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1946 Epiphone Electar Amp

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by DennisM, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. DennisM

    DennisM Tele-Meister

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    A friend of mine found this amp in his deceased uncles garage. He brought it to me to check it out. Is there anyone here that's familiar with this amps circuit? I can't seem to find the proper schematic. I have some questions if anyone could answer them. This thing is in MARVELOUS clean condition. I'm the first one in 75 years to take the chassis out. Any help would be greatly appreciated. (he said it worked but he was scared to run it too long without being checked out) It has the original 12" Rola speaker. The OT is not on the speaker, it's in the chassis. Bone stock and all original including tubes.


    It's pencil dated inside to January 1946. No model number that I could find.

    epi amp 001.JPG epi amp 002.JPG epi amp 003.JPG
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  2. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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  3. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    :eek:

    :eek:

    Did I forget to mention :eek:?
     
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  4. DennisM

    DennisM Tele-Meister

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    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
  5. DennisM

    DennisM Tele-Meister

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    Quite a find!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  6. DennisM

    DennisM Tele-Meister

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    The rectifier is a 5y4? The 2 power tubes are 6Y6G? There's no markings in the octal preamp tubes. At this point I would have to assume that both are 6SJ7's, but I need to know for sure.
     
  7. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow, that's cool!
     
  8. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Holic

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    +:eek:
     
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  9. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    THAT is from 1946.... ?

    Really?

    It has been really well preserved!!
     
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  10. electroman

    electroman TDPRI Member

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    That's very cool. Don't see many of these.
     
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  11. Lunch meat

    Lunch meat TDPRI Member

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    I worked in a shop that took one of these in with a broadcaster from the original owner. Both items had the owners social security number inscribed on them. Talk about a different time! I got to play the guitar, but not through the amp. It’s a beautiful cabinet design. Congratulations!
     
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  12. knavel

    knavel Tele-Meister

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  13. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    I have his bigger brother, also from '46 (a Zephyr). Your model is a Century. "Electar" was the general brand name used by Epiphone for all its electric instruments, amps and guitars. Lors of good info here: https://wiedler.ch/nyepireg/models.html#Amp. and specifically for the Century: https://wiedler.ch/nyepireg/closeup14.html

    Unfortunately I cannot locate a schematic for you, but it's easy to locate schematics for the Zephyr and I think the circuits are very similar – and pretty rudimentary, too. You find the Zep schematic here, in my NAD thread: https://www.tdpri.com/threads/nad-1946-epiphone-zephyr-amp.975163/

    I'm quite sure that with a determined effort you can wiggle out the specific schematic for the Century. If you get a 30s schematic it should be good by and large – those circuits evolved very little.

    If my assumption is correct, and the Century has a similar circuit to the Zep, the tubes should be 6Sj7 in the preamp (all of them), "big bottle" 6L6 (metal) or 6L6 G (glass), NOT the modern version (6L6 GA) but the lower gain original one. NB: Tung-Sol markets a "big bottle" 6L6G but its specs are those of a modern 6L6. You have to source NOS tubes (and they don't cost an awful lot). As for the rectifier: the Zepyhr has a 5U4.

    Conceivably yours has less preamp tubes, same output section (wrong: it's 6V6s… way easier… good for you!) and a smaller rectifier. Could you perhaps post a picture of the chassis with the tubes? It's squeaky clean… perhaps the old tubes are still functional?

    Last point: if you don't know exactly what you're doing, these amps can be extremely tricky. My tech, who is a good one, had to go through a couple of good revision cycles before he could say the amp was fully functional and safe to use – he was at the same time thrilled and exasperated at my bringing that piece of archeology in his shop. If you get a tech – which I would recommend if you aren't one yourself – I would ask for someone who has specific experience with 30s-40s amps. Even early tweed are "modern technology", and a piece of cake by comparison.

    Oh, and: CONGRATS! It's a total beauty! Don't expect heaps of volume, but it's your best pick for Western swing à la Junior Barnard, for juicy early jazz tones (Charlie Christian anyone?) and for everything low fi. Mine responds surprisingly well to strats and teles and makes therefore an incredible blues, country and r'n'r amp as well!

    EDITED: power tubes on a Century should be 6V6
    EDITED again: there's a specific article on the Century by Felix Wiedler https://wiedler.ch/nyepireg/closeup14.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
  14. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    PS: whatever you do, DON'T carry it around with the metal handle. On Zephyrs, that's positively suicide (or better: amp-cide). A Century is lighter, and does not have the angled top… still, I would not grab it by the handle. Consider it decoration, and hug it like a baby ;D
     
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  15. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Looks like it's had little or no use!
    I'd bet money that the tubes are still good.
    I'd also bet money that it'll go up in smoke pretty soon, if you plug it in.
    Amps from that era likely need more than the usual electrolytic "cap job" like a 60s era Fender. Most likely every capacitor will be shot and probably a bunch of resistors too. Maybe even the pots by now.
    A schematic is nice if you can find one. But if you're lucky all the parts values are still readable inside and nobody else has been in there "fixing things".
    Hopefully the field coil speaker is still in good shape. If not hopefully parts to recone it are available.
     
  16. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    Incredibly clean! Congrats on obtaining such a beautiful piece.
     
  17. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Holic

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    That thing is really beautiful. I need to find my own "uncle's garage" somewhere. Congrats.
     
  18. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    Okay.
    Doug Hoffman is always my go-to on schematics, so I figured it was worth a shot.
     
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  19. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Amazing find. Museum piece, literally. So a bit of a responsibility for you — and your friend. I agree with the idea this deserves to go to a tech who knows WWII era amps..

    Ampwares has some old Epi schematics. It doesn’t sound like this and yours match up. Did Epi migrate their plans, drawings, and model names in a separate but random fashion like Gibby?

    E7521F91-C784-4359-86B8-39366D3E89AB.jpeg

    Do you have pics of the chassis, transformers, wiring, tubes, etc?
     
  20. DennisM

    DennisM Tele-Meister

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    I'll get some gut shots today. That schematic isn't it either.
     
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