Second-hand shop find...

DNestler

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Posts
444
Location
Les Hauts de France
Howdy everyone!

I just bought a super cheap interesting little amp… my favourite kind of amp btw… a Stinger FX-3RC (1x12 combo).

These were made by/for the Martin Guitar Company in Korea in the late 1980s. I suppose they were trying to stay head-above-water at a time when acoustic guitars were falling deeply out of favour with the guitar buying public. (They did super strats under the name Stinger as well.)

I bought this at a second-hand furniture shop here in Laon, France for 89 euros. It needs to be thoroughly cleaned up: the pots are so grimy that the signal cuts out as you turn the knob. The clean sound is clear and round without being too harsh, though being an electric mandolin player, I do have to dial the treble back a bit.

The “tube-synth” effect is so confusingly named I thought I might be looking at a keyboard amp before having a quick search on Reverb for it. They should have just called it "distortion" because that's what it is. Think of it as a ProCo Rat built in rather than an overdrive channel.

It took me a few minutes to sort that out actually. The Tube Synth's proximity to the preamp volume knob makes you think you've got two channels. You don't. The Tube Synth knob gives you squared sine waves from 1 to 10, and the preamp volume knob doesn't change the character of the tones. ("Dual Stage Pre-Amp", my foot)

I’m intriged by the giant heat-sink baffles. You wouldn’t think a solid-state amp would need such a large cooling feature.

The RC in the model name refers to two other effects (FX in the name too), a chorus unit, àla the Roland JC series, and a reverb unit. The reverb is a proper tank because the production pre-dates modelling. Both effects have a footswitch capability. (It must just be on/off but I’ll have to investigate more.)

The reverb is exactly what you would expect, maybe a bit thin sounding. The reverb's volume knob simply adds more of the reverb to the signal, it doesn't change any parameters.

The chorus must be the same circuit design as my Boss CH-3. I set the rate and depth of both exactly the same and got exactly the same modulation. This could save me a space on the pedal board.

There’s a line out and an effects loop, and these are why I bought the amp. I’ve been looking for something small and light with this capability.
Testing it, I ran the CH-3 and a BF-1 through the effects loop and got good results. I have a MO-2 as well, and that did not work well through the loop. The MO-2 lost all its high frequencies in the loop, so back to the front it went.

Working the preamp volume and the master together yields some decent break-up so you can use the volume knob on your instrument to run clear or overdriven.

If the line out signal is good, I can run into a PA with it, which will save me a mic.

Might replace the speaker if the amp cleans up good.

The name "Stinger" is killing me. I bet it's why this line of gear died in or just before the 1990's.

Daniel

IMG_3014.jpeg IMG_3015.jpeg IMG_3016.jpeg IMG_3017.jpeg IMG_3018.jpeg IMG_3019.jpeg IMG_3020.jpeg
 

Telekarster

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Posts
6,576
Location
Earth
Looks like an interesting little amp! Certainly for the $ how could you go wrong? ;) I've seen that speaker before but I can't remember where... I think it might be a pretty darn good speaker though. Reminds me of a Fender speaker of those days, but I can't remember the MFG. Maybe there's clues on it somewhere? Nice find!
 

5595bassman

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Posts
864
Age
74
Location
Montreal Canada
Howdy everyone!

I just bought a super cheap interesting little amp… my favourite kind of amp btw… a Stinger FX-3RC (1x12 combo).

These were made by/for the Martin Guitar Company in Korea in the late 1980s. I suppose they were trying to stay head-above-water at a time when acoustic guitars were falling deeply out of favour with the guitar buying public. (They did super strats under the name Stinger as well.)

I bought this at a second-hand furniture shop here in Laon, France for 89 euros. It needs to be thoroughly cleaned up: the pots are so grimy that the signal cuts out as you turn the knob. The clean sound is clear and round without being too harsh, though being an electric mandolin player, I do have to dial the treble back a bit.

The “tube-synth” effect is so confusingly named I thought I might be looking at a keyboard amp before having a quick search on Reverb for it. They should have just called it "distortion" because that's what it is. Think of it as a ProCo Rat built in rather than an overdrive channel.

It took me a few minutes to sort that out actually. The Tube Synth's proximity to the preamp volume knob makes you think you've got two channels. You don't. The Tube Synth knob gives you squared sine waves from 1 to 10, and the preamp volume knob doesn't change the character of the tones. ("Dual Stage Pre-Amp", my foot)

I’m intriged by the giant heat-sink baffles. You wouldn’t think a solid-state amp would need such a large cooling feature.

