Peterson Amplifiers (made in
The idiom “flash in the pan” is defined on Wikipedia as “a career notable for early success not followed by significant accomplishment.” This is an apt description for the brief manufacturing history of one of my favorite vintage jazz amplifiers, the Peterson P100G. In a short amount of time, Peterson made some incredible boutique-quality amplifers and left an indelible mark –albeit a small one- on the history of jazz guitar.
This web page is dedicated to that brief history and to the many followers who still revere the Peterson amplifiers. A great many players still carry a Peterson amp to their gigs and, in quests for information, blogs can be found which deal with the amps. My hope is that these web pages will grow as people submit more detailed information on the amp and its history (along with tips for repairs!).
The amps are a step up in quality, head-room, and E.Q. parameters, as compared to the long-standing Polytone Mini-Brute amps. The P100G is about the same size as a Polytone Mini-Brute II but, with an EV speaker and unique E.Q. system. It offers a warmth and naturalness that is a step above the Polytone.
Jazz amplifier manufacturers could take a lesson from the Peterson circuitry, which relies on a simple array of tone controls and yet is highly effective: high, mid 1, mid 2, low, gain, volume, reverb. That’s it! The 4 knobs for tone - high/mid1/mid2/low - give a range of adjustability that most modern jazz amps can’t touch, even when employing ‘modern’ push-button options, “sonic circuits”, “tweety speakers”, shaping controls, downward loaded speakers and other complicated tone control measures.
The amp just does a great job –especially for a solid-state package- in allowing the traditional jazz guitarist to easily and quickly dial in a tone that is clean and warm, using fairly straight-forward and simple controls.
I have collected a little info on the original company,
which was gleaned from the web. I do know that the Managing Director of the Peterson company was Pete Tullett, in
Neutronics Limited (history written by the family)
The company is a family owned and run business formed back in 1964. It was started by Vic and Joan, a husband and wife partnership who meet while working at The Marconi Research Laboratories at Great Baddow in Chelmsford. They were both electronic engineers, working on the development of radar systems during the 1950s and early 1960s. They worked on radar systems, designed to track explosive shells fired from royal navel ships, to aid in the targeting of enemy ships. This was in the days when engineers designed and built working prototypes, including the aerial arrays. Joan was the first woman engineer employed at Marconi Research Laboratories. She passed the initial interview with flying colours, but had to find a section manager willing to take her. One manager from the radar section agreed, and history was made. After many happy years of working in the outback of the Essex countryside, both Joan and Vic left their many friends and colleagues to start their own business in their home town of Braintree. This was the birth of Elvic Electronics. They began by repairing and servicing domestic radio and television and several years latter, the business moved to a shop with workshop facilities. Quite by chance they found themselves involved in the music business. This was the late 1960s and early 1970s, the birth of the new music revolution. The shop stocked and sold a variety of musical instruments and amplifiers as well as continuing to repair electronic equipment. Then in 1980 they were joined by their son, Peter who had just finished his college education, obtaining his Higher National Certificate in Electronic and Electrical Engineering. As the years progressed, the business began producing custom-built guitar and public address systems, until it was decided to move to a modern factory unit and manufacture quality guitar amplifiers. Amplifiers were produced under their own brand name, as well as for other customers. This resulted in reasonable sales as far away as Japan. After the decline of the music industry, mainly in Japan, the company moved into telecommunications. Now the business has moved back to its original roots.
Neutronics Limited - current activity: With a new trading name, once again we are back in the music business. Specializing in the repair of vintage valve guitar amplifiers and producing a brand new range of high quality valve amplification. Manufactures and repairs/rewinds transformers, both mains and output type for valve (tube) amplifiers.
Company Profile: The valve amp repair specialist, valve mains and output transformer rewinds, hi fi repairs, studio equipment, repair services, electronic restoration of vintage equipment.
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Below are two addresses I found for the current company:
3 / Unit 4, The Old Mushroom Farm, Hedingham Road Wethersfield, Nr Braintree, Essex CM7 4EQ
Telephone: 01371 851323 alternate: 0843 258 6931
FAX: 01371 851323
From another website (circa September 2010):
Joan E. Blanch, Managing Director
34 Hilton Way, Sible Hedingham, Halstead
CO9 3JW Braintree, Essex
Phone: 01787 462865
GEO: 51.973882, 0.592908
Below is an email I received from a fan of Peterson amps in Japan, which mentions the company’s continued interest in the amps, replacement parts, and servicing:
Pete Tullet - that's the man! I exchanged a few e-mails with him about my combo some years back and he was unfailingly helpful and still very enthusuastic about the amps. Even then I think they were unlike anything else on the market….they did have one thing that a lot of the new stuff lacks (imho) - character!
I still have my Peterson P100G in its solid mahogany cabinet — it's been my backup amp for more than 10 years and goes to every gig with me even now! Some Peterson history that I can add:
Pete Tulett was the Managing Director of Peterson, but they were actually manufactured by Elvic Electronics of Wethersfield (nr. Braintree) in Essex, who have long-since morphed into Neutronics Limited. They are a family owned firm and know these amps inside-out — you can still buy spares for them and have them (or other amps) repaired by them.