THE WIDE WORLD OF GUITAR AMPS IS POPULATED—some would say over-populated—with takes on vintage
Fender, Marshall, and Vox amplifiers.So it’s refreshing
when a builder offers spins on some less obvious classics.
Northern California’s Vintage47 cuts its teeth on
old school Valco amp circuits with slick, handmade cabinet
designs that are inspired not only by Valco, but also
Oahu, Rickenbacker, and National, just to name a few.
“It’s collectable amplifier art that just so happens to be
functional,” says Vintage47 founder/builder David Barnes.
One aspect Barnes left out of his description is affordable,
which is always a cool feature—especially for handwired
amplifiers. Staying true to the classic pre-’54 Valco circuits
means running octal tubes in the preamp rather
than the more common nine-pin types such as 12AX7s
or 12AT7s. Sonically, octal tube-equipped circuits are
often described as dark and smokey with a hefty note definition.
Bright treble chime and massive sustain is not in
the cards as much. Think Charlie Christian and T-Bone
Walker and you’ll get the idea. I tested all of the Vintage47s
with a Fender Telecaster, a Gibson SG Custom, and a late
’60s Gibson L-5. Click the links below to read how each amp handled our test drive. For more information, visit vintage47amps.com.
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