Ampeg style amps-- anyone make 'em?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by 0utputXfmr, May 14, 2019.

  1. 0utputXfmr

    0utputXfmr Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    106
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2018
    Location:
    York, Pennsylvania
    Just a curiosity question-- are there any boutique amp-makers out there who make amps based on vintage Ampeg circuits?

    Hypothetically, would there be any demand for something like a hot-rodded Mercury, Gemini, or Reverberocket?
     
  2. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,671
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
    Location:
    Beirut, Lebanon
  3. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,914
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    europe
    I don't think there is a demand for them, Ampeg made a whole bunch of hot-rodded Jets and Reverberockets and they don't cost too much used.

    A faithful version of the Reverberocket with a better speaker might be interesting. Ampeg had a very expensive turret board version a few years ago, and even that was hot-rodded with 6L6s. Also cost several times what the original goes for.
     
    emisilly likes this.
  4. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,052
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Location:
    Bucks Co. PA
    I like those old Ampeg Amps. There are a lot of them around in fair working order and many that can be brought back to life without much trouble. I don't think there is much of a market for boutique versions.
    They were popular but nowhere near as popular as Fender,
    I'm not sure but I think a few of those old Ampeg amps were really just rebranded Valco's. One of the Gemini models also were branded as Guild ... once again I'm not 100% sure. I am prone to senior memory lapse :)
     
  5. High Head Brad

    High Head Brad TDPRI Member

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    71
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    I cant recall ever hearing that Valco made amps for Ampeg.....thats not to say it didnt happen.

    I’d love a GU-12 someday.
     
    SnidelyWhiplash likes this.
  6. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,661
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Location:
    Decatur, GA
    I love old Ampegs and I think they're underappreciated classics. I believe they were all made in New Jersey, while Valcos were from Chicago... feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that.

    I will say I have a biggish '67 Guild Thunder 1 that feels very much like an old Gemini... but the feature set and tube complement is very different.
     
    Wally and Ian T like this.
  7. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,457
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    On Location
    Everything before 1972 (i.e., all the blue check stuff) was made in NJ, after that they shifted production to the Magnavox plant in Nashville.
     
    emisilly, Wally and Fearnot like this.
  8. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    17,980
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    There are soooooo many Gemini’s and RR’s out there in good shape that that is one reason you’d have a hard time paying more than $700 for one. PTP hand wired amp. So no need for a clone.

    I played my 1966 Gemini 1 for about an hour and a half yesterday. Channels jumpered, volume just past half on reg channel, volume below half on rev channel . Glorious tone from a Tele plugged straight in.
     
  9. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    715
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    I have a 65 Gemini I, beautiful warm cleans, lush reverb, works so well with a Tele bridge PU. I don't know why there isn't a higher demand for these.
     
    emisilly and Mike Eskimo like this.
  10. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

    Posts:
    12,202
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Location:
    44°55'09.9"N 79°25'39.1"W
    0utputXfmr likes this.
  11. Jerry J

    Jerry J Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,450
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    NoVa
    Actually, production of early amps was in NYC, possibly Queens or Brooklyn BEFORE they moved to NJ. I remember reading that in Richie Fliegler's amp book.
     
    Fearnot likes this.
  12. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    11,564
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Location:
    Snellman MN
    At some point I'd like to clone one of my 6v6 Reverberockets. (got two of them the earlier one sounds a bit better)
    Feel free to send me a cash deposit (unrefundable) of $1,000 each.

    Of course I may not get around to it at all but hey, I could use the money. :)
     
  13. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,480
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Trinity does one.

    Trinityamps.com
     
  14. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    644
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2014
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    I built a B15N preamp about ten years ago. Paired it with a 6L6 monoblock poweramp through a Marshall cabinet - that thing was a Monster! One guy loved it so much that we wanted me to build him a 100 watt version. I later sold the preamp on ebay. Hopefully someone is greating great tones out of it!

    http://enginerdamps.blogspot.com/2010/11/ampeg-b-15n-1968-preamp.html

    http://enginerdamps.blogspot.com/2010/11/100w-ampeg-b-15n-1968-circuit.html

    Oddly enough, I see a lot of hits on these pages from being linked from South American Bass Forums.
     
