5w of Magnatone vs 5w of Fender...Tele and a Les Paul were used...review>>>

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by yesteryear, Jun 5, 2006.


  1. yesteryear

    yesteryear Member

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    In the last few months I have:

    Installed Fralins in my 60s reissue Tele
    Picked up an Epiphone custom made for a guitar show Les Paul with a Koa body, Bustbucker and 57' Classic.
    Picked up a narrow panel Tweed Champ clone with an original brown frame Jensen C8R
    Picked up an original late 50s Magnatone 210 with an old grey frame Jensen C8R(5w with vibrato). Sorted out the static I was getting. Just a bad tube.

    These are my impressions of the various combinations of guitars and amps. All were done straight in to the amp with nothing in between. All had various NOS RCA tubes. The tone knob on the Maggie was set so both the Tele and the Les Paul were comfortable coming through the amps if you know what I mean. The tone knob on the Champ doesn't exist!!!

    Tele into Champ: Perfection. Not overly bright but still quite twangy and clangy. Crisp yet rounded attack with a singing overdrive. Never gives up and always stays detailed. Chords, lead anything sounds great.

    Les Paul into Champ: Very nice. However.... Overdrives the preamp too easy for me. Loses detail when really digging in at higher volumes. Still a nice overdrive. Think Townshend's lead on teenage wasteland. Quite fuzz like which is good for leads but again I miss the detail.


    Tele into Magnatone: Very nice. A little to bright though. The Magnatone has a tone control so this is tameable. However the "fatness" that the Champ exudes is not quite there with the Magnatone and Tele. Very detailed but can get brittle at higher volumes. I still love the combo but it doesn't even touch the Tele/Champ combo.

    Les Paul into Magnatone: Wow. Woody, fat, sustain, detailed. The perfect combo. I used to have an old Gibson Skylark and the Magnatone is very similar in tone. Overdrives very smoothly and gradually and never gives up.

    Overall thoughts and impressions about the two amps. The Champ has way more gain and in turn overdrive on tap and is much more aggressive sounding. Overdrives like a.... CHAMP? Much more "rubbery" on the attack than Magnatone. Very rounded as oppose to boxey(in a good way) like the Magnatone. This is why I think the Les Paul works so well with the Magnatone. The softer rubbery attack of the Les Paul blends well with the Maggie's hard attack. I can't really tell if the difference is at the preamp stage or output stage. Maybe a combo of both? Volume wise they seem capable of the same amount but the champ gets louder way faster. Both amps came "alive" when the volumes hit about half way. Anything less than that and I had trouble getting any real character out of them. Im dying to toss some Weber Alnicos in both to see where that goes but for now the Jensens are more than fine.

    This whole test really got me thinking. It would make sense that Fender made amps for Fender guitars. I can't really see them testing their own amps in the 50's and early 60s with Gibson guitars. Who knows?Maybe they did? And as I said before the Maggie really feels and sounds like my old Skylark and the two were match made in heaven. Again it would make sense that Gibson made amps for Gibson guitars. I never really put much thought in to this idea but as soon as I plugged the two guitars in to each amps both guitars sounded the best I think that they can. It just seemed like a very natural pairing. I couldn't be happier now that I have found a home for my Les Paul. I'll still use both guitars through both amps. After all the Maggie vibrato is something to smile about. I have trouble turning it off its just so damn good. I guess that its for my thoughts. Anyone care to comment on the Fender amp/Fender guitar etc idea. By the way I have a thing for low wattage amps.:crazy
     
  2. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Nice review!

    Your results echo my findings regarding the low wattage Fender/Fender and Gibson/Maggie pairings. I've got a '65 VibroChamp that hates anything hotter than your average Strat/Tele pup - just caves in on itself. The Maggie 440 I had was more forgiving than your 210 since it had 2-6V6s and a 12", but it sounded best with hotter pickups to me.
     
  3. Roe

    Roe Member

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    someone should make amps with the magnatone tone and vibrato
     
  4. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Juke does...
     
  5. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Erk: The fender guitar for fender amp probably has some truth to it, at least in the early years. Leo was pushing both lines, developing both more or less at the same time, for the same markets. So that would make sense.

    I don't think the same could be said for Magnatone. They went kind of all over the map in amp voicings. Seems to me they were looking for the accordian market just as much as for guitar players with many of those amps. (That's probably true for many of the 50s/60s manufacturers.
     
  6. jpervin

    jpervin Supporting Member

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    Wonder what sounds best with a non-reissue Ampeg Jet?
     
  7. daphil

    daphil Member

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    Well, I'm glad the Maggie has found a good home and made it safe to your place! That was pretty fast too!

    Enjoy!

    Philippe
     
  8. erksin

    erksin Member

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    With the 6V6 version, P-90s sound REALLY nice...
     
  9. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I actually think the '60s 400-series Magnatones have much more in common with the '60s Crestline-series Gibsons than the 200-series amps of the '50s. The '60s versions could easily tolerate hotter pickups IME. The smaller 200-series amps have quite a lot of mids on their own (and really NICE mids too!)...
     
  10. yesteryear

    yesteryear Member

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    For a while I was looking at my Les Paul thinking it was too hot...what's wrong with it. After hearing the Maggie I was happy to hear that it was the amp, not the guitar as funny as that is.
     
  11. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Erk: There's definitely something to that. Both Gibson and Magnatone were trying to adapt to newer tastes, much louder stages. I think the Maggie 400 series was more consistently successful than the Gibson Crestline. Maybe not as much sound difference between the 200 and 400 magnatones as I've heard between earlier Gibsons and the later Crestlines.
     
  12. erksin

    erksin Member

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    In what way?

    Magnatone only had like 6 or 8 different models going, Gibson had at least a dozen - Gibson had more options in the early '60s than any of the other major companies at the time (tube compliment, speaker choices, built-in reverb, stereo, on-board oil can delay, etc)...
     
  13. e???

    e??? Member

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