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Does anyone know what amp I have???

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  • Does anyone know what amp I have???

    So I have this guitar amp... no name anywhere and it looks like someone replaced the speaker fabric. It's definitely old, as it uses a bunch of oldskool paper capacitors inside.

    Tube lineup is 6BM8 (two) and 12AX7 (one), which almost sounds like an old Univox, but this doesn't look like any Univox I've ever seen.

    I was thinking Silvertone, but can't find anything online that matches it exactly.

    Any ideas??

  • #2
    It's probably adapted from a kit with a homemade cabinet. Those are car stereo speakers or maybe something from an old stereo. I've never seen anything like them in a guitar amp but there are folks who have seen 'way more amps than I have. I doubt you'll find another one like it though.
    Last edited by DeepEnd; 07-26-2017, 09:17 PM.
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    • #3
      could use a shot of the lower left corner where the logo used to be. Could be a Valco, but one they did for someone else's housebrand. The speakers though do not look right to me at all. Tube driven tremolo..late 50s/ early to mid 80s...what is the total tube complement? no schematic...is it PTP, turretboard...?
      "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

      Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
      "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

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      • #4
        No turretboard or circuit boards at all, all wiring is direct as in the old radios I usually restore. I think you're right that this was hacked or adapted by someone, as the speakers also don't look right to me, and they're screwed onto a piece of masonite that looks newer, but the rest of the cabinet itself is considerably older. Unfortunately no schematic (I was hoping I could find one by IDing this thing because I want to get it working as a birthday gift for my girlfriend). I'll grab some more photos tonight and post.
        Last edited by WallaceRog; 07-27-2017, 10:02 AM. Reason: typo

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        • #5
          Found a similar amp. Handle and knob look right, and approximate time frame looks right. Further, the use of ridiculous speaker might be similar also. View of interior is also similar. Might be that all cheap ones of the time were like this, but the handle and knob are very close as is the logo location.




          https://reverb.com/item/4552473-vint...tube-amplifier
          Last edited by Axisplayer; 07-27-2017, 10:28 AM.

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          • #6
            I'm thinking it is a Valco or an Estey; both were the real manufacturers of most of the 'low end' amps [not Gibson or Fender branded], like Harmony, Magnatone, Supro, National, Montgomery Wards Airline, Sears Silvertone and so on.
            Although not your amp, I know there was a Supro model in the late 50s that used two oval 6x10 speakers...the Rhythm King :http://www.dougcircuits.com/suprork.html

            The handle really looked familiar to me, and then I remembered the Fender Vaporizer handle is very similar, pure retro throwback, 'space age' stuff. Looking at that Prestige amp's handle...yeah, very similar.

            Does it work? Do you have the tubes? I can't tell, but it doesn't look like there is a power or output transformer on that amp, and if there isn't, you should get at least a 3 conductor power cord and an isolation xfrmr installed to protect from AC shock
            Back in the 40/50/60s, UL was not a big deal for these 'hobby' items, and low cost approaches to manufacturing were often used with little regard to safety. Many early amps [like Dickerson's*] were not designed by electrical engineers and BTW, that Prestige only has a speaker mount Output Transformer, not a power transformer...shock hazard!

            *I have an early Magnatone 'MOTS' lap steel amp [which looks to be based on the Dickerson/Fator era design], and I tested it and put it away!]..until I have time to put an Iso and a 3 conductor power cord on, I will not plug it in again.


            Another thought, [but unlikely], the 6BM8 tube [aka ECL82] was used a lot in European low wattage single-ended amps in the late 50s/early 60s; Hagstrom, Eko, Westminster...but they typically were not made for 120v application. That amp probably puts out a nominal 8-10W, and I would expect the pre-amp tube is also being used for the tremolo circuit, not uncommon. The presence of the tremolo is interesting, as well, since this was a popular feature well into the late 1960s.
            Last edited by daddymack; 07-27-2017, 11:37 AM.
            "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

            Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
            "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

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            • #7
              It might be an old kit build. The speakers placed on the edge of the baffle over the grill cloth and uneven grill cloth cut doesn't look like a Factory build. The front looks like it has round holes through the grill cloth so the speakers look to be replaced. Some Guild as Supros used car speakers like that.

              Some other oddities. The on off switch looks to be a rotary switch which is unique for guitar amps. The only vintage amps that had something similar were the old Epiphone amps. The white plastic handle was used on old vintage Hi Fi gear like portable record players. The only amp that came close was a Gretsch Safari but the mount was different.

              I don't think its a 50's amp. Most 50's amps didn't have 2 channels or vibrato. The knobs are not original. They were likely replaced with some old Hi Fi knobs, possibly RCA or Bogen. The last knob on the right is and oddball too.

              The Chassis isn't silk screened with the manufacturers name so it may have been an import.

              The missing logo was at the bottom of the grill cloth. Gretch/Valco amps had the logo positioned there but its not a good place for a logo because its hard to see there.

              The baffle may have been replaced too. There aren't many amps that have the knobs on the back of the amp like that for obvious reasons. Its a major pain plugging in and adjusting your sound. A full sized baffle may have been replaced on the back of the amp, possibly through ignorance instead of the front below the amp panel.

              The suitcase cab does have the look of a Mail Order amp like a Montgomery Ward or Sears. The two channels suggests a 60's amp.
              I couldn't find anything that looked close enough to it however.

              What I'm not seeing is a power or output transformer. Not sure what they use for vibrato either. Maybe one of the 12AX7 tubes. The rectifier is likely solid state. Its power tube is 7W max so its a single ended class A amp. Might actually sound pretty good for a low watt amps.

