Gretsch Amps

G5222 owners…

1

I was thinking about getting a little practice amp, and something that I can take to jam session without lugging a huge 410 around. I've read reviews about the little 5w G5222, and it seems like it's either a "love it" or "hate it" amp. I'm looking for a Fender tweed Champ sound without paying a premium for one from the 50's. It seems like these are a commonly modded amp. But what's the stock sound like? I'm really just concerned with the distortion of the amp. Is it a smooth break-up? Or is it more of a harsh sound? Switching the preamp tube might help, but I'm not sure if it's worth it to mod this little amp when there's a better alternative practice amp available.

2

I picked up the Fender 600 version for $80 at a pawn shop. The biggest drawback is the 6" speaker. Weber has an upgrade, or, you can drive another cabinet. Swapping a preamp tube is a non invasive mod---easy to reverse if you don't like the result. It is what it is---a 5 watt, bare bones, basic little amp. It's fine for practice---but, at a jam session with a drummer, I'd want at least 15 watts.

3

I have a G5222. I haven't modded it yet. It's output is 4-Ohms, so be sure if you want to drive a different cab that it is the same. I plugged it into my Epi Valve Jr cab (12" speaker), it drove the speaker and sounded great, but the tubes got red hot and smelled of Ozone.

No damage because the lil G5222 still works 4 years later.

I have not modded it. If I used it more for anything other than practicing while sitting next to my computer, I would mod it. If you are daring or electronically inclined, you could get a Frommel re-cap kit for it. I did that for my Epi Valve Jr, and it was a killer mod. The speaker mod would probably make the most difference while being the easiest upgrade. I have yet to change out any tubes.

Get one without fear, if you are looking for a simple practice amp, or recording amp. They are pretty-much bullet-proof. They aren't terribly versatile, but that is fine by me.

4

I was looking to get a little amp that I could crank up in my bedroom for practice, and to take places where a Blues DeVille is too much (not playing with a drummer, just another acoustic guitar and maybe an upright bass). I saw the Champion 600, and was considering that too, even though that and the G5222 are almost identical. I liked the video Fred Stucky has on YouTube with his vintage Fender Tweed & Psychoplex echo, and a Nocturne Dyno Brain, and was hoping that the new 600 has a sound similar to that older Champ. I'm concerned with simplicity and sound, not features, so I think either the Fender 600, or the 5222 might be for me.

5

Try a Vox Pathfinder 15R. For the money, they can't be beat.

7

I was actually looking at a VOX AC4TV as well. I just love the sound that the old Fender Champ had. Of course, I have no idea if the new 600 sounds remotely like the old Champs.

8

The originals used totally different tubes, and had a tube rectifier. The early Champs were also available in an 8" and a 10" speaker version. The G5222/Champ 600 also has hi and lo gain inputs. It's never going to sound the same. Still, the knob does go to 12!

9

On this site, it said the Champion 600's had a 6" speaker. It might be a good recording amp, if nothing else. I kinda want to get into home recording.

10

Also, I've read that you can hook up a cabinet to a Champion 600, but I'm not sure how all the ohm business works.

11

How loud of a jam session? Will there be drums? I am also searching for something a bit different than my DRRI. Something a bit smaller..... I had a 5222 but it really distorts/breakups as you turn up the volume..the one I had did not have any mods.

The following amps can be carried with one hand while the other hand is free to carry the guitar.

Peavey Classic 30 30 watts 1x12 reverb

Peavey Delta Blues 30watts 1x15 reverb&tremelo

Fender Blues Jr 15watts 1x12 reverb

Kustom seems to make some pretty good low wattage amps that don't weigh a ton also.

12

I was just planning on having another acoustic guitar, and maybe an upright bass. I was actually looking into doing some recording as well. I want something tiny that I can crank 3/4 of the way up, or if I'm lucky, all the way up so I can get that tube distortion (without violating a noise ordinance) that I can't get with a 60W Blues DeVille. Would changing the preamp tube make the 5222 or a Champ 600 break up later?

13

The 5222 would more than likely work for you. MF had them on sale a couple years back for $50.00....I should of kept mine :P

14

Do they distort nice? I mean, is the distortion loud and muddy? Or is it more of a mild, bluesy, 1950's distortion? I'm really looking to get a sound similar to the one Setzer gets on his Rockabilly Riot CD.

15

The internal speaker is connected to the amp via a 1/4" jack. Unplug it, and plug the amp into a bigger, 4-Ohm cab.

16

Clapton's recording "secret weapon" amp was an old Tweed Champ.

Personally, I think the limitation on the Champ 600 and the G5222 is the 6" speaker. Does it sound good when fully cranked? Depends on what you want. If you want crunchy but cleanish, the answer is no. If you want closer to fuzz but not quite there, the answer is yes.

