About Paul Gagon

Paul Gagon

Building Heathkit projects, age 15magnify glass

Paul at 17

Early gig (dreaming of stardom), age 17magnify glass

My love for music and electronics started around the age of 10 (1965). I credit the Beatles for my driving force in music and my dad for my love of electronics. I spent most of my early life in and out of bands trying to become a rock star, but alas, my dream was not meant to be. Fortunately my love for electronics was equally as strong. My dad was the VP of Engineering at Northrop Corporation and would bring home bags of electronic components for me to experiment with. He also was into electronics and spent countless hours helping me build Heathkit projects that ranged from AM/FM radios to automotive testing equipment.

As I got more and more into music and making loud noises I began pulling apart tube amplifiers and seeing what made them tick. By 14 I had cobbled together my first guitar amp, made from the guts of a gigantic home audio console unit that was being tossed out by one of our neighbors. This is when I really began learning about vacuum tubes, high voltage circuits and how much getting shocked by 450 volts hurt. There was no amplifier or effect pedal that was safe around me. If I got my hands on it, it was pulled apart and noodled with.

I remember thinking to myself……I’m hanging out in Jeff Beck's hotel room…….how on earth did I ever get here?

Pickup design at Fender, 1982magnify glass

Early in 1978 I got a job at CBS Fender Musical Instruments as a repair technician. I had spent 2 years prior to that as a service technician for Standard Communications working on television repeater systems, marine band radios and pagers. Although I enjoyed working on these systems there was just something missing. During the day I would repair submarine radios but in the evenings I would be building guitar preamps, small amplifiers, and stereo equalizers. When the chance came to work at Fender Musical Instruments, I jumped at it.