Mahalo Amps – Quality Guitar Amps Born From a Single Quality Doorstop

Episode 23 of Behind the Backline

Mahalo Amps logo

Mahalo Amps – Quality Guitar Amps Born From a Single Quality Doorstop

Show Notes

Most companies, new and old, can trace their origins back to a similar story of when their founder had an idea and how it evolved over the years to become the company we know and admire. This story starts with a doorstop (for real).

Mahalo Amps founder Richie Mays used to tinker a lot with building his own amps after finding that the amps he was using didn’t produce the right sound for him. While it was a 5-year process of piecing together parts in his pursuit to build his dream amp, he still didn’t have an output transformer to make it reality.

One day while he was at the repair shop he worked for in Atlanta, he saw an output transformer being used as a doorstop. He was immediately drawn to it and knew it was the answer he had been looking for to reach his goal amp. He asked if he could take it. The only form of payment that was asked of him? A replacement object to continue propping the door open. The next day in came in with a brick and got his wish.

Upon acquiring his doorstop find, his mission was complete. He had just played through the best-sounding amp he had ever owned. And he had built it. That amp became the Mahalo AEM50, which is still available for purchase today.

The rest, as they say, is history. Richie’s friend and Mahalo’s co-founder Scott Phillips joins us in this episode to share this crazy story of how Mahalo amps came to be, the inspiration their company culture draws from the Hawaiian Islands, and some of the famous names that call Mahalo their go-to amp brand.