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  1. #1

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    My local shop in Australia found a number of new vintage Polys in its warehouse. They are a Minibrute 3, a Minibrute 5, a Mini-S12L and Mini-S15B.

    This shop has some really old (new) stuff - you should see their book shelves! The owners don't seem to know how to manage working capital - but it makes for an interesting shop.

    Anyway, I have checked the Ebay thread and these babies seem very cheap in the US (although they are all pre-loved - often a number of times).

    The pricing on these new Aussie Polys is very high by comparison - for example they want AU$1900 for the MB 5.

    Is it nuts to pay that sort of price for a new (old) Polytone?

    I am after a dedicated jazz amp - does anyone have any views on one of the above over the other?

    Thank you!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I think it's nuts...I'm not sure of the exchange rate, but they're only half that brand new in the states...

    What can you get a henriksen for in Oz?

  4. #3

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    Today

    1,900.00 AUD = 1,910.44 USD

    As much as I'd love the chance to buy a new old stock Polytone, that is WAY too high IMHO. Others may differ.

  5. #4

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    Way too high. I hear you Aussies have to pay a lot for bananas, too.

  6. #5

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    paying more than $300-400 for a solid state polytone is ridiculous.

    its a strange thing with polytones. they are fine for playing jazz through. but, they arent heads above any used SS peavey amp you can buy for under $200. treating a polytone like its equivalent to some mint BF Fender amp is silly.

    i feel like the high prices you see polytones go for is really just the market reflecting the void jazz guitarists BELIEVE there is in regards to suitable amps.

    obviously i am tube amp fan. but i would play a polytone if they werent SO overpriced. there is nothing about them that justifies paying much.

  7. #6

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    If you are outside the USA, you'll be very lucky to get a US made amp or guitar for a US price.

    take the typical US price for the amp, then factor in the cost of shipping it to your country and the import duties you'd have to pay - that's a realistic price for an imported amp or guitar.

    With an amp you obviously need to consider whether it's compatible with your local mains supply.
    Last edited by Bill C; 03-21-2011 at 06:31 PM.

  8. #7

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    Badge that does seem a ridiculous price for the Polytone, even here in Australia. Transport from the US would be maybe around $300-400 and I'm fairly sure you only pay import duties on equipment made in the US if it is over $1000. Personally Polytone amps don't particularly impress me, but if you must have one, then importing would be cheaper than the price you have been quoted, (just remeber as Bill C indicated you will need a step-up transformer or have the transformer changed so add around $100 for that).

    Can I make a suggestion? We don't seem to have much in the way of S/S amp builders here in Australia at least of a standard equal to Evans, Henrikson etc, but we do have valve (tube) amp builders that are as good (IMHO) as anything being produced anywhere in the world. For $1900 you could get a very nice tube amp designed especially for jazz.

    And yes BigDaddy we do pay a lot for bananas at the moment, bloody rain, drought, fires, floods, cyclones etc etc.

    Good luck

    Ian

  9. #8

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    Thanks Ian and all others for your comments. Way out of the ball park I have concluded. Roland Cube 40 (or even) 80 boxes are around the AU$500 mark (roughly). I'll probably go that way.

  10. #9
    guitarguy77 Guest
    Just paid $500 for a Polytone Mini Brute ii, early 90's with black cloth grill, great condition with cover,found it on craigslist in Northridge, CA, and i already had a footswitch, i have played a 70's Twin Reverb Blackfaced for a long time, but I am really loving the Polytone, its a great sound, and to me its lived up to the hype, i guess its 'to each his own'......

  11. #10

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    I think they are great... but you can buy 4 in the US for the price of 1 in Oz!

  12. #11

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    >If you are outside the USA, you'll be very lucky to get a US made amp or guitar for a US price.

    Why ? I am in Europe and buy ALL my stuff in the US for US prices. The costs for shipping and import are not justifying (by far) the exessive pricing that euro shops think they can ask. Everyone has internet nowadays - otherwise you wouldnt be reading this - and its a global economy.

