Gretsch Garage Sale

WTB Big Tone Maggie


Let me know if you have one available!


I think if I could pick only one vintage Magnatone model, I would pick the 260. I know the 280 gets all the love as their "top of the line model"...and it is a great amp for home use and recording, but there is a downside:

The 280 is basically two separate 18 watt amps in one chassis. I'm not talking two channels....I'm talking two separate amps with two separate output transformers. This was done to create a "stereo vibrato" Two speakers putting out signals with different vibratos going on at the same time mixing in random ways. It's a great effect, but it's very specialized. To really get it to work, you need to attach two separate extension speakers and get some space between them and stand in the middle of all that so all the phasing can happen in the air around you. This is great for recording and home use and those sound is otherworldly when you experience it...but it's similar to a Leslie in that you have to work really hard for it.

Now for the downside. Two 18 watt amps do not have the headroom of a 35 watt amp. In my experience it's almost the same as playing an 18 watt amp like a Troubador and using an extension speaker. Also the 280 is a complicated amp if you ever need to repair it. It uses a large array of tubes and a lot of them are odd rare tubes like 6973, 6CG7, 12BH7...the 6973's are a real problem in that no modern manufacturer has made one that sounds as good as the old RCA ones. The ElectroHarmonix ones aren't that great to my ear. Bottom line: if you really are looking for a stereo vibrato recording amp for home use, get a 280. They do sound great. But they aren't really a great gigging amp unless you plan on using a PA and microphones. You'll have trouble rocking out on one with a heavy handed drummer. I'd even go so far as to suggest a modern Twilighter Stereo or Panoramic stereo instead. They modern tubes like a 6V6, and have a bit more headroom and reverb along with the stereo.

But hey....we are talking vintage here. So what so great about the 260? First of all it has headroom for gigging. The vibrato isn't stereo but it still sounds great....and with an extension speaker you are getting a KIND of stereo effect going anyway. The tubes are simple 6L6 and they are way easier to repair. At the end of the day they are pretty versatile.

Another great amp is the 213 or 413. Basically a tweed Deluxe with a vibrato circuit that kills anything Fender ever made. And they've pretty much flown under the radar with collectors so far...especially the proprietary labeled ones like DiVinci, Panoramic, Twilighter etc...

Some Magnatones I don't like? I was never a fan of the 210 or 410. Too underpowered. Those are basically vibro champs with better vibrato...and I have to admit I'm not a fan of Vibro Champs either. The suitcase models are kind of fun....but too large for the power they produce. An M10 is huge for an 18 watt amp. The higher end suitcase models don't seem to ever have a good sounding tremolo or reverb and are a nightmare to repair. Heavy as well. I'm also not a fan of the early Magnatones with reverb like the 460 and 480. The reverb isn't that great and the extra tubes and circuitry just adds weight and complexity that isn't worth the trouble over a nice reverb pedal in my opinion. I have a 440 and a 450 that have nice reverb though I must admit.


Hey thanks for the useful info on Magnatone, unfortunately at this time I can’t afford an amp, plus I’m happy with mine. I’m looking for the Big Tone Musoc Brewery guitar pedal.


Having owned a 210 and 410 concurrently...I can say just the bigger 410 cab and speaker made a larger, louder sound. My World's Cleanest 210 currently for sale and going nowhere. 16 pounds of fully restored fun. But I think the larger speakers do a better job on the vibrato.

I have a line on World's Cleanest 213 I am working on.

Seems like the big ones ... prices are falling on those.

I am trying to get a really nice 260 from this store --where it came in for repairs and owner dissappeared years ago.


it came in for repairs and owner dissappeared years ago.

Maybe you can put on a disguise and appear there as the owner, get it for repair cost?


Guitarcapo - I never owned a Magnatone amp but I “follow them” whenever I see anything posted about them. Thanks for that great explanation.


179.00 plus shipping and it's yours. I ran it into a pair of 60 watt Fender Concert II amps separated across the stage. Sounded glorious.


Jump on that 260 if you can find it. I snatch them up. Replace the power cord with a grounded one. Replace any bad caps. Maybe add a cathode bypass cap here or there for guitar and I'm happy.


Here's a typical 260 demo. Bad tube in channel 2


it came in for repairs and owner dissappeared years ago.

Maybe you can put on a disguise and appear there as the owner, get it for repair cost?

– Proteus

I know they owner pretty well. They also have a 1980 faux black panel Pro Reverb still in original box and I lot a line on that also. Sold a few things, just down to 2 amps to move, and then there shall be More Demented Fun... lo power thru a 15 is an idea.

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