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View Full Version : 1985 Gallien Krueger 250ML, RUSH in a box


Soothsayer
10-26-2008, 02:00 PM
:BEER

Anyone remember these?

I had two back in 1985-86 and they were very cool.

Was thinking about times gone by, loved these little amps. Solid State, sounded like rolling thunder through two marshall 4x12's.

908SSP
10-26-2008, 02:28 PM
I still own one even though my son has had it for a second amp when people visit. I though it had a darn nice chorus too.

BCJek
10-26-2008, 03:15 PM
I still have one, too. The speakers often fail at the surrounds, but mine are still good [the last time I looked]. My thought in buying was that it was perfect as carry-on luggage. Pop the top and there are trim pots to adjust chorus rate and overdrive.

Handy, cute but powerful with a big cab [or two, as they are stereo]

Cheers, Michael

pcutt
10-26-2008, 03:47 PM
I had one from about 86 to 91 and played it mainly with my Guild Liberator with EMGs (a superstrat with set neck). Good sounds in a small package made it a great grab-n-go amp.

blackba
10-26-2008, 05:21 PM
My buddy uses one in his band. He has the combo and a head version. The combo looks to me like a lunch box :)

They sound okay to me, but I thought he sounded better with his Carvin preamp/power amp rig (don't remember the model numbers). He runs the GK and used to run his Carvin rig into a marshall 410 cab.

http://www.superpage.com/riffs/desc_gk.html

Soothsayer
10-26-2008, 06:34 PM
The stereo thing with two cabs was very good. With an MP-1 in the loop it was an 80's rock machine.

Roark
10-26-2008, 09:24 PM
Pailbox O' Power at 150w...........yep still have it, cool amp.

908SSP
10-26-2008, 09:25 PM
You can get replacement speakers from GK. I did a couple years ago they weren't much money at the time either.

Tone_Terrific
10-26-2008, 10:47 PM
A buddy of mine had the combo. I don't actually remember how it sounded except small. I only heard it through the built-ins. Same for the similar GK bass amps. Honky.

Little speakers=small sound..can't fight physics.

Roccaforte Amps
10-26-2008, 11:05 PM
Billy Gibbons used one on the ZZ Top album
that has Loverboy on it.
He used it all over the album, go listen.
Cool amp, I played a few gigs with one and a 4 12.

RCM78
10-27-2008, 06:51 AM
I have one. Replaced the speakers a couple years ago. I loved it back in the 80's. Now it's one of those amps I play through for about a half hour and then come to my senses...

Scott Peterson
10-27-2008, 08:12 AM
My best friend had one in high school, we affectionately called it "the toaster".

He loved it and used it into a Marshall 412. Looked so tiny on that cab. :D

RGB
10-27-2008, 08:32 AM
When I saw this thread title, I rushed in here to buy it thinking it was for sale! Don't know that I'd gig with one these days, but it sure would be fun to have one just for the nostalgic novelty of it all...and what a great bedroom/rehearsal amp! Of course, this is all based on my fading memory! :D

Randy
10-27-2008, 10:00 AM
I used the rackmounted head version (250RL) with a delay and exciter in the loop as my main rig for years and years. I always got compliments on my tone. It sounded great at any volume and always recorded well too. Many years of gigging and rehearsals and it never let me down once.

Telecaster62
10-27-2008, 12:09 PM
I gigged with one for about 5 years in the 80's. It was a cool little box with the best direct out I've ever heard. Wasn't tube like in any real sense but had that great 80's rock vibe. It was also extremely reliable. I actually miss mine a little.

A440
10-27-2008, 12:53 PM
if I'm thinking of the right amp, I believe Gilmour also used them for recording. around the time of Learning to Fly??

Fatboy666
10-27-2008, 01:58 PM
I bring one to every gig. The clean sound and the chorus are amazing. The distortion is okay.

