Bruno Cow Tipper 35
Product Reviews by Ray Matuza
Reviewed by 20TH Century Guitar Magazine in
the December 1999 issue.
"Through his mods, customizing and, over
the past fifteen years or so, designing his
own line of hand-wired, custom amps, Tony
Bruno has gained a reputation as being the
amp tonemaster in the New York area.
It wasn’t too long after the word got
out that this reputation started traveling
around the country as well as overseas. Heck,
Guitar Player Magazine lauded his Underground
30 as the best in a boutique amp shootout
a few years back.
So a recent visit to Tony’s lab left
me like a kid in a candy store with the former
acting as the only too cooperative store keep.
While its looks wink at Marshall attire with
the white piping and similarly styled grill
cloth, the Cow Tipper combo definitely speaks
a vibe somewhere in the blackface territory.
Two 6L6 bottles churn out 35 watts into two
10” Eminence speakers housed in an open-back
pine cabinet with thirteen-ply Baltic birch
baffle board. Three I2AX7 tubes handle the
preamp duties with a 12AT7 for doin’
the phase inverter thing and a second one
for driving the two-spring Accutronics long
All components are immaculately point-to-point
wired on brass eyelet loaded G10 glass epoxy
circuit board material which eliminates the
possibility of any snap, crackle and pops
that can occur on typical fiber circuit board
material due to moisture. Wire dressing is
nice and neat with all wire routing well thought
out for optimum performance and lowest noise.
A high and low gain input along with the requisite
volume, treble, middle, bass and reverb controls
adorn the Cow Tipper’s front panel presenting
straightforward simplicity at its best. But
this is where that simplicity ends. Plugging
into the high-gain input immediately reveals
the signature Bruno clean sound - rich and
full with more complexity and sparkle than
a blackface Fender. The bottom end is tight
and punchy with a very evenly pronounced amount
of low frequencies through the 2x10”
configuration. Although I’m not a 10”
kind of guy, I preferred their sound over
a pair of 12” Bulldogs we happened to
plug into for kicks.
All tone controls more than adequately add
their own spice without clouding up the sound.
Whether playing complex chord voicings or
doing finger-style jazz, the Cow Tipper displayed
an amazing amount of string to string definition
with complete transparency between the voices.
Adding a pinch or so of the Accutronics reverb
sweetens the mix with a warm depth, albeit
past the 10 o’clock position, I found
it to be a bit obtrusive.
Cranked up, the Cow Tipper lived up to its
bovine namesake - big, beefy and juicy without
robbing any tonal characteristics away from
the instrument, or amp, for that matter. Notes
remain full and robust with the attacks being
definitive and right on. There’s a power
amp section workin’ here, mates! If
you don’t think a blackface Fender’s
tone can be improved upon, think again - Tony’s
This article appears
with the permission of 20TH Century Guitar.
Copyright 1999 Seventh String Press Inc. All