The Ashdown story starts in 1997, but even in those early days, company founder Mark Gooday could've already easily been described as a bass amp veteran. Having already been one of the driving forces behind another leading UK manufacturer of bass amplification, Gooday had racked up awards and plaudits for his pioneering approach and now had his sights set on even loftier aspirations.
So, it's 1997, and armed with a wealth of experience and headful of new ideas, Gooday kickstarts Ashdown Engineering to life with a simple vision – to build, nay, to 'engineer' a better bass amp.
With a nous for innovation and a flair for design, many would've jumped straight in, but Gooday was smart enough to first court feedback from some of the world's most respected bass players, including John Entwistle (The Who), Mark King (Level 42) and JJ Burnel (The Stranglers).
Inspired by the comments from these trusted advisors, Gooday focused his efforts on designing a new kind of bass amp, where superior tone was matched by unrivalled power and tour-grade performance in a truly engineered, uniquely-styled package.
..AND SO THE ABM WAS BORN
And so the ABM was born, simultaneously setting new standards in tonal flexibility, power and reliability. The original name for these first amps was Klystron Bass Magnifier, inspired by a scene from Flash Gordon (one of Gooday's favourite movies) in which Doctor Zarkoff says: “Turn up the Klystron Magnifier”. The huge images of power depicted in the movie sat perfectly with the image and the sound Ashdown wanted to portray. With the name morphing to ABM (Ashdown Bass Magnifier), these early units were built by Gooday, his wife Jane, son Dan, and Daughter Daisy in the living room of the family home every evening, allowing him to visit dealers and artists in the daytime. It didn't take long for the reputation of these incredible new amplifiers to get around.
Reaction to these first ABM's was overwhelmingly positive, as they found favour with leading bassists and soon the familiar sight of Ashdown's trademark VU meter would be seen adorning bass amps on major tours around the world. The Who's John Entwistle, immediately impressed by what he heard, became an early Ashdown advocate. And from there it was unstoppable.