    If you buy a $ 400 Polytone in the US, have it shipped for 100-150 and pay about the same in taxes you are still looking at 1/3rd of the local price max. 1900 is rediculous.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by fws6
    >If you are outside the USA, you'll be very lucky to get a US made amp or guitar for a US price.

    Why ? I am in Europe and buy ALL my stuff in the US for US prices. The costs for shipping and import are not justifying (by far) the exessive pricing that euro shops think they can ask. Everyone has internet nowadays - otherwise you wouldnt be reading this - and its a global economy.

    If you buy a $ 400 Polytone in the US, have it shipped for 100-150 and pay about the same in taxes you are still looking at 1/3rd of the local price max. 1900 is rediculous.
    Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting that $1900 AUS was necessarily a realistic price. I was just saying you won't get an amp or guitar advertised at $400 in the US for $400 if you are in, say, the EU - more like $660 according to my UK-centric calculation which is similar to your calculation. In the UK importing privately always seems to work out to "dollar to pound" in my experience which is often similar to what UK shops charge - if they carry the US gear. I wouldn't be surprised if things are similar in the US if you buy, say, an AER or a Hofner. Obviously, as I mentioned before, you ideally want the original power supply on an amp to be switchable to match your local supply or that's further expense and technical hassle.

  14. #13

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    I strange that no-one imports Polys into other countries
    Aus UK Germany whatever
    Perhaps its the reverb cct reliability problem ?

  15. #14

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    They used to be available in the UK, but I'm going back some years. I'm not aware of any stores which stock them over here now though.

  16. #15

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    Don't buy a polytone more than 600$.

    It's a very simple solid-state amp...

  17. #16

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    Anyone out there use a polytone amp. Just wanted to know how you like it compared with other Jazz amps. Seems like they are not to heavy to lug around.

  18. #17

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    I bought my MiniBrute in 1985.....1/12"....

    Play my 1977 Ibanez 2355 through it...had a fender deluxe reverb...played through a Mesa Boogie and Berringer but I like the sound of the Polytone...

    IMO....it's what you want to hear or what your favorite player plays through is the choice you have to make..right?

    It's not the guitar but the musician playing it...it does take years so don't rush it..

    time on the instrument..pierre

  19. #18

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    I've played a couple and like them a lot. They do have a robust clean solid state sound. I have a Jazzkat TwinKat that sounds similar. Good solid amp.

  20. #19

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    Bought an old one through ebay (I guess minibrute 2). Is a bit noisy but has that nice polytone sound that I like a lot - fat, warm, dark. However, in that ategory of solid state jazzamps I prefer the Henricksen jazzamps.

  21. #20

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    A Sound of The Current Model, Mini-brute Ⅱ


    My settings for '67 ES-175DN V8, T10, SEG-1040ML, Belden 9778(3m)
    1. Listen to the direct sounds at the front of the speaker units.
    2. Guitar ; Volume 8. Tone 10, Neck end Picking, Testing phrase and chords.
    3. Master (if has) ; Max
    4. Volume ; 2.2~3 (Minimum 1 type)
    (some types by GAIN, ex ; Peterson P-100G Ⅱ Gain 1~2, Polytone Mini brute ⅡSonic Circuit Mode Gain 1~2)
    5. Bass ; Turn up to the moderate fat, not too much. ex ; '65 RITR 3, '74 SFTR 1(Min), JC-120 0, '66 BFVR 3.5
    6. Middle (if has) ; 6
    7. Treble ; A touch for coloring, ex ; Fender 1~2, JC-120 2

