Gretsch Amps

Gretsch/Valco 6159 Bass Amp


It's a long story, but I once acquired an early 60s Gretsch/Valco 6159 bass amp, with inputs for bass, guitar, and accordion. The tremolo doesn't work. The power cord has been replaced, as well as the jewel over the light. The amp plays, but probably needs some shop time to get it up to snuff.

I'd like to sell it but have no idea how to price it; also, it would have to be a local sale (Philadelphia) as I'm not going take on the burden of mailing this beast.

Any guidance or thoughts?


No idea on pricing, but I have the National version of this thing, and I love it. Possibly the best tremolo I've ever heard. Great amps.


I just got one of these amps tonight in trade for a Gibson GA-20T I had for a long time (nice little amp for overdrive, not my thing these days). I look forward to going up against a Brownface Bandmaster with a 15" Neodymium speaker. I play surf guitar – mostly a Jag and a Mosrite, among other axes. The 6159 sounds fairly loud with its 2x12 Jensen ceramics. I hope it does a good loud clean without too much compression, which gives reverb a too-long tail for a cavernous sound. I've played other Valco amps and always enjoyed them for their beefy and musical sound – never harsh, always rich, thanks to good oversize transformers and other quality components. A piece of mid-century American engineering. Anyone have any thoughts about the 6159, especially regarding its use in vintage musical idioms? Clean power?


I have a National Bass 70 which is similar, without the tremolo .(wish it had trem) It's got the split chassis, cathode bias, cascade inverter and is meant to put out 35w.

The sound of vintage amps can vary greatly amp to amp so the comparison I offer is in relation to mine and other amps I have or had at the same time as the National

Cleaner , less mid range, less sag than a 61 Ampeg R12R , 60s Portaflex, 5e3.

Not as crisp and tight as a SFDR . The dynamic range is not as wide as an SFDR. I sold my SFDR.

it always has some harmonic overtones similar to like an ac15/30 may have but is much more punchy than my vox.

Works very well with a 6G15 in front of it.

Works great with a gretsch with dynasonics

I am a huge fan of this amp. Heartbroken it doesn't have tremolo... would love to find one with trem but fat chance of that in Australia

Which makes me wonder... How do you do tremolo on a split chassis amp? Does the 6159 tremolo modulate the preamp or output tubes?


still curious - How do you do tremolo on a split chassis amp? Does the 6159 tremolo modulate the preamp or output tubes?

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