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  1. #1

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    A local shop has an early 60s Ampeg GS-12R RRII for sale and it sounds really good, although I'm a little worried about clean headroom for gigs. I have a Weber 12F150 50W speaker, and wanted to know if a more efficient speaker would increase headroom. The current speaker is unmarked. I weighed the amp at about 38 lbs, which isn't too bad for the size of the cabinet.

    I've also read about the Gemini and wanted to know if anyone has played both this and the GS-12R and what they recommend. The Gemini II is about 60 lbs according to this website GGJaguar's Guitarium and Ampeteria 1966 Ampeg Gemini II which is more than I want to carry, but the Gemini I is about 45 lbs which is more manageable, although I may want to put casters on it at that weight.

    I love Johnny Smith and I think he used a Gemini at some point. Also like Grant Green and read he used a Gemini in RVG's studio.

    Any thoughts appreciated.


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  3. #2

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    I have played both amps. They are very similar amps. (That is, the Gemini I and the GS-12 Reverberocket are similar. The G-15 Gemini II is MORE amp.)

    I like both the Reverberocket and the Gemini amps. However, I have a preference for the Gemini I and especially the Gemini II over the Reverberocket for most uses. The Gemini series was Ampeg's pro-line amp. It is very well designed and executed. It sounds great. (So does the Reverberocket, for that matter.) The Gemini is going to have more headroom than the "rocket." Both of them have GREAT reverb sections--better than Fender, in fact.

    I believe that in good working order the Gemini I and II are going to set you back a bit more than the GS-12.

    Again, all three amps are great sounding amps. If I were buying for myself, I'd look for a Gemini in good repair.

    I think Hammertone on this board can give you some of the best advice. He owns about 20 Ampegs. I am down to a single Portaflex.

  4. #3

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    Not sure if this is of any interest, but this Ampeg Reverbrocket has been for sale for a number of months over on the Steel Guitar Forum. No affiliation, but FWIW. The Steel Guitar Forum :: View topic - 1962 Ampeg Reverberocket guitar amp

  5. #4

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    I agree on the Gemini 1, mine is my favorite amp but it stays home or goes to the studio. I put a jbl E 120 in mine and it became a very loud Gemini when needed, I found the original Jenson a bit murky. One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the tremelo, the one on these amps is easily the best I've heard.

  6. #5

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    I think both Geminis are better sounding than the reverborocket. The Gem II is heavy, which is why i no longer have it. I'm with Cavalier ... get the Gem I and put in a more efficient speaker. Many good ones to choose from. That's a really nice amp.


  7. #6
    Thanks for the replies! Haven't had a chance to try the Gemini I yet but the GS-12R I played yesterday sounded really good, and it seems like a manageable size for gigging. Worried about gigging with the slightly larger and heavier Gemini, but if it sounds better it might be worth it.

  8. #7

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    I have a later model Reverberocket...probably a GS-12R. I have not played through a Gemini, but you are correct: the Gemini is heftier and a bit more powerful. I can only add that my RR is an awesome amp. If you are worried about headroom, use an efficient speaker (I use an Emi Cannabis rex). I have not gigged with it, but it gets pretty loud.


  9. #8

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    Just to summarize the OP's comment with some additional info:
    Ampeg GS-12R RRII - @38 lbs - early 60s - rated at @18 watts - 1x12" speaker
    - Ampeg Gemini I is about 45 lbs - rated at @20 watts - 1x12" speaker
    Ampeg Gemini II- @60 lbs- rated at @30 watts - 1x15" speaker

    The Gemini-II is a BIG combo and a different animal entirely. If your concerned with reasonable portability, it's not the right choice.

    Below is a comparison of the faces of the last versions of the Gemini 12 and the RR.
    The G has lots more stuff included with it, or the RR can be seen as a stripped out version of the G. This was always the case between these two models. Marketing BS aside, a few extra pounds gets you two channels, more knobs'n'switches, and a bit more power. Either amp will work great and be fairly loud with a high-efficiency speaker.

    If I was choosing between the two, I'd get a Gemini. In my case, I follow the dictum that "more is more", so I have both, as well as all sorts of other old Ampegs.

    Last edited by Hammertone; 06-23-2016 at 04:58 PM.

