Bryan Jay, who played guitar in the ‘80’s metal band Keel, had a Marshall mod... more
Bryan Jay, who played guitar in the ‘80’s metal band Keel, had a Marshall modified by Jose, and he recalled that Arrendondo wasn’t the easiest guy in the world to track down. "You had to know somebody that knew somebody that knew him to reach him," Jay recalls. "Thinking back, my mod was kind of difficult to get."
Jose had a shop, Arrco Electronics, but Jay recalls going to Arredondo’s home (both were located the San Fernando Valley). In Arredondo’s garage, Jay saw several Marshalls sitting around with name tags on them: George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jake E. Lee. Although Arredondo was a friendly and talkative guy, he never talked about what he was doing with anyone else’s amps. "He was very secretive," says Jay.
We’d put up different amps in our rehearsal studio, and the Jose always blew everything away. It was unbelievable how good it sounded." - Bryan Jay Although Jose was much older than the musicians he worked for, "He was young at heart," Jay recalls. "Definitely had some fire in him." Arredondo was from Argentina, and he spoke with a heavy accent that was hard to understand at times. But when it came to tone, there were no communication problems at all. "What I basically wanted was that kind of first Van Halen album sound, and he seemed to know exactly what I wanted," Jay says.
When Jay picked his amp up several weeks later, he was very pleased with the results. "We’d put up different amps in our rehearsal studio, and the Jose always blew everything away. It was unbelievable how good it sounded."
Jose gave the amp an extra preamp tube, as well as a special pull knob. "When you pulled the knob out, it dropped the volume, but you still had all this gain," Jay continues. "It sounded like it was on ten."
Arredondo didn’t live long enough to have his own model amp on the market, but ironically, an amp based on Jay’s modified Marshall was released to the public, the Peavey VTM.
"The Vice President of Peavey was best buddies with one of our managers," says Jay. "They wanted us to use their equipment because they were real big on the country [music] side, but they were really trying to break into the rock world.
"They asked if they could borrow the Jose amp, and if they could design an amp that sounded as good or better, would we use it? We said okay. They took it apart, saw what he did, and modeled the VTM after it. They didn’t know the amp was based on a Jose modified Marshall."