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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Dec 17 > LIFE IS SWEET


Leaving his corporate life behind him, Andy Smith has forged ahead with his dream of hand-crafting boutique valve amps peppered with personality. MARK ALEXANDER went to his hideaway in Scotland to find out how Honeyboy amps took flight

Talking Shop


The life of an artisan amp builder may sound exotic, but before the accolades start littering your doorstep, there’s a good lump of toil and sweat to get through first. It is a commitment that starts with a decision. A point of no return, when you choose to leave behind monthly pay cheques and Monday morning meetings to pursue a nagging spark of an idea.

For Andy Smith, his moment of truth came in January 2016. 25 years of IT work had ended in “soul-crushing horribleness”, which led him to take matters into his own hands. Leaving the corporate treadmill behind, he set about building hand-wired, all-tube amps with cool, distinctive finishes from a countryside hideaway just north of Glasgow.

“We wanted to bring to the party handbuilt, hand-wired, quality amps that deliver that distinctive vintage tone with that thicker midrange that other amps simply don’t have,” he explains. “What we add is the extra visual dimension. We didn’t want to make just another black or tweed amp because you see them everywhere.”

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About Guitar Magazine

The December 2017 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now! Inside, you’ll find a massive 24-page feature devoted to The Secrets Of Studio Guitar. Following exclusive insights into the golden era of session guitar from Wrecking Crew luminary Carol Kaye and Tommy Tedesco’s son Denny, we move into the modern age (albeit via a raft of vintage tube amps) with recording tips courtesy of Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb, first-call LA guitarist Josh Smith’s guide to the perfect session and a tale of how digital modelling can be the answer to your sonic prayers. Elsewhere in the mag, we pay tribute to Tom Petty, review a raft of hot new gear from the likes of Fender, Maybach, Satellite Amps, G&L and Keeley and show you how to build your own acoustic guitar in the latest instalment of DIY Workshop. For all that and a FREE 2018 calendar packed full of beautifully photographed vintage and star guitars, pick up your copy of the December issue of The Guitar Magazine now!