By Dave Hunter
Guitarists love amps—really love them. Amplifiers may well glance boring to the remainder of the realm, yet to guitarists they're filled with mystique, romance, and rockin' sound. And whereas there are various strong-selling electrical guitar histories to be had, here's the 1st illustrated historical past of the electrical guitar’s ally, the amp. World-famous guitar and amp historian Dave Hunter tells the tale of 60 of the best amps ever equipped, together with classics from Fender, Marshall, Vox, the unusual EchoSonic that created Elvis' sound, and the final word esoteric $75,000+ Dumble amps. the tale is illustrated with countless numbers of technical photographs, infrequent machines, catalogs, memorabilia, and the amps of the celebs, from Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Eric Clapton. This is a publication guitarists will drool over.
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Additional info for Amped: The Illustrated History of the World's Greatest Amplifiers
To achieve said vastness, the 280 routes its preamp to a stereo vibrato circuit that feeds two entirely independent output stages consisting of two pairs of 6973 output tubes hitched to two output transformers. We see these 6973s mainly in Valco-made amplifiers—the Supro Model 24 and Gretsch 6156 Playboy among them—and they can be great-sounding tubes. Partnered with rather small OTs for the task, however, they figure as part of what many players object to in the Magnatone design: for their size, weight, and swirly potential, these amps come off as a little underpowered.
That said, practically any guitarist ever tagged as a tonehound has gigged or recorded through a tweed Bassman at one point or another, along with alternative artists such as Son Volt, Pearl Jam, and Teenage Fanclub. As often as not, contemporary guitarists play through recent Bassman reproductions—on tour, at least—rather than taking precious vintage examples out on the road—especially since passable originals have surpassed $5,000 on the collector’s market. Amps such as Victoria’s 45410, Clark’s Piedmont, and Fender’s own ’59 Bassman LTD offer excellent, relatively affordable renditions of the classic tone.
For those who see the virtue of the rare 5E5 circuit but can lay their hands only on a more readily available 5D5, a conversion can be made. It takes a little creative thinking on the part of your amp tech, but twisting the self-balancing paraphase inverter into a cathodyne inverter with preceding gain stage involves only a handful of solder joints and cap and resistor changes, and removing the negative feedback loop, or making it switchable, is easy as pie. We hesitate to recommend modifying any collectible vintage amp, and a good 5D5 should sound outstanding—in its own way— just as it stands, but if you have a beater that needs internal work anyway and have long had your heart set on a 5E5, the mod is there as an option.