And you thought that this website deals only with Selmer amplifiers? Well...........Kelly amps are very closely related to Selmer amps, and in fact could be said to be a direct spin-off from Selmer. But read on -
John Kelly originally worked in the Selmer factory Service/Repair Department. At some stage during the later half of the 1960's, he left Selmer to set up his own business making valve amps. His son, also called John, worked in the business, together with one or two other ex-Selmer employees. The firm seem to have been in business during the late 1960's and early 1970's.
The styling and construction of Kelly amplifiers is very similar to that of Selmer, fairly understandably. Numbers of Kelly amps produced however was not large, certainly not by Selmer standards. A much smaller manufacturing operation is envisaged, possibly best described these days as a "cottage" industry, and with much of the output produced for special orders.
A comprehensive range of amps was produced, with 50w guitar combo tube amps and "Treble n Bass" amplifier heads appearing to be the backbone of Kelly's output. In addition however,100watt amps were also available as Guitar/Bass amps, together with four and six channel PA amplifier units. Small combo amplifiers have also appeared, both tube and solid state. Apparently the small transistor-powered amp came about after John Kelly realised that small amplifiers suitable for practice-use by bass guitarists were not readily available in the 1970's.
Kelly equipment was distributed by a company called N.B. Amplification, based in Holloway Road, London N 7. During the early 1970s, N.B. marketed another range of amplification called Nolan. Could it be that John Kelly was involved in the Nolan equipment also?
N.B. Amplification / Kelly Advertisement from Beat Instrumental - February 1970.
Kelly 50watt Guitar/Bass Amplifier and Kelly 2 x 12" Speaker Cabinet.
Picture courtesy of James Kelly