Gretsch Amps

Valco Cowboy Round Up Clone

2

Strummerson is a big fan of Vintage 47 amps. I'd like one, but they're out of my price range. My first amp was the non cowboy grey Gretsch version of this with a 15" Jensen.

3

I've read that V47 amps are really good but to be honest I'm a bigger fan of the cabinet than I care about the circuit.

4

Am I correct that these Valco circuit amps tend to break up pretty quickly, as opposed to offering tons of headroom?

Mark, I also love the appearance of these Cowboy amps. Can't be beaten aesthetically.

5

Yes I owned one for maybe a year or so, and sold it to my brother in law. In short, they're true to the original amps. Do not expect loud. It didn't break up much. There are some old threads here about them. PM me if you want more info.

6

Love mine. Warm sounding, not much volume, so I just mic it, gets a lot of compliments on tone from audience and other musicians. Last gig, a popular local acoustic guy said "that's what a guitar should sound like." Would be great for rootsy stuff, but we do a lot of blues and 60s and 70s rock, and I play quite a bit of slide and it excels at that.

7

They sound like the South Side of Chicago in 1955.

8

Great amps. Highly recommended. better than the originals IMO. Wish I kept it.

9

The originals were quirky and gritty, due in part to the odd Rola oval speakers and cheap ceramic disc capacitors that were standard issue in all '60s Valco amps. I made a few, true to the originals as possible. Loud with lots of clean headroom they were not. Plenty of room for improvement, unless vintage Valco quirk is what you seek.

10

They were definitely fun, powdog, as we discovered at the Roundup.

11

these amps are great all around, but they dont follow the schematics too well of the amps supposedly inspired by. American company though so buy from them, not mexico or china! #buynational #keepamericalocal

12

Curious if any of yinz gig out with these? I'm wondering if they are loud enough, do you mic them and can I assume not a lot of clean room? I've communicated with them about modding to increase both. Just wondering

13

Not a lot of clean headroom. Loud enough for small bars if they want the volume fairly low. Mic'd or using V47's "Tone Transfer Module" (sort of a direct box that comes off the speaker leads--works great) for when the band can let it rip a bit.

14

Curious if any of yinz gig out with these? I'm wondering if they are loud enough, do you mic them and can I assume not a lot of clean room? I've communicated with them about modding to increase both. Just wondering

– Diggey

Not even close to loud enough to gig. Never tried with a mic though, I suppose because it would not even have been loud enough to serve as a monitor for myself. I'd be interested to hear what you find out about modding it. My amp tech at the time communicated with the previous owner of Vintage 47, and essentially the answer was no because it was built to reproduce a 50's amp in the first place.

15

I seriously doubt anyone's bought one of those Western amps for the way they sound yet.

I don't get Fender sometimes. If they'd put a Blues Junior in a cab that looks like that, they'd sell at least a couple of thousand. (not to me, but you catch my drift)

16

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like you can gig any amp if you can mic it and put it through mains and/or monitors to whatever degree the room and stage volume dictate. I'm too lazy to haul the Bassman head and cab in addition to hauling the whole PA, so this has become my go to gig amp.

The cosmetics were actually a negative for me at first, but I wanted a V47 with tremolo, and David gave me a killer deal on this "blem" (an extra chassis mounting block got put in the wrong place inside the cab---out of sight, but he didn't like it) so I grabbed it instead of one of the plainer looking Tremotones. I actually get a lot of compliments at gigs on both the looks and tone, even though we don't play any country stuff. Now I sort of enjoy the cognitive dissonance of a cowboy amp and Zeppelin tunes.

17

I'm talking with Vintage47 now about a modded one that will be about 28 watts. Granted the amp character is going to change but I think this will sound rad. The mods should provide a lot more clean headroom...... (For 28 Watts).

They would do a combination of a fixed bias with a split load phase inverter. They'd also bulk up with a larger output transformer to handle the fixed biased 5881s. I think 28 watts for most snotty bar gigs I get will be ample. I think this will sound amazing for roots rocka and have the look. What says yinz?

18

Hey whyowill,

What type/brand/model mic do you use at gigs for your Tonemaster?

19

I usually use the V47 "Tone Transfer Module" with the Cowboy amp since it has two oval speakers and a tweeter. It's a direct box of sorts (I don't know the tech details) that takes a signal direct from the speaker leads and sends it to the board. You still get sound out of the amp speakers in addition to the signal sent to the board. It works really well and I don't have to mess with figuring out where to place the mic in front of the oddball speaker layout and there's one less mic on stage. On my other V47, I just use an Audix i5 (or whatever the sound guy sticks in front of it when we don't have to do our own sound ) in front of the normal round speaker.

20

You can see the grey box sitting on top of the amp in the picture I posted earlier. That's the Tone Transfer Module. XLR or 1/4" out and a level control.

21

How long of a cord is it? Do they provide this with the box?

22

I'll have to measure when I get home, but yeah, it came with a lead that was maybe a couple feet long. I just set the grey box on the amp or on the ground right behind it. If I recall correctly, it seems like it came with two: one with alligator clips to clip onto any speaker leads so you could use it with any amp, and one he hardwired in to the Cowboy amp for me before he shipped it out. I don't know about the new owners but David seemed pretty flexible about that stuff if you wanted a longer lead or wanted it hardwired, etc. I'd ask them since you're already discussing mods. As far as I know, David was staying on for a year after the sale of the business, so maybe he still has some input.

23

Go to V47's website and click on "Accessories" on the lower left side of the home page. The module is listed there and says it comes with a 5 foot lead.

24

Thanks man, I'll keep you posted. Do you think it can do Rockabilly and Chicago style jump blues? I love the Look, cheeky fun!

25

Oh, yeah, it'll sound great, especially that smoky old blues tone. If you like Sun and Chess recordings, you'll love it. (I have no idea what amps were actually used there, but the tone and vibe seem close to my uneducated ears, anyway.) It definitely doesn't sound like a Silverface Fender, but with the volume rolled back, its cleans have a nice round warmth to them with a touch of hair always available if you dig in. My band doesn't do any rockabilly (mostly blues and our take on 60s and 70s rock with some other stuff thrown in) but when I mess around at home with my half baked attempts at early Rock and Roll, I think it sounds really good.


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