20 Jan Getting that Classic Sound Back

The San Diego Union Tribune

Like many rock fans and aspiring guitarists around the world, Fil Olivieri had a musical epiphany the first time he heard the Australian band AC/DC’s classic 1980 album, “Back in Black.”

That epiphany turned into a decades-long quest for the Dallas-born, Rome-raised Olivieri, whose company, SoloDallas, will be an exhibitor at this week’s NAMM Show in Anaheim. For years, he sought to replicate the striking “Back in Black” guitar tones of AC/DC’s Angus Young, but didn’t know how.

“I became obsessed with it,” said Olivieri, 47, who now lives in La Jolla and was not yet a teenager when he became an AC/DC fan in 1978.

He bought the same guitars as Young (vintage Gibson SGs) and amplifiers (Marshalls). Still, the sound he wanted proved elusive.

Olivieri did not discover until reading an interview in 2012 that Young’s guitar sound owed much to a Schaffer-Vega wireless system. The same system had also been used by Eddie Van Halen, Peter Frampton and other six-string legends.

The long discontinued system, of which only 1,000 had been made, enabled guitarists to roam concert stages at will, without having their instruments plugged into amplifiers. The system included two controls that Young specifically credited for creating the over-driven guitar sound that is a trademark of AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”

After learning that Ken Schaffer had stopped making his wireless system in 1982, Oliveiri tracked him down in New York. They spoke several times at length.

Impressed by Olivieri’s enthusiasm, Schaffer gave the Italian-American his last two wireless units — and his blessing to create the Schaffer Replica, which Olivieri began marketing last year.

His company, SoloDallas, will display Olivieri’s Schaffer Replica wireless unit ($1,299 each) and foot-controlled stomp-box version ($399) at the NAMM show. That fact that AC/DC’s Young now uses Olivieri’s high-end product is an added bonus.

“Muse guitarist Matt Bellamy and Billy Idol’s guitarist, Steve Stevens, both have one now, and Lenny Kravitz, Keith Urban and other guitarists know about us because of AC/DC,” Olivieri’s said. “We made 850 units last year, and Angus has the first one. My company expects this NAMM Show to be really successful for us.”


From: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jan/20/fin-olivieri-pays-homage-to-ac-dc-guitar-sound/?fbshare=1945110

Read More

23 Jan SoloDallas AT NAMM: Blogging it.

Dear friends,

as some of you know, this year we are participating to the Namm show, in Anaheim, California, willing to introduce the Schaffer Replica® to the (rest of the) world (that doesn’t know it yet). Today it was preparation day for the exhibitors (us included), and it has been packed of great feeling and emotions for everyone involved.

For me it actually started last night, when I got to meet Mr. Schaffer in person.  Mr. Schaffer had to literally, jump on an airplane to get to Anaheim from New York. In fact, his previous tickets (that he had reserved way in advance)  were suddendly cancelled for a snow storm that is forecast to be incoming in the north-eastern part of the USA right during NAMM, and right where Mr. Schaffer is based (NYC). So he called me hectically but I was already asleep in the city of Angels (Los Angeles). So Mr. Schaffer decided on his own (he his a very brilliant person you know) and just jumped on the first plane to Los Angeles. Crazy! But got there safely.

Mr. Ken Schaffer, a Schaffer Replica® and SoloDallas. All three smiling.

Mr. Ken Schaffer, a Schaffer Replica® and SoloDallas. All three smiling.

After napping a little bit at his hotel in Anaheim, CA, we got to meet. My wife (who also came along to Anaheim to support me) had chosen a Japanese Restaurant for the “meet and greet” event between Mr. Schaffer and myself (first time in my life that I got to see him, after two long and exciting years of discoveries, planning and work) but the wife naturally fell asleep (horribly jet lagged) 5 minutes before we were supposed to be out of the door to go to the restaurant –  so I went alone. Mr. Schaffer was instead accompanied by a beautiful actress friend of his (great taste in friends, Mr. Schaffer!). Naturally he got lost on the way and appeared about one hour later. But I waited chatting with Canadian friend and solodallas.com member Kris, who entertained me with his tone findings with his Schaffer Replica, supplying videos and pics to keep me busy. So it was good waiting. When I finally got to see Mr. Schaffer in front of me, it was a great feeling. There is some kind of – unexpected? – resemblance between us, which added some pleasant laughs to the night. We talked about many things, and Mr. Schaffer was as kind, warm and funny as ever (he’s a funny guy!). It was a blast for me. I kept repeating to him how pleased I was to see him in person. And I have kept telling him today at Namm, when he walked into the exhibition building to come and meet the booth gang.

