Songworks is now Mahaffay Amplifiers!

After more than 10 years in the business we are changing our name to make it easier for the uninitiated to find us, and know what we do . . . and what we do great! We make amplifiers, some of the coolest, best sounding, tube amps in the world. We hope to make Mahaffay Amplifiers synonymous with excellent, textured sound produced by the most discerning musicians.
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Amplifier Product Reviews

"Another thing that I love is this portable tube amp that's about the size of a lunch box, and it's called the Little Lanilei -and that's funny because my girlfriend's name is Lani . It's a small tube amp, and I can't get a bad sound out of it. It's got four gain stages in it. It's amazing. I think it's only available by mail-order"
"I can't get a bad sound out of it"
Kirk Hammet -Metallica

"It might say 'little' but there's nothing small about the sound of the Little Lanilei 33 watt - it's huge!  I love it!  You can take it anywhere and get a great sound. With the Rotary Wave, if I close my eyes, I swear I'm playing through my Leslie rotating speaker that I use on stage - and that is huge!" - Peter Frampton

"This amp kicks some serious butt - it's a real Giant Killer!  I've used the Little Lanilei amp in rehearsals through a 4x12 Marshall cabinet & people are amazed at how much sound this thing puts out.  I've also used this in the recording studio for a few guitar overdub sessions, where this amp was the preferred sound over a Marshall or Boogie. Tris has done a great job in voicing this amp - a worthy investment!  Every lead player should have one of these in their arsenal .- Dave Meniketti

"Optimum Leslie when you don't have much space. Little Dog Records and Little  Lanilei make a Big Team"... - Pete Anderson

"Little Lanilei amps are the most versatile, portable packages available today.  My 33-watter is great for the bus, backstage, the workbench and most importantly - the studio.  Great warm tube sound, alone or thru an extension cab. Close your eyes and you'd never guess it fits in a backpack."- Al  Schnier - Moe

"My Little Lanilei 33 Watt drives a 4 x 12 cabinet at a level that is perfect for club work or recording and the sound is fabulous!" - Barry Goudreau - RTZ, Boston

I have purchased a set of 33 Watt amp/ rotary speaker from you a while ago. I gave the rotary speaker to a customer of mine, who you might have heard of; Jan Akkerman , formerly guitarist of Focus. He is still Holland's best known guitar player and is performing regularly in the Netherlands, the UK and the rest of Europe.

When Jan toured the States with Focus in the seventies, he took something like 20 genuine Lesleys with him. It is still one of the traumas of his life that they were stolen. In fact, it led him to quit the tour. He is very pleased with your device. It is part of his regular setup.

I include a photograph of him playing a Lowden acoustic guitar through some preamp/effects, to two AER acoustic amps, and to the Little Lanilei Rotary Speaker. His sound is awesome, especially when the Rotary Wave is brought up on the mixing desk.

I saw that you sell a big Rotary Wave now. Is it possible to fit this with a full range speaker for the acoustic sound? I think Jan will be very interested in it.

You can find more info about Jan Akkerman at: .

Kindest regards,

Marcus van Engelen @ zeuxis guitars, the Netherlands.

Just cruised your sight & noticed that you have Blue Moon Music as a link. Thanks.

I recently brought the Little Lanilei amp over to a friend's house on New Years Eve because there was an ongoing acoustic jam session going on all night & my friend asked if I'd bring an electric guitar & amp. It was a hit at the party!

There was a bass player there who heard the amp & emailed me a few minutes ago about it. He told his friend about the amp & his friend was all excited to hear more info. I sent him to your site. I see that you have a bass amp now. Maybe my friend will be interested?

Hope all is going well. I'm still digging the amp! BTW, how's that 12" speaker sound with it? It's probably the perfect match to open up the sound for a more room filling/gigging sound. I noted that the amp sounds great with a 4x12 cab, so it is probably perfect with the 1x12.

Have a great new year & I hope to see you at a gig this year. Oh BTW if you ever get around to a 50 to 100 watt amp, let me know. And in reply to your question about what I like on the amp - I don't like tons of knobs & controls myself, just enough to get the job done. You know - the ability to get a great clean sound, yet be able to get that crunch & sustain without spending 2 weeks to figure out how to do it - not much, just what every guitar player dreams about!

Best regards,

Dave  Meniketti   Y&T

"With its grill cloth's beautifully hand embroidered South Pacific scene complete with topless mermaid wistfully strumming from atop her own private little island, Little Lanilei conjures up thoughts of sweet gentile sounds wafting through the warm ocean breeze.  While looks can be deceiving, and this little beauty underscores that one to the hilt, it seems to me that Tris Mahaffay's Songworks Systems and Products have more than a few surprise coconuts tucked under their hula skirts.

