Back in 2017, I designed “The Mighty Flea” – a 20W guitar amplifier aimed mostly at acoustic jazz guitarists, and built a couple of prototypes. I used to go to gypsy jazz festivals a lot, and I thought it would be great to make a portable amp aimed primarily at acoustic jazz guitarists – something that looked stylish, and sounded similar to the vintage Stimer amps that those Dhango Reinhardt made famous, but could run off batteries and be played around a campfire.
The boxes for the prototype amplifiers were made by my friend Peter Lewis, and as you can see he did a fantastic job – they really look the part.
The sound was great too, and I took one for gypsy jazz maestro Robin Nolan to see in Amsterdam. Here’s a video of our meeting:
I was planning several models of the Mighty Flea, and even ran a Kickstarter campaign to finance the first prototypes. Unfortunately, we didn’t meet the target. I carried on the design awhile longer, but soon realised that I didn’t have the financial muscle to bring the project to market effectively. Things like trying to find someone to make the boxes in volume at a reasonable price and getting the design through the necessary approvals to enable me to legally market it internationally became just too difficult and expensive.
It’s a bit of a shame, as there was definite interest in the project. I still have the board designs and the prototypes (one of them I am willing to sell). The Flea is not dead, just sleeping! I have some ideas about how to make it available to people in a way that makes sense. More soon!