    Guitar:Gibson '67 ES-175DN V8 T10
    Strngs:Gibson SEG-1040ML
    Shield Cable:Belden 9778
    "Amps & Settings" Amps were tilted by legs or stand.Sound check point was flont of speaker(Mic set point)
    Fender '66 Vibrolux Reverb(Speakers Jensen C10NS):T2 B3.5
    Fender Twin Reveb 100W(Speakers:Rola): T1~2.5 M6~8 B1~2 Master Max(Equal to without master)
    Fender Twin Reverb '65 Reissue(Speakers: Eminence):T1 M6~8 B3
    Peterson P-100G-MkⅡ(Speaker:Eminence ME-10):Gain 1~3( Volume use) L/MIn M1/Min M2/-4 H/-2 Master/Max(Equal to without master)
    Polytone MIni-BruteⅡ: Master/Max B/+1 M/+2 T/+1 Gain/2~4(Volume use) Contour/10~11( O'clocK) Program/edge Tone color switch/
    Center
    Peavey Envoy 110(speaker:Bule Marvel)(Ser.G0113936):Modern mode B3 M2 H0

    Important things: Balance for solo tone and backing tone.
    LIke to guitar,not like to electric piano.
    __________________
    Last edited by kawa; 09-02-2012 at 04:33 AM.

  22. #21

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    (from #1051 "Good Sounds")
    Polytone Mini brute 2, Setting Test
    Mini-Brute2, Serial Number P-29428
    Inst : '67 ES175DN V8 T10, Belden 9778/1.5m(guitar~Sw-box), 2m(Sw-box~Amps),Amp Stand/Ultimate AMP-150
    Reference Amps ; '65 Twin reverb and '66 Vibrolux Reverb(C10NS),the two amps switched by footswitch in quickly for comparsion and close match.
    The both amps tilted and listen the front sound directly from about 1.5m distance posision.

    Setting : Master/Max(Normal Way for Master VR Type, Equal to Without Master VR.
    Tonal Color Switch/Normal(Center Posituon)
    Gain/3(Use to VR)
    Contour/9~11 O'Clock Position
    Program/Edge Position
    Treble/+1
    Mid/+2
    Bass/+1
    Results : Excelent Jazztone by use to "Sonic Circuit"

    Impression : 1E and 2B's traditional Polytone rounded tone by special Eminence.
    3G,4D and 5A's 5flet area tone is thin. Dynamics and rezonant are little less, then I try the Sonic Circuit and got the good sounds .

    Notice !!! : Side Handle Design !!! , Prevent for the reverb unit troubles,
    As well as keeping the "Upright" (in the car etc)http://www.murchmusic.com/polytone.htm

    The any good amps has good characteristecs, pull up the goodness and don't over demands.
    __________________
    Last edited by kawa; 09-02-2012 at 05:21 AM.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankLearns
    Bought an old one through ebay (I guess minibrute 2). Is a bit noisy but has that nice polytone sound that I like a lot - fat, warm, dark. However, in that ategory of solid state jazzamps I prefer the Henricksen jazzamps.
    I second that on the Henricksen's I recently picked up a JazzAmp 110 and loving it, warmest SS amp I've ever heard. Polytone's are good and have there own sound, but it sounds SS to me.

  24. #23

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    i have a polytone babybrute 100watt with an 8" speaker... loud and great sound

    Rob

  25. #24

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    Awsome amps, I prefer them in solo/duo settings to using them groups as my sound tends to get a little lost, but still great amps.

  26. #25

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    My bands guitarists (I'm playing Hammond organ) Polytone Mini/Teeny-Brute amplifier has a defunct reverb and I'm trying to repair it for him.

    Took the amp apart and I'm trying to locate the fault. I'd be glad to have a schematics sheet. The reverb drive circuitry is probably the culprit.

    I contacted the company via fax already but they remain silent.

    I'd really appreciate someones help here.

    Thank you.

    --
    Christoph

    (my first post)

  27. #26

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    There's this link ...

    POLYTONE SERVICE INFO

  28. #27

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    The preamp schematic is also available here

    Polytone Schematics

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill C
    there's this link ...