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              • #8
                Currently one of the wires is disconnected from a transformer (probably happened during shipping), so can't try yet. Also, due to the age of the capacitors inside (they are 1950s or 1960s vintage and probably all drifted way out of spec) I didn't want to plug it in and try it and risk blowing damaging it. Maybe I'll plug it into my variac and give it a slow powerup and see what happens.

                The guy I got it from said only two of the tubes lit up (he didn't say which ones). I do have all of the tubes. It has two 6BM8s and one 12AX7 (latter would be for the tremolo, presumably). The chassis also has a space where another tube could go, but it has a filler cap inserted and no wiring to it.

                The tube lineup and handle do look a lot like that 007 amp, plus the masonite front with plywood for the rest.

                So, sounds like could be Valco, Estey or a kit... Many more photos to come tonight. It does have two transformers inside and I'll include pics of the guts. It's all laid out pretty cleanly, most parts ore very old, one transformer is newer and it looks like someone replaced a few bits of wire.

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                • #9
                  I think I'm getting closer! I was poking looking at Valcos around and discovered the plug and knob lineup on the face looks almost exactly like a 1965 Airline 62-9023a. Mine has different knobs, as noted. So, I have a feeling it at least began life as some sort of Valco made cheaply for a store or discount brand.


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                  • WRGKMC
                    WRGKMC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I checked most of the Airline/Valco. Neither the face plates, cabs or the circuitry come close enough.
                    National which had chrome face plates was another I looked at.

                    Yours is some kind of beginners amp but its has more knobs/controls then most amps of similar wattage.
                    Single ended amps usually have a single volume and tone and sometimes a treble and bass. Yours is unique because it has two separate volumes and tones and tremolo. These features are usually used on larger, higher wattage amps. They added those features to get higher prices from a very inexpensive build.

                • #10
                  here is a 240V Westminster schematic....using a similar tube complement, note that they rate the amp at 10W..
                  http://web.archive.org/web/200611271...r_mkIX_10w.pdf


                  Before you hook it up to your variac, I would figure out where that 'disconnected' xfrmr wire belongs...and to do that I would make sure to discharge all the caps, if you haven't already!

                  Last edited by daddymack; 07-27-2017, 11:54 AM.
                  "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                  Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
                  "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

                  Comment


                  • WRGKMC
                    WRGKMC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That one looks like its using two power tubes. His has a single 6BM8 rated for 7W tops.

                • #11
                  As promised, some additional pics of the place where the badge was and the electronics. (Click link)
                  Last edited by WallaceRog; 07-27-2017, 08:01 PM.

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                  • #12
                    The knobs on this Kent, the placement of the fuses and the similar build quality and features suggests your amp is one of the many branded Teisco builds. Teisco built a gazillion different budget amps sold to music stores under dozens of different names during the 60's.

                    The handle, the knobs, the cabinet build all suggest it came from Japan. The components you posted were non USA parts (they had no manufacturer's brand names on the parts, US made would have the Manufacturers names) The pots have no markings either and are identical to pots I have in an old Teisco guitar. So are the switches.

                    Gear built in the 50/60's by Japan was branded because most Americans still had strong memories of the war. The MIJ electronics were not very good either. Most were super low quality, built by unskilled workers. If the gear had a brand name it was given some popular American name as a brand. (or no brand at all)

                    I still get a laugh out of many names chosen for branding. Many had nothing to do with music. Kent was a cigarette brand and a popular comics book character, (Clark Kent/Superman) Maybe they were targeting kids just beginning to Smoke? Del Ray sounds more like a 50's automobile. A bit behind the times in the 60's? Have no idea why they'd chose Kay as a name besides maybe wanting to target women. Checkmate? Maybe Chubby Checkers? Kingston? Kingston Trio popular in the 60's.

                    Others?

                    Bass Beat
                    Beltone
                    Feather
                    Gemtone
                    Kent
                    Kimberley
                    Lafayette
                    Matador
                    Mello Tone
                    Melody
                    Orbit Four
                    Pearl
                    Saint George
                    Silvertone
                    Starway
                    Super Twin
                    Toptone
                    Zim-Gar


                    In all there are over 300 branded MIJ possibilities all with small variations. Many are not well documented so finding an exact match may be difficult.

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                    • #13
                      Excellent! This does help to at least narrow it down. I guess I'll look around for this tube lineup in the various cheapo MIJ brands and if I can't find something, I'll just work with the specs printed on the components if something is bad.

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                      • #14
                        Yea there isn't much there you really have to troubleshoot. If you have a decent multimeter it can test everything there but the tubes.
                        Given the age I'd likely change the power cap and add a grounded cable. Those old single ended amps typically had a cap that grounded the chassis. If the cap goes bad if you plug AC cord in backwards, it places a full 120Vac on the chassis.

                        The grounding (Death cap) needs to be removed and a three prong AC cord needs to be installed. The power supply cap is likely in need of replacement given its age. The rest of the stuff you simply change if needed.

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                        • #15
                          Tubes all tested good (I have a tube tester) which is good because the 6BM8s seem to go for about $50 a pop.

                          How do I know which one is the death cap? I see one of the paper caps of .1 mfd and 200v is grounded to the chassis at one end, with the other connected to a wire going to what I assume is the power transformer. Or would it be the big electrolytic can? I've done some refurbs on old Philco radios but still pretty new to it.

                          Some of the caps I'm now noticing say "Astron Corp, East Newark NJ, Made in USA" on them.

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