Tone King Imperial

March 24th, 2006, 02:01 AM
the tone king imperial looks pretty groovy and the reviews are pretty good... anybody played one? own one? want to compare it opinion wise with a carr rambler or a sweet spot or the ubiquitous DR?

March 25th, 2006, 09:33 AM
My buddy has an Imperial and it's an awesome sounding amp. Actually it inspired me to buy a Tone King. I purchased the new Meteor 2 series 40W combo and am in tone heaven. I have not found a guitar or pedal that does not sound incredible through this amp. Mark Bartel did an execellent job nailing that sought after Fender Deluxe Reverb tone and then some !! Buy it - you won't regret it. 8)

March 25th, 2006, 12:53 PM
and he says...

yeah i wouldn't use anything else. i would look for one with
the non tapezoidal grill since that was when mark changed the tremelo
to the old magnatone style which i don't like near as well. i play
americana and country for a living so yeah it's a good choice. also it
weighs less than most transistor amps. it's just amazing. they are very
consistant, just stick to the imperial the 40watt Continental version
just doesn't sound as good unless you have the 2x12 cab and the 40watt
head. that i would kill for. lol

March 28th, 2006, 01:40 AM
hey, i found a comet...


what do you think a fair price is? is 1500 high?

March 28th, 2006, 05:49 PM
I've seen used Continentals as low a $900 and used Meteors as low as $1200. Do some digging around.

March 28th, 2006, 06:38 PM

you da man... that was exactly what I was looking for... I found an imperial today also 1700.00 jeez for that I could buy a cool magnatone, a funky but cool airline and a mim tele....

March 28th, 2006, 06:49 PM
Fat Sound Guitars (www.fatsoundguitars) has the reissue Imperial for $1700. I highly recommend them as a shop. I bought my Carr Rambler from them with no issues or regrets. The market is a little dry for used Tone Kings right now. $1500 for a used Comet does seem high when you can get a new Imperial for $1700. I played an Imperial reissue at True Tone Music (http://www.truetonemusic.com/). Really nice amp and if I didn't have the Carr it would be a serious contender.

March 28th, 2006, 07:10 PM
I love the Carr rambler.... my buddy in NC has one and totally digs it... I am suffering from major GAS for the imperial...

I should wait and lurk on this... or just buy and enjoy! Thanks man... it really helps that you have a Carr and love it... that way I know we have common taste...

March 29th, 2006, 01:15 PM
I went through quite a few amps before getting the Rambler. Looking back I should have just gone with the Rambler in the first place. I was seriously GAS'ing for a Tone King Meteor for the longest time, but when I played the Rambler and Meteor side by side there was just something about the Rambler that won out. The best thing about the Rambler...it sounds the same every time I plug in. I set the controls when I bought it and have not touched them since.

BTW, there's a couple of Ramblers (http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?cgiurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcgi.ebay.com%2Fws%2 F&fkr=1&from=R8&satitle=carr+rambler&category0=) on Ebay right now. Got GAS?


March 29th, 2006, 01:49 PM
I can dig that! there are two on craigslist here in the bay area... 1425 for ramblers... I may go play the one in the city later this week... they have them at bananas at large too... any advice on price for the rambler? I had an email from a store back east and he said that the tone king guy had stopped making the imperial again and was considering a different type tolex or covering...

I told him I wasn't wild about how the comet looked, but truthfully, I don't care that much about how it looks as long as it sounds awesome.... You definitely talk about the things I care about.. your point about the carr being consistent in how it sounds is a really, really good point... and one that is important to me... hey, thanks for your help on this i really appreciate it.

March 29th, 2006, 02:10 PM
I paid $1500 for a mint Rambler with a Tuki cover and thought that was deal. but $1425 is a real good price for a Rambler. If that's the way you're going to go, I'd jump on it. The Comet was my least favorite Tone King. If I had to pick a Tone King I'd go with either the Imperial or Meteor.

