Gretsch Amps

6170 Pro Bass


This is my circa 1966 6170 Pro Bass amp. It puts it's tube-powered 35 watts through a 15" speaker. There were three instrument inputs, a volume, bass and treble control and an on/off/on line reverse switch on the front. The toggle switch protruded inconveniently (AND unprotectedly) on these earlier models. Later versions of the Pro Bass had two rocker switches in place of the toggle, an on/off and a separate line reverse. It isn't a bad practice amp for bass, but lacks real low-end. A lot of guitarists actually use these amps for their six-strings.


I'd trust the toggle switches more than rockers. They're easier to replace as well. Is the cabinet back open? That'd be the prime cause of low bass output. Looks like it's in great shape for a nearly 50 year old amp.


Yeah, these are open back. My brother's first amp was a '68 Pro Bass with the rocker switches. They were a little loose, but worked. The main problem with the toggle is that it protrudes out so far, it's in danger of being damaged. A lot of these I've seen (including this one) have had their switch replaced. It's a curious deficiency that should have been addressed by putting the on/off on the back panel like a Fender amp. Mine is in great shape. The only thing I had to do was replace the white piping on the rear. A previous owner left a lit cigarette on it and small section of the piping burned.


Valco made some cool stuff. In the modern world, bass players are getting away from 12s and 15s, option for an array of small speakers, but I still like the thump of a 15.


I've always loved bass that was more "felt" than heard. A 15" speaker with the bass tone rolled all the way up and NO treble added AND flatwound strings. My wife, who was a professional bassist did a lot of jazz. She liked roundwounds and a brighter, more discernible tone. She had no use for flatwounds until I gave her a vintage '72 Fender Musicmaster bass as a Valentines Day gift. Now she really likes both. Here's Rachel with her Army jazz combo, 95th Infantry Division Band.


Trying to find more info on these. I am looking at picking up this one from a local store but cannot see any others online with the knobs/inputs in the same location. Any ideas if this is a late model or early? Any info would really be appreciated, no serial number (forgot to write it down, sorry).


I'm not so sure these are tubes. For that matter, I'm not entirely sure they're valco-made. These were made right when Gretsch was switching to SS amps.

I used to have a LOT more documented on the old amps, but I kinda let it fall by the wayside.


Valco took a swipe @ solid state in their final 2 years or so?


I wonder if the Gretsch amps built after Valco's demise were made by Sound Projects Company (Lectrolab), the same guys who manufactured Harmony amps?

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