I use it as my spare - it's the difference between finishing the gig or telling the owner that we're done for the night after 6 songs :(

Lution
10-27-2008, 02:14 PM
I owned the combo from 87 til about 90. Loved it. Never got to plug it into a 4x12 but my buddy also had one with the GK 4x12. Sounded good for its time.

ahhh the good ole days.

I remember trading mine in for a Carvin X100B half-stack. Yep...

fretless
10-27-2008, 02:51 PM
There's one in the amp emporium right now for those interested.

imonabuss
11-14-2008, 08:29 PM
What are the actual external dimensions on these?

908SSP
11-14-2008, 11:21 PM
Just a guess because I am too lazy to go upstairs and look but I think about 12" wide 8" high and 6 " deep. They are all aluminum so they are heavier than they look like a lunch box with two filled thermoses.

EdMan57
11-14-2008, 11:59 PM
Anyone know what became of the 250ML III reissue?

http://artistrelations.com/movies/namm06_gk1.mov


Ed

EdMan57
11-15-2008, 12:14 AM
I found a little info on the GK forum.It looks like it is on the backburner while other products take first priority.

http://www.gallien-krueger.com/community_board.html


Ed

gtrgeek335
11-15-2008, 11:17 AM
I still have mine,bought new in'87. A great portable sound machine ! Awesome for demo work,records great, the compensated direct out sounds great through the p.a. Hey, this thing is great ! Did I say that I liked mine? Gordon

illini
11-15-2008, 11:20 AM
I still have one. One of the mid frequencies when out on it a few years ago, and I haven't wanted to spend the money to fix it. It is still fun to plug into now and then when you want "that" sound.

Flying Panda
11-15-2008, 11:24 AM
I think it was about '87 when I bought mine, too. Ditched it about 8 years ago. Great cleans, sweet chorus, the 2nd channel didn't do it for me. But, yes, very unique and pretty cool. Alex Lifeson used one on 'Power Windows'...you know..."The Big Money"...not my favorite Rush, but whatever. I'd pick one up for my son if I found one cheap, though. It was a pretty sturdy lil' sucker.

slo100
12-06-2008, 09:56 AM
Timely topic. I just finished installing new foam surrounds on the speakers on mine. It is a labor-intensive effort because the entire amp had to be dismantled to get the speakers out. However, new foam was only $25.

It is a real 80's time machine in a box. Very similar to the Rockman tone to my ears and will do Boston, Iron Maiden "Somewhere In Time" era tones, and of course Rush.

It does sound immense through 2 4x12's but that kind of tone gets buried live in my experience.

Some 250 ML TV trivia - the amp makes cameos in Iron Maiden's Wasted Years and Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive videos.

Rock on GK!

Soothsayer
12-06-2008, 02:30 PM
Anyone know what became of the 250ML III reissue?

http://artistrelations.com/movies/namm06_gk1.mov


Ed

I would by one of these in a heart beat, love this!

Hopefully they will market these.

Deft Tungsman
02-02-2009, 11:43 AM
Here's something the OP might be interested in reading.

In 1986, I bought a used GK 250ML (first version, flat front, exposed knobs) in Santa Cruz, CA to replace a Lab Series L5. Brought it with me to Europe and lugged around a HUGE 220V/110V step-down transfomer everywhere I went.

On its own, the thing was very loud, which always blew people's minds. The tones were largely as described above: hi-fi clean and compressed overdrive with serviceable reverb and chorus (an effect I have never liked and seldom used). And although the active 4-band EQ made for powerful tone shaping, the fundamental sound remained hi-fi, smooth, two-dimensional.

Plugged into an external speaker cab, the little booger turned into a little monster! Much more warmth and depth, and tons of volume on tap. As my rig evolved, the GK 250ML became the centerpiece of a portable rack/monitor system and 2 Marshall 1x12 cabs. It all worked the way I wanted, but it was a pain to have all that stuff to cart about in a big city with no car.

