Gretsch Amps

Gretsch Executive vs Ampeg Gemini 2?

1

There’s a lot of love for Executives here that I am sure is well deserved. I have a 1966 Ampeg Gemini 2 and am very happy with it. I never tried an Exec but wonder if anyone has experience with both. They seem to be comparable to me and I am curious about people’s opinions. Thanks

2

I am your polar opposite, Joe, having never played through a Gemini. But, I can tell you that the Executive is excellent for clean playing. Really crystalline tones, but they can get ice picky if you aren't observant. The thing that has always impressed me about the Executives, from the first moment that I heard one, is the way the sound seems to envelope you rather than strike you in a perpendicular manner. I am not sure just why, but it seems to surround you in a very pleasant manner. It could be that big 15" speaker that does the trick.

3

My experience is that the Gemini II is quick to overdrive.....anything past 9 o'clock on the knob was dirty. My experience with the Executive is the opposite of that.

4

Well I don't if the Executive was built to some vintage spec, or more modern design/modern sounds in mind. Stilll the Gemini Ampegs, Gemini II and Gemini VI... there was a rare non reverb Gemini 5... but when tweaked up they are unbeatable for some kinds of music.

5

As I understand it, the Exec was designed to not only work particularly well with Gretsch guitars but also for those seeking a clean sound, as opposed to overdriving them.

6

As I understand it, the Exec was designed to not only work particularly well with Gretsch guitars but also for those seeking a clean sound, as opposed to overdriving them.

– Windsordave

Without necessarily disagreeing with you, where would you have been told that, Dave?

7

Can't say, Bob. In reading awhile back about that group of amps, that Gretsch wanted their new line of amps they commissioned from Victoria to be particularly suited for their guitars. It could've been in an article in one of the Guitar mags reviewing the new at the time amps. I'm not electronically knowledgeable to know or understand what would be required to make this happen, I just remember reading it and thought it was interesting.

I'm not vouching for the accuracy of the statement just passing along what I read. Perhaps someone who knows Mark at Victoria could ask him if this info is correct.

8

I've played them both, and they're both great amps. Different animals, however. The Gemini II has 30W vs the Executive's 20W, plus the Gemini has the wacky treble and tremolo switches. I currently have a Gemini I, and I'd describe the Ampeg tone as "full throated." It's been since I played the Executive, but I remember it having a clear, glassy voice.

I'd argue that the two amps have distinct enough characters that you could easily rationalize having both.

That helps, right?

9

I spent this evening playing various guitars (mostly Gretsches) and must say that they all sound good through the Gemini 2. The amp rarely leaves home and resides in a small bedroom where the volume rarely goes above 9 o’clock. The amp imo is very clean. Maybe the Exec is a bit cleaner. While not expecting Standel standards, this is one of my concerns.

Part of my issue is that I bought the Ampeg new and, even though I stopped playing for a long time, kept it. It, along with my Tennessean, is a tone I am comfortable with. Every now and then I think about buying an Exec and won’t rule it out at a future time. I’m gathering from the above comments that there may be enough difference between the two. Thanks

10

I've played them both, and they're both great amps. Different animals, however. The Gemini II has 30W vs the Executive's 20W, plus the Gemini has the wacky treble and tremolo switches. I currently have a Gemini I, and I'd describe the Ampeg tone as "full throated." It's been since I played the Executive, but I remember it having a clear, glassy voice.

I'd argue that the two amps have distinct enough characters that you could easily rationalize having both.

That helps, right?

– Mel Waldorf

Interesting Mel, and thanks for the opinions on both amps.

11

Baba Joe, you should try an Executive, if you find one anywhere near you. Or even at FF909's Roundup. I doubt that you would be dissatisfied with the tone of your guitar run through the Executive. However, you very well may prefer the Gemini II, despite both amps sounding great.

12

No doubt I would like the Executive but you’re right. I should try one. As stated above, I really like the Gemini, but sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side. And then there’s been some fine Fenders listed here in recent times if I want to jump the comfort zone. Time will tell.

13

My experience is identical to Ric12string's -- Lots of hours logged on an Executive, never played a Gemini. Trying an Exec is, obviously, a good idea -- IF you can find one....

I have a Standel 25L15. I had posted a review here that made some comparisons with the Executive. It got lost (you know when), but I think this is the same review on the other Gretsch site: http://www.gretsch-talk.com...

