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Cool Vintage Solid State Amps
Old 5th August 2010
  #1
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loveinoctober's Avatar
Cool Vintage Solid State Amps

I have a solid state Gretsch Safari amp from the 60s and it's probably my favorite guitar amplifier. It sounds super cool and breaks up in a much more interesting and complex was that tube amps. It also has "magic echo" which is this non-linear tremolo/vibrato where the speed varies with the amplitude if the input signal.

I was wondering wondering if the guitar experts on the forum could recommend me more cool solid state vintage guitar amps from the 60s and 70s. I'm mostly interested in smaller amps with 6", 8" and 10" speakers in them.

Let the suggestions begin...
Old 5th August 2010
  #2
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Darm's Avatar
 

dunno about vintage, but my friend had orange crush 30r, that had a 10 inch speaker, a spring echo and a VERY cool overdriven sound, it was a fun thing to play on, I really liked it
Old 5th August 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Early models of the PV bandit are pretty cool.
Old 5th August 2010
  #4
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i don't know the model, but my father bought a Gibson SS amp in the early 70's that was paired with a powered 2x15 cab. Sounds great for bass. Okay for guitar. Has tremolo and vibrato and reverb. Coolest feature was the high/low impedance dual input. Plug the bass into the low impedance input, crank up, and you've got some monstrously overdriven bass.
Old 5th August 2010
  #5
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loveinoctober's Avatar
Gretsch Safari example

Here's an example of the sound I'm talking about. Durring the break in the song you can hear the Safari Amp. It has no eq or compression on it.

Anybody know of more cool amps that do this kind of thing?

Erik
Attached Files

Amp example.mp3 (799.9 KB, 7429 views)

Old 5th August 2010
  #6
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Shiny Beast's Avatar
 

Listen to early Creedence Clearwater Revival and you're hearing Kustom. Pretty good rip for SS.

Woodstock era and several years after, the Holy Grail was the Acoustic Control 261. As a teenager, I got to borrow one for a concert and I thought I was in heaven. They really did sound good, maybe not by vintage tube standards, but still... and loud loud LOUD.
Old 5th August 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiny Beast View Post
Listen to early Creedence Clearwater Revival and you're hearing Kustom. Pretty good rip for SS.
+1... with tuck & roll vinyl, no less! Everybody knows vinyl sounds good!
Old 5th August 2010
  #8
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Eganmedia's Avatar
Cool Vintage Solid State Amps

I had a cool looking GK guitar amp in college. It was 100watts, the size of a shoebox, and had 2 6" speakers and stereo chorus. It sounded like broken glass with the internal speakers and only slightly less awful with an external cab. But I didn't have a car and it was portable and loud


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Old 5th August 2010
  #9
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yuck had to record one of those GK amps once
Old 5th August 2010
  #10
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Haynes Jazz King pretty rare ..
Old 5th August 2010
  #11
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DaveUK's Avatar
this little fella sometimes gets in on the action hasn't even got a makers name on it
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Cool Vintage Solid State Amps-dsc01473.jpg  
Old 5th August 2010
  #12
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The Roland Jazz Chorus has always had a good reputation. It's really the only "classic" solid state amp that comes to mind. It's all about that super clean yet warm and fat sound. It might be a little bigger than what you're looking for though.
Old 5th August 2010
  #13
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syntax's Avatar
 

Polytones and Roland JCs come to mind, but there is really very little else. Maybe one of those old Acoustic amps (260 or 270)? I have no idea how those have held up, but they certainly had a big presence in the late-60s/early 70s.

Doesn't the Edge use a solid state Randall in his rig?
Old 5th August 2010
  #14
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syntax's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by husky band View Post
Early models of the PV bandit are pretty cool.
Good lord...has it really come to this? I endured those amps when I was a kid.

I guess there's some nostalgia there for me, but its kind of like remembering when you had acne and braces. Bandit=useless distortion and shrill mid-range. I recall the chorus circuit being kind of distinctive. It might be fun for a really messed-up sea sick warble...I guess.
Old 5th August 2010
  #15
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Mertmo's Avatar
 

As far as little rock amps go, last year I picked up an 80's era UK made
Marshall Lead 12 "mini stack". You know, the tiny little toy full stack with
the baby head and two 1x10 cabs, one square and one slanted.

Mine is white...heh

Anyway, that head absolutely ****ing RULES. I've played shows with it
plugged into a bigger 1x12. I did a recording session with it plugged into
an old Musicman ported 2x12 (greatest guitar cab I've ever heard, I got so
lucky when I bought this thing). The sound on those sessions is ridiculously
good, you wouldn't believe it's not a tube amp if you weren't there to see it.

Maybe not the most versatile thing ever, but for straight up believable
rock crunch from a little solid state amp... do not overlook these.

by the way you have to turn the mid and low all the way up, and the hi all
the way down... IMO
Old 5th August 2010
  #16
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Lazarus Long's Avatar
 

Yamaha G100 / G50. The originals or the mkII (NOT the mkIII!). These were designed for Yamaha by Rivera. Pretty wonderful sounding clean channels. Big iron transformers, the whole 9 yards. Slick clean channel. Not sparkly, but very much "there". The spring reverb is actually pretty nice too - mine is surprisingly smooth. I have the G100 head, but the G50 and G100 come in combos of various sizes. If you can find them, they tend to be DIRT cheap too, as they are oft-forgotten.
Old 5th August 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mertmo2 View Post
As far as little rock amps go, last year I picked up an 80's era UK made
Marshall Lead 12 "mini stack". You know, the tiny little toy full stack with
the baby head and two 1x10 cabs, one square and one slanted.

