ToneQuest Report: April 2023 – Vol. 24, No. 6


In the April 2023 Issue of ToneQuest Report, we talk Milkman® Amps, Jupiter® Speakers, the F-Stop Pedal, and much, much more!

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What's Inside This Issue:

Milkman Sound With Tim Marcus – We believe an amplifier is an instrument, as much as an oud, bouzouki, or a Les Paul Junior. And what an endeavor it must be to dedicate your life to building them. Tim Marcus of Milkman Sound is one of the few. He hand-wires each and every amplifier that those of us fortunate enough to spend time with get to light up. It isn’t an easy ride. It just can’t be. All the parts, details, the nitty gritty of solder joint after joint, all the while trying to keep the bills paid and the shop open and most importantly, staying true to the reason he is building them. Tim takes what those before created as timeless, Leo Fender in particular, and puts the Milkman stamp on them raising the bar even higher—truly special and seriously overbuilt to perform.

The Milkman HT15 Amp Review – These days there are certainly videos you can Google up to watch the amp being put through the paces, but it’s not the same as being able to feel it from the guitar in your hands. Regardless, you can witness for yourself what the endless fuss is all about. With our 2010 goldtop, The Milkman HT15 has been speaking to us for days on end. Three generations of Fender? We are still processing how crème de la crème special this amp is and have selfishly kept it here for months. Is is that achingly, jaw dropping beautiful. ‘Nuff said, read for yourself.

The Milkman Reverb/Harmonic Tremolo Unit and The F-Stop Pedal – The Milkman Reverb/Harmonic Tremolo is the coolest damn sonically inspiring blonde box. Pared with the tweed deluxe…searing Neil Young and Crazy Horse live vibes in spades. Hot damn this is what it’s all about. We don’t want to live without this, and we won’t be shipping it back—it’s everything we hoping for and more…

The F-Stop Pedal – Ace In The Hole – It’s beyond fun to let rip with the F-Stop…it’s a rowdy plug and play version of the standalone reverb tremolo unit and for the money a good one to check out. We’ll file The F-Stop Pedal under “Ace in hole.” Tim Marcus is a guy who is getting everything right.

Jupiter Speakers – Chris Young Interview – The Jupiter alnico speaker in the Milkman HT15 Amp is absolutely stellar and found us on the phone to find out how all of this happened. We have the story. We spoke with Chris Young, serious audiophile and maker of amazing capacitors and speakers to understand how in the world does someone find their way into this rabbit hole? A deep interest in audio, studying the Bell South Laboratory chemistry journals and engineering notes, making friends with people at capacitor companies, building a clone of a Western Electric speaker, and his knowledge of Jensen speakers—and that’s how it all started. From hi-fi audio to guitar, he’s not a musician, however a keen listener seeking the highest artistic and audio quality. Some things are just meant to be.

The Bison 15 Roars To Life – Our gig is to unearth those rare gems so that you can make a choice as to whether or not they light the fuse with your musical dreams. We ordered up three speakers from Jupiter in varying sizes for review. Meanwhile, how would we be able to even compare and evaluate these Jupiters claiming to be like vintage Jensens? We struck a deal with Larry Progreba for The Bison—his hand-made pine cabinet created from the floor of a 120-year old Montana restaurant with vintage potato sack for grill cloth, so we could find a vintage Jensen P15N to put in it and evaluate the Jupiter Alnico 15 alongside. Searching the internet far and wide for a P15N we consult Mr. Valco and he discovers a pair in his back barn… and just like that we’re rolling.

Motivational Speakers 10, 12, 15 –  Over the course of a few weeks, the three Jupiter speakers, with different guitars in and out of different amps, over and over, writing notes, thinking, heaps of friends stopping by to crank them while we listened, and on and on. Until we were finally ready to tell this story. The Jupiter Midnight 10, good lawd they got it right. The Jupiter 12LA, so good and in the tweed Deluxe, game over. The Jupiter 15LA, we hated to do it, but we had to, and called Tim Marcus up to buy the Milkman HT15 amp—the first modern amp we’ve ever bought, thanks to our vintage cork-sniffery. The Jupiters are truly superb speakers…we wonder if the Jensens will go up in smoke, it’s just how it goes.

The Wolf’s Strat – In the days before the interwebs, you could find cool, reasonably priced vintage gear if you looked in the right places, and in many ways, it was the Wild West. TQ’s Tom Guerra tells his story of searching the world wide web in the year 2000 for a “1963 Fender Stratocaster for Sale,” until one night he came across an ad showing a beat up white 1963 Stratocaster that appeared to be all there, including the original case. He contacted the seller, struck a deal and a week or so later, the guitar arrived. Holding the pickguard up to the light, it was clear that the words “Lil’ Bill” had been painted onto it…Hmmm, who is Lil’ Bill? As his curiosity grew he set out to find more…discovering a soulful lineage and a guitar worthy of display at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.