"Ruggedly built and covered in back Tolex , The Little Lanilei is billed as a small portable tube practice amp with the tone and feel of the "big ones".  The round cornered cabinet houses a custom designed hand made 61/2 inch speaker as well as the sturdy modular type chassis box which looks as though it could be swapped in a jiffy should any problems arise in the neatly point to point wired unit.  By the way, that little chassis box utilizes two Ecc83s pre amp tubes and a solid state differential bi-polar amp section that produces a pretty darn loud 7 watts.

"A line cord socket for the detachable line cord, rocker type power switch, on/off lamp and 1/2 amp fuse holder share the back panel real estate with the single input, high gain switch, pre master volume line out jack and external speaker jack.

"While the amp has about as much head room as Michael Jordan in a midget's bathroom, all the tone within the pre amp control's range are useful, spanning from a light bluesy break up to full out overdrive.  For example, dialing in a pre amp and master volume to about 3 1/2, with the tone control maxed and the high gain switch on low, produced some pretty impressive " Layla " period Clapton sounds.  Playing the opening licks to "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" on my Strat's middle and back pick ups sounded awesome.  Kicking in the high gain switch gives you 50% increase in gain, but never does the sound get mushy or overly compressed.  The passive tone control has a smooth taper and works well, however getting down below 4 rolls off a lot of highs and gets a little too woofy for me.

"The little speaker does a fair job in terms of frequency response but plugging in an external speaker cabinet is where the fun begins.  With a 1 x 12" Theil designed Boogie cab, everything about the amp got, well, bigger.  I was pleasantly surprised that the 7 watts of power could handle driving a large speaker.  Chords have a tight, full bottom end to them while single lines sounded focused and up front with a singing musical quality.  It would be fun to use this set up for solos along with another amp of choice for rhythm work.  An A/B box could be used to switch back and forth between the two.

"Although Little Lanilei's price tag of $399.00 might seem a little steep especially for something touted as a "practice amp", the meticulously crafted unit's tone and versatility allow it to be much more than that.  Now if only that mermaid could magically come alive an pop off the grill cloth..."

Ray Matuza's review from 20th Century Guitar

"The Little Lanilei by Songworks is a handmade, portable practice or recording amp for guitar. Make that rock guitar. Loud with an attitude, the Li'l Lani's a diminutive monster, a screaming shred machine with gain galore and distortion up the wazoo . It weighs only couple of pounds and yet delivers the rudest of sounds thanks to it's preamp tubes.

"At first glance, the Little Lani looks like a toy, with a guitar-toting, bare-breasted mermaid embroidered on the grille cloth. it's so lightweight that when you grab its handle to heft, it almost flies out of your hand. The Tolex -covered cabinet is made of pressed, recycled materials an has a smooshy resilience. On top are three plastic knobs, labeled Volume, Tone, and Volume. Turn it around, and peaking out of the back panel are a pair of Ecc83s tubes. The rear-mounted control panel contains a Power switch, a power-indicator lamp, Line Out jack, Hi-Gain switch, Instrument input, 1/2" amp fuse holder, and AC-cord input. inside is a solid-state, differential bipolar power amp putting about 7 watts through a 6 1/2", handmade speaker. The tubes drive an extremely high-gain preamp with four gain stages. Classic point-to-point hand-wiring is used with high-quality, American-made components. That all sounds good, right, but how's it really sound?

"Plugging in a guitar and cranking everything back up creates a real racket, even with humbuckers , and single-coil pick-ups start to squeal uncontrollably. Put your fingers on the frets and hit a chord, though, and the fun begins fast. With near-saturated overdrive, crunchy power chords and manic speed-metal riffs will fly from your fingers. When you hit the Hi-Gain switch, the fuzztone buzz of total saturation increases exponentially and the sustain is endless. I just had to shred!

"Okay, so clean is not in this rude little boy's vocabulary, although almost polite sounds can be had at lower settings with your pickups backed way off. Varying degrees of tubular grit, dirt, and crunch are available, especially with the Hi-Gain off. And even when cranked to smokin ', it's not enough to rattle windows. But it's a practice amp, and it sure makes practice fun. Kirk Hammett ordered one to try out, then called back a week later and bought three more. Perfect for backstage, motel room, or tour bus. At $329.00, it's not cheap, but the Little Lanilei is handmade with a real tube preamp. Too cool not to try for yourself."

- Baker Rorick's review from Guitar Magazine

Vintage Guitar Magazine

 "I first fell in love with the Little Lanilei Tube Amp when I saw it at the NAMM show...of course, I'm a fool for anything beach/surf/or Hawaii-related, and this amp is all three. The first thing to catch your eye is the striking embroidered grill cloth with a cute little mermaid swimming, and the title 'Little Lanilei .'

