Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

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cestlamort
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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by cestlamort » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:10 pm

Also maybe consider the Rivera-era fenders: Princeton Reverb II, Deluxe Reverb II, Concert (II). Old Musicman amps can be cheap, too.

Best vintage bargains may still be old Ampeg [PSA: you still cannot get the power tubes, just like in the 90s. So if anyone out there in Internet-land sees a well-priced used one, just move along. ;) ] (not really, of course)

For your price range, I'd just probably get a Vibrolux Reverb or Deluxe Reverb and call it good.

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by 46346 » Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:34 pm

i am very much a vintage Fender and Vox kind of guy, too. but i keep going back to one of my very first amps:

Ampeg Reverberocket II. mine's from 1966. probably 15-18 watts. the earlier Reverberocket is wonderful too. the II version has Bass and Treble controls instead of just one Tone knob on the earlier (non-II) models.
i bought mine for $200 in the 90's and it still looks pretty new.
i put in a new Weber Jensen-style alnico speaker with a custom British-style cone.

it has a big clean Surf sound, kind of Fendery but with a deeper, dark reverb.
the power tubes are cathode biased and will grind something like a Vox when pushed with an OD or boost pedal.
and that British cone makes it my perfect amp for 'Surfing on a Vox' kind of vibe.

a super clean one these days might run you $700-800?
you can have a tech dial it to perfection, and upgrade to a great speaker, and still be at $1000 or less.

just last week my ship came in and i scored an amazing rare Ampeg - a 1963 Super Echo Twin.
it is basically TWO Reveberockets in one cabinet. a true stereo amp, with panning 'vibrato'. a true 'Twin' Amp!
already one of my best Surf amps. normally these often go for over $1000, but i gambled on this one over eBay for $500,
and it paid off! so may cool things about it you can run one channel at 15 watts, with a separate amp/speaker for reverb, OR you can run both speakers mono at a combined 30 watts! i just need to fix the tremolo, and maybe re-cap the mains.

as Mike also mentioned, for under $1500 you could get a real nice silverface DR, all serviced up.

a few years back, i scored a beautiful 1965 Princeton Reverb with vintage C10N Jensen. incredible sounding amp! Fender Elect. Inst. Co. Pre-CBS blackface for $1200 on Craigslist. i don't know if that still happens. i'm SoCal, too.
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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by Larsongs » Sat Jul 11, 2020 10:42 pm

I'd like to try one of those Amps. I'm keeping my eye out for early Silverface DR's & Princetons. I do have a great Amp Tech. If I find one that needs work I'm covered. Still open for Vox AC15 with Blue.

I would like to find one Original & in xlnt to good condition.

Are you anywhere in the vicinity of Palm Springs?

Thanks,

L

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by Racing » Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:03 am

Here in Europe...
If cleans is what you´re after,search for a Hohner MH series amp.

If old school rock an Echolette S or BS amp will get you into JMP territory easy. PCB based amps from the early 60 that are deadringers for an early Marshall. Swap a few resistor values around the phaseinverter,any idiot can do that,and you´re done.

Both these amps are readily avaible on the various e-bays and what not and are great value for money.

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by 46346 » Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:30 pm

Hi Lars - i'm in L.A. i had been doing some recording work in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree, but all that has ceased for a while, of course.
if you ever get to L.A., i have a studio that is almost overflowing with vintage amps that i've rescued over the decades. someday when it is safe to socialize in a studio again, i invite you to come try some stuff!

i was curious about current prices on blackface Princeton Reverbs since last posting... i looked on Reverb.com under 'Sold Listings', and founf that while many sell for over $2000, a couple have snuck by for much less. i saw that a REALLY nice 1964 sold for $1400. that is truly a dream amp, and would be actually be a good investment!

