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Digital Subscriptions > The Guitar Magazine > Oct-18 > DICK DENNEY

DICK DENNEY

Dartford in Kent can lay claim to making two lasting and profound contributions to guitar music – The Rolling Stones and Vox amplifiers. Huw Price profiles the man who helped power the pop…
Dick Denney (left) and Dave Clark of The Dave Clark Five with the Vox Supreme in 1967

The man who many regard as the UK’s most important guitar amp designer was actually deaf in one ear, but Dick Denny’s perforated eardrum may have been the making of him. As a result of his affliction, he was exempted from military service during the Second World War and seconded to the Vickers munitions factory – something that would permanently alter the trajectory of his life.

During the pre-war years, Dick had become infatuated with both jazz music and radio electronics. Early experiments resulted in the inevitable destruction of the family radio, but Dick’s skills improved and his wages from the factory enabled him to buy components.

His work at Vickers also meant that Dick was freed from an unwanted apprenticeship in his father’s barber shop, and perhaps most importantly of all, it introduced him to a man named Tom Jennings.

During the war, amateur radio activity was prohibited so, as a guitarist, Dick turned his electronic skills to amplifier building. His goal was to develop an amplifier that was loud, but also small and light – and he had ample opportunity to test them out.

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