1967 was kind of a magical year in music. A ton of records, nowadays considered milestones have been released within 12 months. The Doors’ selftitled debut and it’s followup “Strange Days“, „Are you experienced“ and „ Axis: bold as love“ by Jimi Hendrix, „The piper at the gates of dawn“ by Pink Floyd, „Sgt. Peppers lonely heart club“ by the Beatles, the selftitled debut by Velvet Underground and the list goes on…
1967 saw the six-day war, the release of the first issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, the shooting of Che Guevara, the marriage of Elvis Presley and Priscilla, the fatal failure of Apollo 1, the ongoing Vietnam War and in result the Summer of Love in the neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, California.
Also in California in this very year Steven Marks founded the Acoustic Control Corporation, manufacturing high end amplifiers and cabinets for guitars and bass-guitars introducing features like front mounting of speakers, removeable grilles, separate preamp and powered speaker enclosures. Also a lifetime warranty has been offered to the original purchaser.
In fact The Doors became such an important outlet that they made it on the cover of the catalogue in 1968.
Krieger found himself in good company with guitarists like Albert King and Chuck Berry having the 260 accompany them on stage while folks like Pete Townsend and Frank Zappa felt more drawn to the successor Model 270 / 271 in the early 70s.
The Acoustic 360 was pure in tone, very musically and with 200 watt RMS / 440 watts PEAK astonishingly loud. Its cabinet, the Acoustic 361 featured a single 18” speaker and a large folded horn. Gene Czerwinski of Cerwin-Vega played the key part in the back then revolutionary design.
It was made not so much for the club but for the big stages which became a huge advantage as in the late 60s more and more concerts for massive audiences started to emerge.
John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) used a pair of it, John McVie (Fleetwood Mac) used it in the early days, Jaco Pastorius loved it, Larry Graham (Sly & the Family Stone) used it and Dave Brown played one at Woodstock with Santana.
What led to the final curtain for the amp manufacturer remains unknown. At least for us…
It’s kind of safe to say that Steve Marks young company became a success with its uncompromising early models. But somehow they seemingly got lost over time…
To set the record straight:
Acoustic Control Corporation or just „Acoustic“ is a brand which history is quite hard to figure out as you only find occasional hints of what happened when. We’ve tried our best to map the course the company took but the dates should be taken with a large grain of salt as there are no such thing as „confirmed“ sources.
- on Tuesday, September 28, the name Acoustic Control Corporation was filed in Van Nuys, California
- Steve Marks & his father Robert Marks founded the Acoustic Control Corporation
- production of the 260 head / 261 cabinet starts
- production of the 360 head / 361 cabinet starts
- introduction of the 150 series
- introduction of the 270 series
- introduction of the 130 series
- production of the “Black Widow” electric guitar and electric bass starts
- production of the PA systems MF IV, MF VI, and MF VIII starts
- introduction of the Acoustic 370
- introduction of the 470 and 450 series
- production of the “Black Widow” electric guitar and electric bass ends
- production of the Model 160, Model 164 and Model 165 starts
- production of the “Acoustic G series“ starts
- ACC went out of business
- Latter-day employee and designer Steve Rabe went on to establish specialist bass amplifier manufacturer SWR
- Comeback under the name Acoustic Amplification
- another branch of Acoustic, G.P.G. Co a.k.a. Acoustic USA launched its website
NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR
To clarify once again: what got us into this was the purchase of an Acoustic Model 164 Combo which you can read about HERE. It’s always nice to dig into the history of, well, historical amp manufacturers but to get behind Acoustic was just weird as there’s almost nothing.
An “official” homepage that’s lacking a logo, a Wikipedia entry ending with some sort of diary note, the website www.acousticbassusa.com is down, no confirmed sources about the dating of the amps / cabinets / etc. at all, there are no traces about what happened to Steve Marks / Steven L. Marks…
At the end of the day the great instruments remain even though the information behind it is quite hard to achive.
RESOURCES AND USEFUL LINKS
Official homepage of Acoustic Amplification
Unofficial homepage including manuals and schematics
The Wikipedia entry
Interview with Harvey Gerst and Russ Allee by Bassplayer Magazine giving some insight
The 1968 catalogue as a PDF
Our article about the Acoustic Model 164