History of Supro

Supro is one of the original Rock & Roll music brands. Manufactured in Chicago from 1935 to 1968, Supro amplifiers and guitars can be heard on landmark recordings by iconic artists such as Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie. Revived in 2013, Supro now offers a curated range of vintage-inspired guitars, basses, tube amps and pedals that capture the legendary Supro sound.

What is Supro?

Supro President David Koltai gives a brief history of the iconic brand’s current incarnation and the inspiration behind reviving it.

History of the 1961 Dual Tone Guitar

The Dual Tone model first appeared in Supro catalogs in the early 1950s. The distinctive tone of the Supro Vistatone pickups has been a consistent highlight of this instrument throughout its evolution. The 1953 Supro catalog boasted: “We sincerely believe the pickup system to be the finest we have ever produced in over two decades of electronic development. Make an honest comparison with any instrument for tone, volume, and performance—you’ll be truly surprised.

Albert Lee and Supro’s UK Invasion

by Peter Murray

The year was 1960, and a 16-year-old Albert Lee had left school to tour in the backup band for singers Dickie Pride and Sally Kelly—after playing guitar for only two years. He’d been sharing a Selmer Truvoice amp with the group’s bass player. “It’s easy to imagine how bad it sounded, but it was new to us and totally uncharted ground. I soon realised that one amp wasn’t making it—so with my money from the tour, I made a deposit on a Supro amp in Selmer’s music store in Charing Cross Road,”2 says Lee. Selmer was one of the largest and oldest music shops in London, having opened in 1937. It was there that many of the UK’s guitar heroes first tried out and bought much of their gear—among them, Jeff Beck, Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page.

Discovering the Legend

by David Koltai

The signature sound and distinctive art deco styling of Supro tube amps and electric guitars have become an indelible part of rock & roll history. Picking up a Supro guitar and plugging into one of our tube amplifiers connects you to a musical legacy that begins with the birth of the electric blues during the Great Depression and culminates in the invention of hard rock music in the late 60’s.

Reviving a Legendary Brand

Music Trades – 2017

Supro, one of the pioneers of the electric guitar, is back with a new line of guitars and amps that pay homage to the classic designs of the 1950s and 1960s.

Supro Amplifiers: the Lore, the Legend, the Tone

by Dave Hunter

The legendary Supro logo with signature lightning bolt stirs several images simultaneously for most guitarists. Sum these up as unique looks, individual tone, and a near-mythic cool factor that is unmatched in the world of vintage tube guitar amplifiers; but the most common reactions to all of these sensations are best rendered simply as, “I want one!” Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Albert Lee and countless other stars wanted one too—and got ’em, using Supro amps to lay down the foundations of blues and rock.

Bobbie Thomas: Guitar Prodigy, Con Artist and NAMM Demo Guy

With the Winter NAMM trade show quickly approaching, we wanted to share one of our favorite little pieces of obscure Supro history. “See and hear, Bob and Bobbie Thomas! At the Supro Exhibit.” Notice the hastily scrawled-in changes of the room number and times. This hint of behind the scenes chaos and last-minute changes at NAMM shows of yesteryear makes us smile. As do the Supro Arlington guitars held by two very clean-cut demo guys: Bob and Bobbie Thomas.