A Review from Reverb.com: Dave's Corner: Boutique Amp Guide Part VIII


Gjika Amps

This enigmatic amp maker and all-round tech extraordinaire goes to few (if any) lengths to promote his own work. As a result, he isn’t widely known. Those who have encountered his hand-made, mostly one-off amps tend to rave about both the products and the man, giving him a stellar reputation within an admittedly compact circle.

Bob Gjika has worked with Eric Johnson, but might be best known for the scorching single-ended EL34-based amp that the late and largely underappreciated fusion virtuoso Shawn Lane used on his Powers Of Ten album.

Far from the usual Champ-like concept of the single-ended amp, this creation - a few of which Gjika has recreated in recent years - is a massive beast with four EL34s (or eight in its stereo configuration) and possibly the largest transformers I’ve seen on a guitar amp, giving it earth-shaking body and tremendous gain.

Characteristics of Gjika amps include their thick, rich, harmonically saturated tone and fast playing response. Some Gjika amps, like the Super Tweed, are housed in conventional cabinets, while others are delivered in striking chrome or gold-fronted open chassis, allowing their glowing tubes and unusual designs to be fully on show.

Unsurprisingly, Gjika builds these amps by hand, employing original circuit designs and high-quality (and often custom) components.

Key Model: Super Tweed
Recommended For: Sizzling organic tube overdrive, rich harmonic content, and an extremely responsive touch.
Famous Users: Shawn Lane

Older and hopefully wiser, Bob goes over the history of his amp building.

link to original posting

Jimmy Bridges playing through a push-pull Gjika amp

I started out making guitars and amplifiers at a young age.  I would make them out of whatever I could get my hands on.  My early guitar amps started from modified car radios, and whatever else I could find in the trash.  Flashing forward to my early twenties, where in Boston, I was an in-demand luthier, and also in demand for repairs and modifications on tube amplifiers... I then started purchasing all the amps of my dreams... early Fenders, Marshalls, etc... I realized that these amps did not really have the sound that was on the records.  About the same time in my life, I was getting involved with some very talented musicians with expertise in studio recording.  At this time, I started to realize that a lot of the greatness in the guitar sounds on these records came from the talent of the engineers in the studio.  This was like a light going off in my head, and gave me the direction of my entire design concepts in relation to what I needed to do to create a great guitar amp.  So I have always been after designs that make my amps sound like the great tones on the records, not the amps that made them.  This demands starting with a clean slate, and truly learning how to design an original amp.  To this day, this is my main design criteria.

All my old designs are retired, and if you have one, it's now "future vintage" since no more will ever be made (at least not by me).  

The rumors of my retirement are definitely premature, but since I have not promoted my amps, it's been mainly word-of-mouth, and people say a lot of things...somehow it got to be "common knowledge" that I am retired from amp building...simply, this is not true.  I have been here all along, building great sounding amps for great players.  

A young Bob Gjika making guitars on a local television newscast in Memphis in the late 80s

History and some links to reviews online....

you can click the image below for the original source of this review