Sold the entire package in 1994 to buy my first tube amp, a Kitty Hawk M1, a German-made Boogie clone. That was my first step into the world of Amplifiers as Instruments. One year later, I sold it to get a Matchless Lightning. Everything else I've purchased since then have been toys, not real instruments.

But I digress...

Last year, I picked up a very clean 1988 GK 250MLII on ebay for the exact reasons listed by the OP: a pure nostalgia trip.

My impressions after twenty years? Holy smokes, this thing is loud!!! And guess what? The rest of the song remains the same, too. So, if you want to have that Boston sound in a bulletproof lunchbox, it's all there.:YinYang

I've decided to hang on to the thing for the time being, even though I hardly ever use it.

Here's a scoop for you. The real killer in the late-80s GK lineup was the GK MV200 Vocal Monitor. Same size as the 250ML, with four separate inputs and a bunch of outputs, all summed to mono. I picked one up on the 'bay a couple of weeks after getting the 250ML. I plug my mic, my amp, my acoustic guitars, iPod, whatever I want into this thing and it gives me a studio-quality monitor of the whole shebang in a small, elegant package with easy-to-use controls. It's a full PA and it fits on my bookshelf!:AOK

Soothsayer
02-02-2009, 12:13 PM
I have to agree! I bet if GK and Fractal Audio got together they could really do great things. I would love to get some feedback from the AXE-FX guys on how a MV200 would work out.

One of the things about the 250ML and the MV200 was the mic stand adapter. Having the 250ML on the stand and driving two Marshall 4x12 was just a total gas. Amazing tone.

tele_jas
02-02-2009, 12:28 PM
Oh man......I had one of those too!! I pulled the top off and turned those konbs and gave it more gain. Even those little built in speakers could thump! I sold mine in 2002 for $450, I couldn't believe I got that much.

I recently found some recordings I did in the early 90s... I was trying to figure out what amp? I then found one from the same time with mostly clean on it, and I knew right away it was my GK250ml.... Unmistaken clean tone and chorus!

Norjef
02-02-2009, 01:02 PM
Used one for a few years - easy to get past stuffy doormen into the downtown hotels for jobbing dates. Didn't scare soundmen either. The best way to use the XLR direct out (IMHO) was to H&K Redbox then to PA

For outdoor gigs I even ran the stereo headphone outputs to a GNARLEY Peavey CS800 and 2 1-12" EV cabs - wow was that loud (early 80's). Compared to good tube amps, unfortunately, the inherent tone sucks but the package is tempting.

they
04-14-2009, 12:25 PM
Great to see so many more 250ml fans! I bought my GK (flat front, first issue) used in 1985. It is the only amp I have ever owned. [Holy cow, I just realized I've had it for 24 years - can that be true? Wow!]

I had it modded slightly at Norms in Brooklyn in the late 80s- added an on/off switch for the internal speakers and upgraded the chips. I also picked up a 2x12 cab (G35s - closed back) Norms was making especially for the unit at the time. It was wired up in stereo - so your left/right outputs went to discrete inputs for each of the 2 12's. Mic those separately, pot them L&R and wow, did that chorus sound awesome!

Since then, I've toyed with lots of boutique gear - mostly at Ultrasound and upstairs at Rudy's, and I will say that my first experience with a 6L6 Bogner Shiva was like having scales removed from my eyes.

But after all these years and all those gigs - even packed into a backpack and lent out indiscriminately to acquaintences - that little bugger just keeps pumping out the volume and the tone. And it was always plenty loud (with the cab) - even for bigger outdoor gigs.

I always struggled with the overdrive sounds, which, being solid state, never sounded like what I was hearing on all the blues albums I was listening to (duh!). I never had any money to upgrade, so I went the pedal route for years. These days, to satisfy my unrequited love for tube tone, I set the GK flat and come in through a PODxt Live. This doesn't match up to the real thing, but for me, in my basement, it allows me to pay for diapers while exploring the nuances of some vintage gear.

