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.