Racing - i had a real fascination with the Hohner MH amps some years back. but i could only admire them from a distance. i've never found one here in the U.S. i think there was one in Canada, but even that was complicated and expensive.

should you ever encounter a good specimen that is cheap enough to justify shipping to California, i'd like to hear about it.
didn't you re-work one of these some years back? i've always enjoyed your amp resuscitations!

cheers,
eric
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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by SadFuzz » Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:40 am

+1 for Traynor
A YGM-3 sounds perfect for your application. 20 watt all tube handwired in Canada 1x12.
I see them go for under £500 pretty often here in the UK.
It'll also be incredibly reliable.
If i get another amp at somepoint i'm deffo gonna look for a YGL or YRM head.
Happy hunting.
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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by Larsongs » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:03 am

46346 wrote:
Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:30 pm
Hi Lars - i'm in L.A. i had been doing some recording work in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree, but all that has ceased for a while, of course.
if you ever get to L.A., i have a studio that is almost overflowing with vintage amps that i've rescued over the decades. someday when it is safe to socialize in a studio again, i invite you to come try some stuff!

i was curious about current prices on blackface Princeton Reverbs since last posting... i looked on Reverb.com under 'Sold Listings', and founf that while many sell for over $2000, a couple have snuck by for much less. i saw that a REALLY nice 1964 sold for $1400. that is truly a dream amp, and would be actually be a good investment!

Racing - i had a real fascination with the Hohner MH amps some years back. but i could only admire them from a distance. i've never found one here in the U.S. i think there was one in Canada, but even that was complicated and expensive.

should you ever encounter a good specimen that is cheap enough to justify shipping to California, i'd like to hear about it.
didn't you re-work one of these some years back? i've always enjoyed your amp resuscitations!

cheers,
eric
Hey Eric,

That would be cool. I play in a Band in Huntington Beach called "The Fab-Tones" a few times a year.. Maybe on one those trips I can get up to L.A.

I'd love to find a really nice 64 for $1400.00! I'll probably be looking at early Silverface DR's.. I hope to find a really nice reasonably priced...

Thanks

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:09 am

The Fender Musicmaster Bass makes a decent guitar amp. Probably the best bargain out there as far as vintage Fender goes.

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by garyfanclub » Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:26 pm

46346 wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:34 pm
i am very much a vintage Fender and Vox kind of guy, too. but i keep going back to one of my very first amps:

Ampeg Reverberocket II. mine's from 1966. probably 15-18 watts. the earlier Reverberocket is wonderful too. the II version has Bass and Treble controls instead of just one Tone knob on the earlier (non-II) models.
i bought mine for $200 in the 90's and it still looks pretty new.
i put in a new Weber Jensen-style alnico speaker with a custom British-style cone.

it has a big clean Surf sound, kind of Fendery but with a deeper, dark reverb.
the power tubes are cathode biased and will grind something like a Vox when pushed with an OD or boost pedal.
and that British cone makes it my perfect amp for 'Surfing on a Vox' kind of vibe.

a super clean one these days might run you $700-800?
you can have a tech dial it to perfection, and upgrade to a great speaker, and still be at $1000 or less.
I'll second this - I've got a 65 Reverberocket II, love it, it was my main gigging amp until recently.

Definitely in the "American" tone spectrum, perhaps a little smoother and more mid-focused than contemporary Fenders. They can get searingly bright if you're looking for that, but it's not the default state by any means. I actually tend to run mine into the accordion input, with the bass bumped up slightly, and the treble down. Granted, I'm using a JM, so that's compensating for the guitar's natural tendencies.

I'm running an Eminence Cannabis Rex in mine, which is probably too efficient, in all honesty. It's an 18W amp, but I've never had any issues being heard with this configuration - the speaker does a lot to make this very-usable at band volumes. The amp's natural mid-emphasis helps keep these audible too, despite the lowish wattage.

Can't say I've run this amp full-tilt very much - the few times I have it "barks" more than "grinds".

The reverb and trem are fantastic - very 1960's - once you hear it, you'll recognize it all over the place in 60s pop music. These things were everywhere. I've had mine modified to make the trem a little more intense, couldn't tell you how much of an effect it's had, but I'm not complaining!

Bottom line - if any of this is up your alley, get one! A really nice one will run you $800-1k, a beater that you can restore is prob in the $500 camp. So best case you save around $1k vs. an equivalent wattage (Princeton) Fender from the same era.

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by horseblanket » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:41 am

+1 for the Traynor YGM3.
With a speaker swap it is a pretty spectacular little amp.
It will also be easy to maintain and is within your budget.

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by 46346 » Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:00 pm

garyfanclub wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:26 pm
I'll second this - I've got a 65 Reverberocket II, love it, it was my main gigging amp until recently.

