Another trip down memory lane (Ampeg content)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Leonc, Jul 1, 2005.


  1. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Well I just re-bought the same model of the very first amp I owned: an Ampeg VT-40. Good freekin grief...I had good taste in tone and didn't even know it. Pearls before 18 year old swine. My original VT-40 was stolen before I even had it a year (not one of my fondest memories of growing up in Detroit :( ). Why oh why didn't I just get another one? Probably because my favorite rock stars weren't using them (though I did dig what the Stones and Ronnie Wood were doing with them back in the early 70s).

    Can't say a lot of good things about the design from a servicing perspective...and it needed some servicing (a few loose solder joint repairs and some TLC and it's working like a champ) ... thank you Fred Taccone!

    But ... as for tone--very, very cool. It's a little classic rock monster. I think the 2nd channel is where the action is. Get it up to 12:00 and my Les Paul grinds real nice. Up to 3:00 and the notes just spill into sizzling hot harmonic feedback. Late 60s/early 70s Stones tone for days. Same for early Small Faces (Ronnie Wood).

    Can't wait to try it with some pedals this weekend...probably a great pedal amp. And some P90s too....yeah baby!!!
     
  2. Nigel

    Nigel Guest

    Yes-s-s! :dude Are your ears ringing yet? :D For me, one of the sweetest guitar tones ever is Mick Taylor and Keef on the early '70's Stones tours. I've got a couple of bootlegs that sound great. Ampegs seem to combine sweet Fendery clang with a fearsome Marshall ker-thump.

    How much did the VT40 cost you? There's one at a local used shop for $700.
     
  3. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    I've never played through an Ampeg, but I do have a Sundown head. People have said the Sundown's clean channel sounds very Ampeg-like. I could see that I suppose given Dennis Kager's connection.

    Anyone know if this true? The clean channel on my Sundown sounds great, if that's what an Ampeg sounds like I can see why people love them :D
     
  4. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    $445. It has the 8ohm 10" Jensen replacement speakers (the original speakers were pretty bad and never lasted long, according to Fredric), but everything else (other than one pot) is original. Seemed like a decent deal; the seller is reimbursing me for the cost of the repairs. So...700 seems rather steep; but if it's in excellent condition, it's certainly a lot of tone for 700 bux when you think of what we often spend for amps around here...

    Yeah, it's loud when you get it up above noon or so...but nothing like a V4, from what I recall. It's low-end isn't as focused as my favorites, but it does have a good deal of body to it. Like so many of my other faves, the low-mids do seem to be very sweet on this amp. It's most definitely capapble of those early 70s era Stones tones. No brainer.

    CC - don't know about the Sundown connection...
     
  5. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Senior Member

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    I had one of those. Killer amp. Had to pawn it. I think Elliott Easton used one on some of the early Cars records.
     
  6. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    I have one too.

    I cut the speaker wire so I could put an attenuator between the speakers and the chasis.

    (Well, ok, actually at one point I pulled the chasis and put it in a box of my own devising - made of milk crates :D :dude Pretty easy to grab and the head/cab config was a little easier on the back than the original 80 lbs or whatever it is.)

    It gets pretty loud. Somewhere around 50-60watts isn't it?

    What speakers do you have in yours? I have the old CTS ones and have considered changing them out. Although I've used the 4x10's with a number of different heads and it never sounded bad.

    edited to make it understandable...
     
  7. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah, that's my understanding, about 50W.

    Here are the Jensens in mine - C10R, I believe:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    Didn't read your other post where you said what the speakers were very closely... obviously :rolleyes: Thought maybe you had something new in there. I keep reading about the eminences and pondering a move. anyhow... nevermind ;)
     
  9. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    Take that Les Paul of yours Leon, tune it down a half step, then move it down into open G, or in this case open F#. You will be grinning as a major chunk of the Stones, Faces and Black Crowes catalogs basically fall out of that guitar with minimal effort. Cool score! Another great thing on those amps is to turn the treble pickup tone knob down most of the way, then get the thing singing, and roll it up. You get a really good harmonic fold over. They also work great with the various vintage styled treble boosters. A good friend of mine schooled me regular with his VT-40, using a Les Paul copy and a Jordan Bosstone.. Wonderful sound..
     
  10. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah, good suggestions. Just got done blasting my Les Paul and P90s guitars through it. Day-um what a freeking GREAT sound!!

    Thing is a total pedal slut, eating up every pedal I've thrown at it--OD, distortion, treble-boost, clean boost, compressor, etc. Don't even need the amp about halfway up and you can make it totally sing with a pedal.
     
