the only solution for true tube saturation was to crank your Marshalls up to ungodly volumes just to get “that” tone. The market was just starting to discover overdrive pedals. A step in the right direction, but not the solution Bruce wanted.
One of Bruce’s ideas was to take his little Gibson amp and hook up a resistor in place of the speaker. He jammed the output of the small amp into the input of his 200-watt Marshall Major head. Now he was onto something as this connection allowed the great distortion of the little amp while being able to play at concert volume.
News in Detroit spread fast, and Bruce soon found himself hooking up similar setups for countless players in the area. As his reputation grew, Bruce set out to build his first amplifier that could produce both great distortion and pristine cleans. He wanted an amp with both a clean channel and an overdrive channel with separate controls for each. The result was a two-channel switching amp that allowed guitarists to increase distortion without adding volume – better known as “cascaded gain”- one of the first of its kind in the market.
As guitarists throughout the country heard about Bruce’s radical new tube amp, demand began to grow. Bruce became known as a leader in innovative multi-channel tube designs. Many companies sought Bruce’s expertise in this field and, as a result, he has developed for and collaborated with some of the top companies over the last 25 years. Some of the most innovative amps introduced in the last two decades have Bruce’s fingerprints on them. Since those days, multi-channel tube amps are common place.
Bruce found himself modifying his own amps to create a new sound or different tone, so he set out to design a tube amp that would work for every player in every situation. The revolutionary modular amp was born. With his design, the power amp section stays constant while the pre-amps are modular, meaning they can be changed in and out of the amp with ease. Bruce’s now patented modular tube amps are used by a wide variety of musicians and producers around the world.
THE LEGEND CONTINUES….
From humble beginnings in a small shop on 8 Mile Road, Egnater Amplification is today the fastest growing guitar amp manufacturer in the industry. Bruce continues to be a relentless innovator striving to find new ways to get that illusive “ultimate” tone.
His patented modular tube amplifiers are a radical departure from convention and his ground-breaking line of all-tube amps found within this website continue to set the benchmark for others in our industry to follow.
“Tone First” is Bruce’s motto and what he lives for.