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  1. #1

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    I don't personally know anyone who has a vintage Gibos amp, but I am very curious how they would sound. Of course I love Charlie Christians sound.

    I would really like an OLD tube sound for around the house playing, not for gigging.

    Anybody got one who would care to comment on if they like it or not?

    Vintage Gibson Amps-gibson-eh-150-jpg


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I have a few EH-185's but don't really use them too much anymore. they sure look cool and sound great for what they are, but I gig w/old Fenders and usually play them @ home as well.

    Vintage Gibson Amps-gibson-eh-185-jpg

    But you do get that early raw Christian tone when you use an EH-150 or 185 w/a/good C.C. pickup equipped guitar, and I'll still fire 'em up on occasion.

    I think Whit Smith from the Hot Club Of Cowtown still uses them.
    Last edited by wintermoon; 02-09-2014 at 12:15 AM.

  4. #3

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    I'd love to get to play one someday.

    Jonathan Stout plays one in his youtube videos.

  5. #4

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    Just as an aside, for anyone looking for that octal-tube based EH-150 vibe, this could get you close:

    Vintage Gibson Amps-vintage47-amp-jpg

  6. #5

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    I've got three Gibson EH's, and I just picked up a '46 BR-6 for $400.

    Vintage Gibson Amps-gibson-br-6-jpg

    Given how collectable the EH's are, especially 185's (the market value basically doubled when Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age started using them, and now all these rock dudes are buying them), I think a Gibson BR-series amp is a good substitute, especially at home wattages. Other octal tube circuits that might work include those Vintage47 amps, and the Valco/National/Oahu amps they are based on. Also 5B3/5C3 Deluxes circuits, and there seems to always be one of those on ebay for under $1k.

    A friend of mine picked up a Vintage47, and it sounds great.

  7. #6

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    This guys makes an octal deluxe and and octal princeton circuits at pretty low prices:

    Vintage Gibson Amps-carlscustomamps-octal-deluxe-jpg

  8. #7

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    Thanks Jonathan. By the way, I like your videos. You play great and have a very cool sound!

  9. #8

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    I wanted to comment on Carl's Custom Amps Octal Princeton since I saw it mentioned in the thread here. I recently took a Fender Ramparte amp that had put a Eminence Patriot Texas Heat speaker in it and then gutted the chassis. I sent the chassis to Carl and he built me an Octal Princeton in the chassis. 6v6s, 6l6gc, and gz34 tubes. Cost was a bit over 330. One of the best tube amps I ever owned 5w of tube bliss. My only regret is that it doesn't have tube reverb. Pairs up nice with my Deluxe Reverb.

  10. #9

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    nice repro (slightly tweaked)

    MOONSHINE'39 Combo – The Nocturne Brain

    Vintage Gibson Amps-nocturne-moonshine-amp-jpg

  11. #10

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    I have the first Vintage 47 EH185 type amp. It is wonderful! My amp search has definitely come to an end.

  12. #11

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    david b of vintage47 is a great guy…total labor of love…shame he's kind of winding it down

    he had been wanting to build an eh185 type amp for quite a long time…i know cause he told me years ago when i asked if he'd tackle a gibby GA 50-t type amp


  13. #12

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    I have 1954 Gibson BR-9 very nice (tone) 7-9W amp.

    Gibson BR-9 preamp tube is 6SN7 gain ratio low, may need use with preamp pedal.

    Vintage Gibson Amps-gibson-br-9-jpg
    Last edited by 999369; 09-07-2015 at 06:04 PM.

  14. #13

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    I've met the Nocturne Amps guy and talked with him about his products. It's a small operation - basically just him, as far as I can tell - and I know the major part of his business is more rockabilly focused (copies of blond bassman amps, that preamp in a pedal, the preamp from a roland space echo in a pedal, etc.), but he's a good dude.

  15. #14

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    This guy makes an EH-185 based amp in Europe (Netherlands): Elektra Amplifiers Europe on Strikingly

    (not cheap though...)

    Vintage Gibson Amps-elektra-amps-jpg

  16. #15

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    My next amp build is going to be an EH-150.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    My next amp build is going to be an EH-150.

    With or without the field-coil speaker?
    I have no clue how essential that is for the authentic sound, btw.

  18. #17

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    I think the field coil is a big part of it personally.