March 29th, 2006, 10:24 PM
I talked to a guy who knows mark bartel (I think that is the name) and is going to ask him to make an imperial... he said this: "I really dig the Rambler. It's Steve's best amp in my opinion. The
that would sway me towards the Imperial is lower price, two excellent
channels rather than just one, equally good clean tones as well as
good reverb and tremolo. As much as I like the Rambler I think it
kind of be a no brainer."

for me--> I don't care about the two channel thing... and in this case the rambler is the less expensive... it has a tuki carrying case too....

in the meantime I found a really cool gibson amp (old) with a 15 that my buddy wanted for 300.00 on cl today... cool.. I go pick it up for him tomorrow...that is when I'm gonna try out the rambler (I hope)

March 30th, 2006, 09:36 AM
Just a heads up, I talked to Mark Bartel several weeks back and he said he was had enough parts laying around and was going to build up a limited run of Imperials. Now's your chance to pick one up straight from Tone King. I would give Mark a call. I saw on his website that there are still a few availible... Good Luck! 8)

April 3rd, 2006, 10:41 AM
So what's the latest update? Bought anything yet?

April 3rd, 2006, 12:43 PM
I looked at and played the rambler (1480.00 one) and it was amazing! I can see why people go crazy for this stuff... Before I got there I couldn't understand why it was so much less than what I was finding everywhere else... cosmetically it was not super great.... all fixable stuff... grill cloth, tears in the tolex, dings... the guy didn't strike me as a heavy gigging band guy, more of collector... I can't explain it, but something about all of it didn't feel right to me, and since this will be my #1 amp and I plan to keep it, I want it to be a really great experience or I don't want to do it... in the meantime, the dealer I've been working with in NC has been great on getting the Imperial (I even have a choice between the turq one and the red and white) it looks like a 12 week wait... but, I've decided on the Imperial... I'm putting down the first payment today! I haven't been this excited about something in quite awhile... it will set me back 1700.00 but so what? I'll have it for as long as I want, and in a year, I won't remember exactly what it cost.... I can't remember exactly how much I spent for our pool---> not that I spend money like a moron... I am the inveterate craigslist shopper and love good deals, but sometimes a good deal has to do as much with how the deal goes down as the total dollars.... I'd rather have someone who costs a little extra but who is amazing and loves what they do than someone who is grumpy all the way through...

And, I can sell off my Fender Blues Deluxe! it has been a reliable amp for me... but, I am ready for something else.... I traded off my bfsr a year ago and while I haven't regretted it (I got a great acoustic guitar that I love!) the super had been rescued from a kid who had carved it into a 2-12" butchered cabinet horror... when I was done... it was "back to original" and sounded great although way too much amp for the limited gigging/weekend jam/home studio stuff I do now...

Anyway, a new imperial should be at the crib in about 12 weeks! I'll update when it comes in and get some good samples to share... it will be lots of fun! hey, thanks for staying interested in this!

January 21st, 2011, 02:14 PM
I own a TK Imperial, extremely nice amp. BiG FULL SOUND.....
suprising how BIG. The CLEAN channel a beautiful blackface, with perfect smooth breakup. The reverb is just the way I like it, shorter delay than fender. Tremelo is perfect also. The GAIN channel is much different than the clean. They say its like a fender tweed, 50s. LOVE the amp for sure !!

Jason G
January 21st, 2011, 02:53 PM
I got a note from a buddy
and he says...

Quote: look for one with
the non tapezoidal grill... mark changed the tremelo to the old magnatone style which i don't like near as well...

I used to own an Imperial. Ultra premo amp indeed! As for the trem circuit, I believe it can easily be changed back to the earlier version... and vice versa. Mark made this known to me during a phone conversation I had with him back in the late '90s when I was playing the Imperial. He sent, and I still have, a schematic print sheet showing the steps to converting the trem circuit. It's just a matter of personal taste.

FWIW, I sure wish I had that one back. It was the teal blue with white. But the sound is what it's all about and Mark can deliver. Not exactly BF on the regular channel. Not exactly tweed on the lead. But each in the ballpark on those tones. Also, the lead channel can roar very Marshall-like when you dime the "Mid-Bite" control!

have fun,

Jason G