Ampeg Gemini - Enough headroom for jazz?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bickertfan, Dec 29, 2005.


  1. bickertfan

    bickertfan Member

    Messages:
    375
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    Dart, NS - Canada
    Does anybody know if an Ampeg Gemini 1 has enough clean headroom for jazz playing. I have a Reverend Hellhound which is a nice amp but is allways a little broken up - charming for playing rock but I can't stand it for jazz. I need something where chords remain clear. Any thoughts?
     
  2. redjet55

    redjet55 Member

    Messages:
    254
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    depends on how loud you’re gonna play.

    If you’re doing fusion or funk with a loud drummer I doubt it will cut it for clean.

    Low volume work or with the amp mic’d probably
     
  3. olectric

    olectric Supporting Member

    Messages:
    535
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    nashville
    I have an Ampeg Gemini II, and for playing old standards with a small combo, is it great. I do not think it would do well in larger venues because it's not a loud amp. I'm not sure what the differences are between the I and II, though.
     
  4. bickertfan

    bickertfan Member

    Messages:
    375
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    Dart, NS - Canada
    Thanks for the replys - I believe the amp is only 22 watts so I am not expecting it to keep a clean sound over a rock drummer. But if it will approach that volume level and remain undistorted I would be happy. The Reverend will distort when you dig in with a pick, even at bedroom practice volumes (cool amp for what it's designed for though)
     
  5. AL30

    AL30 Member

    Messages:
    2,972
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    I have a '66 Gemini I. It is currently on the bench. While I had it up and running briefly the sound was just amazing. Ampegs really are sleepers. The cleans were fantastic and the just "popped off the fretboard" - direct quote from my instructor who plays a lot of jazz.

    BUT, once the amp went past 5 on the volume forget. It was a crunch machine. A crunch machine. Did I mention... Yeah? Really it was. So much so that I had to try swapping pre-amp tubes to lower the gain. It was saturated by around 7. Granted it was a really nice sounding distortion but it was a little too much for me. I also read a post on Ampage recently where someone else was having the same problem.

    I think the differences between the Gemini I and II are wattage and speakers - Gemini I having a 12" and the Gemini II having a 15" and being slightly higher wattage.

    Some Ampeg info.

    http://www.ggjaguar.com/ampeg.htm

    I own two Ampegs (the Gemini and an SB-12 Fliptop) and I still think these things out-preform most of the amps I own (and I own too many). For straight cleans the Ampegs are every bit as good (if not better) as my Fender Twin. Early Ampegs are very underrated amps - pick 'em up cheap while you can. You can pay a lot more and do a lot worse.

    AL
     
  6. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,328
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Montclair, NJ
    I've played both models. As others have said, volume is the issue. The Gemini I was 20 watts or so with 7591 tubes, I think cathode biased. Pure and beautiful clean tone, reverb to die for and world-class trem. But not loud enough for more than medium volume jazz gigs. The one I played stayed clean up to 2 or 3 oclock on the dial. Then OD came in, and wasn't all that pleasing. The Gemini II came with either 7159 or 6L6 tubes, 30 watts or so, fixed bias and the 15 inch speaker. I played a 7159 example. Once again, beautiful sound, but too quiet. Very nice OD when you dimed it. Way cool reverb. These are supposedly louder and tighter with the 6l6 tubes. If you could find one like that, then swap out the stock alnico for an efficient ceramic speaker, I think the Gemini II/VI would work very well for louder jazz. A speaker swap would also benefit the Gemini I, which has just the prettiest sound.
     
  7. bickertfan

    bickertfan Member

    Messages:
    375
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    Dart, NS - Canada
    Great replys - Saves me having to go through the process of purchasing site unseen (unheard) to find this out. I really have a specific purpose (jazz) for this and it sounds like the Gemini 2 would be more suitable. The speaker type raises an interesting point. I have a Earcandy 1 12" cabinet with a high headroom Eminence speaker in it so I can mix and match a bit, or maybe wait for an Evans or Acoustic Image head to come along - but - foresake the magic of tubes hmm...
     
  8. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,490
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Another perspective to take is that everyone should be buying one of these amps..they are such sleepers and are underpriced.....it's a great practice amp for my TV room..and the blue checkered tolex makes it look cool/retro enough that my wife doesn't even complain about it being in the family room..it looks like cool furniture.

