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Alan Pyne Did you Know him?

#1 User is offline   Sam Whitehead 

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 08:07 AM

Just curious to see how many people on here knew of Alan Pyne the man that made speakers and had a repair/equipment shop in Dartford but was known world wide?
Sorry if there are any mistakes in the above, I have checked the text but as i'm dyslexic I may have missed some errors.
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#2 User is offline   stevesPRS 

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 03:23 PM

I remember him well. I met him around 1982, a mutual friend and guitar player named Andy Harris introduced him to me as somebody who ‘built amps’. From 83-88 I worked virtually opposite the shop and spent many hours quaffing way too many beers with him. He built a small number of 100 watt valve heads which we knew as the ‘Prepence’ amps due to a spelling error on the screen printed control panels, at least the presence control worked ok, as did the rest of the amp - and then some. He sold me a Strat, and just told me to let him have the money whenever I had it. A top bloke. There were some characters used to frequent that shop - I recall a keyboard player called Erkie Grant and a gigantic Guitarist called Barry (can’t recall his surname) who had fingers like pork bangers but played like a demon.

I moved away from the area in the early 90s and lost touch but I heard some years back he had passed away whilst in a care home, although no-one has ever been able to confirm this.

#3 User is offline   Sam Whitehead 

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 05:40 PM

Yes sadly he did pass away in 95 I think. Lots of people I know talk very highly of him.
Sorry if there are any mistakes in the above, I have checked the text but as i'm dyslexic I may have missed some errors.
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#4 User is offline   beeflin 

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 10:10 AM

View PostSam Whitehead, on 14 Oct 2007, 9:07 AM, said:

Just curious to see how many people on here knew of Alan Pyne the man that made speakers and had a repair/equipment shop in Dartford but was known world wide?


I lived at 121 Dartford Road for a while in the late 70's, over a hairdressing salon and next door to 119 where Alan Pyne worked. At the time, his main source of income was repairs, especially keyboards, which he used to pick up and drop off at the Charing Cross Road shops every week or so. The shop was the jumble of organs on repair and guitars and amps for sale that you would imagine. He was a funny man with an eccentric sense of humour, loved calling people bastards and such but always with a twinkle. After a small disaster one day when I was hanging around the shop he always used to refer to me as "that bastard wot spilt the glue on my carpet". I bought a heavy old Eko 12-string with a Vox soundhole pickup from him for £65 and sold it back to him a couple of years later. He used to claim that he'd been involved in creating the first AC30 and told me that the prototype of the circuit was sealed into a huge capacitor canister to prevent reviewers from reverse-engineering it. I'm sorry to hear he's dead - such people should go on forever. He was a classic English engineer.

#5 User is offline   John Poole 

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 12:57 PM

View Postbeeflin, on 18 Aug 2009, 10:10 AM, said:

View PostSam Whitehead, on 14 Oct 2007, 9:07 AM, said:

Just curious to see how many people on here knew of Alan Pyne the man that made speakers and had a repair/equipment shop in Dartford but was known world wide?


I lived at 121 Dartford Road for a while in the late 70's, over a hairdressing salon and next door to 119 where Alan Pyne worked. At the time, his main source of income was repairs, especially keyboards, which he used to pick up and drop off at the Charing Cross Road shops every week or so. The shop was the jumble of organs on repair and guitars and amps for sale that you would imagine. He was a funny man with an eccentric sense of humour, loved calling people bastards and such but always with a twinkle. After a small disaster one day when I was hanging around the shop he always used to refer to me as "that bastard wot spilt the glue on my carpet". I bought a heavy old Eko 12-string with a Vox soundhole pickup from him for £65 and sold it back to him a couple of years later. He used to claim that he'd been involved in creating the first AC30 and told me that the prototype of the circuit was sealed into a huge capacitor canister to prevent reviewers from reverse-engineering it. I'm sorry to hear he's dead - such people should go on forever. He was a classic English engineer.


I worked for JMI in 1964 and still remember Alan very well as a really nice guy with a quirky sense of humour. He had a small workshop of his own out at the back of the main factory and used to handle all the difficult amp repairs. One day he decided to bleach his hair and I remember him bending over a bucket putting this bleach on to his hair. Unfortunately, he was a much better engineer that hair colourist as it finished up orange !
A great guy, it's a shame that he's not around any more.

