Cornell build amps for Eric Clapton!
Dennis Cornell built a name for himself by repairing and modding classic amps for many years. This led him to start building custom amps for clients and eventually developing his own range of amps.
These days, Dennis combine his time between repairing high-end boutique amps and building/developing his own range.
Surprisingly the price for a Cornell amp is not as hefty as you might think.
In this first interview, Dennis talks about how the ‘Eric Amp’ came about. Dennis also describes his ‘Plexi’ and ‘Romany’ in more detail.
The Romany is a range of amps having either a 10″ speaker (Romany) or a 12″ (Romany Plus). Romany Plus comes with a reverb as well.
These amps sound like old Fenders, Victoria amps and similar, early fender clones. The amps have been tailored for the modern markets demands so they won’t blow up either.
It might be difficult to find these in America, but here in the U.K, they are available in many boutique shops.
Both Romany models work on a single ended class A design, this means that you crank it, and it distorts like it should.
The mere 10W make it the ideal recording amp, no frills, just great tone.
Should 10W be too loud for the neighbours (it might be!) you can switch these babies down to 2W and even 1/4W, making it possible to always get output valve distortion, at any volume.
In 2009 Cornell also introduced the Romany Pro, this model takes the Romany concept to the stage with 20W, this could well be the amp you’ve been looking for.
The Eric Amp
As Dennis talks about in the first interview, the ‘Eric Amp’ comes from Eric Clapton wanting Cornell to build him a custom model.
Using as few knobs as possible and hemp cone speakers this is Dennis and Eric’s way to get to the tone as close as you’d possibly can.
The amps are built to order only, and there is a waiting list. Should you make the investment, make sure you include the extension cab.
In the second video interview Dennis talks more in depth about how to “build a Marshall”, problems with old builds, components and how to get the best results.
Dennis is a great ambassador for new boutique builds. As he explains, we know so much more today and can build amps that sound as good as the old. More importantly, he can build consistent amps that don’t break down as much.
Since the design is completely different between the two, Dennis Cornell also caters for the Marshall fans by building his own version named Plexi.
Players who have ever tried a Marshall Plexi know how much they can vary in sound from one to another. You definitely don’t want to buy an original without trying it first. Build components vary strongly between amp to amp.
To get it right Dennis looked at all the components and tweaked it so they are consistent sounding and work in today’s demanding climate.
The Plexi model by Cornell can be had as a combo with different wattage, or as a top.
When I was in a rock band I used it, it always sounded fantastic. I even had a couple of custom made models made but ended up playing the standard Plexi.
The custom models sounded better when playing on my own but once in a mix, his standard model won every time.
Variations on the Plexi
Cornell Plexi Seven is like a Romany but a Marshall version. 10″ speaker and switchable wattage from 7W to 4W to 1/4W you can get serious Jimi tone in your bedroom!
Should you want to gig it, then Cornell Plexi 18/20 might be the one for you. 2 10″ speakers, switch from 20 to 18W to 5W depending on the gig.
I always used my big one on half the wattage with a 212 cab, it was perfect for the medium sized club stage.