    POLYTONE SERVICE INFO
    Thanks. Yes I knew that site and got that one already. It may help as a vage guidance help but it's not the same (componentwise) than the model I have here.

    Maybe I'll go ahead with that anyway until I get something better.

    --
    Christoph

  30. #29

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    I fixed the reverb. Actually it must have been a contact problem or some other weird wiring issue. For one the 1/4" socket could have had a bad contact so that it didn't close when the footswitch wasn't plugged in.
    I cleaned the contact. Also the molex connectors might have had bad contact. Not sure though but after I had taken the whole amp apart and connected the modules provisionally, the reverb turned out to be functioning.

    So everything is fine now.

  31. #30

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    I have a real old polytone that I bought for cheap from ebay. It came with a broken reverb (even though the seller said it was fixed). I simply gave up on the reverb and use a pedal.

  32. #31

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    I'm not sure whether I should throw in every issue I have with that Polytone Mini/Teeny-Brute I presently have in my lab, but after fixing the reverb on that amp I still have two questions:

    The speaker grill (is it a stretch metal thing or a clothed frame?) is missing.
    The speaker is still covered by some grill cloth glued on the speaker surround
    but the actual protective cover is totally missing. There are some Velcro pads in the four corners. Does anyone have a recommendation what to do to get a protection for the amps speaker?

    The other point is the rear side. On the rear bottom, where the plugs and the power cord are connected, there were two screw ends dangling out in the left and the right with nothing connected to them.

    Any idea what gets connected to them normally?

    Maybe some photos of an intact amp would be helpful.


    --
    Christoph

  33. #32

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    For future ref., musicparts.com has most polytone schematics available for sale, incl the 70s & 80s models. They vary quite a lot over the years.

    If a polytone has velcro pads, it probably had a foam grille, and these deteriorate. Most people replace them with generic plastic grilles which are still available.

  34. #33

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    Might be picking up a Polytone mini brute II, with the sonic circuit? Is there a major difference between these newer polytones and the older ones?

  35. #34

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    Every Polytone I have owned has had a lot of repair issues(bad luck?) I have a fender jazz king which is the opposite of the JMUL. I want to get rid of it and buy a Henrickson.

  36. #35

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    I use a Taurus Elite, which is ostensibly a keyboard amp, and love it. One of my bands uses it with 2 guitars and a bass for rehearsals. I just bought a mini brute but haven't been able to pick it up yet.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krischu
    On the rear bottom, where the plugs and the power cord are connected, there were two screw ends dangling out in the left and the right with nothing connected to them.
    Any idea what gets connected to them normally?
    Maybe some photos of an intact amp would be helpful.
    -- Christoph
    They are for wrapping the power cord.

  38. #37

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    I wouldn't touch one of those #^%*&@#* accordian amps again with a ten foot pole.I was using Polytones ten-15 yrs ago.I loved the tone I got with them,but as far as reliability,I had nothing but major headaches with the sonic circuit & the reverb on all of them. And the company was NO fun to try and deal with! After four different Polytones,I switched to Acoustic Image,and it's where I've stayed.Through the years I've worked with several players who have had no problems with models from the '80's however.

  39. #38

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    I have a Polytone 1x15" bass amp that I use for guitar. It gives me a good jazz tone, and with the 1x15" I also have plugged my Vox Valvetronix amp into it and it performs quite well for rock when necessary. It has 2 channels , each with bass treble volume, and Bright/middle/Dark switch and a master volume. I considered trading for something else, but the trade value stinks. That's probably because of the reputation for lousy reliability.

    Quote Originally Posted by redwun
    I wouldn't touch one of those #^%*&@#* accordian amps again with a ten foot pole.... I switched to Acoustic Image,and it's where I've stayed.
    Polytone $75 used vs AI at $1000+ new? That's a no-brainer.
    Last edited by woyvel; 10-20-2012 at 09:25 PM.

