Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

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Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby ValveLust on Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:25 pm

The man the myth the legend “Earl of Sound” Chuck Mason.

Hoping that this might bring a few people together in order to piece together the full story.

What I know is back in the early eighties I went out green & blind searching for my first “Marshall” in the Portland Oregon area and was steered in the direction of a person by the name of Chuck Mason. Upon contact the “Marshall Fever” entered my soul. Chuck claimed to have many Marshall’s and other British amps for sale. He worked from his home in Milwaukie a suburb of Portland. Upon arrival and walking in the front door I about fell over backwards. This guy had amplifiers stacked in every room every corner, upstairs downstairs, in the kitchen (probably in the bathroom too) everywhere. All of which were mostly vintage or highly sought after valve amps. Before arrival I explained to him what I was after so he whipped up a ‘80 Superbass, installed a MV (smart and used an existing input). I was also after a 4X12, unfortunately I made an inexperienced decision and chose a 300 watt cab over the 100 watt, however I guess that was the tone I was after at the time. I only had several visits with Chuck however his name has now come up several times recently when inquiring on several vintage pieces in the area. Each person I came across had an alike story. From what I understand Chuck had a connection/relatives in England or ? that aided his importation of mass quantities of Marshall’s, Laney’s, Hiwatts etc..

Subsequently it was rumored that his indulgence with a much harder substance took his life in the late 90’s which was very unfortunate, nonetheless as I understood he was an electronic genius known as the “Earl of Sound”.

It would be interesting to see if there are others out there in our small world that could participate in this story and the legend.
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby shakethebeach on Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:09 pm

Interesting story, and while I don't recall meeting the guy, I bet I know some that do. If he was in milwaukee, then I'd bet Bob Pletka knows him.

In the early '80s, I was pretty green about marshalls. I just went down to Kelly's store and bought a new 800 series 50w. :x

Of course, like a dummy I didn't buy Salgado's erstwhile bassist's white superbass head for $250. It was too loud and sans MV. Duh... :oops:

Thanks for sharing stories of "old Oregon" 8)
"Every song needs a cranked Marshall for mojo, even if decorum requires muting the track"--Me

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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby gypsy moth on Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:16 pm

is this the guy who's stuff filled Black Market music in L.A. a long time ago?
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby The How on Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:24 pm

Aha. I think you and I have established we both live in the same area. I know what happened to most if not all of the Marshalls and possibly some of the other amps as they were bought by a good friend of mine in the gear business and refurbished by another friend of mine in the amp building and servicing business. this is funny that this comes up now because I am waiting and have been waiting for some time for the aquisition of the last piece of this collection as it were. A 68 super bass. I can find out more about this but from my understanding there were also a lot of parts and partial amps. My amp is being built out of this stuff. Not all from the same am but period correct. OT, knobs, caps etc. I'll contribute more to this story later.

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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby ValveLust on Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:28 pm

I don't remember hearing anything outside of the area however due to the large amounts of gear brought to the west coast there could be a connection. Not only was his house filled I understand he had a storage barn full as well!

It was mentioned from a guy I bought klipp off of about a year ago that there was a major "liquidation" after his passing (late 90's) whereas some real deals were found.
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby The How on Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:37 pm

Ok. I just talked to the amp builder friend of mine and he had several dealings with Chuck going back to about the mid eighties. Yeah he said his house was filled with very desirable amps. his brother lived in Europe and Chuck would send over empty roadcases and the brother would ship back what he would find. But I guess Chuck would take stuff apart and not match up things when he put them back together. He would take off back panels and lean them up against the wall and remove chassis' from headboxes sperate them, throw the screws and bolts in a box or jar and not keep og things together :x . He had demons yes but was also manic dpressive. Toward the end he was riding the bus over with an amp or two and either selling them outright or pawning them and not coming back for them. After his death I would guess that his brother was prolly involved in the estate sale. i don't think he had any dealings with Bob Pletka.

Technical electrical genius he was not. He would do really strange things to amps causing more problems than the ones he was trying to fix. He did have the foresight to import these great amps and make a living off them.
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby ValveLust on Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:27 am

Don't remember seeing a guitar anywhere around however the last person that spoke about him said in the later years he had "wabbits" running all over the place!
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby Dervish Riff on Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:17 am

I can believe somebody with the right connections doing this sort of thing--I used to get an English magazine called "International Musician" which had price lists for new gear in the back. New Marshalls were going for about 40-50% of the US prices and used would be even cheaper.
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby Bleuz me on Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:30 am

I don't remember the guy w/ the SG's mention anything about "wabbits"
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby Gooch on Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:32 am

Was Portland Music selling the remains of this collection on eBay a few years back? They sold a bunch of British amp parts and carcasses, a few complete amps too, lots of hackery.
Dying ain't much of a living.
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby ValveLust on Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:25 pm

Portland Music, doubtful but I could be wrong as there was SO much stuff this guy had.

Hey__"The How"
I just bought a Laney pre Supergroup 60 last evening (posted in British Amp section) from a person who bought the amp off Chuck in the late 90's...interesting enough it doesn't have a BACK PANEL because he said they looked all over and couldn't find it around the house... :dumass:

Do you think by any chance "your friend" might have the back panel??? cant hurt to ask..lol
Last edited by ValveLust on Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby The How on Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:31 pm

I'll be over there in the next couple of days so I'll ask.

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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby ValveLust on Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:43 pm

Hey while your there I'm looking or pilot light (supergroup-klipp) and logo for a supergroup.....

we should probably exchange phone numbers......
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby bobster on Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:41 pm

this is interesting.
i live in scotland and know an american guy with the second name of mason who has lived here for many years.
i knew him in the mid to late 90's and he helped me with locating some real old school valves / speakers / amps etc.
he had an amazing array of old amps and paraphernalia mostly bought before things got silly and i recall him talking about a family member back in the states that he would send stuff to from time to time. i never knew the guy died thats a shame.
im only on this forum since 2003/4 but at times i have wondered if the guy he talked about was our very own vic who also has second name of mason! looks like that was blind alley tho...
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Re: Opening Pandora’s Box?_Chuck Mason_ PDX 80’s-90’s Importer

Postby ValveLust on Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:48 pm

This may be the connection, the guy I just bought a Mason imported Laney from last evening said he thought his brother was located in Scotland. Look at the logo on the back (British Amp section__Laney pre supergroup 60), does it look familiar? It would be interesting to find out if this was the brother of Chuck..
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