The Celestion Interview with Andreas Hecke

Celestion andreasHeckeTUBEAMP

Established in 1993 as a guitar amp repair shop in Worms, Germany, Tube Amp Doctor has grown to be a world-leading company providing electron tubes as well as many other parts for both musical instrument and home hi-fi applications. If nobody else has it, chances are they do. As the guitar amp world is close to our hearts at Celestion, we’re privileged to be able to spend time speaking about business and music with TAD founder Andreas Hecke.

A musician, Andreas Hecke tells us that his business was founded out of a personal need for parts and his business grew from there. “Nobody was able to fix my 1955 Fender Bassman amp properly. So, that caused me to want to learn how to fix amps myself. It turned out that finding the correct parts here in Germany was an issue back in the late 1980s.” he says. “So, I sourced them from U.S. companies and imported them. It quickly turned out that there was a certain demand for proper parts, so I started to make a business out of this. The idea was to finance my studying at the University of Mannheim. And the business grew quickly.”

And his company’s beginnings as a repair shop helped them to later produce quality products.

“We were running a repair shop for many years and collected the experience of the worst-case scenarios, since we mostly received amps that had an issue,” he says. “We offered the experience we collected in years of fixing tube amplifiers to R&D engineers at amp manufacturers and we used it to improve quality at our tube production partners as well as our own TAD tube testing. It’s sort of a perfect circle - which seems unique in our business.”

And he credits the key to his company’s success with listening to his clients’ needs and implementing improvements in production, combined with passion for the products.

“One point is the fact I did understand and connect the different key people in the company. But this is helpful in general in any kind of business. Specific to TAD, it’s the love and passion for the product. We talk to the R&D engineers of guitar amplifiers and learn about their requirements. Then we use this knowledge to trigger improvements at the production sites for the tubes themselves.”

Hecke sites the TAD REDBASE tube series as his company’s important innovation.

“Many micro-innovations have been realized to improve tube production processes. Today we have the literally failure-free TAD 6L6GCM, 6L6WGC, 6V6GT, EL34, EL84, KT88 and GZ34 REDBASE™ tubes in ongoing production,” adds Hecke. “And More classic tube types including a 6550A, 12BH7, 12AT7/ECC81 and 12AX7/ECC83 are now very close to being ready for volume production.”

And the accomplishment that he is most proud of?

“Setting up a company and a brand known in our business worldwide,” says Hecke. “And that many of our team have worked with us for a long time - 10, 15, 20, and even 25 years! That shows me we’re doing something right.”

Click here to read the full interview with Andreas Hecke on the Celestion Speakerworld blog.