  19. #18

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    i'm never one to dismiss any gear tech specifics in order to arrive at a great yes field coils are part of that tone…however, today there are so so many speaker options, that finding one with similar tonal characteristics shouldn't be impossible...

    i know david b at vintage47 was trying to get some new field coils up and running for quite awhile, but i don't think it ever panned out

    tavo @ nocturne might be as well

    Last edited by neatomic; 09-24-2015 at 11:24 AM.

  20. #19

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    I have tracked down field coil 12" speakers in good repair. I think they do contribute. They are expensive! I will begin with an alnico 12, a la th GA amps.

  21. #20

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    I gig my EH150 and EH185 on occasion for smaller venues. Lately my experiment is to run the 185 along with a second more powerful amp for "support". I picked up a Fulltone A/B box to deal with any phase issues. In the home setting it sounds great--set the 185 where I normally would, and then bring in a little of the second amp (BF Deluxe or Vibrolux in my case) until it fattens up the sound--it really doesn't take much. Gonna try that on a medium sized gig next month.

  22. #21

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    Im sorry campusfive, I'm shamblin' I just found my old user name and password, logged in and thought I'd be
    funny talking 3rd person.
    This video here with YOU killin it w Charlie Christian tune

    is a perfect PERFECT representation of you sharing the tone, texture and feel of the sweet side
    of an EH-185 amp and Gib ES-150 CC guitar. I was also very impressed with the Slaman, albeit it a brighter guitar
    it sounded fantastic through my Moonshine '39 amp. I've come as close as you can get w a PM speaker to the
    sound of that prewar octal tube EH-185. With 3 EH-185 amps and the help of TK Smith with his gibson octal tube amp collection, I designed my amp on these working models I have. You can take the schematic and substitute other more readily available tubes but it really is the octal tubes and a proper Output transformer, which to my knowledge; Mercury Magnet tone clone transformers is the only correct reproduction available (as a production item). So I stick to Merc Mag for both my Gibson EH-185 creation and for the Blonde bassman 6G6-B amps I produce.

    Tommy Harkenrider came over with his Grez Guitar and a little looper pedal to help demo the difference
    between my moonshine '39 amp vs the Eh-185. its a bit myopic, outside of a band performance but
    it lets you A - B the two. I do have a PM Speaker option avail but its expensive. I'm comfortable that my Tonetubby Red alnico 50w hemp cones come very close to the sound of the original in a live band setting. I've got to let you take it to the club for a test drive as well as getting you my new little preamp pedal "The Jr Barnyard" to ape some of the textures of a hot EH150-185. You had mentioned you wanted a character box of sorts to not change or detract from your EH185 and I think I got it with this new stompbox, but more so w use on my Fender amps. .. aux options of course

    oh ya and Matt Codina

    Nico Duportal and Tommy with the Moonshine and the Blondeshell w a moonshine ext cab

    and some more Memphis kings doing some Freddy King with more EH185 sounds from my Moonshine 39 on an open stage
    Last edited by Shamblin; 09-24-2015 at 01:40 PM. Reason: needed to make it shorter

  23. #22

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    Damn, Tavo, you had me there. At least you know I've got your back, ha!

    We've really gotta get together and have me spend some time with the Moonshine, and since my EH-185 has it's field coil speaker in tact, we can always compare those, too.

    For me, what I was hoping for out of a "character" pedal was something to bring that 185-ness to the kind of amp one might stuck with on the road. I was playing at Lincoln Center and I was stuck playing a '65 Twin RI, and I was dying because I didn't have time at sound check to find some way to get it to be less strident and twangy. There's nothing worse that being stuck with a rental/borrowed backline amp instead of the Octal tube warmth/grind. I'm kinda hoping the Jr. Barnyard might be able to bring some of that warmth to say a Peavey Classic 30 or a Blues Deluxe or something, or, god forbid, a JC-120 or something. It's a tall order, but you've done something similar bringing the character of a Bassman in a pedal, so perhaps it'll help.

  24. #23

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    Hey I know that Slaman What a great day that was! Keep us posted on the Jr. Barnyard pedal--could be a cool tool!

  25. #24

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    If you red my other thread about Dave's Guitars, you will know about how I acquired this. Anyway, it has arrived and is in excellent shape aesthetically as you can see. I know very little about amps, so before I even plug the tubes back in I'm going to run it down to local amp tech for a look,etc.

