Established in 1993 as a guitar amp repair shop in Worms, Germany, the Tube Amp Doctor has grown to be a world-leading company providing electron tubes as well as many other parts for both musical instrument and home hi-fi applications. If nobody else has it, chances are, they do. Needless to say, the guitar amp world is one that Celestion holds dear. In this Celestion interview, Tube Amp Doctor’s (TAD) Andreas Hecke reflects on his start in the industry, founding TAD and what keeps the company innovative.
What is your favourite album of all time and why?
Paul Butterfield Live. I love blues combined with jazz. Paul was the first guy recording and touring with a mixed-race band in the mid 1960s. Starting 1967 he added a jazz horn section and in 1970 reached the peak with this live recording.
What is the thing that made you want to be part of the musical equipment industry? How did you get your start in the business, and with this company?
Nobody was able to fix my 1955 Fender Bassman amp properly. So, that caused me to want to learn how to fix amps myself. It turned out that finding the correct parts here in Germany was an issue back in the late 1980s.
I sourced them from U.S. companies and imported them. It quickly turned out that there was a certain demand for proper parts, so I started to make a business out of this. The idea was to finance my studying at the University of Mannheim. The business grew quickly.
How did your background influence the job you do now and the company overall?
My background was multifaceted. I was always interested in technical stuff — electronics, writing software for PCs — but I was also interested in economics. I became a qualified bank clerk and then started studying business economics with a focus on marketing.
At the same time, I grabbed every bit and piece of information about vacuum tube (valve) guitar amplifiers, schematics, layouts, and how to troubleshoot them. All this time I was playing in several bands. Taken all together, this finally qualified me to connect the areas of finance, I.T., sales and marketing, repair and service and managing a team of people who are as enthusiastic about tubes and amplifiers as I am.