Hey folks - This is Steve Henning, owner of Henning Amplification. In this first blog, we'll discuss the beginnings of Henning Amplification and the original hand wired, turret board prototype I built for myself. Although I originally didn't intend to get into the amp business, once I finished the prototype and guitar players I trusted gave me positive feedback on the tones it was capable of, I got excited about the idea of bringing am amp to market and Henning Amplification was born. The Henning PlexRod evolved into the production Henning Cherry Bomb amp, which now has many upgrades and advantages over the PlexRod. Still, the PlexRod was a great sounding amp.
The original plan was just to build an amp just for myself to re-create the tones of the Jose Arredondo modded amplifiers that I'd played in the 80s, but I wanted it to be more flexible. I decided to have two channels, one that was something like an old Marshall Plexi and one that was like a modified Marshall 2203. I wanted to be able to switch between the channels via footswitch and also be able to switch a pre-tone stack Master volume with clipping circuits in for both channels (this is what you probably have heard referred to as a "Jose Master"). I also wanted a footswitchable series/parallel effects loop and an adjustable line out. I like to run my amps Wet/Dry/Wet with three 4x12s, my effects and a stereo power amp and an adjustable line out is a must for that. I also wanted to be able to mix a Post-Phase Inverter Master Volume (PPIMV) with the channel masters and Jose Master. I find that PPIMVs are great for adjusting overall volume, while you use the channel gain and masters to set the overall gain level.
This amp took shape over a long period of time and I've documented the build on various forums. I'll be doing a "How To" series on this site and it will be mainly around the design and build of this amp. People really seemed to enjoy this on the guitar/amp forums and have told me they learned a lot from it. I'll have lots of build pictures and suggestions for designs and I'll also reveal the schematics and layout diagrams for anyone who would like to attempt a home build of this monster.
As you can see from the internal shots below, the amp is really complex to build and isn't very repeatable, nor would it be consistent from amp to amp due. When I eventually decided to build an amp for sale, it became clear from the hand wired, turret board prototype that the only way to do an amp like this for production would be via printed circuit board (PCB) design. The PCB approach allowed me to add even more features to the Cherry Bomb and simplify the switching with two completely independent preamps with their own tone stacks. The Cherry Bomb is a much more repeatable and clean design and every amp will sound the same, so when you hear it and like it, that is exactly what you get if you buy one.
I'be attached some pictures above of the amp inside and out. Enjoy!