Gretsch Amps

Whats a Good first vintage Gretsch Amp ?

1

I've been a Fender Amp guy pretty much my entire life, I have a 60s Valco as well and an old Marshall somewhere, but I want to get a vintage Gretsch, probably with one 15 inch Speaker, but 2 12's could probably work as well What advice do you have for me?

2

Well Valco/Supro made the the 1950s and 60s Gretsch amps... but they had a 2x12 35 watt job I think... maybe the kind that had the power amp section on the bottom. I think Jensens were mostly used. A still say a tweaked up 1955-65 Valco comes close to Fender in coolness and cool sound of the same era.

3

If you don't find a vintage one, the recently out of production Executive is a good bet. Many of us have one and like it.

4

The best starter amp for a Gretsch enthusiast is the 6150T. At 5 watts it's a great little distortion generator. Obviously not a 15 inch speaker though.

I currently play through an 6161 Twin, which is pretty damn fine. Two 11 x 9 inch speakers plus a 5 inch tweeter. 6973 tubes. 14 watts or so.

5

Or something in between the two amps above. The 6156 runs a pair of 6973 tubes like the 6161, but has a single 10" speaker which is easier to replace/repair than the 11 x 9 oval speakers. Pretty loud for a smaller amp, on par with a Princeton Reverb.

6

My first amp was a late '50s G6163---15", 18 watts. Any of the early Valco amps would be worth looking into. Once you get into the Sixties and solid state amps, forget it. The modern era with the Executives are definitely great amps. The recent G5222 has a lot of fans as well.

7

I had a '60s SS Gretsch 4x10 amp when I was a kid and actually really liked it. This was over 20 years ago and maybe I'd rate it differently now, but I remember it fondly, FWIW.

8

I'd say a perfect amp for you is the one on the other thread, a '60's Executive with a nice big speaker. Heck of a price too!

9

Nice set of amps there drmilktruck. I particularly like the look of that 6161 Twin...

10

I'd say a perfect amp for you is the one on the other thread, a '60's Executive with a nice big speaker. Heck of a price too! - Windsordave

+1. The price seem reasonable enough, looks like free shipping may be on the table. I don't think those are terribly easy to find either, particularly with the more attractive late '50s styling.

11

Nice set of amps there drmilktruck. I particularly like the look of that 6161 Twin...

– General_Lee

Thanks, it's in great shape too.

12

Or something in between the two amps above. The 6156 runs a pair of 6973 tubes like the 6161, but has a single 10" speaker which is easier to replace/repair than the 11 x 9 oval speakers. Pretty loud for a smaller amp, on par with a Princeton Reverb.

– Powdog

Or get Powdog to build you a replica with any twists or additions that may suit your needs? He's a clever chap. I worry about owning old gear but it depends on whether it's being gigged or manhandles. I guess it's like a vintage car, it'll need some maintenance from time to time but they aren't hard amps to work on.

13

My first amp was a late '50s G6163---15", 18 watts. Any of the early Valco amps would be worth looking into. Once you get into the Sixties and solid state amps, forget it. The modern era with the Executives are definitely great amps. The recent G5222 has a lot of fans as well.

– wabash slim

Wouldn't you say Valco thru mid 60s is ok... I don't think they had any solid state dogmeat til 66/67?

14

Maybe closer to 64-65? I seem to remember the Safari (Battery SS) was from about then. And yes the the 6150T is a good gateway drug, I mean amp.

15

Excellent, thanks you guys I do have a 66 Valco Bass Amp combo that One of TGP members fixed up for me with one 15 in it, but when it gets hot, it just shuts down and refuses to work until it's cooled, I actually used to put a small fan behind it at practice.

16

Excellent, thanks you guys I do have a 66 Valco Bass Amp combo that One of TGP members fixed up for me with one 15 in it, but when it gets hot, it just shuts down and refuses to work until it's cooled, I actually used to put a small fan behind it at practice.

17

Excellent, thanks you guys I do have a 66 Valco Bass Amp combo that One of TGP members fixed up for me with one 15 in it, but when it gets hot, it just shuts down and refuses to work until it's cooled, I actually used to put a small fan behind it at practice.

18

Excellent, thanks you guys I do have a 66 Valco Bass Amp combo that One of TGP members fixed up for me with one 15 in it, but when it gets hot, it just shuts down and refuses to work until it's cooled, I actually used to put a small fan behind it at practice.

19

Excellent, thanks you guys I do have a 66 Valco Bass Amp combo that One of TGP members fixed up for me with one 15 in it, but when it gets hot, it just shuts down and refuses to work until it's cooled, I actually used to put a small fan behind it at practice.

20

I have a 1963 Gretsch Variety (Model 6164) rated at 35 Watts with 2x12" Speakers. I've had a ton of vintage and modern amps in my life and this one is the real deal. Has dual circuits / channels with one being designed for guitar and the other for Accordion (or Bass guitar). Two 6L6's in the power section and it came from the factory with a hi-gain switch. It originally came with Jensens but those were replaced by the previous owner with a set of MojoTone Vintage 12". I use the bass channel most of the time for lead because it breaks up quite nicely at a lower volume much like most of the tweeds of that era. I think channel 2 is about half the power of channel 1. Channel 1 is quite a bit brighter than channel 2. I've been told that Valco based the guitar channel on the Tremolux/Vibrolux/Bandmaster circuit (AB763) from that same era. But I don't know if that's true or not.

I use a Tone Bone amp switcher and actually switch between circuits with different pedals on the two channels when playing live. It's like having two amp setups but only having to carry one in.

It's an extremely versatile setup that I will never sell.

22

There weren't any good vintage Gretsch amps, but some of them looked cool.

23

My guitar man used to have a few old Gretsch amps in his shop in mid ‘00. I never owned one but I played a few... I remember playing a low wattage with a 15” and a 2x12. Not that they didn’t sound cool, but they were a bit one dimensional amps to me. I guess that they should be ace for some retro sound, but not exactly versatile for something else. I mean, you wouldn’t expect to play metal on it but a nice post punk clean tone was really hard to find. Different story for the new Executive: a friend of mine has one that sometimes ends in my music room... it’s an hell of an amp. Superior to any Supro if you ask me and you could do it all with that 15”. Rock, blues, funky, punk, you name it. If I had some money to spend on an amp (that I don’t need) that would be my choice.

24

Not the best vintage Gretsch amp, but the best vintage amp for a Gretsch is an Ampeg Gemini.

25

Wouldn't you say Valco thru mid 60s is ok... I don't think they had any solid state dogmeat til 66/67?

– DCBirdMan

Valco made a lot of good tube amps. In the '60s, no one made a good solid state amp.


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