I guess I am a luddite here - I have been playing my LP Custom since I bought it new in 1984 (it has the Tim Shaws - I always wondered why I liked the neck pup tone so much). I guess if it ain't broke...:RoCkIn

desertbluesman
04-14-2009, 12:30 PM
:BEER

Anyone remember these?

I had two back in 1985-86 and they were very cool.

Was thinking about times gone by, loved these little amps. Solid State, sounded like rolling thunder through two marshall 4x12's. I have one. Wanna buy it? $250 plus shipping/insurance and I will throw in a later model Micro lead that does not work. I have the foot switch and cable as well, pvt me for info.

Roccaforte Amps
04-14-2009, 12:45 PM
:BEER

Anyone remember these?

I had two back in 1985-86 and they were very cool.

Was thinking about times gone by, loved these little amps. Solid State, sounded like rolling thunder through two marshall 4x12's.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BXJ96o0GOw
ZZ TOP "rough boy" =250ML
In fact, a 250ML was used all over that album.

Lution
04-14-2009, 02:11 PM
I sold my 250ML, I purchased in 86', to the other guitarist in my band in 91'.

Just last weekend, I caught his new band at a local club. He's still using my old GK into some kind of 2x12 cab. Still going strong and still sounds like a remember it.

In Tune
04-14-2009, 02:21 PM
Never saw or heard that tune.. Billy with a 250ML for sure. Glad I still got mine. Bought her new in '86. I would buy the MLIII in a heartbeat. Come on GK.

Lex Luthier
04-14-2009, 06:35 PM
I had a 250ML years ago, the sound kind of reminded me of a Rockman. On the other hand, I picked up a GK ML-S head dirt cheap at a pawnshop recently, and that little thing really screams thru my 4x12, loud too.

realityczech
04-14-2009, 10:52 PM
The GK250ML was a common site in the "green rooms" or backstage rooms in the 80's for warmups ect...
Still cool.

kjriel
05-16-2009, 01:48 PM
Wow, what a trip down memory lane. Bought a GK250MLII back in college and played a hot pink USA hamer loaded with Duncan invaders through it. I've forgotten more about those days than I remember. Probably a good thing.

aleclee
05-16-2009, 02:53 PM
The earliest ones had some issues with heat dissipation. I fried mine during a sound check back when I was 19, complete with smoke coming out the top. The folks at GK fixed it for free and I still have one. I keep it around as a backup though it sounds pretty darn good with my POD XTL running through it.

Speeddemon
10-24-2010, 11:06 AM
Sorry for the old bump,
but does anyone know the difference between the 250ML mkI and mkII versions?

BCJek
10-24-2010, 12:07 PM
The front panel was recessed on the mark II models, giving some protection to the pots and the settings. Someone else can chime in, but I'm pretty sure the Mark II had a switch on the rear panel for turning on and off the internal speakers. My Mark I does not have this feature.

merkaba22
10-24-2010, 02:32 PM
Had both the first and second versions and BCJek is right -- used it w/ 2 MB 1x12's (stereo) with EVM 12Ls for gigging and recording -- would love to have another but hesitate a little since I now have a nice Fender SuperChamp w/ an EVM 10L for that small go to amp.

Speeddemon
10-24-2010, 04:39 PM
Thanks for the info!

I got an ML/E head myself, mainly bought it as a back-up for my Engl Invader 100, but I might start using it more, unless I can find a 2100 SEL head.
I play in a Maiden-tribute band, so that would be a great 'era-correct' backline.

@Merkaba, any sound difference between the two?

Speeddemon
11-06-2010, 06:37 AM
bumpski? :hide2

LiamSlack
11-07-2010, 08:52 AM
Looking to sell my GK 250ML - any takers? Make me an offer, it's headed to eBay otherwise. :)

Thanks gang!
-Liam

musicman1
11-07-2010, 09:26 AM
I sold many of these when i worked in retail in the late 80s.