The RC in the model name refers to two other effects (FX in the name too), a chorus unit, àla the Roland JC series, and a reverb unit. The reverb is a proper tank because the production pre-dates modelling. Both effects have a footswitch capability. (It must just be on/off but I’ll have to investigate more.)

The reverb is exactly what you would expect, maybe a bit thin sounding. The reverb's volume knob simply adds more of the reverb to the signal, it doesn't change any parameters.

The chorus must be the same circuit design as my Boss CH-3. I set the rate and depth of both exactly the same and got exactly the same modulation. This could save me a space on the pedal board.

There’s a line out and an effects loop, and these are why I bought the amp. I’ve been looking for something small and light with this capability.
Testing it, I ran the CH-3 and a BF-1 through the effects loop and got good results. I have a MO-2 as well, and that did not work well through the loop. The MO-2 lost all its high frequencies in the loop, so back to the front it went.

Working the preamp volume and the master together yields some decent break-up so you can use the volume knob on your instrument to run clear or overdriven.

If the line out signal is good, I can run into a PA with it, which will save me a mic.

Might replace the speaker if the amp cleans up good.

The name "Stinger" is killing me. I bet it's why this line of gear died in or just before the 1990's.

Daniel

View attachment 1017929 View attachment 1017930 View attachment 1017931 View attachment 1017932 View attachment 1017933 View attachment 1017934 View attachment 1017935
I completely agree with you analysis. It was probably "made for".
I have the same amp (same chassis, controls, and rear jacks arrangement) but under another brand name :
Jordan Chorus 50R ( 50W Solid State ). A Korean made imported by "A division of International Music Corp, Fort Worth, Texas" already cut-down combo to make a head only.
Found in a Pawn Shop for CA$ 25.00 in 2008.
Very poorly made job by previous owner but an amaizingly well equipped fully functionnal amp with a very good potential when used with the right pedal board once a good tune-up done.
I rehoused it in a defunct Peavey PA console. I replaced the knobs with chicken heads and installed a nice grill cloth from a scapped organ. I recently put chrome corners.

As it was when found :
Jordan Chorus 50R 001.JPG

Jordan Chorus 50R 002.JPG



Now :
Jordan Chorus 50R head - Mod (1a).JPG
Jordan Chorus 50R head - Mod (3a).JPG


I also later saw the same amp (different esthetics) in, I presume, its original combo format with another name:
Ross Fame Series Chorus 50R also imported by "A division of International Music Corp, Fort Worth, Texas"
I did not buy it, price was way to high and I was still happy with my modded Jordan version.
(The following 3 pics are from the Web)

1660767718018.png
1660769149623.png

1660769345076.png


I hope you will reach your goal with this surprisingly good amp. Mine still works fine and I am using it 2-3 time a week for around 2 hours each time.
 

DNestler

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Posts
444
Location
Les Hauts de France
Thanks all!

I've not seen other amps, except on this thread now, that have both a headphone out and a line out! Clearly we're being told we can go from the bedroom to the stage. ;)

I'm especially glad to see the other photos as they indicate the general wattage. I thought it might be 30, but 50w makes sense.

Unlike modelling amps, this solid-state needs to be pushed a bit to find the sweet spot. North of 5 is best. Under 5 and it's all rather thin and stringy.

But, agreed. It takes pedals well.

It was dusty as a cowboy who's ridden drag at the back of the herd for a week and there's a short tear in the tolex on one side. Other than that is it rather clean on the outside.

I'll be taking it in a a couple weeks. We'll see what happens then. ;)

Daniel
 

DNestler

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Posts
444
Location
Les Hauts de France
Visited my local repair guy today. He blew out the cobwebs and cleaned the pots. It's much better w/o the crackle and cutting out.

Interestingly, if I turn it on when it's cold (the caps have had time to drain back to 63% or more), the volume of the amp fluctuates drastically and quickly for a minute or two.

I'm betting at least one capacitor needs to be replaced. The amp is more than 30 years old, and it was pretty clear that no one had touched the interor of the chassis in all that time.

Found a setting I like: turn the "Tube Synth" on, turn the "Tube Synth Resonance" down to zero, tweak the volume and master volume to taste. (I look for the spot where I can back the volume off on the guitar/emando to get a clean tone and turn it up to get some overdrive.)

Daniel
 




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