What would you pay? Old Ampeg content

W.L.Weller

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PXL_20220928_005315779.jpg


Ampeg Gemini I, still has the 2-prong cord. Interested to hear whether it's me or the broader market getting this one wrong. (I don't think of myself as old, but I remember when you could get a Traynor YBA-1 for $100)
 

backporchmusic

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And what is the difference between you and the 'broader market?' What do they say, and what do you say is the value or a reasonable sales price?

You didn't even mention the asking price for this Gemini I. Think through what your audience needs to know in order to provide you with usable information by way of response, and provide them that information in your initial post.
 

Milspec

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Condition is important as is the original Jensen speaker. I think that speaker is the key to that amp, lose that and you lose a lot of what made them so sweet.

Price accordingly
 

Harley Wycliff

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I may be wrong, but I'm reading "still has the 2-prong cord" as "still has the original 2-prong cord." If that's the case, then that suggests (but doesn't necessarily confirm) the amp hasn't been serviced in a while. I wouldn't even plug it in before I pulled the chassis and looked at the internals.
 

W.L.Weller

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You didn't even mention the asking price for this Gemini I. Think through what your audience needs to know in order to provide you with usable information by way of response, and provide them that information in your initial post.

Are you familiar with the concept of price anchoring? I was trying to get a sense of what people thought about mid '60s Ampeg combos independent of "an opening bid". I agree that a pic of the whole amp and information about the tubes and speaker currently installed would have been useful to everyone.

I may be wrong, but I'm reading "still has the 2-prong cord" as "still has the original 2-prong cord." If that's the case, then that suggests (but doesn't necessarily confirm) the amp hasn't been serviced in a while. I wouldn't even plug it in before I pulled the chassis and looked at the internals.

Well it's plugged in right now at the Guitar Center selling it. And if the power cord isn't the original, then someone went out of their way to source a "period correct" replacement. The cap can looked to be the original Mallory, and none of the tubes were modern production.

The reason for my post basically boils down to my feeling that the asking price is way too high considering the service this amp definitely requires. (Unavailability of 7199 tubes, new or used, is a separate issue)

But on the other hand, the asking price is a fraction of a mid 60s Fender Deluxe. If I'm the only person who thinks this Gemini should be cheaper, than that's my problem. But if no one would ever pay four figures for a Gemini, then it may not just be me.
 

Lynxtrap

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I am not the broad market as I would do the service it needs myself, but I might pay up to $800 for it if it is stock and has the original speaker. The PI can be rewired to accept a 6U8A that is very similar to 7199 but easier to find.
 

W.L.Weller

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I should have thought of this first. Looks like I'm wrong, not the market.

Now I can decide whether or not it's worth it to me.
 

MuddyWolf

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A traynor is not valued even close to an ampeg. I have owned a few traynors and yes they are the Canadian Marshall. But almost no one cares, even if they sound better than ampegs. But ampegs are famous and got used on stones records and lots of other historical recordings and tours. I wouldn't pay more than 5 or $600 for the ampeg in great condition though. As a cash investment you'll lose money. As a usable instrument, not great unless maxed In volume. Think Brown Sugar, great sound for Keef Richards, probably unplayable for you or me.
 

W.L.Weller

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I think the V-4 and VT-22 are the Stones ones.

If the Geminis are on records, I think it'd probably be East Coast jazz records from the late 50s/early 60s. Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, George Benson, Eddie McFadden, Thornel Schwartz...(pure speculation on my part here, this is based on the Ampegs being manufactured in New Jersey and Everett Hull's "we will never make anything for rock 'n' roll" statement.)

There's no question it's not a good investment, it's been sitting in the store for more than half a year. Plus it's going to need the cord and electrolytic caps replaced at a bare minimum, if not a more thorough and involved servicing.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts!
 

telemnemonics

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I love old Ampeg tone but IMO aside from the flip tops they really turned generic by 1962.
Attractive for price but just not awesome in the overall 1960s awesome amps arena.
Plus the construction fell a little short of Fender, Traynor, Marshall, Orange etc. By the end of the 60s the construction improved but the sound (from that era I had VT22 and V4 half stack) had just to one feature: LOUD.
A Gemeni I would walk right past if much over $100.
Sorry!
 

telemnemonics

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I think the V-4 and VT-22 are the Stones ones.

If the Geminis are on records, I think it'd probably be East Coast jazz records from the late 50s/early 60s. Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, George Benson, Eddie McFadden, Thornel Schwartz...(pure speculation on my part here, this is based on the Ampegs being manufactured in New Jersey and Everett Hull's "we will never make anything for rock 'n' roll" statement.)

There's no question it's not a good investment, it's been sitting in the store for more than half a year. Plus it's going to need the cord and electrolytic caps replaced at a bare minimum, if not a more thorough and involved servicing.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts!
I dont think the Gemini arrived until the mid '60s.
My grok of Ampeg is that the man hated distortion and it took him a few years to get rid of it, circa 1963/64 or so, but then aside from nailing the first built in reverb amp with the great 6v6 Reverberocket, his amps didnt seem to have any other specific goals or personality until the next decade.
Plus poor tube type choices, (7591? Meh. 7199 & other oddballs? Meh) and flimsy chassis with not the best chrome, ratty wiring, flimsy boards until earliest brand PCB with 500+ volts on board traces which at times just melted into flames.

