Maxim is a very elusive brand of vintage Aussie valve amplifier, hand-made in Richmond, Melbourne* by Peter McCarthy. This is the only one I have seen.
Guitarist Rick Veneer has used a 60 watt Maxim amp as his main guitar amplifier since it was built for him by Peter in 1972! In his website (click here to view), Rick says, "This is teamed with my 100 watt Marshall quad box (half stack) and is simply the best amplifier I have ever used. In nearly thirty years of service it has never broken down and still has some of the original valves in it! Sounds like the best Fender/Marshall ever. Loud and clean, fat and warm with sparkle."
I've also received an email from Ron Murfett, who said, "in
1960 Peter made me a 40w guitar amp which was fantastic. He had a small
workshop in Bridge Rd, Richmond. He made slide guitars, and wound his
own pickups which also sounded great - a wonderful old guy. As well as
making his amps and guitars Peter was a very good player, and worked in
theatre orchestras in Melbourne for many years."
The amp came to us as virtually New Old Stock - it had languished in an office store room since the early 1970s, and looked virtually like new. Even the metal corners on the speaker cab were still bright, with no oxidisation. Naturally, with 35 years of non-use, I elected not to turn it on (the power caps would have been highly suspect after being sitting unused for this amount of time), but brought the amp to my favourite tech so he could cast his eye over it. To my surprise, the amp actually needed a fair bit of work, with a faulty switch having been replaced and incorrectly re-wired way back before the amp was stored causing some head-scratching for a while. Other than the two pre-amp valves, the amp needed re-tubing, so a new pair of Sovtek 6L6WXT+ output valves were installed, along with a new 5AR4C rectifier valve. Of course, new filter caps were the first thing to be replaced before it was even powered up for its initial inspection and test.
The speaker is a very high quality (and original) made-in-Japan Alnico Pioneer 15" 60 watt unit. Opening the back of the cabinet was like opening a time capsule - the speaker is absolutely MINT! See the 'more pictures' link below.
This amp sounds great. Very 'alive', with plenty of urge and gain. Rick Veneer's description of the tone (above) sums it up perfectly. The head would make a fantastic guitar amp powering a suitable 8 ohm box, and even sounds great with guitar with the present 15" Alnico box, but the combination is truly a magnificent bass amp. Loads of tone, great detail (especially with my double-bass), nice solid bottom end, and a very, very rare unit in exceptional condition.
The head measures 49cm(W) x 26cm(D) x 26cm(H) and weighs 15kg, while the speaker box measures 54cm(W) x 31cm(D) x 62cm(H) and weighs 21kg.
* Some sources state that peter McCarthy's workshop was in Elwood, but I received an email from Peter's son, Brian, in September 2011 which completely debunks this statement. Brian writes;
When I asked Brian whether I could name him when correcting the record on this issue, he instantly replied;
So there you go. Some actual FACTS on the internet! Thanks so very much Brian!
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