Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Been off the grid a while. What happened to Peavey?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Les H, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. Les H

    Les H Tele-Meister

    Jun 2, 2018
    When amp builder James Brown left to go to Kustom around 2005 did Hartley ever replace him or was letting him go the beginning of the end?
  2. stxrus

    stxrus Friend of Leo's

    May 25, 2007
    St. Croix, USVI
    I’m embarrassed to admit I knew very little about the downfall of Peavey before undercover boss. Haven’t been back to Meridian since 1974. Friends I spoke to, after I saw the show, laid the blame on the kid (just learned his name in a previous post) & Hartley for not stepping up.

    Anyway, it’s sad to me.
  3. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 6, 2006
    Dallas TX USA
  4. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2007
    Big D
    I love Peavey stuff. My bass rig is a Kustom head and a Peavey 2x12 (it might be a 2x10 now that I think of it- will have to get a measuring tape out) cabinet I got from a church. It was a PA speaker but it pairs so well with that Kustom head.

    I do feel for Hartley though. He put his heart and soul into his company and I would think he would be embarrassed at how the company came across on that TV show.

    As far as Jakedog’s comments about buying American he is right. We want the cheapest and the best. That used to be Asia=cheaper and US=best but that dynamic has changed in today’s economy.

    I have a feeling that Peavey gear will be here long after I have left this earth. Hartley should be proud of that part of his life.
  5. Lacking Talent

    Lacking Talent Tele-Holic

    Oct 22, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I would offer a (mild) counter by opining that once the body and pickguard were reshaped for the launch of T-27, T-26, and T-25 (not pictured), they began to look pretty darned good!


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  6. titan uranus

    titan uranus Tele-Meister

    Sep 22, 2017
    36.395884, -78.710617
    IN-DE-EFFING-STRUCTABLE guitars, both made in '82, when the world was young (or something).

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  7. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 6, 2006
    Dallas TX USA
    I actually love the T15, warts and all. I just haven't found one at a low enough price or sweet enough condition to justify pulling the trigger.

    But leave it to Peavey to continue diluting their own brand with crap and eventually prices will come down..
  8. Lacking Talent

    Lacking Talent Tele-Holic

    Oct 22, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    And speaking of James Brown (now of his own company,, he -- along with then-colleagues John Fera and Ken Chappell -- designed this way unsung, somewhat ahead of its time, near-genius piece of Peavey kit that I rock (or blues or country or jazz or metal) regularly...

    Transformer 112.JPG
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  9. Lacking Talent

    Lacking Talent Tele-Holic

    Oct 22, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    All in good fun, a few Peavey guitars I've had that serve as both a rebuttal to the first post above, and an endorsement of the second...



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  10. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    In their U.S.-made heyday, they built really ugly equipment that was ultra reliable and is still being used as gigging equipment to this day.
  11. buster poser

    buster poser Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    May 1, 2018
  12. SamIV

    SamIV Tele-Holic

    May 14, 2011
    South Louisiana
    In the 70’s Peavey equipment was everywhere as far as PA’s go. I owned a Peavey Mace for a little while, but it was a bit large for a bedroom amp. Own a Peavey Valveking II Micro head now, as well as an American made Classic 30 with extension cabinet, 70’s Fender Princeton, and have availability to others. I play the Valveking 99% of the time. Never think about where it was manufactured.
  13. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    I’ve mentioned that I sold Peavey gear for three years in the 80’s. The amps sold quickly. We bought Bandits and Backstages and Specials 6 or 12 at a time and it was my job to unbox them and keep them lined up 3 rows deep under our guitar racks. It was like grab & go purchasing. This was at a medium sized store in Central WI. Fender had the solid state Sidekick series which was built as a light economical amp and then their were real Fender tube amps and Music Man amps. The Peavey gear was all built like a tank and they were very reliable. We had older country players trading late 60’s Fender tube amps for Bandits because the Bandits were considered more reliable and sturdier than a Fender amp. If we bought in high enough quantity we got 50% + an extra 10%. You had to figure the 50% first and then deduct an extra 10. They looked after their distributors.

    I have a friend who worked for Hartley for 5 years around Y2K. He said that Hartley was very driven and very stubborn. Employees knew not to offer suggestions or constructive criticism when Hartley was on a roll with a new project or marketing idea. He said it was a very intimidating work environment.

