Other Amps

hey Ampeg dudes

1

I have gotten interested/re-interested in Ampeg Jets... Sometimes freaky clean ones from the first half of the 60s turn up really cheap. They're only 21 pounds! And as I have said, it's about the smallest cab you could stuff a 12 into. I am pretty sure the tube lineup changed over the 6-7 year period with some (now) rare ones used in preamp section.

What about the late 90s/early 2K reissue... has added reverb. How have these held up?

Anyone compared A/B'd old vs. new Jet?

2

90's Ampeg guitar amp "reissues" are made by SLM, and really don't have much in common with the originals other than cosmetics. They're strictly "consumer grade" in terms in construction, much more on par with their Crate stablemates.

The sole exception is their last gasp, the J-20 Jet, which is (allegedly) handwired, albeit in Vietnam with low quality components, and has rattling issues. The circuit (surprise) also has nothing in common with vintage Ampegs, but is actually very close, circuit-wise to a 6G3 Brown Deluxe. That circuit (when built with quality components) is very good sounding indeed.

3

I had a '66 ampeg jet which sounded wonderful. I sold it a couple years ago because I didn't want to play it until I ran out of the impossible to find 6bk11 preamp tubes. I sold my last pair for quite a lot of money and they were the first to show up for sale in more than months at the time on eBay.

I recommend them for the sound. Check the year and preamp tune situation before buying unless you want to spend over $100 a preamp tube down the road.

4

Thanks... I knew 6BK11 was more like 6BK$$. I think there were small runs w/ more conventional tubes...some Jets were 6V6-based?

So the SLM ones are Crates in vintage clothes, then.

5

The 7591s and other power tubes (7868?) have current production. It's those triode preamptubes you gotta look out for.

6

I had both the reissue Jet J12t (15 watt) and the SuperJet SJ12t.

First I got the 50 watter used at guitar center for around $300. It is to this day one of the most beautiful clean tones I've ever heard and played nice with hollowbodies. I did a few shows with it, but it is ungodly loud and is one of those where the difference between volume 3 and 4 is at least twice as loud. I cranked it once in my home on a day off and had the police called by a woman three blocks away. It didn't last long though, something got fried, took it back to GC to fix and they gave me my money back instead.

Next I got the 15 watter. Again used for around $300 at GC, beautiful clean tone and ungodly loud. Reverb and tone on both amps was to die for, big and deep. Cranked at band practice it was a good amp but soon enough it fizzled out and fried just like the other one. Took it to GC to fix and again they gave me my money back instead.

The reissues sound awesome but they have some flaws that I think you'll read about. Not to be cranked.

Side lesson, the used amps at GC if you buy there have a pretty good protection plan. I got to play with the amps for months and came out not spending anything when I fried them. That said, I've never fried a fender.

7

I would not be crankin em. I think the earliest Jets didn't have the 6KB11 (?) It was something more straightforward. But I give Ampeg credit... they were always experimenting w; the newest tube designs, and Fender just stuck w/ same old stuff from the 40s, except when the stopped octals and went 9 pin mini in the mid 50s

8

A guy I know here in Louisville just sold his Gemini II for $400. It had been naturally reliced over the years and smelled of many years of bar room smoke, but sounded great.

9

I would not be crankin em. I think the earliest Jets didn't have the 6KB11 (?) It was something more straightforward. But I give Ampeg credit... they were always experimenting w; the newest tube designs, and Fender just stuck w/ same old stuff from the 40s, except when the stopped octals and went 9 pin mini in the mid 50s

– DCBirdMan

Excepting the Reverberocket, a 1964 Ampeg amp has more in common with a 1953 Fender. Fender at that point, had undergone three whole generations of amps past that. They [Ampeg] were pretty low-fi sounding, despite all that jazzbo hype you hear about Everett Hull.

Later 60's "Front panel" Ampegs were a lot more inspired by hi-fi amps. with Baxandall type tone controls, and a 7199/7591 power section, but those compactron preamp tubes were essentially 1 1/2 12AX7 tubes - not exactly exotic, just hard to find after the tube industry died off.

