Pyotr Belov has done a lot during his career and has become an important name in the amp building industry. Pytor is now head of Ampeg’s new GVT line and has played a role in many amplification projects ranging from Gibson to his own line of “Belov” amps. SEGAS got a chance to sit down with Pyotr and ask him a few questions about the new GVT line from Ampeg, his career, and a few other things:
SEGAS: First, we would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us! How long have you been working in the instrument/amplification industry where did you work?
Belov: Professionally it has been since 1988. I got my first start with Roscoe Guitars, and was there for 4 years. From there spent 3 years at Sadowsky Guitars (New York, NY), 3-1/2 years with Svetlana Electron Devices, about a year with SEGAS Musical Supply (Petaluma, CA), Belov Amps for 3-1/2 years, was with Gibson for 4 years and have been with LOUD Technologies (Ampeg, Blackheart) since April of 2007. So I guess you can say I’ve been around.
SEGAS: What made you decide to get into this line of work?
Belov: Ever since I was a kid, I was always handy and like to work with my hands especially with wood. When I was about 14 I had a desire to build a guitar before I even knew how to play one. At the time building one from scratch or buying a kit was going to be more expensive than buying one used. Once I bought my first guitar (Univox Gold Top Les Paul Copy with Mighty Mite Pick-ups and Brass Hardware) form Sam Moss Guitars (Winston-Salem, NC) the first thing I did was to take it apart. Same thing happened when I got my first amp. From that point on it was a slippery slope.
SEGAS: You’ve done a lot, worked with Gibson, Ampeg, and Blackheart. You’ve made your own line of Belov amps and you even used to work for SEGAS. When you look back over all of the things you’ve done in this industry, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
Belov: Thanks for putting me on the spot. There are so many that come to mind. It would be unfair so single one thing over another. This is going to sound like a very vague answer…. However, there is nothing more rewarding as seeing players using the product that I have personally built or designed. If it inspires them to create, then that’s just icing on the cake. If to select one project that was great to work on from beginning to the end I would have to say the 2010 Heritage B-15. Working with George Metropoulos was great and getting Jess Oliver’s endorsement was just amazing.
SEGAS: What album is in your playlist at this moment?
Belov: The Gold Diggers. They are my old friends out of San Francisco, CA. My daughter requests them every time we get in the car. Check them out of Facebook. They just did four shows in four days in Austin, TX.
SEGAS: Favorite record of all time?
Belov: AC/DC “Let There Be Rock”
SEGAS: What can we expect from Ampeg this year at SEGAS?
Belov: All New Ampeg GVT Guitar Amp Series. For those who may not know, Ampeg has serious history in guitar amplification arena. In 1961 Ampeg introduced Reverberocket. Besides being an amazing amp, it was the first production amp to offer Reverb. In the 70’s Ampeg rocked the guitar world with V Series. The Rolling Stones back line during that era was a wall of Ampeg amps. If you want the real Keith Richards tone for “Exile on Main Street” and “Sticky Fingers” just get yourself an Ampeg VT22 and you are right there with the vibe, the smell, the taste, the tone and most important the attitude. The thru the 90’s Ampeg rocked the VL Series. With such rich history it was just a matter time before we were back to take what was ours.
SEGAS: We’re excited about the launch of the new GVT line from Ampeg, tell us; what inspired this particular line of amps?
Belov: Basically the V Series. The V4’s, VT22’s, VT40’s were used on some major recordings and were part of major tours. We took the vibe, the attitude, the tone and used it as the inspiration and foundation for the GVT Series. We hope the new GVT Series will inspire today’s players same way the V Series inspired those from the 70’s.
SEGAS: How many different models will be involved with the primary launch of the GVT line?
Belov: All in all we are launching with eight new models (two heads, two ext. cabs and four combos):
Ampeg’s GVT5H all-tube guitar head delivers simple, sweet tone that ranges from the sublimely clean to the down and dirty. The tone and power of the GVT5H are much bigger than you might think, with 12AX7/ 6V6 tubes and two power modes (5W / 2.5W) with classic Ampeg looks and undeniable American tone.
Ampeg’s GVT5-110 delivers Ampeg guitar tone in an extremely portable combo perfect for rehearsal or small gigs. Two power modes (5W / 2.5W) and Baxandall EQ circuitry allow for a wider range of possible tones. Premium 12AX7 and 6V6 tubes, a 10″ Celestion speaker and a vintage Ampeg ’70s look complete this awesome Ampeg guitar rig.
Ampeg’s GVT15H guitar head delivers all-tube tone in a portable design with a vintage Ampeg ’70s vibe. Premium 12AX7 and 6V6 tubes push out flexible American tone thanks to Ampeg’s wide-bandwidth Baxandall EQ. With dual power modes (15W / 7.5W) and features like smooth spring reverb you get straight up Ampeg guitar tone every time.
Ampeg’s GVT15-112 is the perfect all-tube gigging guitar combo, with tone and portability to spare. High-end 12AX7 and 6V6 tubes, a 15W / 7.5W design and a 12″ Celestion speaker delivers the tone you need at any volume. Plus, you can really dial in your sound with an effects loop, spring reverb and flexible Baxandall EQ.
Ampeg’s GVT112E guitar cabinet delivers classic 70′s Ampeg looks in a road-ready design that delivers straight up tone. The 12″ Celestion Vintage 30 speaker beautifully handles up to 60 watts of power at 16 ohms. Perfect for any Ampeg GVT head or combo extension, the GVT112E offers true American tone.
