Help end Option Paralysis: Two gG4A Supers

steveokla

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Thanks to the help and counsel of others in my Brown Super v 63 Vibroverb thread, and after A/B’ing the Supers against the VV, I pretty quickly came down on the side of the Supers. All subjective, of course, but that’s how it landed.

Now, it’s a question of which of the two Supers I’m auditioning. One is an earlier ’62 with oxblood cloth, the other a later ’62 wheat. Both are player’s amps—not for the collector of pristine stuff—as they each have their own flaws, delineated below. On both, the flaws are with the cabs.

The chassis are virtually indistinguishable. Both are stock, except for filter caps (cord, of course). The wheat has a pair of alnico 10K5’s from a Concert with what appear to be original cones. The oxblood has a set of Oxfords from ’65, reconed at Orange County. I can have either pair of speakers in whichever amp I choose, which seems a no- brainer.

Using a speaker cable with a female plug at one end, I played both through both through the same speakers in an endeavor to level the playing field as much as possible. I was surprised to find that they’re nearly indistinguishable to my ear. Volume, headroom, gain spot on at every volume eq I tried. There are extremely subtle differences in high end glisten, etc., but they’re negligible. I suspect that’s largely due to tubes—both are filled with old tubes, no new ones.
As they are both the same electronically and sound the same for all practical purposes, it comes down to the cab flaws:


The Oxblood
  • 2 small holes in the top on the back two corners (pic 3) My tech speculates they were for some sort of corners, as they’re quite small and shallow. Less than desirable, but not a deal killer for me.
  • The bottom 4” of on of the trim strips on the inside of the cab was missing. You’ll see where my tech installed a 4” strip to fill the gap (pic 4) What possessed someone to do that is beyond my capacity for speculation and his. I don’t like it but it is what it is.
The Wheat
  • The original baffle board had been cut out to house a 15” speaker. So, my tech replaced it with a baffle from another (and hopeless) Super of the same vintage.
  • The bottom board was gouged-out to accommodate the 15” speaker. Pic 5
  • Bottom rear panel has two quarter-sized holes drilled in it (pic 6)My tech believe these likely housed jack plates to deploy extension speakers. Options here are keep the original panel with the holes, or, as I choose, substitute a panel from another Super my tech has on hand. Downside there, of course, is that’s one less original part, though it would look better than those holes.
That’s it. I never buy amps with the intention of selling, but, of course, that can never be ruled out. I’ve owned plenty of vintage amps, but that doesn’t qualify me as any kind of expert, and I’d really appreciate the insight and counsel of those better informed. I guess I’d put my question like this: if you were in the market for a player Super and these were your choices, which way would go-wheat with the gouges in the bottom, replaced baffle board and holes in the rear panel (or a replaced panel) or the oxblood with the pinholes in the tolex on top and 4” strip replacement? Again, the internal stuff’s the same, and neither sounds better than the other. Thanks, Steveokla
 

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steveokla

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I've had someone at another forum who seems quite well versed in this stuff that the grill on the oxblood doesn't look original. Anyone else see that?
 

ampking300

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I've had someone at another forum who seems quite well versed in this stuff that the grill on the oxblood doesn't look original. Anyone else see that?
Steveokla, that is not the original grill cloth, UNLESS, amp is from May to Dec. 1960 ONLY----the left over tweed style grill was only used on the very first Fender combo models, Vibrosonic, Concert, Bandmaster, Pro and Super, from very late, Nov. 1959 to April 1960. This is when Fender made these models with their, " Center Volume " front control panels, Ex., Bass, Treble, Volume on both channels of the front face plates. These CV models ended in April/May 1960, BUT, the tweed style grill cloth was used up until Nov./Dec. 1960, which is when Fender started using their oxblood grill cloth. Check to see if the Super with the tweed grill cloth, amp tube chart for the chassis has a year/month production date code from Dec.1960 to about Dec. 1962, which would be 2 black stamped letters, Dec. 1960=JL to Dec. 1962=LL. These 2 inclusive years would all have oxblood grill cloth. Both amps look really good and with a recap/tube update will sound " Super ", good luck with them, Ray.
 




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