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  1. #1

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    Hi. I’m looking for if anybody has info if there is a Gibson GA-50 kit out there to buy or a possibility to build a clone of the speaker without the knowledge of a professional speaker builder? Read somewhere that it was possible to build from a Fender Bassman as a start? No need for the cool looks of the original GA-50. The Sequel Tribute is to expensive.
    I’m looking for the sound it produces with an Archtop like Pasquale Grasso and without an extra preamp or pedals.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hi Penti,

    There are no kits available for this design of amp. The circuitry schematic is out there online but, if as your post indicates, you don't have the skills to build an amplifier from scratch, I fear it will prove a frustrating and potentially dangerous and expensive waste of your time.

    The GA-50 is a 1940s design and so pre-dates the Fender Bassman and to my knowledge, their designs have little in common. There is said be some overlap in tone between the Gibson amps of the '50s and the 'tweed' Fender combos of the early 50s, but you can't buy a Fender and turn it into a GA-50.

    The only other "clone" or GA-50 inspired amp available other than the Sequel Tribute is the 'Duke' by Kingsley Amplifiers, but that is more expensive at $2100 USD.

    You write that you don't want to look to preamps or pedals but I would encourage you to give the Nocturne Brain Junior Barnyard preamp pedal a try. At $159, it's the most cost-effective way to see if that '30s-'40s "octal" tube tone works for you, before you go further down the rabbit hole!

    I'm fortunate to have both a '50 GA-50T and a '52 GA-20 and am responsible for turning Pasquale onto vintage Gibson amps when he visited here in 2019. In fact he's borrowing my GA-50T for some London shows tomorrow.

    Some of the smaller Gibson amps like the BR-9 and GA-20 (both of which Pasquale now has and has been using recently) can still be had for less than $1000 USD if you are patient. If, like me, you are outside the US, it may be a long wait.
    Last edited by David B; 11-07-2021 at 01:58 PM.

  4. #3
    Hi David and thanks for your reply. It is actually for my son. 17 y/o jazz guitar student whom now just sit locked on the Pasqual sound. He’s mainly an archtop player and hates preamps and pedals. The simplistic way with just a good guitar and an amp. Since I’m an anaesthetist and not a musician I’m unable to persuade him about giving a preamp a chance. Will try to build a simple tweed champ to learn the basics. A 50w is actually way to big for his needs. Will the smaller Gibson amps like the BR-9 and GA-20 give the same beautiful sound as the GA-50?
    so fun to hear that Pasquals sound was influenced by you.

  5. #4
    Hi again David and one last question. Do you think a Nocturne Brain Junior Barnyard preamp pedal will be able to give the octal tube sound to a tweed delux amp with an old Levin archtop? Living in Sweden so we’ll probably have to wait quite a while for a GA-20 or 50 or BR-9…

  6. #5
    Hi again David and one last question. Do you think a Nocturne Brain Junior Barnyard preamp pedal will be able to give the octal tube sound to a tweed delux amp with an old Levin archtop? Living in Sweden so we’ll probably have to wait quite a while for a GA-20 or 50 or BR-9…

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by PentiVarg
    Hi again David and one last question. Do you think a Nocturne Brain Junior Barnyard preamp pedal will be able to give the octal tube sound to a tweed delux amp with an old Levin archtop? Living in Sweden so we’ll probably have to wait quite a while for a GA-20 or 50 or BR-9…
    My experience has been that the JB sounds best in front of a solid state amp with a neutral tone or straight into a neutral power amp. I like it in front of an acoustic amp. The alternative would be to run it into the effects loop if your amp has one that bypasses its preamp entirely, but the power tubes might still colour the sound unfavourably. In any event it’s worth the attempt.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by PentiVarg
    Hi. I’m looking for if anybody has info if there is a Gibson GA-50 kit out there to buy or a possibility to build a clone of the speaker without the knowledge of a professional speaker builder? Read somewhere that it was possible to build from a Fender Bassman as a start? No need for the cool looks of the original GA-50. The Sequel Tribute is to expensive.
    I’m looking for the sound it produces with an Archtop like Pasquale Grasso and without an extra preamp or pedals.