  11. 57special

    57special Member

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    The Sundowns i've played sound nothing like ampegs, funny enough. More like Boogies.
    The achilles heel of all of the Magnavox Ampegs is the speakers... the worst ones are those square magnet ones that sound like someone being skinned alive when the amp goes into distortion. Listen to Keef's solo on Sympathy for the Devil to give you an idea.
    Some of those Celestion vintage 10's go GREAT in the VT40, though i'm sure that Ted Weber has something good also. If you think it sounds good with those jensen RI's , wait till you try a good Celestion (not the G10 35L, the 50 is OK) or jensen knockoff . Closest thing to a tweed Bassman when turned up, with that snarling, nasty KICK.


    Real light amps, eh?


    I nominate the VT40 as the amp most likely to be used by the Borg.
     
  12. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah, the speakers seem like the weak link. I was playing it with a couple other cabs last night with G12H30s...nice. I'm not likely to start experimenting right away. But I was thinking about building a head cab for it...that'd help on a lot of fronts.

    The Borg? Yeah...I have been assimilated...again!
     
  13. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    These guys will make you a head cab:

    http://tinyurl.com/d7ssw

    even though they don't list it for the control facing up model I asked and they said they can. The speaker cab, with a set of wheels and minus the chasis, is really not bad at all.
     
  14. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    DUDE! That is a great suggestion! Will contact them and report back here...
     
  15. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep, fliptop will make a head cab (which will look pretty much like the top half of the amp) for 195. Really not a bad price. I'll probably go for it.

    Meanwhile, this amp passed the first acid test with flying colors: took it to rehearsal today and it sounded absoulutely stellar. Big fat cleans were absolutely great. Seems to be a real humbucker lover. Didn't want to play too loud so I relied mostly on pedals for dirt today...and like I said in an earlier post--the amp LOVES pedals.
     
  16. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    They do have a really big sound don't they? Not muddy just strong and fat. And lots of headroom for a 50 watter. Pretty different than a Super Reverb which I guess is about the closest you'll come with a Fender. I actually think it has a great jazz sound with everything at noon.

    But with the toggles for highs, mids and input levels you can get a really wide range of sounds. The only OD pedal I've ever had is an old rat from the 80s but a hot plate adds another level of joy too ;-)

    Post a picture of that head when you get it, will you? I'm curious if they'll have the controls facing the front or back, and if they're going to put the reverb pan in too. Should be cool!

    Although I see they're making combo boxes for them now too... hmm. But even with a single 12 or 2x10 it'd be pretty heavy I bet. Those trannys look like they weigh about 15 lbs each!
     
  17. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    The guy I spoke to at fliptop said they prefer to mount it the way it's mounted now, i.e., with the chasis mounted into the back of the cab and the tubes pointed downwoard. If I was sitting it on a big, tall cab, that would be pretty clumsy..but it'll just be on a 1x12 or a 2x12. So the cab will look like the top half of a VT-40 (sans the speakers, of course).

    Clearly, it's only going to be a bit lighter, not vastly lighter. The chassis is a big part of the weight, I'm sure. But it'll certainly be more managable in a head cab.

    And I'll definitely look forward to trying it attenuated so I can get a bit more juice out of it at tamer vol levels. Bet it'll sound awfully damn good through a couple Greenbacks or some other combo of Celestions.
     
  18. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah you'd pretty much have to have the tubes hanging down. What I meant was given that, you can put the grill cloth/panel/whatever on the side closest to the knobs or the side nearer the handle - where the speakers are now.

    It'd be more convenient if the knobs were on the grill cloth/ front side, but it'd mean the extension plug jacks etc would be facing front too, and you'd want it to be easily removable to get at the tubes. I guess that's what they don't want to hassle with - exposing that stuff through the front.

    No law against putting an ampeg badge on the back too and turning the whole thing around though ;)

    And you might still consider going the 4x10 route too. Maybe a different cab if you think that ones too heavy. Unless you know you really don't care for that sound. Personally I think it can be better than 2x12. Anyhow that head will make it a lot more versatile.
     
  19. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yah, separate 4x10 is not a bad way to go. But I prefer a closed back cab (I dig the tone and it definitely helps keep stage vol down). I'm definitely getting one of the new /13 closed back 2x12 (spkrs diagonally oriented) and I'm thinking that'll probably work really well for this amp.......I don't really want yet another cab sitting around, so I'll probably just try the /13 2x12 first...
     

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