The internet is flooded with music gear recommendations and advice from every corner of the industry. This is especially true for guitar players, with countless forums and message boards dedicated to debates surrounding analog vs. digital, vintage vs. modern — the information dump is vast.
The boutique amp market is certainly not immune to the chatter of the gear obsessed, but one brand’s name in particular is being dropped more and more frequently from within the smoke–stained walls of Nashville’s honky tonks to the swankiest of Music City’s recording studios.
Todd Sharp is the “the guy,” “the amp guru,” “the secret, but probably not for long.” So who is this guy? With a little research, I realized that though I hadn’t ever heard his name, I’d been listening to his guitar playing for years.
Before opening Nashville Amplifier Service in 1994 and then Todd Sharp Amps in 2016, Sharp enjoyed a fruitful career of touring and studio work. He leant his guitar chops to many artists, including Hall and Oates, Delbert McClinton, and Eric Clapton.
As a guitar player himself, it makes sense that he’s getting recognition from Nashville’s elite because he knows intimately what they’re after.
When I step into Todd Sharp’s shop on a Tuesday afternoon in Nashville, I’m greeted by the sounds of distant amplifiers and the clacking of bolts on wood in the showroom up front.
The showroom is where I find the man himself, piecing one of his creations together — a new combo model that will soon be ready to play. It becomes apparent that hands rarely stop moving around here, and Sharp continues to work as he tells me how this all began.
How did you first become interested in amps and building?
Well, I guess it started when I was around seven years old. In 1963, HAM radio was a pretty big deal — like Boy Scouts for tech heads — and I guess that’s what started me learning about electronics.
After a few years, I…