  9. #8

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    Hey Penti - welcome to the Forum!

    Unless money were no thing, I'd keep in mind that 17-year-olds (as well as 50-something-year olds!) change their mind and their "taste" all the time! A used ____ (fill in the blank) would be good for him while he's learning about music and himself!

    [If money were no thing, and given his current tastes, I'd grab this Vintage 47, made in Southern California!]

    Let us know what you get!

    Marc

  10. #9
    As of now I'm leaning towards building a 5e3 Deluxe with an Eminence Cannabis Rex speaker and the possibility to by-pass the preamp, to be able to convince him to accept a JB preamp pedal (mostly to get some time together and lure him out of the guitar dungeon in the Swedish darkness). Then wait for a less expensive GA 20-50…. Can’t be that different to build a speaker from modding a respirator or
    heart and lung machine ? To buy a Vintage 47 to him for Christmas I’d be crating a spoiled monster whom we have to deal with for many years to come. Ha has paid for all his equipment so far by buying and selling guitars.

  11. #10

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    Just for fun: Gibson GA40 Les Paul Amplifier Brown, 1952 | www.12fret.com

    This is at a reputable shop in Canada that ships world-wide. A forum member from Washington recently bought a Gibson 350 there.
    Keep in mind that those are Can $$. The Vintage 47 is a steal by comparison

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by PentiVarg
    Hi. I’m looking for if anybody has info if there is a Gibson GA-50 kit out there to buy or a possibility to build a clone of the speaker without the knowledge of a professional speaker builder? Read somewhere that it was possible to build from a Fender Bassman as a start? No need for the cool looks of the original GA-50. The Sequel Tribute is to expensive.
    I’m looking for the sound it produces with an Archtop like Pasquale Grasso and without an extra preamp or pedals.
    Hello, I have a couple thoughts/suggestions.

    Skip transistor pedals, they're not truly going to satisfy.

    What you are hearing in that amp, is really the octal preamp section. I have a couple, and have built some, and they exhibit a similar tone, or perhaps more importantly, feel. It's a very immediate attack, full and uncompressed, with an open top.

    I would buy whatever chassis you can get to accommodate the tubes (it's not too difficult to drill the 9 pin to octals), or perhaps convert an old radio that has the extra space if he's willing to pair it with a cabinet. Dump the extra input channels, and use a single tube, perhaps a 6n7, to accomplish the phase inverter with a single tube. It's really not a difficult build, and you could likely find someone willing to do it for you fairly affordably. Hell I'm about to give away a single ended version of this to a friend.


    Good Luck!!!

  13. #12
    Vintagelove, so if I’m understanding you correctly I can use a 5e3 kit (with its cabinet) with a Eminence Cannabis Rex speaker, skip the extra input channel and replace the existing preamp tubes with an octal preamp tube in that way you described. Then I would have a tweed delux with an octal tube preamp that might produce the sound that the boy is after?

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by PentiVarg
    Can’t be that different to build a speaker from modding a respirator or
    heart and lung machine ?
    Well, I'm not sure I would want to put my life in the hands of a home modded heart and lung machine if it can be avoided at all. But then, I'm only a faint of heart shrink by professsion.

    But seriously: Forget the thought of a custom built amp. There are countless great amps out there for reasonable prices which go well with tone shaping pedals.