Pesrsonally I hated them...really expensive, cold, boxy, mid rangy, with fuzzy speakers. OK for practice. The necessary accessories like footswitches and a microphone stand mounting bracket were really pricey too.

They sounded better slaved out to say a normal stereo 2x12 cab but still really solid state sounding. The chorus was pretty good run in stereo. The reverb/delay sucked. The od was really horrible.

Also, very very unreliable. GK gtr amps were always coming back due to overheating and shutting down issues. I personally got the chance to tell Rich Kruger this face to face and trust me, he wasnt surprized in the least bit.

A later version with more adjustable parameters was slightly better tonally.

Dont let anyone here tell you how great these are...they're really not...Id be curious to hear a ZT Lunchbox next to one of these though.

Currently, cheaper and 1000% better sounding is almost anything in a small PV or Line 6 made ss amp. I personally believe the Roland Micro Cube blows the GK away. And if gigging is part of the deal then a Cube 60 or A PV Vyper does the trick.

Smakutus
11-07-2010, 12:36 PM
I think Ted Nugent used one of these amps on the song Little Miss Dangerous... I owned one from 88 till the early 90's and it was cool sounding for what it was. I got rid of it after I started buying Boogies.

Jeff

DeaconBlues
11-07-2010, 01:38 PM
I owned one of these amps, also. It was handy, but not really very warm sounding as I remember it. Sort of a sterile sound.

Scoot
11-08-2010, 08:46 AM
Bought one of these back in 1990(ish). Sold it last fall. Made for a good lil' practice amp and could belt it out easily in the gym when playing guitar to accompany classes when they performed songs for school shows. I dug it.

billyguitar
11-08-2010, 01:11 PM
I'd bet a pair of ZT Lunchboxes would sound better. I played one yesterday at Guitar Center and except for being too thin on the lows thought it would actually be giggable in the rooms I play!
A while back I bought the 1x12 Club ZT. It's okay and plenty of headroom but not as good sounding as my regular amp so I let my sax player use it for his electric violin. It sounds good for that!
I still have a GK 2x12 channel switching amp that I bought in about '78 before those little amps came out. It quit working years ago but really was a good sounding amp.

TomStrat
11-21-2010, 02:36 PM
"I'd bet a pair of ZT Lunchboxes would sound better...."

No offense, but IMO you'd be wrong, i have both and the GK is freakin' awesome, it owns the lunchbox. I hadn't played mine in for quite a while and a friend inquired about buying it yesterday so i plugged it in last night and there is no way I'm selling this GK, it sounds really good. In fact i love the distortion channel on this thing, you have to back off on the 500Hz mid control or its gets really boxy/weird sounding. but if the 500Hz is dialed down the gain channel sounds quite good. To me the Chorus is a little over the top, very 80's i guess and the echo isn't super great but it does a decent job for a little ambiance.
I'm still shocked at how much bass comes from this little amp. Then i plugged it into my 4x12 this morning, holy cow, amazing. The EQ is very effective and you can really change the character of the amp if you spend some time dialing it in. Add some pedal's and you can do just about anything with this amp.

I really hope they go through with the reissues, I'd love to get another one with some modern updates.

Whooter
05-18-2011, 08:10 PM
What is this simple gain mod that I've heard everyone talk about performing on these?

teemuk
05-19-2011, 04:29 AM
Inside you find three trimmer potentiometers that can be used to adjust the gain of three preamp stages accordingly.

captaincrunch888
11-29-2011, 03:13 PM
can anyone tell me what type of footswitch will work with one of these GKs? ie; latching, non latching, can you use a multiple switcher to change channels and turn the effects on and off?.. i cant seem to find a GK specific switch so im wondering what other brand (if any) will work... thanx any answers would be much appreciated...

rocketman223
11-29-2011, 03:16 PM
I used to go out of my way to see a band where the lead guy played out of the small combo. It sounded huge.

