NAD: Yamaha T50C (fresh from mods)

rojo412

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May 23, 2019
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My exhausting search for an amp I never truly needed to begin with, may be over for good!

This is my Yamaha T50C now:

IMG_1550.jpg


And the story with this actually begins somewhere about 20 years ago. I was in a band with my very good friend from high school and he needed an amp. This one came up for sale at a price I can't remember, but it was loud and in his budget, so knowing absolutely nothing about it at the time, he bought it and it lived in my (parent's) basement, where it screamed in my ear weekly (I was the bass player in the band).

Eventually, he and I lost touch. Nothing bad, but we didn't keep in touch as of 2004.
But during the pandemic, a mutual friend put a call together on Zoom and lo and behold, he was on it! So we reconnected and started conversing again.

I had been searching for a small, high-gain amp and remembered this one. Started looking into it deeper and hadn't known at the time, but these were designed by Soldano for Yamaha in the late 80s/early 90s. I asked him if he still had it and he did! But he said he was gonna keep it. I told him if he changed his mind, to let me know.

Well, lo and behold, about a month ago, he tells me he isn't using it and it's too loud for his current needs, so if I was interested, I could buy it. That had me quite excited, so I went and got it from him. Though I'd just bought an Engl Screamer 50, so... it was basically gonna be a shootout between the 2 to see which I could keep.

Get the amp, and much to my surprise, it had an upgraded speaker (Celestion S12-150 Sidewinder). And I did a bit of research on these, finding out that there were mods needed to make them work their best, so I was definitely curious as to whether those had been done before as well.
Spoiler alert: they hadn't been done.

But I like a nice project, so I actually bought the choke ($18 at MojoTone) and had my buddy install that and do a mod to the bass control for more depth (though not the official "depth mod" described). He tested the tubes and caps and everything was all good to go, so no need for much more to be done.
Though because he also had some options available, I borrowed 4 other speakers to see if I could maximize the sound of the amp for my own needs, just in case the head mods didn't fully get me where I needed to go. I gave them all a shot (Mesa MS-12, Eminence Texas Heat, Orange VOTW, and Scumback J75-LD) and the winner was the Scumback. It also shaved 3 lbs off the amp. So I'm trading him the speakers and we're all good.

Here's some gut shots because one thing I noticed online is, there isn't much in the way of pics of these:
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After having the whole thing apart and scrubbing it all down (which it needed because it was FILTHY! Cat puked in it at some point, for example), I put it back together and gave it a true test. WOW! It's a fire breathing monster now. All of the chug and gain I could want, plenty of bass, clean when it needs to be, pretty much what I've been after for about a solid year now (after going through at least a dozen other amps). And it's a small amp, so that makes it portable and awesome in so many ways.
And to gild the lily, I built an attenuator for it, so I could crank the signal and keep my eardrums. Works like a charm!

IMG_1761.jpg


I'm still planning on making changes as needed. Currently working on a way to footswitch the reverb. But I am really stoked about this amp. It matches my 89 Yamaha SE1203A to a tee!
(this pic taken pre-overhaul)

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So yeah, this went up against the Engl and held its own really well. I loved that amp, too, but this was way less money, more compact, way easier to work on, had a personal connection to me, and frankly, is just a cool amp to have. So I sold the Engl to the drummer from that same band and can visit it if I ever need to.

Pretty damn happy with this! Now I just need to practice and become a better player.
 

drmordo

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 27, 2019
Posts
2,601
Age
48
Location
Tampa, FL
Congrats!

I had a T100C combo amp back in the 90s, but I never bonded with it as I am not a "high gain amp guy". But it never let me down and I gigged it for a few years before I sold it to buy a 50w Plexi, which was my main amp for several years after that.

Also, the T100C had approximately the same mass as a neutron star.

I bet I would have liked it more with a few mods, but I didn't know about that stuff back then.
 

rojo412

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 23, 2019
Posts
333
Age
42
Location
Cleveland, OH
THANKS!
There is definitely a noticeable difference in the amp before and after the mods, no doubt. It is still inherently high gain, which I'm happy with personally. The choke mod added bass response at higher volume and gain levels and the speaker change made that even better (not sure how the stock would have sounded). I'm sure with some time on it, I'll be able to find all of the different tonal capabilities with each subtle adjustment, too.

It's definitely not gonna win any "Fender clone" contests for clear or reverby sounds, that's for sure. But for its size, it screams.
I always had the VHT Pittbull 45 in my head as the "best small amp ever" but with the changes, this one may actually beat it out in some respects.
And after all these years, with no routine service done (and being relegated as a cat vomitorium in some cases), the fact that the amp still works like a charm definitely lends credit to the Yamaha build quality and Soldano design aspects.
 

Refugee

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Posts
1,215
Age
53
Location
Hot Springs, AR
I am a high gainer. Sure miss my old Mark III. That is such a Swiss Army amp.
Ben puking all day. Salmonella from canned tuna. Dizzy, mild hallucinations cold sweats. Not fun at all. I almost one of these like 50. Looks really clean for it's age.
 




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