Alan Pyne

1960s to 2000s

As many will know, Alan worked at JMI from c. 1960 to early 1968, overseeing the maintenance and repair of the "Artists' Loan" equipment (equipment lent to and returned by bands) in the "shed" behind 119 Dartford Road. Loans were a big thing for JMI. Equipment often came back in a pretty miserable state though - prime examples being anything lent to The Who, the early Transonics issued to Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers (and returned to Dartford in pieces), and so on. On a concert tour of Sweden, JMI amplifiers and speakers on loan to the Dave Clark Five were utterly trashed. JMI had to send a new set ahead to the USA, the next leg of the group's tour. But anything that found its way back to number 119 in a serviceable condition was repaired by Alan. He also handled day-to-day repairs at Dartford Road - items that had broken down in ordinary circumstances (in contrast to things that had been hurled across stages).

A shot of the shed behind 119 Dartford Road taken by Derek Underdown in the late 1950s (?). Thanks to Toni Standing, his daughter. In early days, accordions were assembled there, then for a time small runs of amplifiers. Thereafter it became "Artists' Loans" and Repairs.

It should perhaps be said that although the majority of loans were made from Dartford Road (the equipment overseen by Alan) a certain number of amplifiers, guitars, speaker cabinets, and so on, were also lent out from the Jennings shop at 100 Charing Cross Road. These were repaired as need be in the workshop on the shop's first floor, where second-hand items were occasionally available for sale (at least one AC100 in 1966). In late 1962, to take an early example, Jet Harris's band was fully kitted out at Charing Cross Road in readiness for the tour beginning in late August. All had to be returned however when the group came to an end (in 1963).

At various points former loan items stored in the Dartford Road "shed" would be sold off to local groups, having been serviced by Alan, real bargains to be had. The largest of these sales was almost certainly the last, held in late 1967. JMI, newly in receivership, had recently moved operations entirely to the West Street Works in Erith and numbers 117 and 119 had to be cleared out, having reverted to Tom Jennings following his dismissal from JMI in late September 1967 (Tom was back in business there - as "Jennings Electronic Developments" - by December).

Just to note that an AC50 that came from the Artists Loan shed still survives. Its long-time owner, who bought it at the clearing out sale in late 1967, was told it had been used by the Chris Barber band.

It is likely that Alan bought a considerable amount at the sale, much as Syd Wedeles, had done when the shop at 100 Charing Cross Road was sold to the Macaris in early 1967. Syd, the shop's service engineer, went on to set up in business for himself (in Paddington) with the thousands of JMI spare parts he had acquired.

Notice from "Beat Instrumental" magazine - March 1967.

Quite what Alan did in the years immediately following the collapse of JMI is unknown. But in 1975, when the new incarnation of Tom's venture, "Jennings Electronic Industries", finally came to an end, Pyne bought 119 Dartford Road along with the shed at back (and whatever remained in it at that time), setting up in business as a maker and repairer of amplifiers and organs. There is a great page on him .

Evidently every so often he would go up to London in his van and pick up batches of amps and organs for repair from shops on Charing Cross Road; but in the main things would be brought to him by individuals and bands. His name became widely known.

As for the repairs themselves, Alan often made use of the left-over JMI chassis and parts (hardware and electronic) that he had amassed - control knobs, panels, transformers, tag-boards, potentiometers, resistors, capacitors, and the like. Generally he put his shop label on the chassis of the Vox amps he repaired. Sometimes there is none though, so all one has to go on is instinct and appearance. An amp with a spread of genuine Vox parts from various dates, and signs of work done in the 1970s or 1980s, is more than likely "a Pyne".

A label from a Metal Clad Vox PA100 amplifier repaired by Pyne. He is known to have repaired at least one other, not to mention a host of other JMI items.

Below, a couple of "Pyne" AC30s:

(1) - Serial number and colour of control panel unknown. The speakers with Vox labels do not belong with the chassis. Either they or it are new to the cabinet. Speakers of this type - Celestion T3757 or early T530 - belong with AC15s or AC30s from late 1960 / early 1961. AC30s of this period have among other things three tagboards in their preamps: two long ones for the majority of components and a third smaller one at left for the footswitch network. The preamp of the amp below has the two long boards of later amps - amps that will have had Celestion blue speakers.

Pyne put the date of his work on the label: 1st June, 1983. Two inputs have been removed from this AC30/6 chassis. It is not a genuine AC30/4.

(2) - Recently (June 2022) sold on ebay, an AC30 with a serial number in the 10000s (?), black AC30/6 control panel, and Pyne label.

Repaired / created by Alan Pyne in 1991. Black AC30/6 panel added - now with distinctive patterns of wear.