Ceriatone, in case you haven't heard, is a boutique line of hand-wired amplifiers that is fast catching on internationally. Although the company produces a variety amp models, Ceriatone is most famous for their Overtone Special which is modelled on the Dumble Overdrive Special, the Holy Grail of guitar amplifiers.
They are also the most reasonably priced of any boutique amp -- although that may all change very soon, if guitar gear industry trends are anything to go by. But I doubt if they will be anywhere in the ballpark of what an authentic Dumble goes for these days.
Ceriatone is located on the second floor of an inconspicuos shop-house in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As we made our way up the flight of stairs I was half-expecting to find Ceriatone's intrepid founder, Nik Azam, hunkered over a workbench strewn with assorted amp parts and miles of copper wire.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
In two rows, on opposite sides of the shop floor, eight technicians were hard at work soldering point-to-point wiring on several Ceriatone amp models. Each tech worked on one amp chassis at a time, assembling every component for that particular amp. This was a cottage industry at its finest.
Nik Azam was the perfect host, graciously taking the time to show us around, patiently answering every question while sharing with us his vast knowledge of amplifier history and design.