Gary Phillips


(Amp Builder, Electronics Design Guru and all around Great Guy)

When you have accomplished so many things in your life time, you most undoubtedly come across others who you not only feel connected to, but can relate to as well. Below is a brief story of Tom Graefe's encounter with Gary Phillips. Who has since become one of Tom's longtime friends. Not to mention one of only a handful of people Graefe Designs would ever even consider when building these beauties we have to offer. As a matter of fact, at the moment he is the only one. But that's not without good reason. With a client list that includes many of the who's who in the guitar world like Steve Morse, Buck Darmha, James Delia, Jeff Beck, and more... who else would do?

Tom tells the story like so....
I first met Gary sometime around 1976. I was with two Musicians, Dan Raymond and John Nichols, AKA Round John, at SRS Studios. I walked into the control room and two feet were sticking out from under an MCI JH-416 console. My mind said, "What is this kid doing under the console?" Gary came out from under the console and said “I am modifying it”. He was also the engineer for the session and session Bass player. That, was my first encounter with Gary.
Several years later I was building a Studio at Musician’s Exchange and I asked Gary to work for me. He took one look at my console and said we have to redesign it. So we bought a bunch of Military parts and started designing PCB’s. I drew them out with sharpie’s and etched them in Ferric Chloride. 6 weeks later we had a new console. Rolled the soldering irons up in a shipping blanket and did our first session. After the session Gary and I looked at each other and said, that console sounds like crap. Went back into the console and found all the resistors were inductive. Replaced them and it sounded wonderful!
When the studio was not too busy there was a parade of musician’s coming in with broken crap (I mean the instruments and amps that they made their living with). Gary and I would fix this stuff. After a few years Gary decided to leave the studio and open a full time repair shop in the Musician’s Exchange complex. This was the start of Alpha Kinetix.
Gary can repair or design anything, from Tube equipment to complex Computer controlled Keyboards. Luckily Gary and I are now working on High End Guitar amps together here at Graefe Designs. Gary is a person I have known and respected for over 35 years. For me this is a dream come true to be working with a dear old friend who actually knows and respects the quality workmanship it takes to produce such an amazing sounding boutique amp. Plus Gary is adding new innovations to the amp daily.

Now building twice as many!