    Quote Originally Posted by PentiVarg
    To buy a Vintage 47 to him for Christmas I’d be crating a spoiled monster whom we have to deal with for many years to come. Ha has paid for all his equipment so far by buying and selling guitars.
    I was thinking along the same lines. A Vintage 47 won't make him a better guitarist. I would get him the Jr Barnyard pedal for X-mas so he can hear if it really is a sound he wants to stick with. It's not the quite same but it's a very good approximation from what I can hear from YouTube clips. He's 17 years old now and will likely discover many other guitarists in the coming years he want to emulate. Tastes change and broaden a lot at that age. And remember: Getting the same gear as your idol will not make you sound like your idol. As they say, "it's all in the fingers". Personal playing style and the set up of the guitar (strings, action etc.) combined with appropriate amp settings means much more than specific gear. I have heard blindfold tests where I couldn't tell if the guitar used was a Stratocaster or a Gibson L5. In addition to that, when you hear a great sound on record, the sound studio has likely worked with it after it came out of the musicians amp or DI unit.

  15. #14
    Hi Oldane. In the beginning, and actually still in these days, the ECMO systems and heart and lung machines needs to be customised by hand depending on the cases. We are lucky to be able to do that in Europe without being targets for major lawsuits. With the respirators, due to the Covid pandemic, in many hospitals and countries they were all in use and patients kept coming so a lot of us needed to modify anaesthesia machines to high flow respirators to be able to give more people a chance to survive. ICU/anaesthesia doctors (like my self) and nurses actually sat down with schematics, screwdrivers and pliers and rebuilding the machines with help from the manufacturers engineers over the phone. That’s a whole different subject.

    Regarding the amp project I’m totally aware of that a child in many cases is like a puppy who change attention to different things with in a second .

    This whole project is partly mine as well. It is fun doing things together, if he wants to continue with music it is good to learn the basics from to properly set up a guitar to understand how an amp work and why it produces different sounds depending on how it is built, how hard you press down a string etc. Why does some guitarist produce the same sound level with the same amp and guitar with the amp volume setting on 3, whereas another needs 5 on the settings? Skills? Probably.
    In this case he has saved and traded guitars to afford an archtop that he wanted (and his school and guitar teachers there, required that he had an archtop for big band playing) because it feels good in his hands and produces the acoustic sound that he likes. He has been searching for years for the right guitar at an affordable price. Now it is hard to get a good tone out of it with an amp since he is using my old Peavey C30 and we live in an apartment with neighbours all around and he is a stubborn purist regarding archtop playing. No pedals!
    We can probably afford to buy a Sequel Tribute to him but we won’t. I will help him with gathering information and help him to build (if needed) but he has to earn the money to buy the parts for it. He has around €1000 to spend. For me it is also a way to still connect with a 17 y/o kid who has devoted his last 4 years to jazz and music theory, practice 4,5 hours every day after school, climb a couple times a week, sees his girlfriend and will probably move out from us to go to a music college in the next 2 year period.
    So is there is a way to achieve it all I’m devoted to do so. Spend some time with the kid, do something fun and educational together and also make him get the sound he is after WITHOUT a pedal (he might envy Pasqual Grassos technique but it is his archtop sound he’s obsessed with) I’m willing to put in some effort to it. Long post but I’m home with the dog.

  16. #15

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    I have a suggestion... if the old-school octal sound is the lynchpin, search out a used Harmony 8418 (the new ones). I have one, they have an octal preamp tube, and are handwired. They aren't loud enough to gig with (unless mic'ed), but they have THAT tone. If you want simple & octal, that's it. One knob.

    Harmony 8418 5-Watt tube combo: Simple, vintage tones from a reissued 1950s amp - gearnews.com

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by PentiVarg
    Vintagelove, so if I’m understanding you correctly I can use a 5e3 kit (with its cabinet) with a Eminence Cannabis Rex speaker, skip the extra input channel and replace the existing preamp tubes with an octal preamp tube in that way you described. Then I would have a tweed delux with an octal tube preamp that might produce the sound that the boy is after?
    I am afraid it is not quite that simple. But it is 5d3 or 5c3 circuit which has octal tubes, I am not sure. I once checked that route but didn’t go on for some reason.

    If You’ll take the 5e3 kit route I am not sure if the C Rex is a right speaker. 5e3 is VERY bass heavy so Your life is easier with not-so-bass-heavy speaker.