  10. #9

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    I knew HT would set it straight. :-)

  11. #10
    Ampeg Gemini or GS-12R Reverberocket II  ?-60ca102f-7c37-49dc-a44c-ade6a86cd0ec-jpgAmpeg Gemini or GS-12R Reverberocket II  ?-84cdad9d-48c4-447e-bc57-f0eb1a294283-jpgAmpeg Gemini or GS-12R Reverberocket II  ?-174024fe-b155-4218-b4cb-1055772a3ec5-jpg
    I bought this very clean RR2 at few years back and have been using it whenever I needed a mid sized amp. Always loved the tone, but the original speaker was always a bit weak when I started pushing the amp, so I finally swapped out the original speaker with an Eminence Swamp Thing. Amp now weighs in at 46lbs. Haven’t made the ultimate test (next to a drummer) yet, but I’m hoping it adds a little more clean bottom.

  12. #11

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  13. #12

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    I don't recall an early 60's Reverberocket II. I think that's a later amp, maybe 66.

    I have a 64 Reverberocket which sounds terrific -- mostly, I think, because of the quality of the reverb. Mine has the 7591 output tubes. 6sn7 and 6sl7 also. Solid state rectifier.

    The Gemini is bigger and heavier. I think it had a larger speaker.

    It may be that the size of the speaker is a main difference. But, bigger isn't necessarily better.

    Parts are available from fliptops -- I'm a satisfied customer.

    Apparently, they're easy to work on. Built like tanks.

  14. #13

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    Which model did JS use? I thought he plugged directly into the board on all those Roost LPs, but that was only on the solo guitar pieces.
    A bass player I knew, who played in some clubs with JS in the 50s, said he used the Fountain of Sound amp in the clubs, so he wouldn't play right into the ears of the customers,
    The JS bio said he used a few different Ampeg models.

  15. #14

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    I think most of the New York guys were Ampeg players--certainly Smith was. It took some time for Fender to penetrate that market, probably because country, Western swing, and rock were not really New York phenomena. In Nashville, if you were "anybody" you had a Standel. Out west, though, it was Fender territory.

    I've always been surprised that Rudy Van Gelder, who recorded so many of the great jazz guitarists on the New York scene at his studio out in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, kept a Fender Deluxe 5e3 tweed amp in his studio. Many artists--Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, etc., used that amplifier in Van Gelder's studio.

    In the early-mid 60s, if you were a player, and you used Ampeg gear, you would have chosen either a Gemini Amp or perhaps the Super Echo Twin. The latter featured two channels (two 15 watt amps, really, that could be run in mono--30 watts--or stereo, 2 x 15 watts) and two 12" Jensen speakers. This was quite a sophisticated amplifier. It was the choice of Larry Coryell throughout the 60s. IIRC, Hammertone owns one (or more) of these great amps.

  16. #15

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    I've owned several Geminis and RR over the years. My fav was a '66 Gemini VI with the 15" Jensen. What a sound. I'd still have it if it weren't so damn big!

    Never gigged with the Gem as it was to large to get in my backseat or trunk. I'd like to find a Gemini head and put it with a speaker cab. Cut a lot of weight and size that way.

  17. #16

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    Even though the Gemini II is physically large, they are not terribly loud given the wattage. The sweet spot for both volume and tone in my practice room happens to be with volume at noon, bass and treble to taste. Channel two seems to have a bit less edge in the upper mids, perhaps because it does not include reverb in the circuit. Use the accordion input for a bit more input gain to slightly dirty it up a bit. Jumper channels if you want. Treble and tremolo both have extreme settings with a detente. Really great amp, even more so when you consider that they can easily be had for around $400-$800. I put an Altec 418b in mine. Heavy, yes, but also a fantastic guitar speaker. I put a 15” WGS in here for awhile but it was way too boomy.
    Last edited by wzpgsr; 08-19-2018 at 09:31 AM.

  18. #17

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    The Super Echo Twin, was, I believe, two Reverberockets in one box. I don't recall ever seeing one, even though I came up in NYC in the 60s. I've seen them on CL for under $1500.

    The amp that the gigging jazz guys I knew talked about -- these were guys playing D'Angelicos and L5s -- was the Ampeg Jet, with a JBL speaker. I never asked, but my guess is that jazz gigs at that time weren't loud, and they may have been getting to them by public transportation. The Jet was the small one. No reverb, as I recall, and reverb pedals were in the future at that time.

    I didn't see Fenders much, but that may have been partly because they were more expensive, iirc. I knew one guy who played a gold top LP through a small Fender (Princeton or Harvard?). I recall that sounding great.

