Here are the rumors I have heard, which I would love for someone to confirm or deny:
Aims was based out of Phoenix, AZ. (T/F?)
Aims was founded by two engineers who left Fender in the early '70s. (T/F?)
The basic layout of the Eclipsor is essentially a blackface/pre-CBS Fender amp. (T/F?)
The build quality on the Aims amps was so high and their appearance so utilitarian that they failed to sell in high enough numbers to turn a sufficient profit, so the company went out of business before the Carter administration. (T/F?)
I cannot yet provide schematics, but I am searching for them.
Last edited by dontfearthringo; 11th August 2008 at 10:01 AM..
Reason: brief clarification
I know that the company was started by a few dissillusioned Fender techs when CBS bought fender but exactly "HOW" close are the AIMS "twin reverbs" to a real fender twin? Anybody know?
even more from that source:
AIMS -> Arizona Instrument and Music Supply (pretty sure, definitely Arizona). So these were made in the west don't have much collector value, but do have tons of headroom as you say. Again, not much information out there, I don't know why.
seems like it might be a small step towards confirming the "disillusioned amp techs in Phoenix" theory.
The AIMS Dual Twelve looks like it is basically an SFTR type circuit with TMB tone stack/ brite switch/ reverb on both channels, a pair of 6550's, and a primitive PSU--one cap feeding all the preamp and PI tubes! I haven't traced the circuit yet but I suspect it will have most or all Fender values. It's a pretty clean sound but not all that loud for a pair of 6550's; that may be d/t fixed-fixed bias a la Ampeg and Mesa and/or the alnico speakers.
There isn't much info out there on AIMS, but from what I pieced together, they were former Fender employees who basically made Fender circuits with some upgrades in the late 70's.
Mine is still with the amp tech, but I am so looking forward to getting it back- the word is that they have amazing clean tones and tons of head room.
I just ran across my old AIMS (American Int'l Music Sales) amp brochure last night and thought I'd do a search to see if there were any discussions about them. What is really interesting is that according to the brochure, each of the 2 guitar amps they made (the VTG105 @ 105 watts rms & the VTG120 with 120 watts rms) used (2)6550s, four 7025s, and two 12AT7s with solid-state rectifiers. The pic of the rectifier board looks like it's ptp. Their P.A. systems were even tube-powered!
Last edited by dontfearthringo; 11th August 2008 at 06:31 PM..
Reason: found even more info
Hey all just bought one of these Aims eclipse 120 watt head
this beast i use that cause it is large.This is fender with a mild twist a fantastic buy @ 200.00. for a twin reverb head. I ran threw a custom 2 x 12" cab with turbosound ls1216's and a vintage Marshall 4 x 10"s the sound was so vintage with great highs and crunching lows great size knobs and labeling great screen job on the black glass back for my old eyes . the tremelo and reverb are warm sounding and powerfull. this puppy is loud as well .fogot my pedals so not sure there the trem could be tricky there but there is a side minus that, so there is a work around for delay anyways .my Buddy and his son they, are avid players.they loved the sound and requested to use for some recording. i would recommend this to anyone i know.
also head was re tubed about 5 yrs ago and is what i conceder extremely good condition no marks.
I purchased an Aims Personalized Eclipsor guitar head from a music store in 1972. The sales person was showing me different amps and said that Aims and Randall amps were sister companies.
The amps did look alike. The difference being Randal amps had a shorter warranty, and Aims amps were more expensive because they "HAD A LIFE TIME WARRANTY" That was my deciding factor on purchasing the Aims. Well to my understanding, Aims went out of business by the time I needed a new tube. Randall I believe is still cranking out amps.
I had an Aims 4x10 combo back in the 70's. (I think it was 4x10.) Anyway,
it was decent amp. The story I got back then was the amps were built by a couple of guys from Fender. As I recall the price was right, it worked as advertized.
I've got an AIMS Dual Twelve in the shop right now - I call her Amy Sue. I found it on ebay 7 years ago, completely stripped of tolex, and in a Head form (later on I was told that it came as a combo, and someone basically cut the cabinet off of it). I put some ugly sick-green tolex on it.
Mine is rated at like 120 TUBE watts, KT47's in there I think? For country chicken-picken kind of stuff, I think it would be *perfect*! You're not gonna overdrive it, nice spanky cleans. Mine had a mellow sound to it, but everything is getting changed (caps and everything), so I don't know how it will sound after that...
I also have several schematics for the Dual Twelve that I found *deep* in the internet, if anyone is curious...
I recently got that AIMS Dual Twelve back. Its *awesome*!! It just has balls, even at low volume. I'd been playing low-watt things for so long, I'd forgotten the "balls" factor. If I set the AIMS close to cranked, it gets crunchy and singing, but even at regular levels it just has an "up-front-ness" to it, it demands to be heard. I've been keeping the bass knobs down a bit, I get nice powerful percussive thump but no mud. The two channels sound identical to me. The reverb is okay, it adds a little "hash", but it gets very deep and ambient. The tremolo is very subtle, even all the way up it would probably not be heard in a mix.
I have a head - the Dual Twelve came only as a combo (as far as I can tell), so whoever I bought this off of basically cut the speaker half off, and made this into a head. It uses (2) 6550s, four 7025s, and two 12AT7s. I'm not sure if this was originally one of their guitar amps, or a P.A., though it intuitively seems made for guitar.
Its rated at 4 ohms, and when I played it into an 8-ohm half stack, it started acting *really* weird and a tube started to get scratchy. Its been months now with a 4-ohm cab, no problems.
Its just so much fun to play. Once its cranked, what do you need a guitar pedal for? This thing will sing like any one of my Skreddy muffs on its own. Backing the guitar volume knob down brings it back to clean and spanky, and crunch is not far from there.
I will bump this, Love my Amy Sue. I had a local shop work on it last year (the posts above), but it was bunk work (the amp ended up blowing up, they stole my NOS tubes, didn't work on any soldered connections, etc.), and I had to take it to Dean Zink, a Local Amp Legend here in the Detroit area. He basically rebuilt it for me, and now its beautiful...! I highly recommend Mr. Zink and his work, if you're in the area.
When I first got it of ebay years ago, it DID have NOS KT47's in it, but those got stolen by the first shop, and Mr. Zink put the appropriate 6550's in there (which is what the specs, and the amp chassis itself, call for). There are many times when I play this thing opened up, my ears ring, its no joke. When I picked it up from Mr. Zink's shop, I asked him his opinions about it - he seemed fairly impressed by it, if only because it was "unique" and different. I have heard all over the 'net that its a Twin Reverb copy (the front panel and controls *do* look like a Twin Reverb) - Mr. Zink said "No, its NOT a Twin Reverb". I asked him what it was, and he pointed at some 50's art deco-looking amp he was working on. I don't know what that means, as far as amp schematics go. Maybe some of you will...
Anyway, this thing gets *Loud*, and it can be a bit bright. But as I said before, it has *Balls*!!. LOVE my Amy Sue...!