Interview: John Tomaszewicz of TomasZewicz Amplifiers
John Tomaszewicz is somewhat of a soft spoken man and lets his amps do the talking…and talking they do!! I met John at the Austin Amp Show back on March 6th, 2010. I got to hang out with him in his suite and talk about his amps for a little while. John is originally from New Jersey and grew up in the ’70s and experienced the Jersey Shore music scene in it’s heyday. I missed that whole wonderful scene because I was too young but caught some of the tail end of it…
Some 30 years later he’s building some fine amplifiers that really knocked me out. I don’t want to get too deep into his amps at this point so let’s hear from the man himself and we’ll get to know his amps very soon.
300guitars: Hi John. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started with guitars and music in general? What groups inspired you to play?
John Tomaszewicz: Watching Ricky Nelson with James Burton on Ozzie and Harriet shows when I was a kid was an early inspiration. When I heard the Beatles and saw the way the girls went crazy for them I decided what I wanted to do with my life. From There it was Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Creedence, Paul Revere and the Raiders. The whole thing was cast in concrete in 1971 in Asbury Park where I saw The James Gang, Grand Funk, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen who opened for Humble Pie, Mountain, Bloodrock and Black Sabbath again. The sounds of those Marshall, Laney, West, and Sunn stacks were life changing. Nowadays where often times stack are just for show, young audiences are robbed of some of the magic of Rock and Roll.
300guitars: What was your first electric guitar and amp?
John Tomaszewicz: A blue Fender Mustang and a Kent amplifier. The amp must have been about 1 watt with a volume and a tone. The big feature was it had three input jacks.
300guitars: Did you take apart your amps when you were younger to see how they worked?
John Tomaszewicz: All the time.
300guitars: What got you started building amps?
John Tomaszewicz: I had an interest in science in general but electronics was fun. Also I wanted a bigger amp and couldn’t afford one.
300guitars: Are they single channel designs or channel switching?
John Tomaszewicz: Single Channel. Now I offer an overdrive amp with switchable OD
300guitars: What are your amps based on…if anything?
John Tomaszewicz: Tube technology. My designs have so many influences it’s not fair to single one out. However my top favorites were Marshall, Vox, Fender, and Hiwatt.
300guitars: Are you using PTP hand wiring or a PCB?
John Tomaszewicz: I use PCB, PTP, and Turret board construction. PCB is preferred for engineering reasons (ground plane shielding and repeatability). Turret is preferred for swapping out parts while experimenting. And PTP is preferred to connect chassis mounted tube sockets, switches and potentiometers.
300guitars: What kind of transformers are you using? Are they proprietary?
John Tomaszewicz: I use Pacific (proprietary), and Hammond
300guitars: Can you tell us more about your Sustain Feature on your amps?
John Tomaszewicz: The sustain circuit consists of a high end studio quality FET compressor limiter that is mixed in parallel with the power amp drive signal. This circuit allows you to back off on your guitars volume control for a cleaner sound without dropping out of the mix. The end result offers a produced type of sound in a live environment without the complexity.
300guitars: What about cabinetry. What materials are you using for your cabinets?
John Tomaszewicz: finger jointed Baltic Birch.
300guitars: What speaker configuration are your combo amps available as?
John Tomaszewicz: 1×12 or 2×12
300guitars: Do you favor or recommend a particular speaker (brand & model) that pairs up best with your amps?
John Tomaszewicz: Depends on the speaker arrangement. For a 1X12 a WGS Veteran 30 works well or as an upgrade a Celestion 12H30 heritage sounds great. For 2X12 WGS ET65 paired with a Veteran 30 is the base configuration or you can upgrade to a Celestion Alnico Gold, 12H30 Anniversary combo. The standard would be the same for a 4X12 WGS ET65/vet 30 or upgrade to Celestion Alnico Gold/12H30. Ultimately you can have whatever you want, there are so many great speakers to choose from.
300guitars: What are your interests outside of guitars, amps and music?
John Tomaszewicz: Boats, cars, motorcycles
300guitars: What are your future plans for your company?
John Tomaszewicz: Keep growing sales, expand the product line. Offer innovative designs for reasonable prices.
300guitars: Thanks a lot John for taking the time for this interview..!!
John Tomaszewicz: You’re welcome Billy.