Although Fargen Amplification has been operating for about 15 years, the manufacturer of guitar and bass amplifiers, effect pedals and accessories really only burst onto The Music & Sound Retailer’s radar screen this year, not only because the company rolled out the much-publicized John Lennon Signature Series amplifier line but also because, after 15 years of direct-to-consumer operations, Fargen changed its business model to utilize dealers across the country. This welcome change has positioned Fargen for even greater success, as has its enviable product portfolio of amps built entirely by hand and in the U.S.A. The Retailer recently caught up with Ben Fargen, the company’s Founder, to get the skinny on another product—the Olde 800 MKII Guitar Amplifier—that, although it has been in production for a while, presents a persuasive value proposition.
Before delving into the product, though, we will first zero-in on the company. “We position ourselves as a premier boutique amp and pedal company,” Fargen explained, “with products that incorporate the best of vintage design work with modern innovations. We keep our designs simple, focusing on tonal quality rather than loading up lots of features, and we price our products in the mid-range of boutique products.” The Fargen Amplification design stable takes a vintage tube amp feel and tone and fuses them with modern improvements that utilize quality custom parts. “All our amps incorporate original designs,” Fargen noted, saying, “We don’t include any straight clones in our lineup.” He added, “And, our amps possess unique aspects that define how they sound.”
Turning back to the Olde 800 MKII, Fargen discussed how he conceived and developed the product. “I designed it based on my vision of fusing ’60s-era Plexi flexibility with the extra gain on tap that modern players want and need for harder rock,” he explained. The company launched the original MKI design in 2007, continuing to evolve the design over two years. This resulted in the current MKII version, which has been in production since 2009. “We wanted to offer the ability to have three different classic slope and EQ settings—which we offer via our unique Decade Switch—along