These original heads had five 7025 Groove Tube preamp tubes, two 12AT7 Groove Tube drivers, and 4-General Electric 6550A Groove Tubes. They have two foot switchable channels, clean and dirty, with separate gain controls. From the beginning they were designed as rack mountable touring heads, intended for professional use. They operated the power tubes at 600-volts, with 300-volts on the screens. The 300-volts was also used to power the preamp tubes. This produced a solid 100-watts of performance. The AC power switch was lighted red, and a “power” switch had three positions. Up was red and powered all four power tubes. Down was Blue and powered only two of the 6550’s for 50-watts, and in the middle position, the switch was white and indicated standby. Later a red toggle switch was added on the back which set the power tubes plates to 600-volts Up, or 300-volts Down and the amp produced 26-watts. Still later a “master volume” knob was added on the back and the amp could be run down to about 3-watts for recording.
Accutronics, at the time, offered a type “99” spring box, which was a match for their type “9.” They had made some 12-spring reverb units, but I have no more information than that. Thunderfunk used a type 9 matched to a type 99 to make the only true 12-spring reverb made. These boxes were mounted upside down on rubber mounts and still had the Accutronics’ internal spring mounts for isolation. It was very hard to make these boxes make noise. The result was a beautiful, lush reverb that was very close to the sound of a studio plate reverb. Unfortunately, the pro’s never used them as they were afraid of making any noise, and digital reverbs were used instead. These boxes required special wiring as the inputs were parallel, while the outputs had to be in series to avoid phase cancellations. This created a problem when the boxes were used in the combo Mann and Triggs amps, as the wiring had to be shielded properly. The best solution for this was to use a metal “Bud” box to hold the wiring and use two pairs of RCA to RCA patch cords.
A few TF50LS amps were made, and are very rare.
Later amps were changed to TF100ELS models and used EL34 power tubes. These amps had the same power but not as strong of a clean tone, but a slightly better distortion tone. Brad Davis’ amps always used 6550’s.
Brad Davis using TF100ELS with Marty Stuart's Rock & Roll Cowboys Merle Haggard, Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis and David Ball.
The TF100ELS amp is still Darin Favorites favorite amp.
Darin used his Thunderfunk amps with Shania Twain, Patty Loveless, Colin Raye, Ricky van Shelton, Pam Tillis, Billy Dean, Tracy Lawrence, and others.
The Refrigerator was a 3 x EV12L designed by BagEnd to Dave’s specifications. It was built as BagEnd would build it with 15-ply Baltic Birch wood and dividing panels to separate the three speakers from each other. The result was a cabinet that was much too heavy and Dave redesigned it with 7-ply AB Birch and without the dividers. This speaker sounded amazing with excellent dispersion into the room, following Ron Wickersham’s “point source” theory as demonstrated by the Grateful Dead’s sound system, and today known as V-DOSC, or linear arrays. Unfortunately there are no known examples existing.
Here’s a demo of Brad Davis playing his TF100ELS clean.
The Nash amp was built for Nashville. A lush, clean 80-watt Twin 12" combo with Thunderfunk's True 12-Spring Reverb. Dave Ferguson used this amp with Lorrie Morgan. It has the Thunderfunk Preamp circuit and the Thunderfunk Feedback Loop.
Jack Pearson started using a TF100ELS amp with Johnny Neel, a Hammond player who sometimes played with the Allman Brothers. When Dicky Betts was unavailable, Jacky was recruited to take his place.
The (Steve) Mann amps were hand-wired entirely with linear crystal wire giving them an extremely fast response. Two EV 12L's, with Thunderfunk's true 12-Spring Reverb, and a toroid power transformer. Three amps were made for James Burton, and Jeff Cook (Alabama)
Dread Zeppelin was recording at Woodland Studios in Nashville and used a pair of TF100ELS amps for all the guitars and bass tracks on selected songs. The songs where they were not used, they used Carvins, and the difference is very noticeable.
"When I lived in Nashville, Ken Fischer started sending finicky Trainwreck customers to me for service when he was too sick to do it himself. I've worked on five different Trainwreck models including the one-of-a-kind 'Wiggle Woman' tremolo amp. Trusting me not to butcher his amps or steal his designs, Ken made me the only official Trainwreck Service Center. In 1998 Ken asked for my help in building new Trainwreck amps. One of these amps was the Raindrop Maple Rocket "Malou" shown above. I built both Rocket and Express amps for Ken who sold them as Ken Fischer built Trainwrecks. Ken's amps were built on very thin aluminum Bud box chassis of a size no longer produced with obsolete perf boards with holes spaced at 0.200" centers. Since these parts are no longer available it makes it easy to spot counterfeits. If you look at the picture of the amp's insides you'll see that all the wires are formed in a particular way. I was lucky enough to have access to any amp I needed as a copy example due to a collector who prefers to remain anonymous. On December 23, 2006 we lost the finest amp designer who ever lived. Many builders will now attempt to claim his throne but his experience and “ear” will never be replaced. Many builders think it's a mechanical process assembling certain parts in a certain order and you will have the same thing, but it's much more like Santana said, "If you think playing the guitar is easy, pick it up and show me."
"The Triggs is a very unique amp. It was designed to be the ultimate clean amp for jazz and country. All the Triggs amps were covered in leather with a very beautifully tooled one shown here. Sixty-Six watts of cathode biased power in an aluminum chassis, with an EV 12L speaker, and Thunderfunk's True 12-spring Reverb installed. Fan cooled and originally equipped with GE6550A's, these were changed to EL34's due to the 6550's inability to take the vibration of being used in a combo. Originally selling for $3,000 to $4,000 you won't find one today. Their owners are very possessive and the amps rarely risk even leaving the house. You may think you don't know Jim Triggs, but if you've ever seen an Alan Jackson concert, video, or TV commercial you've seen a Triggs guitar. Alan always makes an effort to put the Triggs headstock into the camera lens. Only three Triggs were built.
Triggs used by Alan Jackson and Tommy Hannum (with Ricky van Shelton)
Steve McClure was the Slide Guitar and Steel player for Garth Brooks. Dave modified Steve’s Marshall head to improve his clarity and add chime to the tone. These amps would be mounted under the stage facing up. If they wanted more monitor volume he’d walk closer to the amp.
Dave modified a Fender Bassman for Richard Aspinwall’s help and advice for what he wanted. Richard is so possessive of this amp that that he doesn’t even want Dave to work on it!
Steve’s brother brought Dave of Thunderfunk a broken down Fender Twin that Steve wanted to use for touring. The amp was modified for clarity, chime, and fullness. A couple of months later Steve used the amp on a TV show with Sam Moore. Here’s the intro played by Steve.
Vince Gill was on the same TV show and used Steve Wariner’s Twin for this song. The same solo is included here to demonstrate the difference in tone that Vince got between the live and studio versions.
Producer/Engineer/Guitarist, Steve Gibson, brought Dave a pair of Fender Deluxes for modification. These amps were later used on Vince Gill’s “The Key” album. Here’s a sample of Steve Gibson’s playing on the song, “If You Ever Have Forever in Mind.”