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Messages - Puguglybonehead

Quote from: joecool85 on June 14, 2012, 04:35:56 PM
The batteries were almost definitely SLA (sealed lead acid) batteries, not gel type.

Well those sound a bit scary to use. I'm sure gel type or Lithium would be a workable replacement.
Thanks for the replies! (both of you) I will get around to purchasing Jack Darr's book soon. The Kay and Harmony amps probably would have been from Danelectro. I don't think they would build for Valco (a competitor at the time) but the approach is probably similar.

The Gretsch Gadabout is listed on one music shop's site as being rated 6 watts. (already sold, unfortunately) Probably the same power output for the Safari. They ran on AC power or on two 6-volt rechargable batteries. (early gel-cells?) They came with an 8-inch alnico Jensen, (a pair of them in the Safari)

I just really liked the sound sample I heard. Sort of like an AC 30 playing in a shoebox. Being able to do small street festivals with that kind of sound would be great. I'll probably end up with the actual amp before I can ever locate a schematic.
Finally got to hear a sound sample of one of these. (on one of the Gretsch forums) Nice, mildly distorted breakup. Not ugly and muffled like a Pignose. More bright sounding, like the early '80s Fender SS amps. Pretty neat. I can see why Lanois uses one in the studio.

Still no luck with finding the schematics and every time these amps turn up on ebay, they're kind of pricey. Anybody out there got a line on one of these, or know somebody who has one with the schematic label intact?
Some of the new model and re-issue amps from Vox have spring reverb. If you want decent reverb without the Fender tone you could try some of the Crate tube amps from the `90s or some of the Peavey tube amps from 1980s to present-day. I had a Crate Club 20 combo that had great reverb and did the Marshall thing perfectly. (but I sold it `cause that sound just really isn't my sound) The Peavey Vintage 30 is another good one. Sort of a cross between a Vox and a Marshall sound-wise.

Just try to find something with EL84 or EL34 power tubes. They usually get you closer to the British tone. Another good one to look for is the Traynor YCV50-Blue. It does the British sounds really well and it comes with a full-size Accutronics reverb tank. I see more of these amps at gigs than any other, lately.

I mention these amps because they were produced in fairly large numbers and they turn up in the used market a fair bit. Just start searching Craigslist and Kijiji.

One thing, most the amps I mention above have probably got transistors driving the reverb. It's generally the approach most companies have taken over the past 30 years or so. Oh, and most of these amps are all PCB. For a point-to-point tube amp, you either have to pay the big bucks or else get very lucky and do lots of research while bargain-hunting.
D'oh! Well, I ordered one of those speakers, so I'll have to see how well it actually works. Bargain-hunting is always a gamble. I'm actually ordering a 4-ohm 8" Jensen for my chip-amp project.
This looks like a cool idea. I'm getting interested in the idea of battery-powered amps myself. I'll be watching this thread to see what you finally end up with as a setup. If you're not totally set on having a 10" or smaller speaker, this 12" might be a better choice. 100 dB SPL, and the price is right.
Thanks for the info on the Kay and Harmony amps. I might have better luck searching for schematics on those. The different voiced inputs definitely sounds like the Valco approach. Not sure if they sounded quite as bad as an LM386 amp.

A bassist I used to jam with in the mid-1970s, played through a late-1960s Standell SS combo. (one that WAS actually used by The Standells! His dad was a well-known jazz trumpetist - had the connections...) That amp definitely did not sound lo-fi. I think there probably were some decent output transistors available at the time. At least in the US and Canada. Clairtone was producing their much-renowned Project G solid state stereo systems in the mid `60s.

Your description of the crude tremolo sounds pretty much like the descriptions I've read of the Gretsch Safari. There were some much more sophisticated SS amps coming out of places like Italy at the time. (being used by bands like The Rokes) Those actually had decent tremolo, real echo built-in and other goodies.

Anyways, thanks for the hint on those Kay and Harmony amps. Your willingness to share your knowledge on all this stuff is much appreciated!  :)

Edit: Actually, what am I thinking here?! Yes, these amps were battery-operated, so they probably DID sound lo-fi. Germanium transistors, eh? Hmmm.... with all the talk on pedal forums about the "mojo" of germanium transistors in fuzz-faces and whatnot, that could be quite the marketing angle. ;)
Back in the `60s there were a couple of small SS amps made for Gretsch that could run off either mains power or batteries. Not sure who actually built them, as Gretsch didn't actually build their own amps. There was the Gadabout, which was just a small, super basic amp, with only a volume control. There was also the Safari, which was also small, like the Gadabout, but also featured a unique sort of tremolo circuit. I see these pop up on ebay sometimes, but they are always either selling for way too much, or else they are not available to buyers outside the US.

