carmen ghia! i think i'm in love!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jumpchamp, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. jumpchamp

    jumpchamp Member

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    so not too long ago, madison was kind enough to let me take his carmen ghia off of his hands. for this i'll be grateful a very long time! i've used it at two gigs now and tonight had tone that i've only heard in my head before now!

    i've paired it with the now famous avatar V30/H30 cab. the speakers are finally starting to loosen up, so that's helping. when i got it from madison, it had a jan12ax7 in v1, 5751 in the pi, grade 6 GT el84s, and a 5V4G rectifier. sounded great right away, but was actually a bit loud when i got the breakup i wanted. sooo....

    after doing some testing, i've stayed with the JAN in V1. this tube is just incredibly strong and musical, and i'm hoping will last me a while, because i'm going to need to find more. i played with the PI a ton, and actually ended up with a JJ ECC83S graded for higain in there. some of you may be coughing at the thought of a really strong 12ax7 in the pi, but for me it's nothing but good things. i also got some new JJ el84s that were graded for early breakup and changed the rectifier to a mazda 5Y3.

    i know this isn't a traditional ghia setup, but it's giving me the tone i want and in spades! i'm discovering that this setup really wants to be fed single coils/p90s. buckers sound fine, but the singles just make it sing. you'll have to pry my hotrodded yamaha pacifica out of my cold dead hands! (put a kent armstrong p90 in the bridge, and a splittable duncan jazz in the neck and left the stock single in the middle, in addition to the color changing/sparkle paint job).

    board consists of korg dt-10 tuner, morley little gator volume pedal (now my "channel switcher" - i jump around too much to be accurate with the volume knob on the guitar, so this is working really really well) dano chicken salad vibrato (AWESOME leslie type effect, just need it rehoused) stock boss bd-2 for solo boost, and digitech digidelay (analog setting) for when i need that fun stuff.

    what i know is this, my as73 artcore is getting some new p90s (phat cats or KA's again) and i NEED a tele-sonic with the dearmond 2k singles! i'll be in tonal nirvana.

    just felt like sharing. thanks again madison, i think i'm a Z guy for life now!
     
  2. tch2112

    tch2112 Member

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    Z's are special amps foe sure and so many to try!
     
  3. rpavich

    rpavich Member

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    Wowza....

    My Ghia shipped out yesterday and I'm hoping this is what kind of post I can put up when it gets here....I can't wait!

    bob:D
     
  4. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    Very cool jumpchamp, and welcome to Z land! The little Ghia is capable of generating some very rewarding moments once those tubes heat up! Glad you're experiencing the mojo:D
     
  5. jumpchamp

    jumpchamp Member

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    madison, i'll have you to blame (thank) when i'm calling up dr. zaite and inquiring about some of his other beauties...it's bound to happen!

    :D
     
  6. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

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    Glad you like the Ghia so well. I've been married to mine for 8 years next month (sad that I remember, isn't it?). The honeymoon has lasted almost 8 years.

    I've tried other Z's and other boutique amps, and the Ghia just works for me.

    I like that you tried a bunch of different tube combinations to find what works best for you. The Ghia sounds great no matter how you set it up, but the right tubes (and even more importantly the right speakers) for you take it from great to magical.

    What kind of music are you playing with your ghia?

    ENJOY it for YEARS!
     
  7. jumpchamp

    jumpchamp Member

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    thanks Peach. i plan on enjoying the ghia for a long long time.

    i'm playing powerpop/indie type music. i guess if ben folds, elvis costello, the gin blossoms, and third eye blind got in an alley fight we'd end up sounding something like that.

    check it out for yourself -> www.myspace.com/minorsetbackoh
    -or-
    www.minorsetback.net
     
  8. dmbandtimmy

    dmbandtimmy Member

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    Nice! What amp were you using before? I want to check into Ghias myself. I tried a Heritage amp that I am really excited about, but I want to try a lot of amps out before I end up making a purchase and I have heard a lot of good things about Ghias. BTW, what pedals are you using with the Ghia, I heard they take pedals pretty well, is that the case ?
    Thanks!
     
  9. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

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    the ghia is certainly at home in that context. i don't know why more guys don't use them as rock amps... the bands i've played in with the ghia are not dissimilar to the music your band plays; it's just that none of them were ever as good as you guys sound. great music man!
     
  10. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

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    I'm looking for a second amp to compliment my zinky head....I like small and easy to carry like the Ghia.... just wondering what pedal would you have to stick in front of the Z to get into 80s, Zep, Schenker type tones? I'm guessing you can get a SRV tone straight in.....
     
