Note: This article has been updated with lastest available information on March 21st, 2021 at 11:37 pm

Positive Grid SwitchAxe Amp is available under the Metal amp group and is inspired by the Switch Blade Amp from Hughes & Kettner (H&K).

SwitchAxe Amp

Hughes & Kettner
Company typePrivate
FoundedNeunkirchen, Germany (1984; 40 years ago (1984))
FounderHans and Lothar Stamer (CEO)
Area served
Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Australia
Key people
Hans and Lothar Stamer

Hughes & Kettner is a German manufacturer of instrument amplifiers, cabinets and effects boxes.


The company was founded in Neunkirchen in 1984 by two brothers, Hans and Lothar Stamer, and moved to St. Wendel three years later.[1]

It is cited as a "long and good standing reputation as a maker of solidly performing tube amplifiers".[2]

In 1989, Hughes & Kettner offered the first realistic speaker emulation device, the Red Box, providing the sound of a speaker without needing a microphone.[3] In 1997, the company designed the Rotosphere, a tube-powered effects pedal simulating the sound of a rotary cabinet, similar to a Leslie, but in a much smaller form factor.[4] It has been used by guitar players but also by some keyboard players, such as Jon Lord.[5] In 2011, Music Radar named the Rotosphere as one of the best modulation and filter pedals of all time.[6]

The company is actively producing new models, both tube and solid-state amplifiers. In 2020, the company released the 50W Spirit Nano amplifier head, which combines a transistor amplifier with a Red Box Leslie simulator.[7][8] The era 1 and era 2 are general purpose amplifiers that are suitable for acoustic guitars and microphones.[9]

Notable users

Notable users of Hughes & Kettner products include Rush's Alex Lifeson[10] and Kiss' Tommy Thayer, who have signature amplifiers by the company (The TriAmp MKII Alex Lifeson and the Duotone Tommy Thayer).[11][12] Marillion's Steve Rothery is a longtime user of the Rotosphere and prefers it to other Leslie simulators.[13]

Other Hughes and Kettner users are Joel Stroetzel who has used the company's Rotosphere,[14] Adam Dutkiewicz,[15] Joe Bonamassa,[16] Peredur ap Gwynedd who uses a GrandMeister 36,[17] Nuno Bettencourt,[18] Tony Macalpine,[19] Michael Wilton and Allan Holdsworth.[20]

Hughes & Kettner made a custom rig of steampunk styled guitar amplifiers for Rush's Time Machine Tour in 2010.[10]


  1. ^ "Hughes & Kettner". GAK. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  2. ^ Hunter, Dave (2013). 365 Guitars, Amps & Effects You Must Play: The Most Sublime, Bizarre and Outrageous Gear Ever. p. 251. ISBN 978-0760343661. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  3. ^ Dorian, A. "Hughes and Kettner Redbox Classic". Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  4. ^ "User reviews: Hughes & Kettner Tube Rotosphere". en.audiofanzine.com. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  5. ^ "The classic Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere rotary pedal: true Leslie speaker sounds in compact form". blog.hughes-and-kettner.com/. August 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  6. ^ "The 33 best modulation and filter pedals of all time". Music Radar. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  7. ^ Astley-Brown, Michael (October 2020). "Hughes & Kettner unveils tiny, super-affordable 50W Spirit Nano amp heads". Guitar World. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Hughes & Kettner's new Spirit Nano Heads could be affordable micro marvels". Music Radar. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Review: Hughes & Kettner era 2 Amp". Guitar World. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Rush go steampunk for Time Machine tour!". Music Radar. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  11. ^ "Tommy Thayer Reflects on Going from Kiss Fan to Spaceman to the End of the Road". Guitar World. 12 March 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Interview teaser : Tommy Thayer von Kiss". Guitarbass (in German). 5 January 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Marillion's Steve Rothery and Mark Kelly have nothing to fear". Music Players. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  14. ^ "Killswitch Engage Guitarist Names Strangest Guitar He Ever Used on Recording, Details Gear From New Album". Ultimate Guitar. 23 August 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Kytaroví velikáni - Adam Dutkiewicz a Joel Stroetzel". muzikus.cz (in Czech). 18 November 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Guitar master Joe Bonamassa shoots from the hip about selecting the right effects pedal". Music & Musicians Magazine. February 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  17. ^ "Rig tour: Pendulum". Music Radar. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  18. ^ "Nunno Bettencourt's Guitar Gear Rig and Equipment". Uberpro Audio. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Rig Rundown: Tony MacAlpine". Premier Guitar. 12 November 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 5 Amp review". Premier Guitar. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
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