Other Amps

Any Love for Gibson GA-79 Amps ?

1

Way back in my yoot, I was fortunate to have known Hank Garland, and had my one and only experience with one of these stereo amps Gibson made in the 60's. It was the amp Hank always had out along with his L-5 with charlie christian pickup.Loved the sound of it,and now have a hankering to get my hands on one. Didn't realize at the time it was a stereo amp, but that makes it all the more intriguing to me. Get the one with both reverb and tremolo "RT"along with its small wattage it just seems like a no brainer to me. Recent Reverb listings show these go for between $2,500 - $3,500 which seems a bargain for point to point vintage amps. I would love to have separate amplification for each pickup, with the verb and trem only coming out of one side. Anyone else know much about these sleepers,surprised I don't hear more about them.

2

Not any point to point old tube amp is a bargain at $2500+.

Still those are one of Gibson's most sought after models. Would not call them sleepers but the more mellow Gibson amp sound is not #1 on most tube amp buyer's minds.

There were so many eras of Gibson amps they have to be judged by that.. .good eras, less good eras. This is a good resource.

http://www.superiormusic.co...

But early 60s stereo and hi-fi was the Big Deal / Hot Lick in audio so even the instrument makers wanted a a piece of the action... Magnatone was all in on the hi fi scene, and Gretsch too with the stereo guitars, etc. So the GA 79 was just part of that scene.

Would not mind having one myself, but would have to try it first which would be hard to arrange.

3

I think you've got the right approach. One pickup to each side of the amp would be more akin to stereo than a pickups split between bass and treble, which would actually be biamped. I think the proper number for these Gibson amps was GA-79RTV. Austin Pittman's amp book talks about them with glowing praise. They're 15 watts a side, if memory serves. Certainly unique looking amps.

4

Gibson amps, generally, are overlooked. I have a reworked handwired GA-5 reissue that Mojotone built for Gibson which sounds great, but I also have a GA-35 which was modded into a sort of DRRI issue. I've also owned one more Gibson amp which I think was called a Falcon that sounded pretty good but I'm may have had some mods.

5

I think you've got the right approach. One pickup to each side of the amp would be more akin to stereo than a pickups split between bass and treble, which would actually be biamped. I think the proper number for these Gibson amps was GA-79RTV. Austin Pittman's amp book talks about them with glowing praise. They're 15 watts a side, if memory serves. Certainly unique looking amps.

– wabash slim

the proper number would be GA-79RVT. RV=reverb and T=tremolo.

I have two of the Gibson amps. a GA-15RVT which I've had since 1966 and a GA-45RVT from the 1966 era.

this the first I've heard of the GA-79RVT. I don't recall ever seeing one on ebay.(I don't go to Reverb that often).

6

I have two GA-79RVT amps, and just finished restoring a third, a GA-78RV (no tremolo on that one.) EL84 power tubes and 6EU7 preamp tubes, what’s not to love?

You knew Hank Garland?

7

the proper number would be GA-79RVT. RV=reverb and T=tremolo.

I have two of the Gibson amps. a GA-15RVT which I've had since 1966 and a GA-45RVT from the 1966 era.

this the first I've heard of the GA-79RVT. I don't recall ever seeing one on ebay.(I don't go to Reverb that often).

– Sgt Rock

Yeah, RVT is correct. Check out the Austin Pitman book. These are rare beasties. I've had a couple of Gibson amps, from a GA-5, a Falcon (10 watts?) tweed, and a GA-35RVT, to a GSS-100 that we used as a PA back in the day.

8

I have two GA-79RVT amps, and just finished restoring a third, a GA-78RV (no tremolo on that one.) EL84 power tubes and 6EU7 preamp tubes, what’s not to love?

You knew Hank Garland?

– nielDa

my GA-15RVT has 2 of the EL84's. at the time, it was Gibson's answer to the Vox AC15. I brought it to a Roundup up here in Minnesota one year. everyone was asking, "what amp is that ?" "WOW !". it's a great amp.

9

thats always been one of my dream amps

10

My friend Marco found his uncle's equipment in the attic:

Gibson GA79RVT 1962;

Gibson 355 stereo varitone 1961

I wanted to include some photos but there are some problems on the site

11

My friend Marco found his uncle's equipment in the attic:

Gibson GA79RVT 1962;

Gibson 355 stereo varitone 1961

I wanted to include some photos but there are some problems on the site

– Paolo_Spadaro

Wow, I hope Marco plays too.

12

Wow, I hope Marco plays too.

– sascha

In reality Marco is a pianist and conductor. The guitar makes me play it sometimes. We have in mind a project to get the amplifier back to work and make a video with this 60-year-old equipment. Giuseppe Orlando will take care of the amplifier. I hope this forum server will be up and running again to share photos with you.