"Then there's the size. This amp is powered by twin Ecc83ss, with four gain stages, but measures only 8" x 8" x 6" pretty nifty. The engineering and design are marvelous, and the sound is better than anything else on the market I've seen in this size. Meant as a cool practice amp, the Lanilei can double as a recording device (an output with separate pot is controlled from the rear), has a passive single tone control, and the gain is switchable, allowing for a relatively clean tone (which distorts, of course, as you ride up your guitar's volume knob), to a thick and pleasant tube-type overdriven tone - very ZZ Top. The AC section is connected with a standard three-prong cord - no wall warts here. It ain't cheap (listing in the low-$300 range) but there's a tremendous amount of work into these babies, and it is, after all, a tube device!

"Bob's eyes bugged a bit when he caught sight of the Lanilei ; he turned it over and over, and marveled, 'It's got a serious transformer on the back for a small amp! The looks are just great - I guess it's like a tube Pignose ...with a Mermaid on the front! The overall appearance is very striking.'

"The insides are just as nice as the outsides, with point-to-point wiring, a 6 1/2" driver with a surprising amount of oomph, and quality sockets and parts. The one-year warranty is a good deal, and with seven watts of power, this is just the ticket for strumming a Hawaiian tune on the beach at night (with a very long extension cord).

"Mr. Dunlap gave a big thumbs up and commented, 'Sounds like miniature Boogie...I'm impressed!'"

- Stephen Patt's review from Vintage Guitar Magazine

Max Johson on the Little Lanilei Tube Amp

I got the amp Monday and have been working it over for the last couple of nights. Dude, I think you are really on to something. The 33, to my ears, sounds quite a bit better than the 7 watt. I don't know if there even should be a tonal difference given that the power amp in both is SS. But man, I plugged that thing into the 1x12 cabinet I mentioned a couple of weeks ago and the sound was just like the reviews (w/the exception of that one) say. Sumbitch , what a sound!

When I say that I think you may be on to something, I'm referring to the fact that although it is a (excuse the term) "hybrid" amp, YOU have copped the tone of a glowin ' glass power amp section that for some reason, the big amp manufacturers have not. I don't mean this to sound uppity or anything, ' cuz I HATE the guitar/gear "snobbery" thang , but remember, I use a Bogner Ecstasy rig (hey, my wife bought it for me!) and a VHT rig as well, so I guess you could say I'm accustomed to VERY GOOD tone. I gotta ' tell ya ', although it certainly is an apples to oranges-type comparison, the 33 watt totally kicks ass! I might also mention that one of it's uses will be as a mic -able gig backup (into a 4 or 2x12).

Also, your booster amp…did you intend those to be used for kind of a Van Halen-ish tri- amping setup? How much are those?

Since you went to such great effort to make this work out for me, I wanted to give you as much feedback (pun intended) as I could. This is a SUPER product. If you have licensed the technology/design for the power amp, the big boys would/should come knockin ' on your door to buy it from you. If they do, I hope you make a ton of money off of it, because YOU nailed it!

Max Johnson

This time the e-mail seems to have worked. So, let me try and recreate my two messages from last week that failed.

I LOVE MY LITTLE LANILEI! I currently have four electric guitars: a 1960 Historic Les Paul (I like the thin taper neck); a recent Les Paul DC Pro; a PRS McCarty; and a PRS Artist III. These guitars all have distinctly different sounds. With the Little Lanilei , they all sound fantastic! You know this of course, but the saturation is intense. I normally play (only for fun, I'm not a professional) through a recent VOX AC-15, which is a great amp, great tremolo especially, and good overdrive, up to a point; the Little Lanilei is threatening to put the VOX in a corner! Well, maybe not forever. (I do like the VOX "chime," which is no myth), but your amp is terrific!

Now, perhaps telling you more than you want to know, I am a Ph.D. in Art History, a curator (of American and British Paintings) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and a Professor at the University of Maryland. I'm not an especially good guitarist, but perhaps not too bad either. What I do have is a very long memory for music. I'm almost 45 years old, and have been listening seriously to music since I was 10 or 12. I played guitar from 13 on (although I gave it up in college and my 20s and 30s), but I do have a pretty keen memory of a lot of guitar sounds (in part because I used to spend hours with my reel-to-reel taping songs off the radio and figuring them out). So, I'm no expert, but I do have a reasonable sense of what sounds good... and the Little Lanilei sounds abso1utely great!

One more thing... as a curator, I am paid to know what is beautiful and unique. The Little Lanilei is a thing of beauty... a perfect marriage of form and function.

I wholeheartedly congratulate you on a job well done! If there is anything I can do to help spread the word about your work (including offering any part of this unsolicited testimony), please let me know.