As a native of Puerto Rico, Díaz was playing guitar by age six. Listening to records by Robert Johnson and Sonny Terry sparked an early love for blues music. At 12, he was guitarist for The Hungry Men, where he would remain until 1969, when he came to the mainland with Johnny Nash (of "I Can See Clearly, Now" fame), before moving on to join Frijid Pink. In 1970, he met G.E. Smith, and they were friends ever since. During the seventies, Díaz played a major role in the then- developing market for vintage tube-powered guitar amplifiers. In 1979, Díaz befriended the as-yet-unsigned Stevie Ray Vaughan, and ended up as his amplifier technician.
By the early eighties, Díaz was designing and building prototypes that would become his own line of guitar equipment. The early eighties also saw many partnerships with companies such as Angela Instruments and John Sprung's American Guitar Center. In 1984 he met Eric Clapton through a member of the Rolling Stones' camp; he worked with the Stones and Keith Richards from 1982 to 1987 and would continue the relationship until his death, locating and restoring vintage amplifiers for Clapton and Richards. Díaz served as Clapton's technical adviser on the Journeyman album.
In 1986, G.E. Smith, who had just joined Bob Dylan's band, brought Cesar on board to tend to the two guitarists' gear and tone. After G.E. left the band, Díaz played some 50 dates with Dylan, including a show for the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Dylan won in 1991, and in 1993 left Dylan to devote his time to his amplifier business.
Díaz began to manufacture amplifiers and guitar effects—hand-made, in small production runs. His amplifiers are built in the Fender tradition; the Classic Twin-100, for instance, is a 100-watt two channel amp inspired by the Fender Twin. Effects include a spring reverb unit.
The late, legendary Amp technician, performer & builder, Cesar Diaz, built this particular Classic Twin-100 amplifier for blues guitarist & producer Bobby Kyle during late 1995 and early 1996. According to the staff at Diaz Amplifiers (and family of Cesar), many, if not most of the components (transformer and others) used in this number 1 (of only 2) custom on of a kind amplifier were taken from a "studio amplifier" that Cesar had built for SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan) to use in the recording studio. This information is provided solely based on "information and belief" and it should be only used as ancillary provenance. The primary support data for verification of the authenticity of this amplifier is found below."
" Bobby Kyle has played with, among many others, Eddie Kirkland, Philipp Fankhauser, Shameika Copeland, his own blues bands, and, most notably, from 1990-1997, with the "Texas Tornado" himself, Johnny “Clyde* Cpeland.. This would be a great amp even without its history, but this particular one has been around the world with Kyle when he played with Johnny Copeland, both live and on many recordings, and when he played with many other notable artists. The underside of the chassis is signed by Cesar Diaz with, '#1 - Bobby Kyle, Good Luck! Cesar Diaz.' The side of the chassis is also signed by Cesar. Learn more about Bobby Kyle and listen to his solo music by clicking : www.bobbykyle.com
Hear Bobby playing this amplifier:
Cesar Diaz was the revered amp builder who had been Stevie Ray Vaughan's amp tech, gaining particular fame for his extensive VIBROVERB mods to SRV's prized amplifiers. Diaz, also a fine guitarist himself, toured extensively with Bob Dylan when he was backed by G.E. Smith as well, doubling as the amp tech & as a sometime guitarist. His pedals and amplifiers were greatly sought after for their incomparable tone and unparalleled build quality, even before his untimely death. Diaz amps continue to be used by many top musicians who've been lucky enough to get their hands on one. Today, all the Diaz amplifiers are hard to come by, treasured by their owners and rarely going up for sale. On the rare occasions that they do go up for sale, from owners or through Cesar's wife & his associates in East Stroudsburg, Pa., they are posted at prices that reflect their unique value.
This Classic Twin-100 is covered in dark green tolex, and is a mighty powerhouse of tone, ranging from round, full clean tones to rich Marshally overdrive. Of course, it's meticulously hand wired point-to-point, using only the highest quality components. It was one of the early Classic Twins, and the cabinet was made slightly narrower & taller than the standard Classic Twins, just as Bobby Kyle requested. (By the way, the folks at Diaz confirm that Bobby loved this amp & used it well.) It bears no serial number other than the handwritten letters & numbers next to Cesar's signatures. It is currently equipped with 4 low-use ElectroHarmonix 6L6's and 3 12AX7's, which include a NOS RCA & ElectroHarmonix. EL34, 5881, or other power tubes can be used with this amp, and 12AT7,12AU7, etc. preamp tubes can be substituted as detailed on the tube chart inside the cabinet. Top panel controls on the top-loaded chassis include a half/full power switch, master volume, presence, bass, mid, treble, bright channel preamp volume & normal channel preamp volume. There are four inputs, a high & low impedance input for each channel, Marshall-style, and the channels can be bridged. The 212 cabinet houses a pair of Eminence Legend 12 speakers. No tone-sucking reverb or effects loop--just straightforward, muscular Diaz tone! You don't just hear the tone of this amplifier; you feel it!
This amp, considering that it's been all around the world, is in outstanding condition. It had been in storage for about 2 years until recently, and it has just been gone over and retubed by a skilled amp tech. There's some minor looseness of the tolex on one seam that can be easily glued down and a few nicks and scrapes-nothing major at all. It's a gorgeous looking amp (see the pictures). The logo plate is a bit worn in a couple of spots but not at all cracked or broken. The wheat-colored grill shows the very lightest, thinnest of stains in a couple inconspicuous spots-no rips or tears. Has a great look!
Below is the copy of the text of an email sent directly by the former owner Bobby Kyle:
"You've got a good one! Cesar and I were very good friends, and I asked him to make me a Classic Twin that was wired like my original Tweed Twin. I didn't want to take the vintage Fender on tours anymore. I know that it is one of two that were ever made this way. Both were made for me. Number One (the one you have) was made between 1995 and 1996, and Number Two was made between 1996 and 1997. Both of these amps had special cabinets that we had made narrower and lighter than any of his other Classic Twin combos or CD-30/Club Classic combos. I hope you enjoy the amp. Number One was used on numerous recordings and on tour with Johnny Copeland. In case you didn't know, Cesar's wife, Maggie, and his good friend, Peter McMahon, are continuing to produce the Diaz effects pedals and amplifiers exactly to spec from Cesar's schematics, notes, and inventory parts. .....
Good luck, Bobby Kyle"