  40. #39

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    I know,but I've never had an AI crap out on a gig before.The bass player I work with uses an old polytone and never has a bit of trouble with it,& it sounds great.I just never had any luck with polytone,or I'd definitely be using them and I would have saved a good amount of cash.

  41. #40

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    I've played through nearly every model of Polytone and never found one I liked better than the Henriksen Jazzamp. If you are even remotely considering Polytone, please try the Henriksen. They have nailed the eQ controls. I would frequently wrestle to dial out the nasal sound on the mini brute and mega brute.

  42. #41

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    Wow, i think even the broken polytones ive tried sound better than the jazzamps! To me the jazzamp is a well built totaly dead sounding amp. Funny how every ear is diffrent. I just got a baby brute. It totaly awesome with both My archtop and My semi.
    / H
    Last edited by Hjalmiz; 10-22-2012 at 04:01 PM.

  43. #42

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    I agree older Polytones sound quite better than the Henriksen. I don't like new Polytones but played and recorded with one once that had a new speaker and sounded quite good.

    I think they did not nailed the eq controls, that's the main fault (and also not very warm). But they do love a good eq and a good reverb pedal, so I have one. And they are much better built than a Polytone, no doubt.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjalmiz
    Wow, i think even the broken polytones ive tried sound better than the jazzamps! To me the jazzamp is a well built totaly dead sounding amp. Funny how every ear is diffrent. I just got a baby brute. It totaly awesome with both My archtop and My semi.
    / H
    i agree there are amps for all applications and ears, so I wasn't looking to start a debate, but just want shoppers to know about one of many alternatives to the venerable Polytone. I also don't like the Roland JC120, which many jazzers seem to favor, so perhaps something's wrong with ME?! lol.

    I have a couple of amp rigs, including a Clarus/Redstone, which I use depending on the guitar. My favorite sound is the Fender Twin and I had a smaller Fender combo voiced similarly which I loved for many years, but all the gigs atop 2-3 flights of stairs in the city really forced me to find something warm and clean without all the weight.

  45. #44

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    I had a baby brute some years back.Right out of the box I got nothing but distortion from a fairly "polite" volume on up.I called Polytone,(then I almost called Ripley's when somone answered) They thought it might be the speaker,& sent me a new one.It ended up being a preamp problem again!Luckily for me the place I bought it from was willing to take it back,& said they were going to discontinue selling polytone. (I still have that 8' speaker though)

  46. #45

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    I just picked up a Polytone Mini-Brute II the other day, and so far I'm loving the sound I'm getting from it. Still in the honeymoon phase though, but everything is working great so far.

  47. #46

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    Hey Jazz afficionados,

    All's in the title. Strangely enough,I never tried my ES-350 on my Polytone Mini Brute before this wek-end. And I must say I like very much the combination of both. Very responsive, very dynamic to my ears and a well-defined sound all around the fretboard.

    The video's there:


    Hope you'll like the sound.

    Best to you and your music.

  48. #47

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    Fred that is one of the best jazz guitar sounds I have heard. It is so nice and listenable. The sound for sure but you lines are so well connected and very melodic a little voice in me says I can listen to this all day. So while I go through my routine afternoon stretching old runners legs I keep playing this over and over! How did you record it and backing track?

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    How did you record it and backing track?
    Thanks Mark. Backing track is from the Jamey Aebersold series, volume dedicated to the music of Bill Evans. I've used the Following recording chain:
    Guitar --> Mad Professor silver spring reverb (because Polytone reverb is really crap)--> Polytone Mini Brute --> Microphone Shure SM57 in front of amp speaker --> DAW.

    After mixing up, I always do a mastering process with T-Racks 3 to wrap up everything together.

    Hope this help.

    Best.

  50. #49

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    Very nice playing and tone. The Polytone is an iconic jazz amp. FWIW, I couldn't play the video in the forum, it says the owner has disabled playing outside of YouTube, so I had to go there to play it.

  51. #50

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    Sounds really great, as does everything on your channel!