Ampeg’s GVT112EW guitar cabinet delivers rich, full tone that only Ampeg can provide, featuring Ampeg’s double-baffle design for more low end. The 12″ Celestion Vintage 30 speaker beautifully handles up to 60 watts of power at 16 ohms. The GVT112EW is the perfect fit for Ampeg’s GVT52-112 guitar combo.
Ampeg’s GVT52-112 guitar combo is powerful, with a huge range of tones from clean with reverb to tube-soaked gain with attitude. The dual-channel, dual power (50W/25W) design with Baxandall EQ provides true flexibility while 12AX7/6L6 tubes and a 12″ Celestion speaker deliver pure American tone in a vintage Ampeg look. Straight up tone – GVT52
Ampeg’s GVT52-212 Guitar Combo delivers all-tube tone in a dual-channel, dual power mode (50W/25W) design. Featuring Ampeg’s Baxandall EQ circuitry, 12″ Celestion speakers, rich spring reverb, effects loop, 12AX7 and 6L6 tubes for classic Americas tone. The GVT52-212 is a workhouse that always delivers straight up Ampeg guitar tone.
SEGAS: Are there plans to develop more than this initial set of GVT amps?
Belov: Yes! Of course! Ampeg is serious about the guitar amp market just as much as the bass amp market. For years Bass players have been getting a lot of attention. So we want to share our love with the other side of the stage. There are a lot of players looking for new gear as inspiration. Ampeg GVT series offers players that extra edge. To experience it you just have to plug in and turn up. Ampeg GVT Series is just a first taste of what’s to come.
SEGAS: What, in your opinion, is the coolest feature of the new GVT line?
Belov: Baxandall EQ. Since the beginning, it has been a major part of Ampeg’s signature tone. The range and the independence of the Baxandall EQ will cover the traditional settings that a player gets from your traditional interactive style tone stack and can take them to extreme tone land that is not possible to achieve with traditional tone stack.
SEGAS: What other features will the GVT amps have in store?
Belov: To capture the vibe of Ampeg tone we chose 6V6 and 6L6 power tubes for true American tone. Yes I know historically V Series used 7027 and another popular tube for Ampeg was 7591. Since a true 7027 is not available, rather than having repined 6L6 as a 7027, we thought of the player and service tech and decided to give them user friendly 6L6 that is easily available. We took the same approach on 7591. The 7591 are great but we were able to get the same results with 6V6. As mentioned earlier the Baxandall EQ with wider bandwidth and more tone options than traditional designs. For speakers we chose Celestion Seventy 80 and Tube 10 for combo amps and Vintage 30 for two ext. closed back cabs. Each amp features full power (Tetrode) or half power (Triode) setting that is selectable thru a 3 position Full Power/Standby/Half Power Switch and a dual color jewel light. When the amp is on and in Standby mode the light is red. When it is in Full or Half Power Mode the light turns green. This is a great feature for a dark stage. Vintage look with black-line faceplate and black sparkle grille cloth that pays homage to old Ampeg and resembles our US built Heritage Series. And of course with a brand like Ampeg our customer expects a rugged, road-worthy build quality.
SEGAS: Are there going to be some models for demo at SEGAS?
Belov: Yes, at the show we will have for full demo GVT5H, GVT5-110, GVT15-112, GVT52-112, GVT112E and my personal favorite GVT112EW.
SEGAS: We have heard that you personally played a role in the design of these amps, what was your contribution on this project?
Belov: I was the lead but it was a team effort. The circuit design team for GVT were Rob Riggs our Analog Engineering Manager (responsible for designing Ampeg Micro VR and was also played a big part in test Heritage B-15 project), Dave Wood our Senior Design Engineer (one of the original designers for Neve Flying Faders) and myself. As an Ampeg product we had a pretty solid foundation and clear vision for what GVT was going to be. Besides capturing the legendary Ampeg tone, the key was to design it and build it like a tank, so it would live up to Ampeg’s name and reputation. The three of us had some seriously late night session into the early morning hours working on this project. Besides working with the team on tone circuit I was making sure everything was over specked and over built. From, 2 ounce cooper double sided 1.6mm PCB, to over specked components, to 16 gauge folded and welded chassis to void free birch ply to speaker selection and so on. We really hope the customer will recognize our efforts.
SEGAS: What types of players would get the best use out of the GVT amps?
Belov: Tone junkie looking for a tone fix. Seriously, players who have plugged into GVT amps found immediate inspiration to play riffs they have not played before or have not played in years. The amps talk to you.
SEGAS: How versatile would you consider these amps to be?
Belov: Very. Seriously, rather than me trying to tell you how great they are, blah, blah, blah…. Please take the time to find an Ampeg dealer to play test one for yourself. Or if you are planning to be at the SEGAS, please stop by to see me.
SEGAS: Can we expect to see a line of extension cabs to accommodate the GVT amps?
Belov: At the moment we have GVT112E and GVT112EW. I really encourage the players reading this to check them out. The GVT112EW is a tone monster that was inspired by the legendary B-15 Protaflex design. And yes we have more in the works that will be released later.
SEGAS: Is there a slated release date yet?
Belov: The GVT should hit the streets in late September or early October.
SEGAS: What else will Ampeg be bringing to this year’s SEGAS?
Belov: GVT is our main focus for the SEGAS
SEGAS: Great! We can’t wait to see you guys there! Thanks again for taking the time to sit down and do this interview with us!