    The rock guys I knew in High School in Brooklyn mostly used the Gemini I.

  19. #18

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    I owned a GV-15 from new ( ' 70's ?) and used it as a practice amp, and for sure it weighed 60 pounds. I had always heard they were underpowered, and they probably were / are. But damn, that sound - - -.

    I sold mine about five years ago, and wish I'd have found a way to keep it. I sure wish they were still in production. If I were looking for another, I'd definitely be looking for one with Ampeg's spring reverb.
    And while I'd agree that they can be bought for around five to eight hundred, there really won't be that many available, because there never were that many sold new.

    Good luck !

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D
    I owned a GV-15 from new ( ' 70's ?) and used it as a practice amp, and for sure it weighed 60 pounds. I had always heard they were underpowered, and they probably were / are. But damn, that sound - - -....[ ]...
    The GV-15 is rated at 35 watts RMS, and is powered by 2x6L6 tubes.
    The GV-22 is identical in every respect, but the baffle is cut for 2x12" speakers instead of 1x15" speaker.
    The back panel of the amp has both amp names on it.
    These are very full-featured amps.
    The G-20 is similar but stripped out a bit, in a smaller box, with 2x10" speakers. Same tubes, same power.
    All three of these are obscure, very few were made, and they are all plenty loud. I have one of each. Ampeg's 35 watts are probably the same as Fender's 40 watts - Ampeg always under-rated their amps. So the GV-15/22 amps are best compared to the Fender Pro Reverb [another great amp :^)]. Totally gig-worthy, capable of hanging with a loud band anytime. Pushed hard, they are great rock and blues amps. Pushed less hard, they are great jazz amps. Reverb? Sure! Vibrato? Sure! Tremolo? Sure! - there's a switch to choose between trem and vibrato.

    I've posted this shot before:
    - GV-15 & GV-22 bottom row right (same size cab, same controls);
    - G-20 middle row, far left, next to G-12 (same size cab, same controls as each other but fewer rocker switches than GV-15/22);
    Very efficient from a production POV.
    Attached Images Attached Images Ampeg Gemini or GS-12R Reverberocket II  ?-few-ampegs-jpg 

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    ...[ ]... IIRC, Hammertone owns one (or more) of these great amps.
    I've had a few Echo Twins and Super Echo Twins. Cool amps - I still have a Super Echo Twin, that I'm selling soon enough. Great amp, but I just don't use it enough. Great jazz amp, and if you want to hear what it sounds like cranked with a Les Paul, just listen to any Peter Frampton guitar solo.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    ... The amp that the gigging jazz guys I knew talked about -- these were guys playing D'Angelicos and L5s -- was the Ampeg Jet, with a JBL speaker. ... The Jet was the small one. No reverb, as I recall, and reverb pedals were in the future at that time. ...[ ]...
    The Jet is a bit underpowered for anything other than a duo or solo gig, IMO, even with a really efficient speaker like a JBL D-120 or Altec 417. An EV SRO won't fit in the box (it's too deep). But the last couple of versions - the 15 watt Golden Glo Reverbojet and the 18 watt "helmethead" Reverbojet (top row, far right in photo above) - are more gig-worthy. I have two of the helmetheads (one is for sale on this very forum). Princeton-sized, but way nicer, of course. Put a JBL or Altec in and you're good to go. I had an EVM in one of mine for awhile, but that was too ^%$# heavy, and it now has a Tone Tubby AlNiCo Hempcone - wonderful but stupidly expensive speaker. Weber makes some similar high-efficiency, high-wattage 12" AlNiCo options.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 08-19-2018 at 04:38 AM.

  22. #21

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    As I recall it, the Jet was less powerful than the Reverberocket. But, just now, in looking around the net, I found mixed information.
    One source calls it 12 watts. Another source says it was 15. Still another says 20.

    I'm inclined to believe the lower number -- otherwise it would be the same amp as the Rocket and the Reverbjet would be the same as the Reverberocket.

    Whatever the wattage and despite what is now considered a minimum requirement for power, the guys I knew in the 60's were, in fact, gigging regularly with the Jet with JBL speaker. I was too young to go to a bar, but I managed to sneak in once, and heard a guitar trio using that amp. I don't know for certain, because I can no longer recall the exact amp, but, that night, Chuck Wayne came to sit in, and may have plugged into the Ampeg Jet second input. So, two guitars through that little amp.

