I was born in Hawthorne, CA. My father worked for North American Aviation and was transferred to Columbus, OH, where I grew up, so I like to say that I was born "crazy", but I grew up "normal". I remember feeling isolated and "different" until I went to a trade show in CA and felt at home. Must be something to it! I have done many things in my life from managing a Pizza Hut to mechanic at a VW dealership to running computers for banks to sales rep in the audio industry. The pinnacle of my employed career was being National Sales Manager of Symetrix, Inc., in Seattle, WA.
I started in the amplifier repair business in 1991 with my friend, Dan Abell, of Abell Audio in Columbus, OH. His employee had quit that morning and I happened to walk in. I offered to work for a week for free to show him I would be a worthwhile investment, after the first day, I was in. We worked together for 4 1/2 years without an angry word between us, and he is still my mentor and life-long friend. In 1996, I attended a NAMM Show in Anaheim and toured the Groove Tube factory afterward. I was offered the Production Manager position, and relocated to LA.
I opened my own shop soon after inside Bill Asher's Guitar Traditions in Santa Monica. All was well, but LA was too chaotic, so I fled to Florida and set up in a small vintage shop in Gainesville called Pro Frets. I was lured back to LA where I had a shop in West LA called Abell Amp Repair in honor of Dan Abell. After working again as a rep in Atlanta, I hung out in Jacksonville, FL until 2005 when I knew LA was going to be the place I could make the amp business work. My first products, built in 2002, were called Point Blank. When I relocated to LA, it became Blankenship Amplification on the advice of my friend and marketing genius, Paul Smith. Paul is responsible for the Detemple Guitar and Mercury Magnetics ads that put those companies on the map. Things were great until 2008 when the economy stopped. I was offered a buyout from Diamond Amplification, and I subsequently moved to Houston, TX on a 2 year contract. I am now back in LA, building and repairing.