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Canadian music legend helps County musicians amp up performancce

By Bill Samuel
One, maybe two people carrying guitar amplifiers into Picton’s Strum Music on any given day is not an unusual event. However almost a dozen people visited Saturday to have their guitar amplifiers bench tested by Clint Hierlihy, qualified tube amplifier technician. Not only did the owners of the amplifiers get a chance to have their pride and joys tested by a knowledgeable individual, they got to rub elbows with a bona-fide Canadian music legend.

Hierlihy was the bass player for the Ottawa based group The Esquires formed in 1962. The band was signed by Capitol Records and their first single was “Atlantis” in 1963, followed by “The Man From Adano”. Their biggest hit “So Many Other Boys” in late 1964 won them a Red Leaf Award – predecessor of the Juno – for Best Vocal And Instrumental Group. Over their career the band shared the stage with The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Dave Clark 5 and Roy Orbison. The Man From Adano is credited with being the first music video made in Canada.

Clint’s association with amplifiers began in his youth when his step-father showed him some electronic basics. He built his first guitar amplifier from scratch. He went on to work for several Ottawa area music stores, then for Bang and Olufsen in Toronto. Now residing in Kingston, Clint decided to brush-up on his skills and began servicing electronics.

“Every guitar player will tell you they prefer a tube amplifier to a solid state,” said Clint. “Solid state is good for bass, piano, P.A., that sort of thing.”

Clint says he enjoys putting on the free clinics, he has run several in the Kingston area. Normally there is a $40 charge to have an amplifier analyzed.

One of many guitar tub-amplifier owners, Picton’s Glen Holm brought his Fender Pro Reverb amplifier to be analyzed. He has been playing guitar (old R n B and blues) since 1984.

“I like the sound of tube amplifiers,” Glen said. “It captures that vintage sound.”

After his amplifier was analyzed, Glen was given an appraisal of the condition of his nearly 40-year-old amplifier and was advised what parts should be replace and why; then given a ball-park estimate of the cost of the repairs. Glen said that he can now budget for returning the amplifier back to its original state.

Strum Music owner Mark da Silva has found that over the past three-and-a-half years his store has been open in Picton, it has become the musical hub of the area. Mark’s philosophy has been to supply the local musical community with useful information and the sales will follow.

“A lot of musicians have vintage gear that needs to be taken care of,” Mark said. “Amplifiers, like vintage cars, have parts that wear-out.”

The clinic was set up to give the musicians useful information about the condition of their amplifiers. Some booked their amplifiers in for service, a few bought parts and the really lucky ones (including me) watched Clint and the Esquires in the first Canadian made music video The Man From Adano!

Filed Under: Local News

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