    A few questions for you guys in the know:

    1) as you can see from the pics, the cords have deteriorated and will need to update to a 3-prong. How easy is this for an amp tech? Pricey? Anything I should be aware of?

    2) Once that is done and assuming there are no issues, are there any mods that need to be done to get this amp to sound it's best? Headroom is a non-issue for me. I'm a beginner and home player. The guitars you see in the pics are what I'll be using to try and play jazz and a little blues.

    In the future I hope to post a little demo and possibly from a special guest....

    Attached Images Attached Images Vintage Gibson Amps-20190727_131640-jpg Vintage Gibson Amps-20190727_131502-jpg 
    Last edited by DMgolf66; 07-27-2019 at 03:39 PM.

  26. #25

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    nice amp, the cord replacement should be relatively inexpensive.
    but definately have a tech go through it to check the caps resistors and tubes.
    enjoy that one....

  27. #26

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    AC cord replacement is easy peasey. The amp looks to be in good shape...often the case with the 5 to 25 watt vintage amps. Many people gave up after trying to learn. The big amps got worked to death by working musicians.

    GA18 is a nice amp.

  28. #27

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    Vintage Gibson Amps-20190727_131502-jpg

  29. #28

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    TubesVintage Gibson Amps-20190727_130946-jpg

  30. #29

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    Original footswitch
    Attached Images Attached Images Vintage Gibson Amps-20190727_130801-jpg 

  31. #30

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    I like those tweed Gibson amps. A long time ago, I used to play in a band in which the other guitarist used a GA-45rvt with his Stratocaster. (4x8" Jensen speakers) His sound with that _accordion_ amplifier was insanely great.

  32. #31

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    You will need a new wire for the the tremelo switch, but it's just brown lamp cord. Again, easy peasey.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    You will need a new wire for the the tremelo switch, but it's just brown lamp cord. Again, easy peasey.
    Thanks so much, Greentone. It's crumbling all over the pup thinks its kibbles and keeps trying to eat them. Haha!

    It looks like the cord is not detachable which is interesting.

    Like you said, I don't think this amp left the house. Still has original Amp cover, Bill of sale, catalog (super cool) and virtually no staining.

    What kind of tones can I expect from this amp with archtops? Somebody said that the circuit is similar to a Deluxe Fender. I don't know what that means, but I guess I will learn.

  34. #33

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    they're great for solid bodies or thinlines but I can't comment on archtops.
    I have a bunch of older Gibsons, prewar EH-185's, 40's-50's GA-50s, GA 75's and they sound great w/ archtops, but I personally haven't tried them w/thinlines or solidbodies [maybe because I've never owned them!]
    GT will probably be able to comment.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66
    Thanks so much, Greentone. It's crumbling all over the pup thinks its kibbles and keeps trying to eat them. Haha!

    It looks like the cord is not detachable which is interesting.

    Like you said, I don't think this amp left the house. Still has original Amp cover, Bill of sale, catalog (super cool) and virtually no staining.

    What kind of tones can I expect from this amp with archtops? Somebody said that the circuit is similar to a Deluxe Fender. I don't know what that means, but I guess I will learn.
    Congrats on your cool old vintage GA-18. Taking it to a tech is the right thing to do, and hopefully get it to sound as good as possible.
    There are several YouTube vids on this model, but I found only one that gives a fairly good representation of its tone.

  36. #35

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    I think you are going to really like the sound with archtops. I love my tweed deluxe and this is similar.

  37. #36

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    I suspect the old Gibson amps are quite underated
    I have a GA8-T and it sounds great with every guitar I own, Stratocaster, Ibanez AS50, GB10.
    It is very powerful for 8 watts and the breakup is very creamy, musical.
    Every musician friends that have tried it are pretty stunned with the sound, and "Gibson made some amps in the day.? . I thought only Fenders where good"

  38. #37

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    This guy did a GA-18 “restoration” but heavily modified it in the process. You might learn something from it though. He felt the transformers were underrated, so replaced them, changed some component values to make it even more like a Tweed Deluxe, and added a master volume. But I’d suggest just have a tech check out all the components, bring them into spec, and play it a while before considering any changes. If yours is noisy you might consider the things he did to quiet his amp. I’ll bet that tremolo will sound nice, as it’s the type that varies the bias voltage.
    Gibson GA-18 “Restoration”

  39. #38

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    If you change the transformers a big part of the amp is gone..