    I think that Hartley went off the rails when he started developing the Vyper stuff and some of the modeling stuff that had more blinking lights and video game-like features than old school musician appeal. I think that his products went from visually odd but very functional to extremely odd and undesirable. I think that the transition to Chinese manufacturing happened at the same time.

    The Batman amps are on par with Line 6 stuff (I think). I’ve seen 25 year old Peavey amps in clubs but not these...ever.

    Good leaders will put faith and trust in employees. They will elevate employees to a place where the leader wants to listen to employees. “What the hell am I doing wrong?” “”What am I not seeing?” I don’t think that Hartley is that type of leader. The undercover boss episode was kind of shocking.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    A specific advantage Peavey had in the beginning was a very low cost factory location, low cost of living for workers, and thus lower wages -- often underscored by tax rate variations. Compared to all the California amp builders. That low cost structure evaporated or was replaced by Asian low cost locations.

    A cost of living calculator
    Shows that a $50,000 annual wage in Los Angeles has the equivalent buying power as $29,000 in Jackson MS (which is higher than Meridian based on a previous post). If 75% of a business costs are the people then there is the advantage. Detroit needs $34,000 to be equivalent to those two locations.

    Of course Asia will have locations that are much cheaper, though they are rising. Shanghai is 36% less expensive than LA (mostly housing that hinges on tax rates and transportation) so about $32,000 and few amps will get built in Shanghai, more outlying factory cities that won't be in a database.

    studio1087 likes this.
  15. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    In many cases, Paw has the company running beautifully, and his wuthless son in law runs all the money up his nostils, once the old guy is dead or in a home. This is different. Hartley created the rot, that doomed this company. No empathy for the "next generation" here, but I think, had Peavey been a healthy concern, somehow better people would've been there to take the hand off.
  16. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 12, 2016
    Virginia Beach, Va

    I have one of these too
  17. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I just wanna offer a local perspective, and I'm pretty sure the guys from Mississippi will back me on this, that Jackson and suburbs are the economic hot spot along I-20, and that the rest of Central Miss. is still pretty much in the doldrums. Meridian was once a burgeoning, muscular economy 100 years ago but now things are just flat, and so is the corridor along US 80 over to Selma. Laurel is very weak, as well. I think people may not appreciate just how much house a few dollars can buy in and around Meridian, while Jackson is a strong economy and there's lots of bustling shop and restaurants, with special mention of the suburbs to the North, Northeast and East. People will work for next to nothing in Meridian - they expect to be paid in Jackson. This is further compounded by the fact that Hartley opened facilities in towns like Decatur, in adjacent Newton County, where wages were even more depressed.

    H. Peavey was like Henry J., in a way. Started with mostly good ideas and gradually went over to bad and worse ideas. Nobody could get into position to stop either man from doing one stupid thing after another. Worst of all, they both believed their own hype.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  18. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2017
    There's a fantastic business case book about the Schwinn Bicycle company that is pretty similar to Peavey, but it was just laid out over 3-4 generations and was a bit more complex. They were much much bigger than Peavey as well and had a lot further to fall.

    One of the amazing things with Schwinn was after they neglected to modernize their US factories they were under the gun for poor quality/performance + high costs. They proceeded to go over to Asia very early in the game late 70s rather than modernize in the US. They mismanaged that so bad that Tony Lo, the guy at Giant used that to go from working on Schwinns in a dirt factory floor to building Giant Bicycles which is the largest manufacturer in the world and competes at performance levels that Schwinn never got anywhere near.

    It was kind of the equivalent of Epiphone or Squier staying independent and proceeding to completely blow Gibson and Fender out of the water in every way in terms of quality/performance.
    boris bubbanov likes this.
  19. Zaxxon

    Zaxxon TDPRI Member

    Mar 20, 2016
    New York State
    That amp looks like the product of a middle-school design contest.

    But making equipment that looks like toys helps a bottom feeder like me, so keep pumping out the awesome Looney Tunes guitars, so all the good old stuff stays cheap.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  20. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Classic 50.jpg

    This old thing is all I have. US made in the '90s I think. The mixer probably not so much.
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