The tale of the Goodsell Electric Instrument Company is a unique one ;
-with a degree in psychology and a background in broadcast sales, Richard Goodsell unwittingly found himself in the midst of a career change in the early ‘90s, stemming from a confluence of personal and professional situations. With nothing more than a dank rehearsal space filled with organs and electric pianos, the fledgling company, then known as Numerous Complaints Music, was born and hit the ground running…
Capitalizing on the sale of such relics as Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos, Hohner Clavinets, ARP and Moog synthesizers, along with Hammond, Vox, and Farfisa organs, all collected while in a band and holding down a day job, Richard found himself on the ground floor of the burgeoning “vintage” keyboard phenomenon, and quickly made inroads into the pro music scene, where artists hungered for the touch, taste, and feel of real analog organic instruments again after a decade of digital disappointment. Acts as diverse as REM, Bon Jovi, and the Allman Brothers were among the first to take notice, and soon the industry had beat a path to Richard’s door.
Of course the first pile of instruments flew out the door in a matter of a couple of months, and artists were already ordering duplicates for tour, studio, and home, and suddenly Richard found himself accepting orders he could not readily fill, thus beginning a 12 year odyssey largely living on the road and combing the country for dusty, busted, partial, and obscure keyboards and amplifiers.
Pawn shops, barn finds, estate sales, and auctions fueled the business for years, but the vast majority of the gear procured in this manner required more than a little TLC, and the artist consumers of these antiques would settle for nothing less than perfect working order. This is how Richard acquired his trial-by-fire electronics chops, eventually narrowing his practice to Hammond organs and Leslie speakers, as their popularity eclipsed the faddish transistorized keyboards that constantly fell in and out of favor with the performers.
After a dozen years and over 1000 instruments, with a brand new family, including a black Labrador Retriever, Richard had finally grown weary of the road and the four hundred pound heft of the B3s. Bored and fatigued, he reached into a nearby pile of Hammond organ debris one day and pulled out what would eventually become the very first Super 17 amplifier. That first amp, made entirely of salvaged organ parts, and now residing in Brendan O’Brien’s vast collection of vintage gear, was the basis for what eventually became the Goodsell Electric Instrument Company.
The supply of organ parts has long since been exhausted, but the DNA from that first unit is literally found in each Goodsell amp, as they are still made one at a time by Richard’s own hands. There is still a Super 17, which was quickly joined by the double-power 33 Custom – both fresh interpretations of the now-ubiquitous EL84 architecture. They have now been joined by the Black Dogs 22 & 50, the Unibox 10, the Dominatrix 18, and most recently the Valpreaux 21.
There are common themes across all models: To this day, no Goodsell has more than six knobs – simplicity is Rule One – no fiddly extras to make up for shallow, one-dimensional tone, nothing to mask instability or parasitic oscillation. Nothing to needlessly add to the cost of production, no superfluous adornments – what you get with a Goodsell is all meat and potatoes – no parsley. Every model shares an uncanny connectivity and immediacy with the player, almost becoming one with his hands and reacting naturally and organically as if a physical extension of his body.
If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced, unpretentious, highly musical tool to augment your arsenal of gear, chances are there is a Goodsell model to fit your situation.
Of course it’s OK if you buy more than one!