I was in fact lucky enough to be able to share a Namm booth, invited by Billy Rowe of rocknrollrelics.net . Our booth is number 3395, and we set it up together today (wed the 22nd of Jan 2014), since Namm will be officially opening its doors tomorrow,  to thousands of people. The people that matter in the music business.



Part of the 3395 booth (left side). It includes products from Rock N Roll Relics, David Allen Pickups, David Friedman amps, Knagg guitars and our Schaffer Replica. Shown here, the great Metro-Friedman 1959 Super Lead clone of Eddy Van Halen (I own one of these!)


I really love the way that the booth has come out. You can check our big logo, that was welcomed among the others in a very, very friendly way by hosts Billy Rowe, David Allen and David Friedman. I particularly enjoyed meeting Mr. David Allen of David Allen pickups, as well as

Great (funny, "alive") David Allen. When he says "bringing tone to life", he MEANS it.

Great (funny, “alive”) David Allen. When he says “bringing tone to life”, he MEANS it.

getting to hug again my friend Billy Rowe. Shaking hands (and getting to play his amps) with David Friedman was also a blast. You can see that they setup my own little corner, with the Schaffer Replicas over a super cool Metro Friedman 1959 type circuit amp. I love that amp! Got to play some with it plugging one of our Replicas and it rocked. I was able to play one of Billy’s latest SG models, pictured to the left. The silver one.

That one will be my guitar here at Namm (I’m a lucky guy!). The guitar sports Mr. David Allen’s latest POWERAGE pickups, a great interpretation of Gibson T-tops of the 1970s and I have to tell you, I am getting a set of these immediately. These are the ones I never got

A Schaffer Replica and its POWERAGE T-top Replica friends. You know, great Replicas get easily friendly with each other.

A Schaffer Replica and its POWERAGE T-top Replica friends. You know, great Replicas get easily friendly with each other.

to try because David had no time to build a last set for me. Incidentally, as it often happens, they are my favourite set of T-tops and one that you all will get to hear a lot as soon as I am back from NAMM.

I got to plug into that great amp, attenuated by Friedman’s own “STFU” unit (name is pretty much self explanatory). I got to play with it a bit and it would seem like a great little piece of kit. Really silent, bringing that beast of a 100 watt amp to my usual bedroom rocker type sound levels. Good for me (and good for NAMM: we are not allowed to play loud!).

FRIEDMAN's great 1959 type circuit amp, with Friedman proprietary attenuator the "STFU" (HOW cool is that???)

FRIEDMAN’s great 1959 type circuit amp, with Friedman proprietary attenuator the “STFU” (HOW cool is that???)


The Schaffer Replica behaved wonderfully, with pretty much the approval of everyone at the booth. I kept on pushing the pedal on and off, going from Angus Young of AC/DC mode to standard rock mode. I have seen quite a few heads nodding while I was playing, and I frankly enjoyed that very, very much. It was a great start it being preparation/set up day, I just couldn’t have desired anything better than this.


We will be continuously updating this page to try and blog the NAMM event and our booth 3395 adventures. Please stay tuned. I hope to be able to entertain you a bit!


Always yours,


Fil 🙂

Read More

31 Oct SoloDallas at NAMM 2014: Our Own Booth For The TSR™

Well, I had told you that I was going to do it “the right” way (wasn’t one of my first videos – eons ago – called “doin’ it right”?). I thought this would imply spreading the word about the TSR™ at NAMM 2014, Anaheim. We’re there, just been welcomed. More info on booth number to come soon – please stay tuned (and come visit us there!).


With love yours,


Filippo “SoloDallas”


Read More