  23. #22

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    According to Hopkins & Moore:
    -The Jet was introduced in '58, as a stripped-down Rocket, with 12 watts.
    -Various versions were offered between '58 and '70, but they were all rated at 12 watts.
    -The Reverbojet was introduced in '67 with 15 watts as one of the three "Golden Glo" amps with nifty '60's hi-fi styling.

    According to Ampeg's own spec sheet for the Reverbojet (see below):
    -the helmethead version is rated at 18 watts. This suggests a power bump when it was remodelled in '68.

    No reason not to use the 12 watt version w/ an efficient speaker, and it really is a small and portable box. I remember, @1994, buying two of them from Thoroughbred Music in Florida, and flying home with them in the overhead bin.
    I find the '68-'70 Reverbojet louder and cleaner, which may be because of the larger box as well as the power bump.

    I also remember not buying a particularly fabulous L-4C w/Dearmond on the same visit, which I regret - it was one hell of a swell guitar.
    Attached Images Attached Images Ampeg Gemini or GS-12R Reverberocket II  ?-ampeg-brochure-1971-j12r-jpg 
    Last edited by Hammertone; 08-21-2018 at 06:09 PM.

  24. #23

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    One of the great things about Ampeg combo amps with 12s from the 60s/70s is that set clean they all sound very similar. I suspect that the preamplifiers contribute to this.

  25. #24

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    So, what does Ampeg call a Gemini GV-15, but with a single channel and single 10 in. or 12 in. speaker ? That would still have that killer spring reverb, but less weight. Or put another way, which ( smallest speaker ) Ampeg model would I look for which would still have their spring reverb ?


  26. #25

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    Thought I’d add some info, there is a 1965 Gemini G15 for sale at The Guitar Shop on Rt ( just north of Lakewood NJ, and I have both a J12 Jet (1962 or 63) serviced and a mid 60’s reverberocket I’d part with. All 3 of these have been serviced, 3 prong power cords, filter caps and electrolytic bypass caps replaced. The Jet and Gemini have all original tone caps, the Reverberocket has been upgraded” with orange drop tone caps.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D
    So, what does Ampeg call a Gemini GV-15, but with a single channel and single 10 in. or 12 in. speaker ? That would still have that killer spring reverb, but less weight. Or put another way, which ( smallest speaker ) Ampeg model would I look for which would still have their spring reverb ? Thx.
    That would be either a
    -(helmethead) Reverbojet - 18 watts, 1x12", reverb, trem
    -(helmethead) GU-12 - 20 watts, 1x12", reverb, trem

    Ampeg never made a 1x10" tube combo. From '71-'80 they made a heinous piece of garbage called the GT-10 (1x10", 15-watt solid state doorstop). In '76 they made more heinous garbage - the G-100 and B-100 (1x10", 20-watt solid state doorstops), and followed them with the even worse G-18 in '77 (1x8", 10 watt solid state smaller doorstop) but these are Ampegs in name only and are a cruel mockery of real Ampegs. Pure landfill.

    From a size comparison POV, the next size up in tube Ampegs w/reverb is the (identical size) box used for the:
    -G-20 (2x10", 35 watts);
    -G-12 (1x12", 22 watts);
    -ReverbRocket II (1x12", 20 watts);
    These are bigger and heavier than the GU-12 and Reverbojet, but smaller and lighter than your old GV-15 or a similar GV-22. Here's a picture comparing the size of a Reverbrocket II to a GU-12 - both 1x12", 20 watts, similar control layout:

    Last edited by Hammertone; 08-21-2018 at 06:11 PM.

  28. #27

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    I have a 1966 Gemini II and I like it just as much as my 1962 fender Pro. The Ampeg cost less than a third of what I paid for my Pro so I would say the Ampegs are a great deal on a vintage amp. When I bought my Ampeg it had a reconed original Jensen that sounded rather muffled to me. I took it out and tried a JBL D130F which sounded great but finally settled on a Altec 417.
    When I showed the original speaker to my speaker guy he said the replacement cone is a much heaver, ribbed cone and nothing like the original light seamed cone. He also told me the light seamed cone kits are getting very hard to find and even he did not have access to one at the time. The reason I mention this is one may run into a similar situation and not give the amp the chance it deserves. I am very lucky to have both a great amp tech. and Midwest Speaker close to my location. My Gemini II is large and heavy but well worth the effort, if not my bass player would be happy to help as it is great for bass also.
    Thanks John