"Mother of Invention... or something about necessity..."
Being an avid collector of all things audio and gear related, Gio grew tired of taking his needy gear to repair shops. Out of necessity and convenience, he began opening up his amps and effects to see what was under the hood. After years of repairing gear by feel, Gio eventually took his electronics skills to the next level.
With an introduction by a friend, tube amp guru and Groove Tubes Founder, Aspen Pitman, Gio went to see audio/ electronics restoration and calibration expert, David Riddle. Their first meeting was so animated and synergistic that Gio struck a deal to share a space in Dave's warehouse to work along side the electronics master. Gio had no idea how much knowledge was about to come rushing at him.
That was at about the same time that Gio's father had passed away from a fierce bout of lung cancer. "Pops" was a lifelong electronics and telecommunications engineer. He spent his career working with the Army, GE, Western Electric, and later helped to develop cellular and fiber optics technology with Sprint. "When Pops died, it was almost like I somehow mystically downloaded all of his passion for electronics."
Gio has been in the music business for 20+ plus years as an accomplished professional musician playing both acoustic upright and electric bass as well as acoustic and electric guitar. He has also worked as a producer with many artists to help them realize their voice - and their sound.
Part of the inspiration for starting Black Volt was born from the frustration of the common practice among amp techs who keep your amp for weeks or months and don't really include the amp owner in on the most important part of the process, the sound!
In the ensuing years Gio continued to fervently learn as much as possible about the more technical and scientific aspects of electronics engineering, which took him into the much deeper understanding of how and why things were happening inside of all those complex electrical circuits. Not only did it give him a deeper understanding, but it also gave him the foundation to start building his own unique amplifier circuits from scratch, all while under the tutelage of the extraordinary David Riddle.
Black Volt not only offers the highest quality in amplifier repair to anyone in the USA, but they also offer a boutique hand made new amplifier line. Each Black Volt Amplifier is completely handmade and carved out of the raw materials one at a time, then signed by Gio. Black Volt makes the cabinets, the metal chassis, the circuits and all. Many amps are a combination of new and vintage parts that are utilized to more closely replicate the sound and feel of the highly sought after holy grail amps. It is normal practice here to use reclaimed lumber for the amp cabs. Quite often 100 year old solid, aged and dried pine is used in the cabinetry. Much like the wood from an old amp or fine vintage instrument, it pings and rings when you tap it.
It's a fascinating repair process as most owners never get to be involved in the process. It's always exciting when you're chasing down the problem or searching for "that sound" in your head.
Instead of removing the amp owner from the process we invite them to come in and be a part of finding the sound they're looking for. As a licensed Jensen, Celestion and Eminence speaker dealer we usually have lots of new and vintage speakers on hand to try out too.
The difference in tone between a brand new 70 Watt Jensen Jet and a 25 watt Celestion Black Back or Vintage 35 Watt Jensen P12N Alnico can be staggering. More distortion, less distortion, more clarity, more bottom, etc.
Output transformers, Tubes, Cabs, Components, etc. The number of ways we can modify or improve an amp are almost limitless.
We look forward to working with you on your next audio project.
Please give us a call and let us know how we can help.