1962 and earlier Ampegs killed like if you put a Jet next to a same year Tweed Deluxe you will ve impressed by the Jet dominating.
For certain uses the VT 22/ V4 was solid, and of course the SVT wuz king of the Ampegs.
But every time I try a mid '60s Ampeg like Gemini or 7591 Reverberocket next to same era Fender, nope, not impressed.
And take both apart? Nope not impressed.

The Reverb prices of $750-$1000?
must be them hipsters assuming older is mo better or at least cooler?
 

Mowgli

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Price depends on condition of the amp and your intended use.

Also, I'd factor in the costs of recapping and possible other repairs, including tubes, possible speaker recone, etc. The 7199 tube socket can be rewired to accept a more affordable tube (for guitar, the sound probably isn't adversely affected by this switch; but some Hi-Fi folks swear that the 7199 is the better sounding tube). Must convert to a 3-prong power cord if you intend to play it; a polarized two-prong is a bare minimum.

Up front, I love vintage Ampegs. They have a unique sound, unique Reverb (Echo) and, with the right speakers, sound heavenly.

But... because of the RRii and Gemini series chassis and cabinet designs (not circuit design), many of these amps don't hold up "on the road under rough conditions" as well as the old fenders or other amps, IMO. That's my only knock on them. The bigger Gemini's are heavy and cumbersome to move. Gem I's I believe are smaller. So for local gigs, the Gem I's size and weight probably aren't an issue.

Most are fantastic clean machines; Everett Hull, owner of Ampeg, loved jazz and disliked that passing fad known as Rock and Roll.

Personally, I find it tough to pay over $8-900 unless it's a "museum-piece" quality amp with the original cover. Then again, I've been lucky to buy several vintage amps at below market prices, including several Ampegs. My pricing gauge is probably behind the times. And if it is museum quality, I'd never let it leave the house.

YMMV.
 

slider313

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But every time I try a mid '60s Ampeg like Gemini or 7591 Reverberocket next to same era Fender, nope, not impressed.
I beg to differ. After proper servicing, mid 60's Ampegs are great sounding amps in their own right. No, they're not a Fender and not voiced to sound like a Fender but neither is a Marshall. I'd put my '65 R12R-T Reverberocket next to the same year Deluxe Reverb any time as I happen to prefer the tone of the Reverberocket. Not quite as loud but, I'm not going for volume, I'm going for tone. It's more mid-centric (not as scooped) with a bit of crunch/natural compression/sustain/harmonic overtones to the cleans. They also take pedals well. An efficient speaker make them perfect small to medium gig amps. In the current market, where we see smaller amps like a '64-'67 Princeton Reverb bring $3,000-$3,500 +, I feel $900-$1,200 for a clean and serviced Reverberocket or Gemini is a true bargin. FYI: the short lived Reverberocket R12R-M has three 12ax7's and one 12au7 in the preamp and was produced with both 7591A or 7868 power tubes. 7591A's are available from Tung Sol and JJ. 7868's are easily found and are not very expensive; especially when compared to a set of NOS 6L6GC's.

An early 1965 R12R-M:

R12RM-B.jpg
 

KC

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check out the "Manhattan Guitar Club:"


Gemini 1s in studios across New York. If you were in the club, you got a key!
 

telemnemonics

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I beg to differ. After proper servicing, mid 60's Ampegs are great sounding amps in their own right. No, they're not a Fender and not voiced to sound like a Fender but neither is a Marshall. I'd put my '65 R12R-T Reverberocket next to the same year Deluxe Reverb any time as I happen to prefer the tone of the Reverberocket. Not quite as loud but, I'm not going for volume, I'm going for tone. It's more mid-centric (not as scooped) with a bit of crunch/natural compression/sustain/harmonic overtones to the cleans. They also take pedals well. An efficient speaker make them perfect small to medium gig amps. In the current market, where we see smaller amps like a '64-'67 Princeton Reverb bring $3,000-$3,500 +, I feel $900-$1,200 for a clean and serviced Reverberocket or Gemini is a true bargin. FYI: the short lived Reverberocket R12R-M has three 12ax7's and one 12au7 in the preamp and was produced with both 7591A or 7868 power tubes. 7591A's are available from Tung Sol and JJ. 7868's are easily found and are not very expensive; especially when compared to a set of NOS 6L6GC's.

An early 1965 R12R-M:

View attachment 1036207
I do love the R12R but prefer the first version with 6v6 over the subsequent "improved" versions.
I loved old Ampegs when they were not that old and played every used one I saw for sale, plus worked on them to partially establish my grading them as lesser than Fender clean reverb amps in build quality.
Compared to all the current imports I still consider them better and have a soft spot for them.
But put a 65 Fender reverb amp up against a 65 Ampeg reverb amp and the Fender really is much better more ruggedly built.

At the same time though, I strongly dislike Leo doing the same dumb thing as Ampeg in taking an engineers approach to how music should sound.
Both companies abandoned their former gloriously dirty amps because in their view science andtechnology had to advance.

So Im not saying a 65 Reverberocket or Gemini is "a bad amp" just that they are not as great as the late 50s to 62 models, and they are not as well built as same year Fender and Marshall.
 




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