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A Japanese "Blackface" ELK Stage Man

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:23 pm
by tribi9
This is my Elk Stageman. Its a 15 watt amp, made in Japan around 65' or 66'. My favorite sounding amp ever.

Today was actually the first time I ever open up an amp. Fear of getting electrocuted has kept me away from poking around them. Lately I've been getting the urge to learn about electronics and older vintage amps.

The amp has the following controls, 3 inputs, Reverb, Volume, Bass, Treble, And Speed and intensity for the Vibrato channel. I believe  everything is stock in the amp save a few knobs, can't say for sure but I'm fairly certain that it is and the previous owner didn't seem like a liar... ;)

I don't have the footswitch for it but I think a Fender RCA will do.

The tube configuration from left o right 12AX7, 12AX7, 6AQ8, 12AX7, EL84, EL84, EZ81 (Rectifier)

Here are some pics.

Enjoy,

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Tube protector removed

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The Guts


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Re: A Japanese Blackface

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:36 pm
by Pacafeliz
oh man i LOVE elks!!!
i used to have an old head, based on the dual showman or something. sure was nice...

Pat.

Re: A Japanese Blackface

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:37 pm
by øøøøøøø
This is very educational, actually.

See there?  That old Japanese amp that was probably very cheap when it was made in the mid-1960s is better-made and more carefully constructed than all but the most expensive of new amps.  

Check out that clean terminal-board construction!  Need to replace a cap or resistor?  No problem!  Just undo these two solder joints, pop the new one in, and you're done!  :) :) :)

Note the chassis-mounted pots, switches, and jacks-- connected to the circuit board with actual wires!

Note also the chassis-mounted tube sockets, connected in like fashion.

Note the neatly and carefully twisted pairs of filament wires, twisted to reduce hum, that go from tube socket to tube socket.  I can't tell for sure, but it looks in the pics too like the cabinet-- even the baffle!-- are made of either solid wood or plywood.  

Oh, I also spy oil-filled capacitors.  Those probably sound nice.

Minor quibbles: the speaker connection really should be a Fender plug-in style.  That's easy enough to modify, if you ever wanted.  The speaker too is unknown... probably no-name, may not be that great.  I bet if you put a good speaker in there, a lot would be revealed about that amp.  Also, I don't see a standby switch.  If it were my amp, I'd probably figure out how to disconnect the "ground" switch, and wire it instead as a standby.  That way you wouldn't have to drill any holes.

It's probably time for a cap job in that amp.  it reminds me a bit of an old Univox I worked on once!

If you were to purchase that amp brand new today, it would probably cost you well over $1,000.  I guess my dad was right when he said "they don't make 'em like they used to."  He was talking about cars, but I guess it applies.   :-*  :-*  :-*

Obviously, cosmetically it was an attempt to cop the "blackface" look.  Probably designed for the Japanese market where importing the real thing would be too expensive.  That's the first one I've ever seen.

Awesome!!

Re: A Japanese "Blackface"

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:11 pm
by tribi9
Thx guys!!  :)  Actually, it doesn't have a stand by switch, So I'll keep the suggestion in mind.About the speaker I was going to email Ted Weber to see what kind of speaker he thought might be a good match as I've wondered about it myself. I played a vintage Princeton Reverb and really liked the sound, I was hoping somewhere along those lines. Don't get me wrong the stock speaker does sound heavenly. I have a Strat with a Custom Shop 54' on the neck and it sounds through this amp Fender bell like clean but I also would like to take the sound to the next level.

Like I mentioned in the other thread I took the amp in for a cap job but the amp tech was a little rough on it and I ended up taking my amp back before he even opened it.

Once I get familiar with overhauling an amp I will put my skills to test with this baby.

I actually met (Through the internet) an American that worked at the Miyuki factory in Japan. He was stationed in Japan in the 60's and became friends with the owner and eventually started working for them.

The Elk factory eventually burned down. I have a bunch of pics of the factory, guitars they built, amp schematics, the fire, the aftermath, pretty much an ELK biography on a C.D. The owner has asked that I do not publish them, so I will respect that. However if anybody is interested feel free to PM me for this guy's contact info.

I used to own the head and cab below but I sold it. I will kick myself in the ass, for as long as I live for selling it.

They randomly pop up here on Kijiji and Craigslist. I've seen two in the last year. So yeah, they're rare but I know a few made it to Canada.

Thx for all the info Brad.

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Re: A Japanese Blackface

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:37 pm
by tribi9
Pacafeliz wrote: oh man i LOVE elks!!!
i used to have an old head, based on the dual showman or something. sure was nice...

Pat.
Paca, do you remember the name?

Also here's a brochure for some of their models.

These can be found on the net.

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Re: A Japanese Blackface

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:51 am
by LHR
øøøøøøø wrote:Also, I don't see a standby switch
Tube rectifier.

Re: A Japanese Blackface

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 6:48 am
by øøøøøøø
LHR wrote:
øøøøøøø wrote:Also, I don't see a standby switch
Tube rectifier.
the EZ81 is an indirectly heated cathode rectifier tube,  which will have a slightly delayed warm-up time.  This would be fine for something like a Champ.  But it only gives 3-5 seconds of filament warm-up time before the full B+ hits the plates of the EL84s.  It is my opinion that tube life would be extended with a proper standby switch.

Re: A Japanese "Blackface" ELK Stage Master

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 7:16 am
by Maggieo
It looks like a clone of the Princeton Reverb, and IIRC, they didn't have a standby switch, either.

Gorgeous amp!!!  Officially added to my GAS queue.

Re: A Japanese "Blackface" ELK Stage Master

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:11 am
by tribi9
Maggieo wrote: It looks like a clone of the Princeton Reverb, and IIRC, they didn't have a standby switch, either.

Gorgeous amp!!!  Officially added to my GAS queue.
Thank you it looks nicer in person.  ;)  I'm always on the lookout for ELK gear.

Re: A Japanese "Blackface" ELK Stage Man

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:30 am
by ohm-men
I had a later Elk Viking Bass 50 Head + cab. Got it for €40 (no speakers included) But they came originally with a pair of low wattage Hi-Fi speakers I was told. Anyway, I played this amp with my Jazzmaster and some new Jensen Chicago 12"-35W  speakers as my main Surf rig for a while. The thing sounded awesome. Sold it only to fund my Showman. It had 2 El 84 power tubes and was also build to last....Wonderfull amp....It apeared to be early seventies.
I had it looked over by a tech friend and he said, there is nothing I can do as their is nothing faulty in there ;D....If I would'nt have had to sell it to fund the Showman (every instro Surf players wet dream), I would most defenitly kept it.

As long as you are careful with the amps PT and OT, they'll last a lifetime. However the older (BF copies) are very diffucult to repair when the tremolo or reverb is broken....

Re: A Japanese "Blackface" ELK Stage Man

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:32 am
by rickenmetal
Super weird, that one was actually designed for export to the US because it says 117 volts instead of 100 volts. I wonder if they made European voltage ones too. I like those heads (from the pictures anyways, I've never seen a real one).