    I found my thrill from Weber 12A125, which is an emulation of an old Jensen alnico.

    Anyway, good luck from Finland!

  18. #17

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    Carl makes octal tweeds:

    Octal Deluxe — Carl's Custom Amps

  19. #18

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    Someone recently posted about an octal tone pedal that he created, but now I can't find it here.

    Ah, sorry, I think this is it.

    New pedal option for vintage octal sounds

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by PentiVarg
    Vintagelove, so if I’m understanding you correctly I can use a 5e3 kit (with its cabinet) with a Eminence Cannabis Rex speaker, skip the extra input channel and replace the existing preamp tubes with an octal preamp tube in that way you described. Then I would have a tweed delux with an octal tube preamp that might produce the sound that the boy is after?
    I'm not a big fan of eminence speakers, I would use wgs or celestion.

    The 5e3 kit might work, but I personally would want to work with something that has a little more room. One thing you may want to do, unless it's a surprise for him, is talk to him and see just how married to that exact amp he is. For instance, a 12 and a 10 would be cool, but it's heavy. Would he prefer a 1x12? Does he want it to stay clean or have some breakup?

    Coming up with the amp isn't all that hard once you know exactly what you want.

  21. #20
    Hi and thank you all for great inputs. After reading all your inputs, listening of the sound of different tubes, speakers and their combined sound and speaking to a tube amp builder I think this is what we will go for:
    A tweed delux kit as a base and ad an octal tube preamp (hopefully with the possibility to also be able to keep the original 5e3 preamp and the possibility to shift between them with a switch, if we can find a cabinet that fits the build) and a Weber 12A125 speaker. This is to get the two in one option. Any inputs on the choice of the octal tube model? 6n7? 6SL7?

    Does this whole projects sound stupid or can it actually work to help to get a nice, smooth, warm jazz tone from an old archtop with a Biltoft CC pickup with both the possibilities to get the original tweed delux sound (except for another speaker than the original) and the possibility an octal tube sound from the same amp? WITHOUT a external preamp or pedal? If so, will the build be extremely difficult and/or the whole amp to big to fit in a cabinet already on the market?
    From an ICU ward in a rainy Sweden

  22. #21

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    I have a not-so-old archtop (2006) which used to have a Biltoft floating CC pickup, going through a tweed Deluxe clone that I built from a kit. It has a C-Rex speaker which I like a lot. Sounds great- fat, warm, articulate. Exactly like Pasquale? No, but pretty damned good. I think the 5e3 would be a fantastic stopgap until a GA-50 turns up (or he decides he doesn't need it).

    I've switched back to a humbucker since I live in an old house and the hum drove me nuts (the Hum Debugger pedals does work pretty well), but the tone was a bit better to my ears with the CC.

    My wife has an old Levin A style mandolin. Lovely instrument, great tone.

  23. #22

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    Hi. I’m looking for if anybody has info if there is a Gibson GA-50 kit out there to buy or a possibility to build a clone...I’m looking for the sound it produces with an Archtop like Pasquale Grasso
    His vintage Gibson amp sounds great here (sarcasm alert !)...


  24. #23

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    SeQuel TRIBUTE™ archtop tube amp [to Jim Hall] SeQuel TRIBUTE™ archtop tube amp [to Jim Hall] | SOUND ISLAND | Reverb

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66
    SeQuel TRIBUTE™ archtop tube amp [to Jim Hall] SeQuel TRIBUTE™ archtop tube amp [to Jim Hall] | SOUND ISLAND | Reverb
    Ah yes!! I had forgotten about those!

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66
    SeQuel TRIBUTE™ archtop tube amp [to Jim Hall] SeQuel TRIBUTE™ archtop tube amp [to Jim Hall] | SOUND ISLAND | Reverb
    [Great amp! The OP mentioned this in the OP, but didn't want to spend so much.]