Obviously the Standel and Executive are not "the same", but there ARE a lot of similarities. If you would like to kick the tires on a Standel -- just to get a ball park idea of what an Exec is all about -- let me know. My home is about 30 miles north of the location of the Philly Guitar Shows south west of Allentown, PA.

14

An Executive is a Fender clone with the bottom end removed. 60's Ampegs are classic East Coast amps. It just depends on which coast you prefer the tone of. Ampegs are sort of a combination of guitar amp, HiFi, and portable TV, assembled from surplus parts. Fenders were overbuilt brute force amps. Ampegs were designed and built cheap, but are more HiFi sounding. Fenders break up better because they have push-pull phase inverters and clip symmetrically.

15

"An Executive is a Fender clone with the bottom end removed.........Billy Zoom"

With reference to my earlier statement regarding reading somewhere that the Exec was designed to suit Gretsch guitars in particular, perhaps what you say Billy could be what that reference was referring to?

Comparing my '66 Pro Reverb with 2 x 12" to the Exec with 1 x 15", the biggest difference is the degree of bass each puts out. The hands down winner in this regard is the PR. Not that the Exec doesn't have a nice bass, but it isn't as in your face and instantly noticeable as the PR. For the Chet/Merle style I play, I have the Exec bass set at ~4.5 whereas with the PR, I have it turned off, or as low as the knob will go.

16

Don't forget about the Ampeg reverb---one of the best around.

17

I can't compare between the two but the Exec's reverb isn't exactly a dog.

18

Dan, you are a truly generous guy. While I prefer an amp with reverb, your Standel would no doubt spoil me. I’ve never heard a bad word about them and would have to pass on the offer before going down that path. Thanks for the offer but I would probably leave “ruined”.

Billy, I am a lifelong Jersey guy. Your description probably helps clarify why I bought it in the first place. A few friends already had Geminis when I bought mine. As I said, I’m still happy with it. Funny though, that around the time I bought it, other friends started buying Fenders which made me wonder if I had made the right choice back then.

Like Wabash says, you can’t forget about the Ampeg reverb. Right or wrong, it is the standard that I like.

I have often wondered about the comparison with the Executive and started this thread because of the other current thread about one for sale. Gotta love this place for the knowledge and experience shared.

19

Dan, you are a truly generous guy. While I prefer an amp with reverb, your Standel would no doubt spoil me. I’ve never heard a bad word about them and would have to pass on the offer before going down that path. Thanks for the offer but I would probably leave “ruined”.

Billy, I am a lifelong Jersey guy. Your description probably helps clarify why I bought it in the first place. A few friends already had Geminis when I bought mine. As I said, I’m still happy with it. Funny though, that around the time I bought it, other friends started buying Fenders which made me wonder if I had made the right choice back then.

Like Wabash says, you can’t forget about the Ampeg reverb. Right or wrong, it is the standard that I like.

I have often wondered about the comparison with the Executive and started this thread because of the other current thread about one for sale. Gotta love this place for the knowledge and experience shared.

– Baba Joe

If you get a chance to play through an Exec I'll be most interested in your comparison with your Gemini.

21

Does anyone know how many Executives were made by Victoria? I was told "about" 500.

Didn't ask about the Playboy and Variety though.

22

That seems a tad optimistic to me, Hogman. These amps were pretty low production. That is why you don't see many of them turning up on eBay or Reverb. I am not saying you are wrong, but I somehow doubt that amount.

23

As Mr Zoom said the modern Gretsch executive schematic is almost identical to a AB763 deluxe reverb except with a bias vary tremelo. Pretty well what I make whenever I build a deluxe reverb. I had a Gemini 6 recently. Very different tone stack etc. from a Deluxe reverb. I think the main similarity may be the 15" speaker and the fact they are guitar amps with reverb and tremelo

24

An Executive is a Fender clone with the bottom end removed. 60's Ampegs are classic East Coast amps. It just depends on which coast you prefer the tone of. Ampegs are sort of a combination of guitar amp, HiFi, and portable TV, assembled from surplus parts. Fenders were overbuilt brute force amps. Ampegs were designed and built cheap, but are more HiFi sounding. Fenders break up better because they have push-pull phase inverters and clip symmetrically.

– Billy Zoom

Having worked on a couple Ampegs recently this cracks me up. Frankly they look like they're made using Hammond organ cone/eyelet boards and components. Nice amps but I didn't see the build quality people seemed to refer too. Certainly the cabinets were often VERY overbuilt! TOO BIG!!


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