Billy Zoom's Jet Set

51 years ago

26

Everyplace outside of New England was Fender country. The photo was taken in Illinois. I am taller than Lurch. Yes, I was in a couple of working bands at that time. It was the 60's, gigs were plentiful, and the money was good. That's how I got suckered into being a musician.

28

Very funny...

I did have a few Ampegs, living in Delaware, took until '74 to break down and get a Fender!

That Princeton Reverb was a great amp...

Kustom had a foothold, too. That padded blue thick sparkle plastic really was a bit weird.

The other brand that came in strong was Acoustic, especially that gigantic twin 18 offset bass amp.

29

The other brand that came in strong was Acoustic, especially that gigantic twin 18 offset bass amp.

Wow! A bass amp made specifically for offset basses?? Cool!

30

Kustom and Acoustic were years later, like 1969-71, although Kustom was around the Midwest as early as '66, but they weren't popular yet. That was futuristic solid-state stuff. I believe the Acoustic 360 was just one rear-facing 18 in a folded horn with a built in power amp. As I said, that was later. The first amp I ever blew up was a 2-12" Gretsch, with the group shown above. We were using it for lead and bass.

31

Kustom and Acoustic were years later, like 1969-71, although Kustom was around the Midwest as early as '66, but they weren't popular yet. That was futuristic solid-state stuff. I believe the Acoustic 360 was just one rear-facing 18 in a folded horn with a built in power amp. As I said, that was later. The first amp I ever blew up was a 2-12" Gretsch, with the group shown above. We were using it for lead and bass.

– Billy Zoom

We used to call those Acoustic 'police-horn' amps. But I saw Albert King just get the nastiest snarl out of such an unlikely amp. I think the Doors were using Acoustic by late 1967?

32

Just googled...

Maybe my memory of Acoustic is 2 18" bins stacked. Then with the 200w heads and the pre-amp.

Pretty awesome though...sounded great, looked fantastic.

33

The Doors did have Acoustic 270's when they first came out (both band and amps). Acoustic was made in the Valley and the Doors were a popular local group. The band became popular nation-wide in '67. Acoustic took a couple of years longer. 60's music was well over by then. Solid-state guitar amps were on their way out by around '72, doomed by batches of faulty, out of spec transistors , and poor engineering. Where are all of those amps now? They sold in the millions. Where is the Fender Zodiac series now. Any of you played through a Capricorn lately?

34

Well as I have droned on about many times, Fender may have written the book on tube amps but they SUCKED at solid state, with solid state Ampeg also bad. And YES, Thomas Vox had better stuff that lasted, as quirky as it was, as well as Kustom and the early Sunn solid stage. I think the 66 and 69 Fender attempts were pretty much identical except for the Zodiac Aqe of Aquarius jive in '69

Keyboard compaines like Thomas, Wurlitzer, etc. were ahead of guitar amp companies when it came to 60s solid state. I think '62 was the first solid state Wurlitzer electric piano. I read Thomas had an all solid state organ by '58.

35

I think your playing improved. When I saw you at Werchter I was amazed to see that your had such relaxed looks while the guitar parts were quite difficult. I thought that was quite cool. I also enjoyed the roots orientated pickings you used during sound check. Is there a CD where you play roots music?

36

Late to the thread, but great pic. Bet you're glad to be here to show it 51 years later. Keep making music - and amps.

37

The Doors did have Acoustic 270's when they first came out (both band and amps). Acoustic was made in the Valley and the Doors were a popular local group. The band became popular nation-wide in '67. Acoustic took a couple of years longer. 60's music was well over by then. Solid-state guitar amps were on their way out by around '72, doomed by batches of faulty, out of spec transistors , and poor engineering. Where are all of those amps now? They sold in the millions. Where is the Fender Zodiac series now. Any of you played through a Capricorn lately?

– Billy Zoom

Acoustic was also big with Alice Cooper (according to Dennis Dunaway)

38

I like those mid-sixties Fender amps if you find one that works. They were supplied with lots of bad transistors by the manufacturers. I think most of the electronics industry jumped the gun by putting out product that wasn't ready yet because they were afraid of falling behind the competition. As a result, solid-state still has a bad reputation with guitar players.

39

Well, I'm too young to have witnessed or played that first generation of solid state guitar amps, and what turned me off is being a kid learning to play in the 80's, and lots and lots of awful solid state amps by British companies like Carlsbro and H&H - Marshall had some pretty awful solid state amps too back then - and things like Polytones, Roland Cubes, Peavey amps... When I was sixteen and plugged into a Fender Twin for the first time, it was a revelation. All of a sudden my playing didn't suck as bad as I thought it did.

40

After that first wave, guitar players never really accepted solid-state. Every player wants a cool tube amp. Consequently, nobody bothers to make a high end solid-state guitar amp.

41

Although they have come a long way with making solid state sound much better,it still misses with the "feel".I remember going to see one of my sons playing at a local club,the other guitar player was playing thru what looked like a BF Deluxe from the back of the room.When I spoke to him during a break I asked him about the "new" amp he had.Turns out it was some newer Fender SS.I thought it sounded fantastic from where I sat.I got up to play a song with them and used this amp,it felt as cold and lifeless feeling as any SS I ever tried.I dont think transistors will ever reproduce the feel you get from a tube,and that is mainly why most gutarists shy away from them.

42

Modern Fender SS junk isn't a fair way to judge solid-state amps.


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