Hamilton-Kolby Custom Electronics is a small New England company that specializes in vacuum-tube audio for the musician or music enthusiast. I restore and rebuild vacuum tube based guitar and bass amplifiers with the goal of making them as rugged and dependable as ever, while renewing and preserving their classic sound quality. I also offer a small line of new, custom-built amplifiers inspired by the best of the older originals.
My name is Rob Hamilton, and I've been building and repairing vacuum-tube based guitar and audio amplifiers since I was a kid in the 1950s. My first vacuum-tube project was a two-tube radio I built in the Cub Scouts. I learned to solder while building that radio (and still use the same iron in my shop!) In my high-school, we had a great electronics program, where I spent two years studying vacuum tube and elementary solid-state circuits. I bought my first Fender (used '61 brown Vibrolux) guitar amp in the Summer of '69, and immediately decided it needed reverb, so I gathered up a chassis and parts from a surplus store and built one. Soon after, I helped friends rebuild and recondition salvaged Fender amps, a Sunn 200S bass amp, a Silvertone amp, and several others.
From the late 70s through 2002, I worked as a software engineer for a university and a major computer manufacturer, using my electronics background to help in the development of specialized device drivers for real-time data acquisition and for disk and tape drives. All the while, I've played electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, serviced amplifiers, and searched for the holy grail of tone. In 2003, I started working for a local music store as a Fender Certified Electronics Technician. In that capacity, I've serviced and repaired hundreds of guitar amplifiers.
I now service, repair, and build guitar amplifiers in my shop in Acton, MA. I work closely with customers to make certain that their amps are rugged, reliable, serviceable, true-to-vintage, and tone-worthy.