  15. Old duck

    Old duck TDPRI Member

    Age:
    72
    Posts:
    86
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2019
    Location:
    SW Oregon
    I've got a 1964 Ampeg Jet J-12. It has the best, and cleanest, clean sound of any amp I've ever played and is pretty easy to push to a nice distortion. Totally original except for new caps and grounded power cord. Best amp I've ever bought for $500. There seems to be plenty of them on Reverb in the $500-700 range.
     
    emisilly likes this.
  16. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,566
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    My second amp was a GV22, my first a Vibro Champ. I had to turn he Ampeg all the way up, with an EH Black Finger Compressor turned all the way up in front of it as a clean boost, to get it to distort. It was so loud that I'd put it in a closet with pillows in front of the speakers and blankets over the whole thing with the closet door closed to contain the volume. It sounded glorious though, and recorded well like that, with the mike in the closet under the blankets. I guess it was kind of a poor man's VT22, but I don't remember it having tremolo and reverb, but I was just a dumb 16 yr. old kid, and I never used either of them. ampeg-gemini-22-gv22-182526.jpg aiedkjorejgf8sqi6bct.jpg But, I always wanted a VT22 or VT40.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  17. emisilly

    emisilly Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,185
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    Yeah it's insane how little these go for. Last fall I scored a 1967 J-12D Jet at Guitar Center for $399. I saw it, plugged in a guitar and played for maybe 2 minutes and ran to the counter like I stole it. Instantly blown away at first strum. All for the price of a used Blues Jr. Just crazy good!
     
    Hatfield92 and Old duck like this.
  18. DNestler

    DNestler Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    222
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    Hauts de France
    This thread is making me feel validated. :)
    I've got a Jet II from 2007.

    I wonder if the reason Ampeg have never been as popular as Fender, Marshall, or Vox is the graphics.
     
    emisilly likes this.
  19. flyswatter

    flyswatter Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,305
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    Quebec
    According to Ken Fischer (Trainwreck), who started out at Ampeg, Everett Hull (Ampeg cofounder) disliked rock & roll, loved jazz so never courted the endorsements other companies did, such as Vox with The Beatles or Marshall with Clapton/ Hendrix, etc, at the time (early to mid 60s) when it would have mattered most. Of course, famous artists -- like The Stones, Jeff Beck, etc. -- did use Ampegs at points in their career, but there was never the same iconic association as the Fender/ Marshall/ Vox axis achieved.... Brian May with his banks of AC30s, that sort of thing.

    So Ampeg remained a relatively minor player in the guitar amp world -- but don't forget the SVT and other bass amps do have major status in the world of bass.

    The interview with Fischer can be found in Dave Hunter's The Tube Amp Handbook.
     
  20. 0utputXfmr

    0utputXfmr Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    106
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2018
    Location:
    York, Pennsylvania
    I happen to be a bass player informally dabbling in guitar, and yes, Ampeg is to bass what Fender and Marshall are to guitar-- they have the list of endorsers every bass amp manufacturer salivates over.

    I've heard that said about Everett Hull before, but the focus on clean tone in and of itself shouldn't be the only thing preventing Ampeg from getting rock-&-roll cred-- Sound City and HiWatt were also amps designed to stay clean at higher volumes, but that didn't stop them from being associated with some major rock-&-roll acts (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, among many others). Your explanation of Ampeg's lack of willingness to receive endorsements from rock-&-roll guitarists in its formative years, however, does explain it.

    That's not to say there weren't at least a few Ampeg guitar amp designs that were, at least inadvertently, pretty rock-&-roll-friendly. The Reverberocket and Gemini come to mind. The V4 strikes me as pretty unapologetically designed for the arena-- I kind of think of it as "The American HiWatt".

    Thanks for the info!
     
    flyswatter likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.