13

I always wanted it's little brother, the GA-50.. I always dug the little "suitcase-looking" ones.

14

In reality Marco is a pianist and conductor. The guitar makes me play it sometimes. We have in mind a project to get the amplifier back to work and make a video with this 60-year-old equipment. Giuseppe Orlando will take care of the amplifier. I hope this forum server will be up and running again to share photos with you.

– Paolo_Spadaro

I hope this forum server will be up and running again to share photos with you.

This would be great. A '61 ES 355 is a dream guitar.

15

Btw, I recently forwarded this GA-20. Great amp but a one-trick pony. I couldn't justify keeping it for that reason.

16

I have two GA-79RVT amps, and just finished restoring a third, a GA-78RV (no tremolo on that one.) EL84 power tubes and 6EU7 preamp tubes, what’s not to love?

You knew Hank Garland?

– nielDa

I did. My hometown is Titusville ,Fl. My dad moved us there in '64 to work on the space program, so I call it home. I was 19-20 and rented a dilapidated house within walking distance of a neighborhood that Hank lived in with his parents. A friend I met and hung with was a bluegrass picker and lived with his mom a couple blocks away from Hank and knew them well,asked me if I'd like to meet him. I knew very little about him at the time, as deep blues was what I was interested in mostly. I was just a shaggy hippy looking dude, his folks were pretty conservative and very southern. Hank, as many know, had suffered a bad car accident (not so accidental according to his very vocal dad and brother Billy) which ended his career. He had to take anti-seizure medicine everyday which made him somewhat slowed down but mostly intact. He relearned to play,but could only concentrate for a minute our so , but still caused my young jaw to drop more than once. The family was warm as all get out, and my buddy excused himself to leave,I was about to go with him when his mom asked me if I'd like to stay for supper. I barely had two nickels to rub together at the time, so I stayed. Went back many times and had many meals there. Got to see all of his guitars, he had a closet full of them. I see recently were they've brought mucho bucks at auction,I can say I've played some high dollars guitars. A year later I relocated to Gainesville and lost touch with them. I heard later that Hank moved in with his brother in Jacksonville, I thought about locating them to say high, but never did. I owe Hank for my deep love of jazz that I still have, RIP my friend.

17

Btw, I recently forwarded this GA-20. Great amp but a one-trick pony. I couldn't justify keeping it for that reason.

– sascha

As I get older (and more and more gear goes through here), I am really starting to appreciate "one-trick ponies", provided the trick they do is a unique one... and IMO the Gibson GA amps are definitely in that category. I'd love a GA-50, the only thing I'd use it for is jazz, and that's fine by me.

18

As I get older (and more and more gear goes through here), I am really starting to appreciate "one-trick ponies", provided the trick they do is a unique one... and IMO the Gibson GA amps are definitely in that category. I'd love a GA-50, the only thing I'd use it for is jazz, and that's fine by me.

– ruger9

Gibson did a few amps with two different sized speakers. This is an 8"+12". The 35RVT was a 10"+12". There was also an 8:+15".

19

As I get older (and more and more gear goes through here), I am really starting to appreciate "one-trick ponies", provided the trick they do is a unique one... and IMO the Gibson GA amps are definitely in that category. I'd love a GA-50, the only thing I'd use it for is jazz, and that's fine by me.

– ruger9

The GA-20 was the perfect blues amp for that slightly dirty, crunchy sound. Also great for what's often called 'Americana' over here. All at quite low volume levels since the amp had almost no headroom - which I need.

20

The GA-20 was the perfect blues amp for that slightly dirty, crunchy sound. Also great for what's often called 'Americana' over here. All at quite low volume levels since the amp had almost no headroom - which I need.

– sascha

Interesting, altho it must have SOME headroom, because alot of people use it for jazz...

21

As with any Gibson amp, it depends on which particular amp and who built it!

22

I think the big space age Gibsons like the Titan etc. are cool. Those late 60s fake wood paneling ones look cheesy etc. but I knew I guy with a Skylark from that era that was awesome.

23

As with any Gibson amp, it depends on which particular amp and who built it!

– Billy Zoom

...or who gave it to you.

24

Wasn't the GA79RVT the first Gibson with onboard reverb? Nice amps, but pricey and a bit rare. I think Neil Young had one that he used for a while.

I am looking for a GA77RVT Vanguard myself.

25

Being a Jim Hall nut, I always wanted one of those GA50s. The GA30, also with two different sized speakers looks interesting too. Since I got a nice old 1961 Ampeg M12 Mercury, it kinda scratched that itch, and for a lot less coin. The early 60s Ampegs sound similar to the Gibsons of the era, at least some of them.


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