New Vintage47 Amp On The Horizon
David Barnes owns Vintage47 Amps, his goal is to preserve a bit of that 40's era blues tone look and feel, paying attention to the pre 50's non Fender vintage tube circuits and cabinet designs.
You may have seen his work here in a previous post regarding a tweed suitcase amp that I own(and still love). As a matter of fact that post about the suitcase amp has received far and away the most visitors on this site. His amps receive consistently glowing reviews from customers and publications alike. I remember talking to a friend when I received my suitcase amp in the mail and explaining how I thought they were functional pieces of art. Lo and behold, I had a little more time to explore the Vintage47 website and found David had a headline describing his amps as "collectible functionally fun to play amplifier art --- It seems we are on the same page.
All you have to do to realize how much David loves his job is to read the story about how his grandfather blazed a path of discovery as David searched for a certain bluesy amplifier tone. If it isn't already, the rest will be amplifier history. Our world could use a few more stories of skills/trades being passed down through the generations like the education that was imparted upon David by his grandfather.
As I repeat over and over in these pages that there is life beyond Gibson and Martin, David believes there is life beyond the circuitry that powers Fender amps(did I mention it seems like we are on the same page?). Because of this belief he has devoted himself to Valco inspired circuitry and cabinet design.
This brings us to his latest reproduction: An authentic replication of the 1955 Gretsch "Twin Western" model G-6169.
|this is just the 1st prototype - Only 6-10 more mockups before the final product!!|
David is a guru of specs and circuitry. we have been corresponding about how exciting this project is so I will let him give you the specs:
"Valco built those amps on contract for Gretsch, they were introduced in 1955 as the Gretsch "Twin Western" model G-6169 which was a dressed up Electromatic Tweed model G-6161. The common nicknames for the Western amp were 'Cowboy' and 'Roundup'
Original specs were ;
Cabinet measurements: 23 inches wide x 15 1/4 inches high x 7 1/2 inches deep. Weight: 21 lbs. Two 11 x 6 inch elliptical speakers and one 3" tweeter. One 'treble' and two 'standard' inputs. Raytheon 5Y3GT rectifier;
Six tubes: 2x RCA 6V6GT; 2xRCA 6SQ7; 1x6SC7, and 1x5Y3GT. On/off switch;
standby switch; 2 amp fuse (with spare in original envelope attached to inside of amp case); 1 tone control; 1 volume control; 3 inputs. 14 watts with tremelo (actually only 12 watts)."
David goes on to describe how much work goes into the re-creation of one of these amps:
The Gretsch Twin Western (aka Cowboy) was always white with the same leather trim as the guitar, the guitars where an orangeish finish but the amps where white. I am going for as close to authentic replication as I can make, and that is pretty much 90% period correct. I have even spent a bunch on tooling to make a reproduction of the oval speakers that fall right on the sound frequency response curve of the originals, I am having the bronze castings made for the badges from an original mold, I am tooling the leather straps and duplicating the steer head print on the grill.
The amp in the pictures is a first and early mockup and most of the
different look is the darker Ostrich belt bands and darker grill cloth,
that will all change as I refine the details over time and as the parts get finished and arrive at the shop, probably 6-10 more prototypes before the final. I can do it all but I won't be able to write Gretsch on the front!
As it is the cabinet measurements are from an original cabinet so the size is correct, Valco built these for Gretsch using the same amp and components they were already using for the National Tremo-tone of the same year models, I already build that circuit and have the correct transformers and such.
I am currently building the re-issue Tremo-tone amp for National
Even if someone built a close replication for the cabinet I do not believe they would get the amp to sound like an original without my replicated speakers and transformers.
With the original 'Cowboy' amps going for $5,000-10,000 I do believe my replications will be a steal of a deal at $1750-1950 (estimated)
including the replica wood wedge doorstop tremo footswitch, an old school canvas amp cover and possibly an accessary direct speaker line out box that can set outboard and get the amps actual speaker tone into mixers, recorders, PA's without disabling the internal speaker.
So that’s the scoop!
I've always loved this amp as well as the companion "Roundup" guitar that he speaks of, but he is right try to find these for a price that wouldn't break the budget. I can't wait to see the final product which should be due in late spring.
Visit David and Vintage47 amps at - www.vintage47amps.com