Definitely in the "American" tone spectrum, perhaps a little smoother and more mid-focused than contemporary Fenders. They can get searingly bright if you're looking for that, but it's not the default state by any means. I actually tend to run mine into the accordion input, with the bass bumped up slightly, and the treble down. Granted, I'm using a JM, so that's compensating for the guitar's natural tendencies.

I'm running an Eminence Cannabis Rex in mine, which is probably too efficient, in all honesty. It's an 18W amp, but I've never had any issues being heard with this configuration - the speaker does a lot to make this very-usable at band volumes. The amp's natural mid-emphasis helps keep these audible too, despite the lowish wattage.

Can't say I've run this amp full-tilt very much - the few times I have it "barks" more than "grinds".
yes indeedy, i think you are spot-on in describing the tonality.

that speaker i got really shifted it east of New Jersey, though. it's got the slight mid-scoop of a classic alnico Jensen, and the British-style cone, while i initially thought was kind of a subtle detail, may be the chiming factor that really makes it for me. and yes - it is not an especially efficient speaker, so i do get to throb the tubes quite a bit. and of course there's still plenty of mids. i often end up with treble and bass controls at 1 or 2 o'clock, which i believe may actually literally attenuate the mids (perhaps a James tone stack circuit?)

i think you can still get that speaker from Weber. mine was labeled P12NB (B for British) in the 90's, now it may be something like 12A150B ?

also just realized i’ve been running a 5751 tube in V1... pretty sure i stuck it in there 20 years ago to smooth out the mids as well.

i fortified my tremolo as well, and slowed the speed range downward a bit. i love a slowly shifting ambient effect, but can get that sparkly pulse too. real nice trem and reverb on these when well restored. the reverb on the Super Echo Twin version is a dream come true!
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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by Larsongs » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:04 pm

My recent 65 DRRI is completely Stock. With original Speaker... I've had it a few years... It just doesn't sound as good as a vintage Deluxe Reverb... I've compared them..

Why?

Is it the Speaker? What were the original Speakers? Do they still make them?

Is it the Tubes? Transformer?

I haven't bonded with this Amp! My Reissue Princeton Reverb & Twin sound great! But the 65 DRRI doesn't.. Harsh, Shrill & Brittle... At least to my Ears..

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by Jaguar018 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:59 am

Larsongs wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:04 pm
My recent 65 DRRI is completely Stock. With original Speaker... I've had it a few years... It just doesn't sound as good as a vintage Deluxe Reverb... I've compared them..

Why?

Is it the Speaker? What were the original Speakers? Do they still make them?

Is it the Tubes? Transformer?

I haven't bonded with this Amp! My Reissue Princeton Reverb & Twin sound great! But the 65 DRRI doesn't.. Harsh, Shrill & Brittle... At least to my Ears..
The thing about Deluxe reverbs new and old, is that they are super duper common workhorse amps with tons of modding options. You can throw like 20 different new speakers in them, swap the tubes, or snip a wire or two.

If I were you I'd try a different speaker; it's a fairly easy thing to change and it's easily reversible. All the major brands: Weber, Jensen, Eminence, and Celestion will have some marketing jargon that makes them sound good. I think Jensen and Weber are typically associated with your more standard Fender base tone, but I bought a used Silverface Princeton with a Celestion Greenback that sounded better than a more stock version to my ears.

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by Larsongs » Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:03 am

This looks like a Sweet Deal on what appears to be a great Modded New Vox AC15!! On Sale! $599.00

Watch the Video....

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... -combo-amp

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Re: Best reasonable priced Vintage Tube Amps

Post by 46346 » Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:58 pm

Larsongs wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:03 am
This looks like a Sweet Deal on what appears to be a great Modded New Vox AC15!! On Sale! $599.00

Watch the Video....

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... -combo-amp

interesting. those upgrades seem good! i'm not sure about the current build quality on these, there was a generation of chinese made AC's that a few friends had trouble with, but that may have improved. i have one of the hand-wired chinese AC-15's , and that's been very reliable and sounds great. i just burn through EL84 tubes quite a bit. but they're affordable.

Lars - can you identify the speaker in your DRRI? or post a picture?

cheers.
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