#6 User is offline   geoffv 

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 05:36 PM

View PoststevesPRS, on 15 October 2007 - 03:23 PM, said:

I remember him well. I met him around 1982, a mutual friend and guitar player named Andy Harris introduced him to me as somebody who 'built amps'. From 83-88 I worked virtually opposite the shop and spent many hours quaffing way too many beers with him. He built a small number of 100 watt valve heads which we knew as the 'Prepence' amps due to a spelling error on the screen printed control panels, at least the presence control worked ok, as did the rest of the amp - and then some. He sold me a Strat, and just told me to let him have the money whenever I had it. A top bloke. There were some characters used to frequent that shop - I recall a keyboard player called Erkie Grant and a gigantic Guitarist called Barry (can't recall his surname) who had fingers like pork bangers but played like a demon.


I was a friend of Barry Squires, the aforementioned guitarist, who, yes was an outstanding player (sadly also no longer with us) Back in about 1973 he owned a 50 watt amp (2 x EL34 3 x ECC83) built by Alan Pyne and as we liked the sound of it so much, we decided to make some copies of it.
We bought the bits from Alan's shop and copied the original one wire by wire, component by component. Needless to say none of them fired up straight away, and they had to be tweaked by Alan to get them working :lol:
Altogether we built 3 of these amplifiers, the most challenging version had to have all the controls wired as a mirror image, allowing the engraved escutcheon to be mounted upside down on the chassis, so it was the right way when mounted at the top of a cabinet to make a combo. (Hope that makes sense)

I've still got one of them, and it still sounds great!

This post has been edited by geoffv: 26 August 2011 - 05:37 PM


#7 User is offline   Walkin college 

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:00 PM

I knew Alan, he had names for all of the regulars: Barry Squires was Squibby, Andy Harris was decibel Harris and I was Walking college as I was studying at the time..

Alan was a one off.. he was unique and a fine repairer and builder - he built beautiful amp heads called big daddies that were small fortunes in the early 1980s (I seem to remember they were about £400 then!), and was considered to be the VOX specialist around denmark street, he worked for Lou Macari (and in the seventies he had an enormous american woodie) that he used to pick amps up in, and the premises in Dartford Road he bought off Tom Jennings..


He knew everyone, worked on club stuff and DJing in the 1960s and often did work for the big bands of their day.. he mentioned the shadows, the beatles and I remember seeing kit with Zeppelin stencils and Queen stencils in the premises... he was also an organ specialist - hammonds and vox contis being his speciality.. when the punk movement started using VOX amps, organs and odder vox guitars - they usually ended up at Alans for repair.. I helped him lifting large organs and big kit for pocket money when I was a student..

I lost touch with him when I left the area which was a pity as he had been in and out of hospital and I often wondered what happenned to him, I bought a strange amp off him in the early 1980s which was a VOX half the size of an AC30 with one 12 inch speaker in it and twice the volume.. it was apparantly one of three prototype amps.. I used it loads and it was photographed on the cover of a live music guide that I gave the chap who bought it off me.. it was like an enormous pro junior with a G1280 greenback in it.. just volume treble and bass and sounded awesome in large clubs.. used a pair of el34s in it.. and I cant remember what the preamp valves were.. It was considered quite valuable and a keen collector grabbed my hand off..

Alan was part of the heritage of NW Kent semi pro and west end pro scene... and whilst he was decidely unique in his approach he was an essential part of it..everyone knew he was an expert...

thinking about this I think the prepence amps were the aformentioned Big Daddies.. they had a sprayed red chassis that I think the bass player from Crispin St Peters did a chap called Mike..

#8 User is offline   rezident 

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 08:50 PM

- think that might be me that bought the 'strange amp'? Didn't have the magazine though, someone else must have grabbed it! - The one I have has a couple of ecc82s I think in pre-amp, 2 el34s.. very loud, sadly I've been using it more as a speaker cab for a 15-watt vox head I've got, I'm not a collector though (wish I could afford it & a decent guitar). Pyne sounds like quite a character!

This post has been edited by rezident: 14 April 2013 - 08:51 PM


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