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    If you change the transformers a big part of the amp is gone..
    Yeah, the they who did that “restoration” seemed to really want a much different amp in GA-18 cabinet. It seems he accomplished his objective, but it was only restoration in terms of cosmetics. Undersized transformers might be just the ticket for other players. There’s no way to know until all the other components have been confirmed to be in spec, then trying it out.

  41. #40

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    Recently picked up an early 50s ES-125 and now I am looking for an amp to match it

    playing mostly chord melody and bebop lines on this one

    looking for a vintage Gibson amp to pair well with this, I will be playing at home only so low power is ok

    which one is “the one” to get?

    looking at BR-6, GA-8 Gibsonettes, and GA-20s mostly. Not sure I want to spend the money for a GA-50 at this time

  42. #41

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    Well depends on what sound you're going after, I can probably relate something about them.The bigger the amp will typically give the most headroom, I have a lot of personal experience w those, prewar EH-150s and 185s, postwar GA-50s, GA-75s etc.
    Jazz players like those models, blues and rock players swear by the smaller amps as well as the late 50s tweed models.

  43. #42

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    I have an ES- 125 from 1954 and a Gibson GA-18. Vintage Gibson Amps-20200216_194400-jpg

    I'm certainly no authority and pretty inexperienced, but I think it sounds great. I had a very well known professional take it for a spin and he really dug it. The tremolo is fun, too.

  44. #43

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    I would get a nice EH 125

  45. #44

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    I like my old Gibson amps and enjoy them with P-90 equipped '52 ES-150, '57 ES-225, a couple L-7's with McCartys, plus a few old Guilds and Epiphones with Franz pickups or DeArmonds.

    They are:

    '46 BR-3
    '47 GA-25
    '48 GA-30
    '52 Gibsonette
    '55 GA-20

    I sometimes use an Empress Para EQ in front of them and beyond their good baseline sound/tone its surprising what you can do with these old voices.

    All thats nothing without my good fortune to have a very capable amp repair guy that has seen and heard it all and has them working well.
    Thats a big looking cabinetry sitting around the house only goes so far!

    I'd be happy to share what I know and possibly lighten my amp load so feel free to PM me if you'd like.
    Last edited by zizala; 02-28-2020 at 07:56 AM.

  46. #45

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    I use an EH-125 with my old Gibson archtops too.
    Attached Images Attached Images Vintage Gibson Amps-eh125-jpg 

  47. #46

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    So, Andy Timmons played some jazz on Facebook live the other day... and he posted this pic to instagram... I know (he said) the guitar is a "GB-10 from the mid 90s", but curious what the amp is? Gibson, but which one? I know some people make repros, but Andy has a lot of vintage gear, so it's likely vintage. He's got the GB10 because he's been an endorsee of Ibanez since the early 90s.

    Vintage Gibson Amps-img_8488andy-timmons-gb10-jazz-amp-jpg

    Also, for those interested, here's the post, listing his influences and pieces for his viewers to "check out":

    Vintage Gibson Amps-andy-timmons-jazz-influences-jpg

    Timmons, for those who don't know, is an accomplished rock-instrumental player, session guy, who of course says he "can't play jazz" (which is what they all say, but his bad jazz is of course better than I will ever do LOL)...but he's one of those guys who can "play anything". Here's the link for his video of him and his band playing Autumn Leaves (in quarantine, over the internet)....

  48. #47

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    Looks like a GA50.


  49. #48

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    That's a Gibson GA-50 (or GA-50T, if it has tremolo). Produced between 1948 and 1954. 25 watts with 12" and 8" speakers.

    Here's a thread about mine: Gibson GA-50T

  50. #49

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    Nice playing! I never knew Andy Timmons had jazz chops! Whatever amp he's using sounds great.

    And his Ibanez appears to be a one-off custom variant of the GB10 & GB100.

    They made a similar customized for Steve Miller, another Ibanez endorser. It looks like a combination of a GB12 (neck) and GB100 (body)...and remains in my humble harem.

  51. #50

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    I didn't hear a single blues lick. But the occasional block chords were cool! I think Miles Davis would approve.