  11. jumpchamp

    jumpchamp Member

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    dmbtimmy: pedals are korg tuner-> morley lil gator volume pedal (for clean/dirty and everything in between) -> danelectro chicken salad vibrato -> blues driver -> digitech digidelay -> amp.

    it does take pedals really well. the delay is particularly cool i must say. i don't have any fancy pedals as of right now, but these are getting the job done. i know that lots of guys have success with all sorts of different OD's in the ghia, so just try a bunch and see what happens!

    i was playing a carvin nomad 1x12 previously. really nice cleans, but the drive left me feeling empty :) it's good for what it is, just not what i wanted (and i didn't want to do all the mods that are out there, but maybe one of these days). i really wanted a more simple amp, which the ghia certainly is. (plus i'm from cleveland, and with Z being a local guy, how could i not support that?)

    peach: thanks for the compliments! without being egotistical, we're really proud of those recordings. the engineer/producer we worked with is nothing short of incredible (gold and platinum to his credit). the rhythms on there are double tracked (part played twice) original matchless DC-30s. leads are orange rockerverb 50 (my other guitarist's amp) through a v30/greenback orange cab. the lead parts sound a bit synthy because we did second tracks an octave up from the original part and with the gain maxed on the orange, plus a bit of verb. i can't wait to get in the studio again with carmen and a host of tubes as well as all the different cabs we'll have at our disposal. you could do an entire album with that amp and have different tones on every track just by switching those things around!
     
  12. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

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    hey, I'm from Cleve too....I'll have to look for you guys sometime, your sounds great...
     
  13. jumpchamp

    jumpchamp Member

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    cool, thanks neastguy! we're playing at the hi-fi in lakewood on august 26.

    your best bet with the ghia for that type of sound would probably be to have a bit of breakup already going from the amp and then use a pedal setup for high input and not necessarily gain. i'd think the plexi in a box type pedals would work for that sound, or maybe even a rat set for low gain. if you set it up the right way (tubes, etc) i think you can get relatively close to early zep with just the amp and some volume. the tone control is really responsive. SRV wise, you'd probably still want a strat and TS. you won't "nail" it, but those songs wouldn't sound bad! the speakers you use will really change the sound of this amp too, so keep that in mind.

    the beautiful thing is that it's just voiced so well. it sounds like a guitar amp, not a souped up bass amp or anything like that. and it's so responsive, everything you play comes out of the speakers. my vibrato technique, even after a few weeks, is already better than it's ever been. or at least i can actually hear it now! so you're technique's gotta be clean, it'll all come through!
     
  14. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    I can assure you, it will happen:D

    Checked out your music Greg...VERY nice job, best of luck to you guys!
     
  15. raz

    raz Member

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    IMHO, not really. You can't get authentic SRV tone straight into a Ghia. However, SRV licks played straight into a Ghia sound good. It just isn't "authentic", if that's what one is into. SRV's best tone is big and clean on the bottom and the distortion is toward the high end. Hence his obsession with the Dumble Steel String Singer, which is essentially a guitar preamp into a bass power section.

    The Ghia's tone control, which is very cool, won't give you the ability to really focus the high end without thinning out the bottom end. So it won't be authentic SRV tone. Also, the Ghia's midrange frequencies tend to behave more like a Marshall than the midrange on Fenderish amps .

    Now, before everyone jumps on me for blasphemy of the Ghia, the Ghia's tone is unique and glorious in its own right, and I think it's an excellent blues amp without sounding cliche. It's also an excellent "indie" type amp, and it'll do nice work on classic rock type sounds. I really liked my Fulltone FDII in front of mine. I could get plenty over the top with that. Usually I used the Flat Mids setting.

    The Ghia sounds good with pedals, but really it's designed to get its distortion the old fashioned way. I think I got better, purer tones with just the amp or with the amp and an RC Booster. That was the best, IMHO. That's what I used on our covers of SRV tunes. Did it sound just like Stevie? No. Did it sound great? Yup. Well, I mean, as great as it could sound given my marginal talent. ;)

    The Ghia is big fun in a little package. Definitely a big bang-for-buck amp. C'mon, a PTP handwired amp for less than a grand? Killer. I miss mine and it's only been gone a week.

    R
    A
    Z
    (If you're wondering, I sold my Ghia because it tended to overlap with my GDS tonally. They weren't identical, but close enough that I didn't feel like keeping both around)
     
  16. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

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    hmmm......I was also thinking about maybe a atomic 16 head or twintone head....
     
  17. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    Raz nails it above. If you're looking for "SRV tone", you won't get it with a Ghia. Dr Z so far hasn't made 6L6 amps, although it's rumored to be around the corner...:cool:
     
  18. jumpchamp

    jumpchamp Member

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    raz,

    i think you expanded on what i was trying to say. it won't be SRV, but it'll sound damn good!
     
  19. The Whiz

    The Whiz Member

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    I think a Carmen Ghia 1x12 and a Z28 1x12 run in stereo would be a sweet ass little rig. Weber Alnico Blue Dogs and/or Silver Bells in em. Yummy.

    taco
     
  20. raz

    raz Member

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    I'm dying to try a Z-28 and have yet to have the chance. Sure like the clips I hear of them.

    How close are the Blue Dogs to Celestion Alnico Blues? I didn't at all like the Ghia with Celestion Blues, and I've heard several of my friends with Ghias say the same things. But I've never tried Blue Dogs.

    The Ghia does well with G12H30's, and I mostly ran mine through a Z-Best with the G12H30/V30 combination. I'd planned to start trying different speakers but ended up selling the whole shebang.
     

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