These were reputed to be actually quite nice sounding little amps. Producer Daniel Lanois has used them during recording sessions.

I've tried searching for schematics for them but no luck at all. Lots of stuff on the Gretsch tube amps, (all Valco made ones) but nothing on these. Anybody know if there are any schematics floating around for either the Gadabout or the Safari? If I can't buy one, I'd love to give a shot at cloning one.
+1 on the sound samples. A step in the right direction. And it's priced right in the range of all those low-wattage digital modeling amps. It'll be nice for people to have a decent alternative like this. Can't wait to hear it!
Wow! Very nice job on this amp. Your sample sounded great! Love the look you did for the cabinet. Very inspirational.  :tu: Did you use the Dr. Boogey circuit for your preamp?

I have a chip-amp kit (from Ebay) based around the same chip. I was thinking of building it into a chassis with 2 "bays" in which to plug in different preamps. (thinking the ROG circuits, ie: Professor Tweed in Ch 1, Matchbox in Ch 2, etc...) Was thinking of being able to plug in preamps sort of PC sound card style. Kind of a modular analog "modeling" amp.

Did you solve your problem with the drift in the trimpots? That worries me a bit. Has anyone had problems like this with the other ROG circuits? I guess it's worth measuring voltages and going to fixed resistors.
Amplifier Discussion / Re: Watts vs Volume (db)
September 18, 2011, 01:07:24 PM
As a guitarist, I've come to realize, not that much power is really needed. My band is a basic old-school punk band. (we started playing in 1978) Drums, bass, guitar, singer (if you can actually call what he does "singing"). In the past, I would use an 80 watt, 80 lb Traynor Mark 3 combo. This thing could blast a Fender Twin off the stage, no problem. It was way too much power! I only had occasion to turn it above 3 once. That was at an outdoor gig at Nathan Phillips Square.

I realized how much I hated hauling this 80 lb monster around. Now I use an old 20 watt Supro, a small combo with a single 10" speaker. It's so small, I can carry it to gigs in my backpack. I installed the best 10" speaker I could afford, an Eminence Ragin' Cajun. It's rated at 100dB SPL sensitivity. I've found this setup to be more than enough, even with an aggressive drummer. No problem being heard. Strangely enough, I'm still not turning this amp up much past 3.  ???

I would think that a 20 to 30 watt amp in a combo with something like the 12" Eminence Wizard (103 dB SPL) would be more than enough for any situation. In fact, I'll bet that a speaker like that could make a decently designed 10-watt amp be heard just fine.
I'd like to see a circuit that emulates the sound of a Hiwatt 200 as used for bass by JJ Burnel on the early Stranglers albums. I realize a lot of his sound came from the cabinets full of guitar-speakers he was torturing to death, but it would be nice to have an analog preamp module to play with that could approximate his early sound.

I was impressed with the authenticity of runoffgroove's Flipster circuit, but that was successfully emulating the loose, floppy sound of an Ampeg Portaflex. I prefer the crisp, tight sound that the Hiwatt and Marshall bass amps had.

I've heard reasonable approximations of JJ Burnel's crunch, and Lemmy's sound before in one of those ridiculous 200-canned-sounds-digital-modeling pedals, but those type of digital-approximations lack any dynamic response and tend to get lost in an actual band setting. I also hate the idea of having to surf through menus to find a decent bass sound. I played in a practice space with one of these pedals, through a Peavey TNT, and found it completely unsatisfying.

Leave that digital modeling and menus and crap to the synth-nerds. I prefer having just a few dials to turn. It would just be nice to have the crunch of that Hiwatt or Marshall bass sound, with the reliability (and light weight) of a SS bass rig.
This does look like a pretty cool amp to build. The sound clips on Sopht Amps sounded nice. I liked the Marshall-ish tone of the 12AL8 version the most. I'm also new to tubes, and wondering if a build like this is really as straight-forward as it looks?  Have you gotten it built yet?
OK, found my answer in a link posted on another topic in this forum. Ruby Tuby
I've been toying with the idea of doing this. I'm a real novice with this stuff, though. Hoping to make something small, that could run from a set of batteries. I would like to try using a subminiature tube (like a 2P3 or 1S4 or 1S5) to drive an LM386. I've built the Li'l Gem and similar simple amps from the 386, but it would be nice to have a tube in there to see what it would sound like. I know the Gem uses a mosfet to drive the 386. A submini tube should be low-power enough to work in this application, shouldn't it?