How do I get a Trainwreck Amp?
Ultra Sound Amp Sales of New York City has a number of Trainwreck amps on sale. You can trust that they have the real item and will deal with you reputably. Once on the Ultra Sound website, click on “AMPS” and then select the head you’re interested in from the drop-down menu under “Select amp here”. Further contact and pricing info are available on the Ultra Sound website.
Once in a blue moon they show up on
eBay. There are only about one hundred of them so they are hard to find.
How much do they cost?
Ultra Sound Amp Sales have listed prices running from the mid/low $30,000’s to high thirties for Express amps and Liverpools. A Rocket is listed for over $40k. If you are serious about buying a Trainwreck you should probably speak with Gene, someone who respected Ken’s human spirit, not just his ability to design and build amps. His contact info is on the Ultra Sound website.
Why do they cost so much?
The cost of Trainwreck amps is set by the law of supply and demand. They sound incredible and rarely require service.
What makes Trainwreck amps so good?
To start, they are so responsive. You can set up a Trainwreck so that you can control the amount of distortion in your sound with the volume knob but, depending on how much overdrive you like, you can go from gorgeous clean to gorgeous crunch by merely altering your touch.
The tone of these amps is incredible but if you don’t have tone in your fingers, don’t expect a ‘wreck to make you sound good. Remember, they are totally responsive. If you have a bad sounding guitar or you put bad sounding tubes in the amp, don’t expect it to sound great.
The unprecedented clarity of these amps makes it possible to hear the tonal differences created by your guitar cable, your speaker cable, removing your pick-guard, or whatever. A Trainwreck head will allow you to distinguish the quality of every link in your signal chain. Clarity also means that when the amp is distorting, you can still hear all the nuances of your playing. That Ken made amps with this degree of clarity that still sounded beautiful, even under distortion, was his unique genius.
Trainwreck amps are also built incredibly well, built to last. I know two people who have been playing through them for over twenty years. One person sent it in for service once. The other had an old tube die so he had to replace the tubes and a fuse. That’s it.
I heard a Trainwreck and it didn’t sound that great. Why?
There could be plenty of reasons. The bias could be off, the tubes could be shot, the speakers could not suit the amp, etc. The amp could need a tune-up. There was a case where a relatively well-known amp company got hold of a Trainwreck Rocket and cloned it. They were happy that their clone sounded as “good” as the original and released sound clips. When Ken heard how poor the Rocket sounded he immediately called up the owner offering to fix his “sick” amplifier.
Did Ken design amps for any other companies?
He designed some fine amps for Komet Amplification. Ken liked Komet amps a great deal. He owned at least one and enjoyed playing through it.
If you have any questions about Trainwreck amps, feel free to email me, Stephen, at Trainwreck.com.