Mine is white...heh

Anyway, that head absolutely ****ing RULES. I've played shows with it
plugged into a bigger 1x12. I did a recording session with it plugged into
an old Musicman ported 2x12 (greatest guitar cab I've ever heard, I got so
lucky when I bought this thing). The sound on those sessions is ridiculously
good, you wouldn't believe it's not a tube amp if you weren't there to see it.

Maybe not the most versatile thing ever, but for straight up believable
rock crunch from a little solid state amp... do not overlook these.

by the way you have to turn the mid and low all the way up, and the hi all
the way down... IMO
true and true.. I have a head that i run thru a 4X12 marshall slant a true keeper actually most of the JCM800 series of SS marshalls sound pretty good
Old 5th August 2010
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by BudgetMC View Post
+1... with tuck & roll vinyl, no less! Everybody knows vinyl sounds good!
Best served with fuzzy dice.
Old 5th August 2010
  #19
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Harvey Gerst's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by syntax View Post
Maybe one of those old Acoustic amps (260 or 270)? I have no idea how those have held up, but they certainly had a big presence in the late-60s/early 70s.
They actually hold up quite well. We made them pretty bullet-proof back then.
Old 5th August 2010
  #20
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andychamp's Avatar
Pignose!


Sleeper: Roland Bolt series. Actually they were hybrid: ss front end, 2x6L6 tube power section (on the 60 Watter, which was my 1st real amp).
Attached Thumbnails
Cool Vintage Solid State Amps-1975_pignose.jpg   Cool Vintage Solid State Amps-pignose2.jpg   Cool Vintage Solid State Amps-bolt60.jpg  
Old 5th August 2010
  #21
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Sound View Post
The Roland Jazz Chorus has always had a good reputation. It's really the only "classic" solid state amp that comes to mind. It's all about that super clean yet warm and fat sound. It might be a little bigger than what you're looking for though.
Unless you want to sound like the Bhundu Boys, I'd avoid those things like the plague. The guitarist for a band I used to follow used a Lab Series amp (made by Gibson?) which I remember loving at the time. Early Vox transistors also sound cool as used by the Beatles (Revolver era) and I think the Velvet Underground early on.
Old 5th August 2010
  #22
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xhavepatiencex's Avatar
 

I got a yamaha g100 1x15 combo, its awesome. They can be found in various speaker configurations for rather cheap. Paid 200 for mine.
Old 5th August 2010
  #23
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loveinoctober's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by andychamp View Post
Pignose!


Sleeper: Roland Bolt series. Actually they were hybrid: ss front end, 2x6L6 tube power section (on the 60 Watter, which was my 1st real amp).
The pignose looks cool, do you have any soundclips?
Old 5th August 2010
  #24
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loveinoctober's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
Unless you want to sound like the Bhundu Boys, I'd avoid those things like the plague. The guitarist for a band I used to follow used a Lab Series amp (made by Gibson?) which I remember loving at the time. Early Vox transistors also sound cool as used by the Beatles (Revolver era) and I think the Velvet Underground early on.
Yeah, I have a 70s Vox solid stage amp call the essex bass amp (I think). It's a bass amp with 12" speakers in it. It sounds cool for guitar (and bass).
Old 6th August 2010
  #25
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andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by loveinoctober View Post
The pignose looks cool, do you have any soundclips?
Link.
Most famous user was Frank Zappa, IIRC.
Reportedly, some players used it as a booster before another amp.
Old 6th August 2010
  #26
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Silvertone's Avatar
Fender Harvard Reverb.
Old 6th August 2010
  #27
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I'm surprised no one mentioned the Gibson LAB series. A fully solid state, guitar players loved it, particularly the inboard compressor. BB King almost always uses one live.

A real sleeper is The Mike Mathews Freedom amp, althigh there is some speculation the particular one I base mycomments on was modded. Cliff Godwin, who was Joe Cockers US guy for years uses one on Christine Ohlman gigs. single 10...NOT running on batteries. Killer tone.
Old 6th August 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntax View Post
Maybe one of those old Acoustic amps (260 or 270)?
I had one of those. I was glad when it got stolen. Had the worst fuzz tone ever. Last time I saw someone use that, a member of the audience yelled to turn it off.

As far as solid state amps that break up in an interesting way, I know of none. Clean sound only. Lab Series are the only solid state guitar amps that I like. Some jazz players like the old Baldwins with the multi-colored levers.
Old 6th August 2010
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

The manager of a music store I used to work at scored big time at a garage sale, bringing home a few cool amps (including an original Bassman) for literally pennies on the dollar once.

I think the coolest sounding amp that he brought back to the store with him was an old Sunn amp. It was a solid state amp, and one of the punchiest clean sounds I've ever heard. I only wish I remembered more information about it!
Old 6th August 2010
  #30
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Harvey Gerst's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frisbieinstein View Post
I had one of those Acoustic amps. I was glad when it got stolen. Had the worst fuzz tone ever. Last time I saw someone use that, a member of the audience yelled to turn it off.
Yeah, we copied the Mosrite fuzztone. Big mistake on my part. But the rest of the amp was pretty cool.
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