PlayAndersons
11-30-2011, 12:56 AM
I used one back in the day with 4x12s and it sounded great. I let some kid borrow it that didn't have much money but loved to play and never saw it again. Give me back my amp you ding-dong...

NoBrakes
11-30-2011, 12:04 PM
can anyone tell me what type of footswitch will work with one of these GKs? ie; latching, non latching, can you use a multiple switcher to change channels and turn the effects on and off?.. i cant seem to find a GK specific switch so im wondering what other brand (if any) will work... thanx any answers would be much appreciated...


A peavey, crate two button or similar will work.... I use a old Crate with mine.

Gnarlly
11-30-2011, 12:50 PM
I used to own one and it sounded really good through a 4x12. Clean tones were sterile, but the distortion tones were very unique. Crank the gain trim levels, turn on the chorus and echo/reverb, and it nailed Iron Maiden's Somewhere In Time. I always ended up playing "Wasted Years" when I plugged into it :)

Lution
11-30-2011, 01:15 PM
I hope GK puts out the reissue. I'd buy one.

NoBrakes
12-02-2011, 01:56 PM
Dont let anyone here tell you how great these are...they're really not...Id be curious to hear a ZT Lunchbox next to one of these though.

Currently, cheaper and 1000% better sounding is almost anything in a small PV or Line 6 made ss amp. I personally believe the Roland Micro Cube blows the GK away. And if gigging is part of the deal then a Cube 60 or A PV Vyper does the trick.

Been there, doing that.. I still have a Micro cube and had a couple of ZTs... totally different uses for me... when I'm figuring out sounds I use the Microcube.. Low volume practice or a quick throw down I use the GK.. the ZTs, real mixed feelings...didn't really sound any better than the GK and I had to use a bunch of pedals to get what I wanted which defeated the purpose for me... I got my GK for $50.00 ... At this it was a no brainer.. I also have the new Eminence speakers that GK sells for these... I love my MicroCube... The GK is good but I understand the complaints.. having one and figuring out how to dial them in helps a lot.. I'd never buy a ZT again.. didn't care for the tone and everything I had to add to get the sound I wanted. It was pretty impressive how loud it could get for the size though.

sixesandsevens
12-02-2011, 03:24 PM
I saw at least one of these sitting around at Atomic Music in Beltsville, MD yesterday. I wanna say it had a tag saying $199 on it, but don't quote me. ;)

wishkahdaddy
12-02-2011, 03:38 PM
I used to lie awake at night back in my early high school years, trying figure out a way to get one of these. I heard a great local guitar player play one and I thought it was the greatest! I ended up with one and played it for years. Good memories...
:BEER

Anyone remember these?

I had two back in 1985-86 and they were very cool.

Was thinking about times gone by, loved these little amps. Solid State, sounded like rolling thunder through two marshall 4x12's.

NoBrakes
12-02-2011, 04:08 PM
I've seen them go for almost $300 on ebay....I don't think I'd give that much for one.. It's my favorite around the house amp.. Mine works really well with the volume knob, cleans up not to bad on the O.D side(needs too, lots there).. I get a big sound at low volumes so I don't disturb the Fam. I still like my tube amps much better for gigging.. I'd say it's an unbeatable backup..IMO of course.

58gasman
12-02-2011, 08:02 PM
I loved these back in the day.

I've seen a few in consignment/used stores for around $250.

Ted Nugent used one on the "Little Miss Dangerous Album".

Texsunburst59
12-02-2011, 10:11 PM
I've got 2 of these babies. Here's a couple of clips I did about 3 yrs. ago. They were recorded direct out of the amp into my computer. One clean and one dirty clip.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=633883&content=songinfo&songID=6138088

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=633883&content=songinfo&songID=6098519