Other Amps

new vs old Magnatone 213


Talking about the old 213 and the recent 1-12 reissue that is about the same spec. Comments?


Except for the Varistor vibrato and cosmetics, the new Magnatones don't have all that much in common with the old ones. they're great amps, but extremely expensive, and they're loosely based on tweed Fenders. Very loud and clean - which an original 213 isn't.


That's what I was hoping to hear. Still I always thought the old Magnatones were pretty dark... not a lot of hi-end.


They are easily modded to bring out more high end. Part of the problem is that a lot of accordion players favored them and accordion players were trying to make their instrument sound like a church organ instead of five guys playing harmonica. Thick and full not bright an reedy. The other problem was the designers were hi-fi audio guys looking for flat frequency response. Guitars are very mid heavy so you need a bit more scooped mods in the voicing.

The newer Magnatones address those issues. I actually think they sound too bright and tinny on YouTube demos but it might just be cheap computer speakers. I just mod my Magnatones to taste.

About 5 bucks worth of caps placed in strategic places will make a total beast out of any Magnatone.


"five guys playing harmonica"---thanks for the laugh!

Magnatone probably was intending these more for jazz players than rockers.


Usually it's a simple matter of adding bypass caps across the preamp cathode resistors. That usually hey you a lot of the way there. Replacing the tube rectifier with a solid state plug in will increase plate voltages everywhere and that makes the amp brighter and tighter.

Sometimes a brightness cap across the volume pot helps....as does reducing the input resistors value. Another trick is reducing the value of coupling caps.

I have a feeling the newer Magnatones incorporate some of these mods.


I haven't heard a new 213, but I have an old one (1959), and it sounds amazing to me. It has all the highs I need, so for my personal taste, I wouldn't change a thing. I am curious to hear one of the new ones, though.


I gotta find a clean old 213. Had one 20 yrs ago and should have kept it. I don't mind a darker sound... but really want whatever stock sounds like, once updated w/ new parts.


They sound better with single coils in my opinion....which at the time most guitars including Magnatone guitars used.

Leo Fender's amp designs got brighter as he got older and lost hearing and I'm probably suffering the same fate.


i played though the new maggies and like them

nicely done


I'll second wabash on the harmonica quip!

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