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Brian Krashpad 05-23-2008 08:43 AM

My Vintage Amps
I guess this coulda gone in amps also, but since I saw some other posts in "vintage" about amps, I decided to put this here. It's been slow in the forums of late, so I'm'a list my vintage amps (such as they are-- don't nobody expect anything rare, expensive, or collectable!), tell you a little about each one and how I came to acquire it (and for how much!), and entertain any questions you may have about any of them.

I'll start with my first "real" amp, a '60's Kustom 100, made at the Kustom plant in Chanute , Kansas. I actually saw this amp in a shop window from a moving car! This is a 100W solid state amp with Kustom's famous "tuck-and-roll" vinyl coloring. The vinyl on this'un is in the color that Kustom called "Cascade," which is a sort of aqua or turquoise color. This is a "metalflake" vinyl with little shiny bits inside that make it sparkle and gleam under lights.

The controls on the amp are as follows: to the left side are the main controls, Volume, Bass, Treble, and a High and Low input. In the center is a purple status gem light. To the right are the effects controls: Reverb, and, for the tremelo, Depth and Speed. There's also an input for a foot switch, but I've never had the footswitch for the amp. I'm guessing it'd be a 2-button type, with one for trem on/off and on for reverb on/off. If it's a one-button, it'd probably just turn the tremelo on/off. I'm not a big effects guy anyhow. But the effects work fine, you can get real surfy sounds with the spring reverb (just make SURE the amp is off before you move it though, or you'll hear a DEAFENING crash from the spring movement inside if the amp is moved or bumped), and the tremelo can get you that Tommy James & the Shondells "Crimson and Clover" note quaver.

Here's a pic from Kustom's catalog:

Note that the above picture has two jacks to the right side. Not sure what they are, as mine only has one, for the footswitch.

More about the speaker cab, and how I acquired and have used this amp, in subsequent posts. :w:

Brian Krashpad 05-23-2008 03:04 PM

Re: My Vintage Amps

Dang it's quiet around here!

At any rate, the Kustom 100 has one more swtich I didn't mention, the on-off! It's on the back, and is a 3-way switch. Center
is "off," right and left are "on," but with different polarity to reduce risk of shock (the power cord is only a 2-prong).

The cabinet is loaded with the original J.B. Lansing (recognize the intitials?-- JBL) 15" speaker, and has 2 "tone ports" in the front grill. I have no idea whether there was any science behind them, but they were included on many Kustom guitar cabs of the period.

Anyhow, I saw this amp, along with a blue Ovation Breadwinner I also purchased, in the window of a pawn shop in downtown Jacksonville FL circa 1980. Iirc it cost me $200 or $225. It was my main (and only giggable) amp for the next 9 years. The head's tone is not that great, kind of harsh and "clang-y," even with the bass all the way up and treble almost all the way down.

But the thing is pretty indestructible-- it has never had any repairs for as long as I've owned it, except to put a new bulb in the jewel light. Also, for about a year I actually played bass through this at gigs and it still didn't get damaged! Although the tone of the head isn't great, the speaker cab is marvy. I still use the cab from time to time to this day:

More on other amps later! Everyone (in the US) have a safe holiday weekend.

Questions and comments encouraged!

Brian Krashpad 05-25-2008 11:30 PM

Re: My Vintage Amps
Everyone must be gone for the holidays!

Anyhow, next up is the real crown jewel of the collection, a 1966 Fender Super Reverb. I got it for real cheap because it had been modded ina bunch of ways that collectrors would hate but I didn't care about. First, it'd been cut in half!

A Super is usually a 4x10 combo amp, which is how this one began. A prior owner had cut it in two, so that the top half is a 2x10 combo amp, with a 2x10 extension cab on the bottom, like this:

The original speakers had been replaced with Sunn Magna 108's, which my amp guy seems to think are just as nice if not better than the original speakers.

Here's a pic of the actual amp, years later, with some of her friends, out in the gear room, uh, garage, at Casa Krashpad (second from left):

Here she is with all my acoustic instruments:

Anyhow, the Super was purchased around 1991 for $300. The other founding member of the first band I fronted, Smart Bomb, hooked me up with a buddy of his who sold it to me. It still had the original tubes! This was my main rig in Smart Bomb and for the early years of my next main band, Crash Pad, untill I got a Sovtek head and an '80's Laney AOR Series 4x12 flat front cab (in the garage pic above,on the other side of the Kustom). At that point I retired the Super from reglar gigging but still use her from time to time for special occasions. Wonderful 40W amp that had no problem at all keeping up with my Crash Pad bandmate's JCM 2000 4x12 100W halfstack. I now also have a 2x12 horizontal cab (open back, 2 Celestion silverbacks, seen on end in the last pic above) that I sometimes pair with the 2x10 combo top, so it becomes a 2x12+2x10, rather than two 2x10's.

MrSandMan 05-26-2008 09:09 PM

Re: My Vintage Amps
All of this your collection Brian? That's some magnificant equipment. I'll be honest, that 1966 Fender Super Reverb is making my mouth water :toast:

I'm lovin' those guitars too :sweet:

Brian Krashpad 05-27-2008 08:11 AM

Re: My Vintage Amps

Originally Posted by MrSandMan
All of this your collection Brian? That's some magnificant equipment. I'll be honest, that 1966 Fender Super Reverb is making my mouth water :toast:

I'm lovin' those guitars too :sweet:

Thanks! Yes, all of the stuff pictured is or was mine. I have sold a couple pieces over the years but mainly have let it accumulate. Nothing is really expensive or collectable though. Some of it is kind of interesting/offbeat though, and almost all of it works. ;)

Later rmore about my first couple "proper" bass rigs.

