So, I told you I went to the Bad Cat Amplifier factory when I was on tour in California. I got to hang out with John and George and look at their amps and other cool things (they also are a technology company that builds things I’m not even smart enough to explain). Anyways, we talked about what I like/don’t like about my amps, their amps and other people’s amps. From important things like power amp/preamp tube types, to preferential things like power/standby switch placement, to personal taste things like tolex and knob colors. We talked about all kinds of stuff.

The result of those conversations is Stella

Single channel dual EL34 amp with an EF86 in V1 (I actually know what that means!).  You can switch the bass and treble controls off and use a 5 position tone knob also. You can switch off the master volume as well, and it comes with a half power switch. I didn’t want reverb or an effects loop. It’s a super simple amp that is extremely versatile. It’s got tons of headroom as well, which is important to me. It sounds huge. I even changed the look of the speaker cabinet a little. The Bad Cat speakers sound amazing, by the way.

I’ve used the same amp (my Matchless Chieftain) for years and years. probably around 15 years. It’s a huge part of what I do. So, I wasn’t looking for another amp. I honestly didn’t even think I was going to like any other amps. I usually don’t. But I played a Bad Cat Wildcat for a weekend while I was on tour in California and I was really blown away. It felt really familiar, but it was a much more complex (if that word makes sense) sound. So I talked with Jon, George and Donny and we came up with an amp that I feel meets all my needs.

I’m very impressed with Bad Cat as a company. They are really good guys, and they love what they do. I’ve played a lot of amps. Bad Cat is the real deal.

Oh, and the amp rules so much they decided to make Stella a production model! You can find out more from Donny at Tonesmiths and the Bad Cat website. Tell them Duke sent you.




    1. Since James’ Stella is the only one we’ve made so far, all dealers will have a 2-3 week production wait time. FYI, The Gear Port donates 10% of the profit of each amp to the ministry of the artist’s choice.

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