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Author Archives: Dave Hunter

Music Man HD-130 Reverb

 
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1977 Music Man HD-130 Reverb Preamp tubes: solidstate preamp circuit with 12AX7 phase-inverter tube. Output tubes: four 6CA7 (similar to EL34) Rectifier: solidstate Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass on “Normal” channel; Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, Reverb, Intensity, Speed on “Reverb/Tremolo” channel; shared Master. Output: 65 watts or 130 watts RMS. Intended to be the masterpiece of […]

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The Soldano

Super Lead Overdrive
 
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One of the leaders of what we might call the second wave of high-end high-gain tube amps, Soldano has been making a big noise since 1987 – the year Michael J. Soldano released his first production model, the Super Lead Overdrive (SLO-100). The SLO’s ability to churn out searing lead tones with a certain sonic […]

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Vox Pacemaker V-3

 
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1965 Vox Pacemaker v-3 Preamp tubes: three Mullard ECC83 (12AX7) Output tubes: two Mullard EL84, cathode-biased, no negative feedback Rectifier: Mullard EZ81 Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass, Speed, Depth Speaker: gold 10″ Oxford “Vox Bulldog” Output: approximately 17 watts RMS No doubt the mere appearance of that Vox logo and the diamond grillecloth beneath it has […]

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Gibson GA-CB Custom Built

 
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Gibson GA-CB Preamp tubes: three 6SJ7, two SQ7, two Sj5 Output tubes: two 6L6 Rectifier: 5T4 Controls: Microphone Gain, Instrument Gain, tremolo Intensity and Frequency, Treble, Bass; four-position Jensen High Frequency Control Speakers: one 15″ Jensen Type H Coaxial Output: approximately 30 watts RMS The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there,” […]

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Realistic Entertainer-34

 
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As prolific as the Radio Shack chain was in the ’60s, it’s surprising we don’t see more vintage Realistic guitar amps today. Maybe they were never valued enough to be handed down, much less hunted down. If anything, you’re likely to have stumbled on the Carnival 34, a straightforward 1×12″ combo, but even those are […]

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Traynor YBA-2 Bass Mate

 
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Canadian amp maker Traynor gets a lot of respect in some circles for turning out solid, good-sounding tube amps that are built with quality components and, in many cases, can easily be modified toward a sonic condition more substantial than when they left the factory. It’s also frequently noted that they “blend British and American […]

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Gibson GA-80T Vari-Tone

 
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In the late ’50s and early ’60s, Gibson was apparently convinced the Vari-Tone switch was the way of the future, with its instant access to six different tones. But a high proportion of players who clocked serious miles on their ES-345 and 355 guitars had the switches disabled (and the guitars rewired to mono!). As […]

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Ronnie Wood’s ’69 Hiwatt 100 DR103

 
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1969 Hiwatt 100 (Model DR103 Preamp tubes: four ECC83 Output tubes: four EL34 Rectifier: solidstate Controls: Normal Vol, Brill Vol, Bass, Treble, Middle, Presence, Master Vol Speaker: four Fane 12s Output: In excess of 100 watts RMS. The written history of British guitar amplification tends to trace the rising importance of power and volume through […]

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The Selmer Zodiac 50

The Zodiac Twin Fifty
 
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An amp maker at the very heart of the British guitar boom of the late ’50s and early ’60s, Selmer was, for a time, the leader in the field, though it’s all too easy to forget. Briefly ahead of Vox, certainly ahead of the fledgling Marshall, this was a company that had it all to […]

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The Fender Showman

The Showman
 
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In addition to several significant shifts in style and presentation, for Fender, the transition of the late 1950s into the early ’60s represented a more concerted push into big-amp territory. Having introduced the 80-watt “high-powered” tweed 5F8 Twin (VG, March ’09) in ’58, this rapidly expanding Fullerton manufacturer sought another model to help take it […]

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