Brian Krashpad 05-27-2008 11:36 AM

Re: My Vintage Amps
As previously noted, my first real guitar rig was my Kustom 100 1x15 rig. Around 1990 or I got drafted to play bass and used the same rig for awhile to play bass. A buddy of mine at the time got a new combo bass amp and essentially gave me his old one, so it wouldn't take up space at his house. I told him I'd keep it at Casa Krashpad, but if he ever wanted it back, it was his.

I still have it!

The freebie is a 70's (I think) Woodson 250 amp. Matching 250W (I'm guessing, usually model numbers are chosen to indicate wattage) head and 1x15" cab:

The cab on this is pretty fair, not excellent, but given it's age not bad. The head is also OK, but I seem to manage to blow it up every few years. Since the head's no longer my main bass amp, it often sits for quite awhile before I get round to having it fixed. It currently needs repairs.

After my first ongoing bass gig (where I used the Kustom) c. 1990, I started my first band with me as the frontman, and went back to guitar. After a couple years I got burned out, and played bass in a different band for a couple years. During that time period (middle 90's) I eventually got tired of the Woodson rig and determined to upgrade to something better. I found a local seller selling an old ('70's, I'm guessing) Ampeg SVT 8x10 fridge cab, since he lived in an apartment and couldn't really use it there.

I bought the Ampeg for $200! It was missing all the vinyl down one side, so I took it home and spraypainted the bare wood flat black. From a few feet in a darkened club you can't even tell. To drive the Ampeg I found a Crate BX-200 head that was on closeout ($225) at a local mom&pop where an old buddy of mine is the luthier/repair guy. To this day, I use the Crate head and the Ampeg cab for any "big" show that I play on bass (sometimes I'll pair the Crate with the Woodson cab if I don't feel like lugging the SVT). Here's that rig:

Brian Krashpad 05-28-2008 08:40 AM

Re: My Vintage Amps
OK, we've covered most of my acquisitions up into the 1990's. Guitar-wise, the main rig went from Kustom to Super Reverb, and bass-wise, from Kustom to Woodson to Crate/Ampeg SVT.

Although I'll always keep my Super, towards the end of the 90's she was really beginning to show wear. She really needs a new grillcloth especially, though she still sounds great. So I decided to find something less "vintage" and retire the Super from active gigging.

I came across a Sovtek Mig 50H, the "Tube Midget" model, on scratch-n-dent sale at Musician's Friend for $250, so I snapped her up. Here's a stock model shot:

This is a single channel (albeit with low and high inputs) 50W master volume amp. Very early Marshall sound. I like the compact size, which makes it easier to haul and pack in a cramped vehicle. Only downside to the amp is cheap plastic input jack collars, the rest is built like a (Russian) tank.

I originally played the Sovtek with my existing Kustom 1x15 cab, which sounds great, but when I put a small tear in the sparkly Kustom vinyl, I decided I should also get a new cab I wouldn't fear to bash up. I found a mis-wired, beaten-up Laney flat-front 1980's AOR Series 4x12 cab in a local pawn and snapped her up for $75! Took about 30 minutes to rewire properly. The Laney cab is visible above in the garage photo. Here's a shot of the Sovtek/Laney rig onstage, on our right:

I gigged with the Sovtek /Laney rig for awhile and happened upon a second 4x12 slant cab, made by a small Cali company called Risson in the early 80's, which I got in a local sale for $100. It has two of the original Risson/Celestion speakers in it, and two Pioneer replacement speakers, and, like the Laney, is missing the front badge. The Laney cab I then kept at church to play guitar and bass through every Sunday, and I gigged with the Risson cab and Sovtek head. Here's the Laney cab at church:

When I subsequently stopped playing at church, I sold the Laney cab to a bandmate in my side band. Here's a shot of the Sovtek head with the Risson slant cab:

Here's a pic from Risson's promo material back when these were still being sold;

ninja636 05-28-2008 09:02 PM

Re: My Vintage Amps
:2thumbups: Nice gear dude. You must want that pedal BAD. :biggrin:

Brian Krashpad 05-28-2008 09:10 PM

Re: My Vintage Amps

Originally Posted by ninja636
:2thumbups: Nice gear dude. You must want that pedal BAD. :biggrin:

Why, not at all!

I'm merely trying to be edumacational! :winkx:

Frankly, personally, I would not have otherwise included the Sovtek head in a thread in the Vintage forum, but apparently most everyone else here would. (See the "What is Vintage?" thread.) Everything else in this thread is 1960's-1980's though.

Coming tomorrow: the 1960's Sunn 200S head.

Brian Krashpad 05-30-2008 01:48 PM

Re: My Vintage Amps
Well, I lied and didn't post my Sunn yesterday. I got it a couple years ago for $300 shipped, and since it's pretty heavy I reckon at least $25+ of that was for shipping. The seller was a fellow forumite on a small closed music-collaboration forum I sometimes post on (even though I don't "cyber-jam").

It's pre-'69, I'm told one can tell by the type of transformer used but I dunno anything about technical stuff. It is a real basic single channel amp, somewhere around 60W or so, with no modern features at all. I usually have the volume at around 6 for band playing, which has just a bit of tube breakup, but I use a pedal for true distortion sounds.

In addition to the Kustom cab (see photo a ways above), I've gigged the Sunn with my
80's Risson 4x12:

And my DIY 2x12 (made from a gutted Crate combo) with a couple silverback Celestions stuck in:

The Sunn is actually a bass head technically, and I've used it as such as well.

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