    Telewacker is a pro guitarist/saxophonist, and plays jazz gigs...he is absolutely in love with the Ampeg Gemini to the extent that he has been unloading some pretty top notch boutique amps to exclusively play the Ampeg at gigs, and he has bought a total of 3 now (and I bought one from him). He has gone through quite a speaker swapping exercise with his Gemini and finds of course that it makes quite a big difference, as would be expected.

    I agree with all that has been said above, however, I feel that if you were to purchase a highly efficient speaker that you might end up being exactly where you wish to be. Consider E-mailing him to learn more about his experience.

    I heard one of his Ampegs a few weeks ago with a Guytron Big Tone 55 in it, and it was incredible! I still have the original Jensen in mine, and don't care for it...I'm going to purposely put an inefficient speaker in mine to bring the volume down even more and get earlier breakup. I enjoyed hearing one with a Weber Bluedog in it which sounded killer, but the Guytron Big Tone 55 is the bomb.
     
  9. AL30

    AL30 Member

    Messages:
    2,972
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    bluessyndicate,

    That's an interesting thought about the speaker. Mine has the original Jensen as well - which I just reconed (she was ready to go) and I was considering putting another speaker in it ... to get more headroom. Hmmm? Different strokes I suppose.

    Funny what you said about your friend and his boutique amps. Glad to hear. It's tough to get people on the Ampeg bandwagon - it's either Fender, Marshall or boutique. I've gotten too many compliments to count about my SB-12 and it's a stock amp. Nothing fancy just a great design and good construction.

    Maybe we should stop telling people about these I still need a few more. :)

    AL
     
  10. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,490
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Lol! That's always the joke amongst Ampeg Gemini owners in the know! I keep forgetting about the secret..

    ahem...Ampeg Gemini's suck! Don't buy them. Who would want a marhshally lightweight combo with reverb and tremolo that cleans up like a fender (sorta) with the guitar volume...all for $350-400.
     
  11. 57special

    57special Member

    Messages:
    4,810
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    Location:
    MN
    stick new tubes (if necessary) and a more efficient speaker in a Gemini I (G12H, EVL) and you should have enough volume. The Gemini II's aren't really louder, to my ears- the sound of the Gemini I is more focussed, to me. They all vary a bit- i've kept a RR 2 out of all my Ampegs- it's loud as hell!
     
  12. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,328
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Montclair, NJ
    A fellow Ampeg-appreciator told me he has found huge variation in volume especially between different examples of the same Ampeg. I have heard some differences myself. Guess the moral is, find the one that sounds right to you. The Geminis in particular have such a distinctive sound. I don't know why these amps are not more popular. So many older players have owned them and ditched them early on when they could afford bigger, more popular amps. Whatever the reason, the price is right, and that reverb is perfect.

    The RR is also one fine blues amp, but my all-time favorite Ampeg is the pre-reverb era Mercury. Great stuff!
     
  13. mwbrock

    mwbrock Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Location:
    California
    I just fixed up a Gemini 2 that I bought before I could afford to retube it (before 7591's were reissued). It has a reconed original 15" Jensen, all new filter caps, and is biased per the schematic specs. All the voltages check out. It's now the best sounding amp I have tone-wise, but it doesn't seem particularly loud. Initially I though there must be something wrong, but this thread leads me to believe otherwise.

    I think the gain structure on this amp is designed so that you're not pushing any limits. The volume knob is remarkably linear compared to all the Fenders I own. It just keeps getting louder all the way to 2 or 3 oclock, when some pleasant breakup starts. For my Fenders, most of the action happens in the first 1/3 of the dial. A boost pedal can probably make this thing louder without too much more breakup.

    Another factor seems to be that this is not a particularly bright amp, so I can get it louder without a lot of ear fatigue.

    By the way, the Gemini 2 loves my OCD, which I was ready to list in the emporium. It's a perfect combination.

    Sorry to add to the Ampeg hype. If you monitor ebay for the Geminis or Reverberockets, you'll see that they're all from New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania. There must be one in every household. If I lived around there, I'd be checking my local classifieds daily.
     

Share This Page