NAD-Gibson GA-5T Skylark (65-67?)

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by midnight340, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    Was up early a few days back and saw this amp for $275 on ebay. Couldn't resist, I'd been watching these for a while. Wasn't sure what I was getting ...knew the speaker was all cracked and unusable, and that it looked pretty clean in the photos.
    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c4c1.jpg

    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c4c0.jpg
    Had no idea how what shape the internals would be in, as it still has the two prong cord. (can't seem to load more than two photos so next post...)
     
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  2. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    Took some photos today. I don't know enough to tell much, but here's a couple pix:

    UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c4c6.jpg

    yfSHVmXQTcuzb%BK8e4Nmw_thumb_c4dd.jpg
    KiiIAXrUSH+dACLScU3+Dw_thumb_c4ce.jpg
     
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  3. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    One more, any comments on how it looks, what work has been done? UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c4da.jpg
     
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  4. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    I understand that these are fairly bright amps, so I'll be looking for a 10" that will warm it up some I'd think. I've heard that a WGS Veteran might be good. I have a cabinet I made that has a Celestion Greenback 10" in that I can run through as well.

    Other than a 3-prong cord and new speaker, any other suggestions???
     
  5. 57fenderstrat

    57fenderstrat Tele-Meister

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    Ooo nice I have been looking at these on reverb on and off lately, nice amp congrats !
     
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  6. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    Nice score, good one; the externals look pristine. IIRC, Skylarks were/are popular amps.

    A few WAGs... *If* it is way bright, some Gibsons had a wacky hi-fi "tone-sucking circuit," sometimes contained inside a red Sprague lego-brick thingy, that can be fixed. Did someone replace the original brown blobs with orange drops? But those are old ODs... maybe they're original? Are those shiny filter caps original, or did someone pro replace a firecracker or cap can? In any case none of those caps look highly desirable or famously reliable or guaranteed recent, so if it were me I'd likely replace all the electrolytics.

    Good-looking tubes. You're gonna need a pin straightener and some luck on at least one of them. :)

    You're probably aware of these Gibby sites:

    http://www.0rigami.com/gg/amps.html

    http://www.superiormusic.com/page199.htm

    You will find schematics. OTOH, Gibson is notorious for changing their circuits often, without documentation, markedly evolving or experimenting or reverting circuits inside identically-named, identical-looking amps. I'll stand by for someone who speaks more Gibson to give you better info.
     
  7. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    I don’t know enough to tell what has or hasn’t been done, so any advice will be appreciated.
    CF51BBC1-716E-4D43-8038-28ED1E20CAA1.jpeg
     
  8. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

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    Congrats! I have a GA-5 Skylark from the 1950s. Beautiful rich tones. Had the two-prong cord replaced.
     
  9. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    This would be what the original looked like. (Epiphone amps from these years was the same amp.)
    891C472C-AEF4-430F-883D-A173460B3E4F.png
     
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  10. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    See this GA5-T video from the Guitologist.



    He shows the tone-sucking network in the amp at about 21:00, and on the schematic at about 30:00 -- here it is blown up.

    upload_2019-10-22_9-46-3.png

    In that amp it was combined in a single component. I guess in other versions it was wired out of its component parts? Again, Gibson amps varied in actual construction depending on the phase of the moon and what the person assembling them had for lunch...
     
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  11. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Nice looking amp.

    If it's anything like my '63 Skylark (non tremolo), plus tremolo, then it is an incredible sounding amp once you learn how to work it. I use mine in the 7–10 range with single coils, and control volume and tone from the guitar. With a mic, it makes a nice small amp for medium volume gigs, as long as you don't need a lot of warmth or low end in your tone. It especially works well as the second amp in a switchable bi-amp setup. Just get an A-B-Y switch and engage the Skylark for leads, along with your normal amp. Gives you a tonal change with lots of sting and breakup, and a little more volume, but without compromising your main tone, or requiring any adjustments to it.

    Speaker swaps will go a long way, and I would suggest adding an external speaker jack while you are at it. Being able to run it through the cab of your choice is a game changer for this little amp.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
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  12. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the info!

    Yes, I intend to add a speaker jack so I can also run through my Greenback cab.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  13. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Afflicted

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    i have the 63 or 64 brown ga5t. i replaced the blown speaker with a weber 10" that sounds great. note that your amp uses el84/6bq5 whereas mine uses 6aq5 output tubes.

    looks like a lot of work has already been done. you probably should swap out those two small black caps at the top of the pic and toward the bottom. both are probably very old. how does it sound thru an external cab? you may not need to do much to it. 3 prong cord swap.

    play music!
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  14. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    Well, I played for an hour or so through the GA-5T Skylark amp, expecting the often reported "very bright" sound. First of all, I am really pleased, and experienced a nice warm tone on with a number of settings. And the Tremolo worked just fine as well!

    A bit of gear adds up. First of all, it was routed into my well broken in Greenback 10" in a large sealed cabinet. My Tele has vintage '52 Rumplestiltskin pickups (with push-pull series/parallel) which are full and rich sounding. Most of the time I had the Tele with a small bit of compression from a "Tone Corset" then into a Joyo American Sound pedal dialed a bit to the "tweed" side and a bit of drive on it. Also tried kicking on my Sweet Baby after the Amer. Sound for more drive.

    That put it well into a nice sweet sound, seemed very responsive and I had a blast!!! Could get a nice clean jazzy sound easily, or run the pedals for some mild drive. No speaker in the Gibson cab yet, but am looking into WGS speakers at the moment.

    I built up an Epi Special with a single Lollar p-90 in the bridge position, and look forward to trying that as well as my Power Jet. (way more gear than I probably need or ever expected to have!!!! But that's the way it goes, huh? :D
     
  15. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    I used a WGS in mine. Sounds fine, and was cheap.
     
  16. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    I contacted WGS for a recommendation, and as I described my amp/use/preferences they rec’d a G10C/S so I may give that a try.

    I’ll order/install and check back.
     
  17. midnight340

    midnight340 Tele-Meister

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    Update,
    I installed the G10C/S from Warehouse and think I'm going to really like it. Initially the GA-5T sounds a bit better through the 10" greenback in a closed back large cabinet than through the WGS speaker in the small amp, but I think that is largely due to the cabinet I built for the Celestion and that fact that the Greenback is well broken in. But the fact that new speaker holds it's own right next to the bigger cab is a good sign for sure.

    I have a feeling that the G10C/S is going to mellow and warm up a bit with some time. (Right now I've got a towel draped over the amp to take the edge off just a bit.) Bottom line though, is that it sounds really full and warm for what this amp is, so I'm very pleased.

    With this GA-5T clearly the amp does better with either the Lollar P-90 or the '52 style Rumplestiltskins in my Tele, especially in Series mode. So that's it for now.....
     
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