Let Freedom ring! The Freedom amplifier Pt 1

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail


When you needed a portable amp back in the 70's, you had 2 choices: the Pignose, which put out a few watts of power or you could go the EH Freedom amp route, with 55W of battery-powered goodness.

The Freedom amp came about around 1972, blasting it's way into the musician's consciousness with the power of 55 watts into a single 10" heavy duty CTS speaker.


Not just for guitarists though, it was available in bass and PA models as well.  All shared the same basic cabinet construction and speaker with just a few differences to make each it's own beast:

Image Image

The Guitar version had controls for Volume, Tone, and Bite.  Bite was described as emphasizing the sound you get just when your pick plucks the strings.  It was also described as a "built in Attack Equalizer Control System ".



The Bass version:  I've never seen the Bass version so I don't know what the full control layout is.  I do know that it was apparently the first model dropped as later ads mention the Guitar and PA versions only.  It did have a "Heavy Low Frequency Resonance" control, which was supposed to give it more depth and wallop than a 2-15" setup.  If you find one, I'll buy it!



Image ImageImageImage

The PA version: Very rare.  I've only seen a couple of these so far and talked to just a couple of people who own one.  These amps had the usual Volume and Tone controls, but no Bite.  Some versions also added reverb with a Reverb control. 



In addition to the 3 different models you could also get them in 3 choices of power supply: AC. AC/DC, or DC only.  AC power was supplied via a detachable AC cord and a side-mounted AC socket.  DC was provided by the inclusion of a battery holder or holders capable of holding....40 D cells! Yes, that's right.  40.  All these batteries were held in one of 2 ways: either in a large metal battery holder mounted on the inside of the back panel or in a series-connected string of 10 four cell battery holders mounted inside the amp on the bottom and sides.  Having 40 Ds in one of these amps takes away a bit of the portability of the amp but they do seem to last a long time. An A/DC amp simply used the power switch to switch between the power modes.


The amps were covered in a thin vinyl that was available in red or black and had a single handle on top that was either a plastic fold down handle or a more traditional strap handle, like Fender uses.  I've not found any rhyme or reason for either handle or vinyl color.

The original ad campaign caused a bit of a stir with it's interracial overtones.  You can see pics used in the ads here.

In the next article we'll take a look at the bigger brothers of the Freedom amp along with it's siamese twin brother and the later reissue.