View Full Version : Pre-Gibson/Post Gibson Trace Elliots
11-21-2007, 05:57 AM
anyone play on both a pre-gibson and post-gibson Trace Elliot? I have a pre-Gibson 12 band Trace head and a post gibson 2x15 cab. really both of them were made at the same time, i just so happened to pick up the cab after gibson finalized the deal. anyone here play on both of them? what do you think of the differences? I'm also looking for a 8x10 trace cab, but it seems impossible to find them.
11-21-2007, 10:46 AM
I don't think anything to do with Gibson buying them is a factor (contrary to internet wisdom/myth), and Gibson certainly didn't 'ruin' Trace. The quality had been falling continuously for years before Gibson bought them, and if anything Gibson probably saved them before they went bust anyway. I was working in amp repairs in the UK all through this time and saw the quality problems first hand, long before they were bought out.
The real nails in the coffin were the Tramp/Super Tramp guitar amps, the Commando series bass amps, and the tube guitar amps such as the Velocette, which later became the Gibson Goldtone and was finally re-engineered and improved by Gibson. The warranty returns on all these amps were horrendous - they simply weren't well-enough designed or built to be capable of being run at full power... stupidity like making an amp capable of 80W into 4 ohms and then putting a 75W 4-ohm speaker into it, when the power section itself was not even sturdy enough to handle that power - it was basically a race to see which blew first (often both, if the power section won). A rehearsal studio I was working for bought about half a dozen each of the Tramps and the Commandos, and every single one failed within a few weeks. Eventually I managed to make some of them work fairly reliably with higher-power-rated, higher impedance speakers, but they were never that good.
Even the flagship gear - some of which sounded excellent - is problematic. A friend of mine owns a V8 400W tube bass head, which I've borrowed a couple of times and actually thought about buying at one point, but it just isn't well enough built to be truly reliable in the long term, even though it sounds fantastic. He has a matching 8x10" cab as well BTW.... but I think it's sold to someone else. These cabs do sound pretty good, but the covering material is complete crap and rips if you more than brush against it, and the boxes themselves are only MDF, which chews up along the edges very quickly.
Sad, considering the once great company they were in the 80s. I'm still using a Series 6 AH200 head (which blows away the SMX AH250, BTW) and 1510X cab. Incredible depth, punch and authority from 'only' 200W.
11-21-2007, 10:51 AM
had 3 pre gibson speed twins. the 50s were killing and the 100 was issue laden.
fuze has gigged with one from time to time.
11-22-2007, 10:04 PM
My trusty V-Type combo is loud as hell, gets into a tad of vintage SVT sonics, is pretty portable (90 lbs?), and has never given me a monent's concern over the 6 or 7 years I've played it and gigged it out. I believe it's pre-Gibby, but I've never cared enough to find out. Lowest maintenance amp I've owned.
11-23-2007, 04:11 PM
My main gig rig is a Pre-Gibson Trace Bass head and either a 410H or 115H (on rare occasions, both!). Can't beat it for sound and durability. The price is right on those too!
11-23-2007, 04:33 PM
My trusty V-Type combo is loud as hell, gets into a tad of vintage SVT sonics, is pretty portable (90 lbs?), and has never given me a monent's concern over the 6 or 7 years I've played it and gigged it out. I believe it's pre-Gibby, but I've never cared enough to find out. Lowest maintenance amp I've owned.Is that the tube preamp, solid-state power section one?
I'm sure some of them must have been reliable! But not the ones I've seen - a couple (each) of V8s and V6s in the last year, which is a lot given how rare they are. They just have too many design faults, the worst of which is putting everything on a few large circuit boards including all the (cheap and nasty) pots and the tube sockets, which allow a lot of flexing and cracking of joints. Though interestingly the V6 I've got on the bench at the moment survived a really heavy shipping drop with just a slightly bent chassis and some bolts, a broken volume pot, and five out of the six KT88s (luckily just Chinese ones) dead.
BTW, this is the first time I've even seen 'Pre-Gibson' even mentioned regarding Trace. AFAIK Gibson did not alter one single thing about the amps, until much later with some tube guitar amps that were by then actually Gibson-badged (and were improved, the physical construction was made stronger). It's another piece of "pre anything is always better" guitar nonsense, IMO.
11-23-2007, 07:43 PM
Is that the tube preamp, solid-state power section one?
Yup. It solved my jones for that slightly grindy SVT thing when my squeaky clean-ish SWR SM400 was out of commission for a while.
11-24-2007, 03:18 AM
Yup. It solved my jones for that slightly grindy SVT thing when my squeaky clean-ish SWR SM400 was out of commission for a while.You'd like the V6 then - it's definitely more in that direction than the V8. Interestingly they both claim 400W RMS, but the V6 does it with six KT88s and a much simpler and more primitive preamp design - it's definitely designed to rock, and not care about keeping itself too clean :).
The V8 is much more refined and sophisticated and has far more depth to the tone, and you can just tell that the eight KT88s are being pushed less hard, although if anything it's slightly louder, at least clean. (I haven't actually measured the true output power of either of them though, it was too much hassle to hook up enough dummy loads to handle it!) It's a much more modern type of sound, more like a conventional Trace amp but done with tubes - and interestingly, although it has a proper switchable preamp distortion circuit - rather than relying on thrashing the hell out of the power tubes ;) - it doesn't sound anywhere near as good dirty.
It would be fun to set up a two-amp rig with the V8 for clean and the V6 for overdrive :D.
11-24-2007, 10:36 AM
Thanks for the info, John. I've always been curious about those amps.
12-20-2007, 10:43 AM
DISCLAIMER - I am a current Trace Elliott dealer.
Here's another fly in the ointment - now Peavey is running with the Trace Elliott name. The original founder of TE is also involved again, and the electronics are still being made in England. I believe the cabinets and final assembly are now being done in Peavey-land (Mississippi).
So really, there's pre-Gibson, Gibson, and post-Gibson/Peavey :)
I don't have much experience with the previous incarnations (other than I ALWAYS wanted one, I used to love Mark King's tone), but the newer ones are pretty smokin'. They certainly deliver that tight punchy 80's sound. Awesome amps.
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