Now, my G5222 plugged into a 12"-loaded cab sounded pretty darned good. Finding a single-speaker 4-Ohm cab is a hard task. You could run two 8-Ohms (can't remember if it needs to be in parallel or series) speakers, or 4 16-Ohm speakers.

Or you could do the 8" Weber speaker upgrade.

I do agree on the Vox Pathfinder. It is solid-state, with excellent cleans. Put a pedal in front of it for dirt.

17

Will plugging it into a 4-Ohm hurt the tubes? You said yours glowed & smelled like ozone.

18

Hey, I have a G5222. and I built a 5F1 tweed Champ. I am really digging both! With the G5222, Speaker upgrade is an absolute MUST. I used a Cheap webber alnico 8" speaker. I had to make the Baffle board but it was very easy. I also changed both tubes. all in all about 45 minutes worth of work. It really does sound very very close to my Champ clone. About the same volume.

Break up is a little earlier on the G5222. and there is a little more bass from the 5F1 but due to a bigger enclosure. I have also used the G5222 with a drummer and bass player at a house party. it was loud enough. but do not expect it to stay clean above half way on the volume. it was a good rock/rockabilly sound. With a delay pedal it was great. Single coils sound Much Much better through this little amp.

I say for the Price the G5222 is an awesome little amp. but an 8" speaker is a must. I really like 5 watt amps. 15 watts was always way too much even with a drummer. But guitar players tend to be VERY VERY loud people. Maybe tomorrow I can shoot a short video comparing my G5222, My 5F1 champ clone and My '61, 5 watt no name tube amp which really sounds alot like my champ. also I found it on Ebay for $81. if you keep you eyes open you can find these Gems.

19

Two 8 ohm speakers need to be in parallel to get a 4 ohm load. The 6" speaker is toy-like. How did you manage to get an 8" speaker stuffed in there?

20

I made a new baffle board and I used a speaker with a small magnet and shallow basket. also I found a shorter 6V6

21

I don't think anyone's really addressed this yet. Jack, you ask is the 5222 similar to a tweed champ? It isn't. It's actually a blackface champ in disguise. They took a blackface champ circuit and replaced the bass and treble pots in the tone stack with fixed resistor values. So it's like running a blackface champ with the knobs set around the middle of the dial.

The good news is, if you're willing to mod it, it's quite easy to make it a tweed champ, as the tweed and blackface champs aren't that far apart. It involves lifting one of the resistors in the tone stack circuit, and wiring in a coupling capacitor in place. Remove the blackface tone circuit, you get tweed tone, and more volume.

You can take it a step further and make this switchable, so you can run the amp in either blackface mode or tweed.

If you're not wanting to have to mod this amp and you really want tweed tone, I'd personally look elsewhere. Lots of tweed champ clones out there.

22

Will plugging it into a 4-Ohm hurt the tubes? You said yours glowed & smelled like ozone.

– Jack Stacey

Will plugging it into a 4-Ohm hurt the tubes? You said yours glowed & smelled like ozone.

– Jack Stacey

The G5222 has a 4 Ohm speaker, and its output is 4 Ohms as well.

It had issues when I plugged it into my 16 Ohm, 12" cab, because of the resistance difference.

23

I have a G5222, bought used. It came with a Jensen Mod speaker upgrade. A nice improvement over the stock speaker. The original grill cloth is thick and spongey and probably muffles tone to some degree. I replaced that with some beautiful oxblood grill cloth, courtesy of Paul (frequentflyer.) I also installed a JJ power tube and a Tung Sol preamp tube. I did record a rhythm guitar part with it recently and liked the sound on the track. Due to the 6 inch speaker, there's not a lot of bass. I've also found it sounds best with certain pickups. A Squier CV Thinline Tele has lots of jangle. A 5120 with Surf 90's sounds good, and a G5128. On the other hand, my 6120DSW and a 6118T with HS Filtertrons, don't sound as good through the 5222 as they do through my Vox Pathfinder.

24

If you find one 2nd hand, but in good shape, is a great deal! I own a DRRI, and I'm very happy with it, but it is too much for some occasions. I found a G5222 on ebay for 100€, changed the chinese tubes for the mentioned JJ-Tungsol pack and left the stock speaker. The 6 speaker is very useful at home, and replacing it for another 6 speaker can give you a little eq change, but not much more IMO. Then I replaced the crappy plastic inputs and volume pot and installed a push / pull one to switch between the stock circuit -with tone stack, i.e. blackface model- and a more "champed" circuit jumping the tone stack. This easy mod gives more gain, volume and grit to the amp and is great to be used with fuzzes. If you want to play louder with some mates, you just need to connect it to a 12 speaker or cabinet. You wont achieve a blowing basman sound for sure, but you'll get a very convincing tone from a 100 bucks, handy amp. For me this little amp has been a great discovery. 8-)

25

These amps were originally designed to work with single coil pickups---1949! Leo made 'em that way.

Where do I find info on the tone-stack (or lack of it) mod?


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