Gassing for another 5w amp... Gibson GA-5, Supro 1606, or?

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HH1978
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Gassing for another 5w amp... Gibson GA-5, Supro 1606, or?

Post by HH1978 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:02 pm

Thinking about getting another vintage 5 watter for the studio.

I have a SF champ that I love, but I miss the Magnatone 210 I sold last year.

Looking for something more raw than the Silver Face. A tweed is out of the question due to price, and I'd rather go vintage than a replica, because I'd rather get old tubes and an old Jensen, Rola or Oxford in the process.

I'm thinking of either a GA-5 Skylark (the blonde version from late 50's - early 60's, with a circuit remarkably close to the 5F1) or a Supro 1606 (likely in it's Gretsch or National incarnations which are lower priced).

What are your opinion on these? I'm also open to other suggestions, as long as it doesn't involve amps with no isolation transformer.

I usually prefer american voiced amps. I'm not getting an AC4.

Thanks!

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Re: Gassing for another 5w amp... Gibson GA-5, Supro 1606, or?

Post by marqueemoon » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:01 pm

Swart STR Tremolo

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andy
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Re: Gassing for another 5w amp... Gibson GA-5, Supro 1606, or?

Post by andy » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:35 pm

Gibson hell ya
Send me western swing vids

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Re: Gassing for another 5w amp... Gibson GA-5, Supro 1606, or?

Post by 46346 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:58 pm

i kind of wish i had picked up one of those low watt Gibson or Supros a while back when i was picking up cheap vintage amps.
back then i always desired at least 12 watts for my studio work, and even at home, my living room was a wilderness without neighbors.

it looks like the vintage low watters have caught on in value lately. but i will say, the 12 - 25 watt tweed Gibsons and 60's/early 70's Supros (Airline is my bargain brand jam) look to give a nice return on my 'investment'. if only i could give them up, they are such sweet recording amps. at least in my studio. i still don't have a neighbor problem at home, but my girlfriend is an elementary school teacher, often in bed by 9:30.

i think it's a great idea to go vintage and patiently watch for a bargain.
Dream Apes, ACME, Malcolm Mooney, Cat Museum, Cooling Time

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Re: Gassing for another 5w amp... Gibson GA-5, Supro 1606, or?

Post by HH1978 » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:55 am

Thanks for the inputs :)

I've read excellent things about the Swart, but it's a bit pricey, and I'd rather get an amp with a 8" speaker, both for weight and recording ability (not saying that a 10" or 12" won't work for that, but there's something in the EQ of a 8" that makes it sit easily in a mix).
i kind of wish i had picked up one of those low watt Gibson or Supros a while back when i was picking up cheap vintage amps.
back then i always desired at least 12 watts for my studio work, and even at home, my living room was a wilderness without neighbors.
What are the favourites in the cheap vintage ones you got? 12W is more than I need for the purpose, but that could point me to brands I haven't thought about.


The Gibson is 1st on my list for now. Any love for the 1606?

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Re: Gassing for another 5w amp... Gibson GA-5, Supro 1606, or?

Post by HH1978 » Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:01 pm

Not directly related to the thread, but I took a look on the Swart website, and totally dig this :

http://swartamps.com/news_suitcase_amp_2020.htm

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Re: Gassing for another 5w amp... Gibson GA-5, Supro 1606, or?

Post by marqueemoon » Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:56 pm

HH1978 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:55 am
Thanks for the inputs :)

I've read excellent things about the Swart, but it's a bit pricey, and I'd rather get an amp with a 8" speaker, both for weight and recording ability (not saying that a 10" or 12" won't work for that, but there's something in the EQ of a 8" that makes it sit easily in a mix).
i kind of wish i had picked up one of those low watt Gibson or Supros a while back when i was picking up cheap vintage amps.
back then i always desired at least 12 watts for my studio work, and even at home, my living room was a wilderness without neighbors.
What are the favourites in the cheap vintage ones you got? 12W is more than I need for the purpose, but that could point me to brands I haven't thought about.


The Gibson is 1st on my list for now. Any love for the 1606?
Swart Atomic Jr. is an 8”. You just don’t get the tremolo.

I own two Swarts (STR Tremolo and AST). Sold my vintage Fenders to buy them and have no regrets.

I could actually take or leave the tweed look. Best sounding amp spring reverb out there IMO.

They aren’t cheap, but less of a hit if you buy used, which is what I did.

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Re: Gassing for another 5w amp... Gibson GA-5, Supro 1606, or?

Post by 46346 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:58 pm

HH1978 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:55 am
i kind of wish i had picked up one of those low watt Gibson or Supros a while back when i was picking up cheap vintage amps.
back then i always desired at least 12 watts for my studio work, and even at home, my living room was a wilderness without neighbors.
What are the favourites in the cheap vintage ones you got? 12W is more than I need for the purpose, but that could point me to brands I haven't thought about.


The Gibson is 1st on my list for now. Any love for the 1606?
Maestro amps were an obvious re-branding of Gibson amps of the era. not sure, but they may have been the student versions.
of the ones i've noticed, they seem to be the same as the Gibsons. i have a 12-ish watt GA-20T Ranger and it is stellar with the EF86 preamp.

Magantone re-branded a lot in that era, and they're identical to the Maggies. i have a Da Vinci version of the now-legendary Magnatone Troubador 214 that i got for $500 on craigslist not too long ago. they were popular with accordion guys, so you can find them outside the guitar listings.
other re-brands are Lyric, Twilighter... check Maggie history for more.
maybe there's a rebrand of your 210.

Silvertone, Danelectro... some great, sometimes weird circuits. i have a couple favorites. but beware - the cabinets are cheaply made compared to the others. a lot of particle board involved. mine are in good shape, so it's fine, they are still solid and even giggable... but ones that look pretty worn may actually be falling apart. look inside the corners.

i've got some really cool Airlines, one is a Supro (Valco) rebrand, the other seems an original design (at least the cabinet, which is good quality). as you mentioned there are National, Gretsch and other brands of these.



maybe i'll think of some more...
as i mentioned, i've enjoyed all these as 12 - 25 watt versions. some of the Airlines and Silvertones are dual output designs with two PAIRS of 6L6, each feeding their own output transformer and speaker. actual "twin" amps that give up an effective 50 brown watts! they have an unusual, complex sound.

so, i'm mostly unfamiliar with their 5-ish watt brethren. though i'm sure each brand has one.
like you, i have SF Champs (Vibro-Champs in my house).

i'd love to get a Swart someday, i really liked the AST after a very brief spin during a NAMM show long ago. i thought Michael Swart was really cool, too - it was busy in his booth, probably some deals to be made, but when i asked him about the circuit, he came over and opened up the amp and i learned a few things from him in ten minutes of very dedicated time. he definitely has a passsion for this stuff, and is very focussed, and he seems to treat people well.

while his amps attain a sort of perfection, i still have a vintage passion for exploring the old oddball characters of yesteryear. someday i'll sell a few of these extra oddballs and settle on one of his new ones.
marqueemoon has a good point - Swart's been around long enough to see quite a few on the used market. i'm off to Reverb.com to see what the prices are like 😊
cheers!
Dream Apes, ACME, Malcolm Mooney, Cat Museum, Cooling Time

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