Dating hiwatt amps
After stints with the Jeff Beck Group and other projects, Wood jumped in with the Small Faces in ’69 to fill a void left by the departed Steve Marriott, alongside replacement singer Rod Stewart.The change marked the band’s transition from “Small Faces” to “Faces,” a simplification represented by someone’s effort to rub out the “Faces” from the stencil on the side of the head shell.
So he never had to evolve from small combo to large combo to arena-sized rig, as did so many other makers.“It was in a pub in London, and had been used as a small PA with two horrible little speaker cabs.After I bought it, and before it was unpacked, the guy said, ‘Oh, it has some stencil on it – I hope you don’t mind,’ And I didn’t!Even the styling tells us these amps meant business; they weren’t dressed to be the star of the show, but to stand unassuming at the backline, supporting the star of the show.Just one artist amid a growing list of notable British guitarists who appreciated what Hiwatt had to offer, Ronnie Wood epitomized the professional that Reeves aimed to please.And while Hiwatts might look rather like impressive “copies” of the better-known Marshalls, Reeves’ designs were all his own, and never borrowed from Marshall’s repertoire the way that, for example, Jim Marshall had borrowed from Fender to launch his own amp production.
In short, everything about Hiwatt amps was engineered to take the signal efficiently – and in grand style – from input to output, making it bigger- and better-sounding at each stage, and squeezing as much juice as possible from the four EL34s that powered the tone to well beyond the amp’s 100-watt rating.
Virtually from the start, Hiwatt aimed straight at the virtues of efficiency and volume.
To get there, Reeves blended painstaking technique, original designs, and top-notch components in the name of creating serious professional performing tools.
The Master Volume on the front is another innovative feature adopted by Reeves years before it appeared on any Fender or Marshall amps.
This Hiwatt is owned by reader Jack Wright, who purchased it several years ago from Paul Tribe in the U. In a recent letter to Wright, Tribe relates the “collector’s dream” scenario of finding the amp himself a few years before.
This Hiwatt DR103 Custom 100 was built for the band by Reeves in ’69, in the small garage of his house in New Malden, Surrey, when Hiwatt was a one-man operation.