10

90's Ampeg guitar amp "reissues" are made by SLM, and really don't have much in common with the originals other than cosmetics. They're strictly "consumer grade" in terms in construction, much more on par with their Crate stablemates.

The sole exception is their last gasp, the J-20 Jet, which is (allegedly) handwired, albeit in Vietnam with low quality components, and has rattling issues. The circuit (surprise) also has nothing in common with vintage Ampegs, but is actually very close, circuit-wise to a 6G3 Brown Deluxe. That circuit (when built with quality components) is very good sounding indeed.

– Kap'n

I own one of the latter-day J20's. It is 100%, p2p, hand-wired. I don't know about the cheap components (that is very likely), but I haven't experienced any issues with them failing. They are surprisingly well-made amps. Not to say they don't need a little work out of the shoot.

I bought mine in 2010, used, for $450. I did replace the under-powered stock speaker with a Celestion G12H30 75th Anniversary, replaced the tubes, weatherstriped the chassis, and added silicone tube dampeners. Last year, I had a variable bias installed. Aside from that, it's tip-top.

They are great amps. True, the J20's don't sound like vintage Ampegs, what with their Brown Deluxe-ish circuitry, but mine does sound like a vintage Fender amp. How can I make that claim? Because I own and have owned a few (and played quite a few more) vintage Fender amps.

If that doesn't float your boat and you want to hold out for a vintage Ampeg, that's an excellent choice, too. It sounds like they are great amps in their own right and can be had for about the same amount (or slightly less than) I have into my J20. If that is the case, go vintage!

11

A guy I know here in Louisville just sold his Gemini II for $400. It had been naturally reliced over the years and smelled of many years of bar room smoke, but sounded great.

– Bear

A couple of tricks to get rid of the smoke smell:

  1. Leave it outside in the sun for a while. I don't know if it's the UV light or the wind but it will get rid of the stench especially on a tweed amp.

  2. A box of baking soda inside the amp does something too.

  3. If all else fails I remember that coating a tweed with smoke smell with shellac once did the trick.

12

Fresh air and sunlight do work. Orange based cleaners might help, too. As an exsmoker, I'm amazed how much I notice the smell now.

13

Compactron tubes were TV tubes. They made millions of them. Ampeg started using them right after TV's went Solid-State because they were super cheap. There are still lots of them around.

14

Compactron tubes were TV tubes. They made millions of them. Ampeg started using them right after TV's went Solid-State because they were super cheap. There are still lots of them around.

– Billy Zoom

There are lots of compactron tubes around, but the ones used in some of those jets are very very difficult to find (namely the 6bk11) and their equivalents or useable substitutes are as well (6c10). You can find some tubes that fit, but you will often lose tremolo and they often sound weak.

15

The two I found for sale are listed at 145 each.

17

A Reverberocket 2 from 1967 has recently made a home here and it is indeed an impressive amp. Fortunately the compactron tube is a 6U10; much less expensive than the 6C10. It has the original 7591A power tubes; reissues should suffice as backups. It had weak bass and vibrato but a change of the 12AX7s brought them back. (the JJ was the culprit) As it is from 1967, there is a good chance it has a circuit board; just need to find a clutch driver for those screw heads to open it and take a peek inside. It sounded beautiful on a small jazz gig last night. (they were designed as clean jazz amps) Looking forward to cranking it up on a band gig though; nice overdriven tone. The reverb seems very trebly, but is also part of the charm; too bad I don't play surf music. The original CTS alnico speaker sounds fine but I've read that it might not stand for long up if the amp is played at high volumes. Pleasingly surprised.

18

More Ampeg stuff: Found an M-12, Mercury and the preamp tubes are 6SL7. It's coming with a set of adaptors that allow 12AX7 tube types to be used. Is it cool to swap 12AX7 types for 6SL7s or would there have to be some changes to the amp to allow safe operation? No experience with these 6SL7 tubes on my part.


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