NEWS: Moncton music company cranks business up with new amps

Sanford Magnetics offering new locally-made guitar amplifier

A small Moncton music company is taking on some of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll with a Maritime first: a line of hand-wired, locally-made guitar amplifiers.

Sanford Magnetics made the announcement on their website on Monday with the message, “So, now we’re an amp company.”

Nathan Sanford, 36, says his company’s new amps are unique in their sound and construction.

“Most amplifiers are derived from Marshall, Fender or Vox. This is different,” he said.

Sanford, who grew up loving guitars and guitar gear, “flipped the switch” on his business in March.

si-nathan-sanfordHe’s already had success selling handmade guitar pickups to customers as far as Nashville, Spain and the U.K.

But this summer, his longtime friend and fellow music-lover Jody Perry came by with something new — a homemade amp Perry had been working on for three years.
“It didn’t sound like anything I’d ever heard before,” Sanford said. “It checked a lot of boxes. Sounded great, looked great. I thought it was unique so I thought maybe we could refine it and make a professional product.”

Together, Sanford says he and Perry spent six months “swapping parts on it, tinkering, critically listening” to get the sound they wanted.

The finished product costs $1,799. Additional cabinets are sold separately, beginning at $499.

Dream come true

Seeing the end result is a dream come true for Perry, who taught himself how to make amps and built the prototype in spare time after work and after his son had gone to sleep.

si-amp-circuits“It’s nerve-racking. This thing is out here now. I’m extremely proud, ” Perry said.

“It’s really unique and I mean that. No one has put these parts in the configuration I have.”
He lists a one-of-a-kind tube complement, a Parallel Class A power section, and his tone control as elements he’s proud of. But most of all, “the handmade component I think is important, I really do. It makes a difference.”

Sanford and Perry say their amps are made more special by the fact that they’re locally-made, and they want to keep them that way.

A Maritime first

“No one in the Maritimes is really doing anything like this,” said Sanford.

“People might make one-offs but I don’t know of anyone who has tried to make a line of amps.”

Now Sanford is turning his attention to marketing, something he plans to do more aggressively than the word-of-mouth that made his pickups successful.

He’s brought in local musicians who he says have been impressed.

Sanford says his business is “moving faster than I expected,” but he’s going to keep pushing forward.

He plans to create other models of amplifiers on the same platform as well as develop other ideas.

“It’s a little like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” he said.

“I don’t know if I’m Willy Wonka or what but this is pretty cool.”