Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 36
As massive as two Killers and a Big Henry must have sounded
echoing around gyms, cafeterias, and rec centers, it was nothing
compared to what was in store for the young Sequins.
In the early summer of '67, the band got another call from
Milano, asking if they'd like to appear on a Magnatonesponsored flatbed truck in Zelienople's Fourth of July parade.
"Hank said, 'No need to bring your amps, we've got
you covered,'" Moniot recalls. "We assumed they'd have
the flatbed rigged with amps identical to ours, so we just
brought our guitars, drums, and my Farfisa combo organ.
When we arrived that morning, they took us to the flatbed
and we stood in awe at the sight of this enormous amplifier. We thought it was a prop, but were told it was a fully
functioning guitar and bass amp... and that it had 1,000
watts of power."
This would likely have been among the first amps dubbed
"The Monster," a.k.a. "Tiny Tim." Apparently, only a few
were ever built, one of which made its debut that day in
Zelienople before heading to the NAMM show a year later.
None were offered for commercial sale, but they were sent
to guitar stores and trade shows as promotional props, no
doubt as some declaration of Magnatone's intent to dominate
the wattage wars - which the company might have briefly
done, according to specs at least, but never did in terms of
According to Ahern, all Monsters were shortly called
back to the plant to be destroyed, the one retained by Neil
Young remaining the only known extant example.
"We were speechless," Moniot declares of their encounter
with The Monster. "The whole thing was dreamlike; it was
hard to believe the amp was real. But it was. We plugged
The Sequins at the Zelienople Fourth of July parade, 1967.
watts output into two 15" speakers and two high-frequency horns.
They had two independent channels, each comprising the same
modular preamp board with controls for Volume, Bass, and Treble,
and a three-way tone switch that delivered Normal, Mellow, and
Brite settings. Onboard effects included transistorized reverb
and true pitch-shifting vibrato, a trademark carried over from
Magnatone's better-known tube amps. The bass amp acquired
by Lytle was the matching 300-watt M32 Big Henry, with the
same modular preamps, dual 15" speakers, and no effects (pity
the poor drummer, Dan Metrick, with all this firepower behind
him). These brutes aped the popular head-and-cabinet styling
used for most big amps of the era, but the "heads" were attached
to the tops of the cabs, effectively rendering them giant combos
measuring 12" x 24" x 45" and each weighing 105 pounds.
"They were like nothing we'd seen in terms of power and
performance," Moniot remembers. "Then a few months later,
Magnatone asked if they could install a fuzz circuit in one of
the channels. We gladly hauled the amps down and traded them
out while the new circuits were being installed. We were invited
into their audio lab to talk to the technicians, who wanted to
speak to us about the songs we were playing and the sound we
were after. Here were guys in black-rimmed glasses with pocket
protectors full of pens who had Jimi Hendrix albums sitting on
their work benches next to their oscilloscopes, apparently analyzing the parameters of his overdriven Marshall amp sounds.
They really wanted us to work the amps, and we did! We were
playing some large venues back then and really cranked them up.
Occasionally, we'd blow a speaker and were given a replacement
amp until we could get back. It was a dream!"