Meet Your Maker Monday: Stephen Kraig
Meet Your Monday shifts to something electronic today, with Kraig Amplification. Read about one man's pursuit of creating the right tones.
What do you make?
Kraig Amplification manufactures custom hand-wired tube amplifiers for electric guitar and bass. From small 1 watt practice amps to 100 watt high gain heavy metal amps, Kraig amplification makes instruments that cover the entire sonic spectrum.
What does a typical day look like for you?
In addition to manufacturing new amplifiers and speaker cabinets, Kraig Amplification also offers repair services for broken audio equipment. I typically begin my day by investigating my customer's equipment and determining the appropriate repairs.
Research and development is an ongoing process and discovering new circuits to create new tones is very time consuming. I try to spend as much time developing my designs as I can. I won't release an amplifier if I would not play on it myself, so I try to spend time each day experimenting with new circuits to fine the tones that I am happy with.
Depending on the needs for the day I may spend time at my bench soldering a circuit, out in the workshop building a speaker cabinet, or networking with local musicians. Since Kraig amplification is currently a one-man operation, each day is filled with a multitude of tasks.
Why did you decide to start your own business and why Houston?
Houston is very ripe for creative minds right now and is a great environment for starting a new business. Having lived in Houston for most of my life it was not a difficult decision to station Kraig Amplification here. Even though the music scene is large, there are few people in Houston who offer amplifier manufacturing/repair so I am here to provide needed services to musicians and to grow creative work.
I have been lucky to become involved with Campus Productions, a group of artists, musicians, videographers, and instrument builders under one roof with the intent to grow creativity in Houston. Campus has helped me by providing a location to manufacture my equipment and network with fellow creative-minded people.
What are your inspirations and how do they guide your work?
From a young age I dreamed of creating equipment that pushed the boundaries of the audio industry standards. In all of my electronic designs I try to take an educated and knowledgeable approach to achieving a specific sound while avoiding gimmicks and tricks. My degree in electrical engineering has given me the knowledge to demystify and in some cases debunk many of the long standing "secrets" to achieving the perfect guitar tone.
I have seen a trend of moving away from the design mentality and circuits of 70s and 80s style equipment in many amp manufacturers and I plan to help lead this movement. My inspiration is to take a more creative approach to my equipment instead of leveraging off of tried and true designs.
What's next for Kraig Amplification?
2014 is gearing up to be an exciting year for Kraig Amplification. I have been designing and building amps for many years, but finally decided to take the plunge to go full time late in 2013. I have been developing multiple new amps which I am very excited about. Quarter 1 of 2014 will see the release of Kraig Amplification's first full production amplifier, a 50 watt combo with 2 twelve inch speakers geared towards gigging musicians. Two more designs are to be released throughout 2014 all of which will be in as many local stores that will sell them.
Throughout 2014 I plan to continue the repair side of the business while growing the name Kraig Amplification as a trusted audio resource in Houston.
What do you want people to know about your work?
Kraig Amps strives to provide quality equipment that is grounded in educated circuit design while not breaking the bank. I build robust equipment that will last a lifetime and will provide the necessary tools to aid musicians in perusing their creativity.