Demeter TGA-3 and TGA 2 questions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Steve_2020, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Steve_2020

    Steve_2020 Member

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    Any opinons on the Demeter TGA guitar amps? Seems like you hardly see them for sale, but there's a Demeter TGA-3 and a TGA-2 (both heads) on EBay right now.

    I was trying to some info on em a few months ago when someone was selling a '3' here. It sold pretty quickly, and then I got pulled away into another project before getting the info I was hoping to find on Jim Demeter's guitar amps.

    Seems like fans of these amps don't waste much time picking them up when they're available and one of the heads on EBay is right here in the neighborhood, though it's being sold through a commercial EBay auction house.

    I did manage to find out the TGA-3s have been discontinued after being made for a long, long time. I'm wondering specifically if the TGA-2 is the direct replacement for it, and if it delivers the TGA-3 tone at lower wattage/volume.

    Or if the 100 watt TGA-3 can sing at lower volume...

    I've heard the TGA-3 sound fantastic in a big room then at an outside show when played by Sonny Landreth on the South of I-10 tour. Sonny knows how to work ah amp's powerstage and though it was loud, he got magical tone out of the Demeter.

    I'd always liked Sonny a lot, but when I got hit by the double whammy of hearing the "South of I-10" CD then seeing him play it live a month later (around 1995 or so) I elevated him to Tone God status. About a year later I saw him again and he'd switched to a Dumble...and sounded great again.

    I connected the dots that at least Sonny Landreth can get great, fat, bluesy tones out of either amp. Similar tones.

    He also uses a Matchless for smaller stuff now (and some other stuff to record) but I read an interview with him where he said the Demeter TGA 3 does a Blackface fender sound, a Marshall sound and a Dumble sound. If I can get a head which will do all that without peeling paint, I'm interested.

    My days of 100w amps are over and just wondered if anyone had tried/heard the newer, 'in production' (50 watt?) TGA-2s..?

    When I was trying to get info before, it appeared that there'd been an update to the TGA-2. I hope I have the model right... I'm referring to Demeter's newer 'in-production' replacement for the TGA-3.

    I emailed a dealer about this amp, which they had on sale, wanting to know if it was the latest version with the upgrade I believe the newer ones have. I didn't hear anything back.

    TIA for any info, or if there's a forum where I might go to find out about this company and its products, other than harmony central. I've read what they have on the TGA-3.

    Or if someone is playing an original 100 watt head or one of the newer amps and wants to just email me directly, that's fine too.

    Demeter makes high quality audio products of all types - not just guitar amps. But you don't see much Demeter stuff around. The only other name guitar player who jumps to mind as using a Demeter half stack is Bonnie Raitt and I think she may have switched in recent years.

    Thanks
     
  2. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    I have a 100 Watt TGA-2 and one of each TGA-3 and a TGP-3.

    To my ears, the "3"s have it all over the "2". TGA-3 does all that stuff you expect from it. TGA-2 sort of is in a similar direction, but seems to miss the mark for me. To my ears, TGA-3 is one of the great amps of all time. It has a unique fiery hot searing lead sound, ridiculously incredible clean sounds.

    On the other hand, another guy here who has had both, describes his TGA-2 exactly the same way I describe TGA-3 and his experience with TGA-3 didn't quite ring his bell. If you search these forums you can probably find that thread.

    Demeter isn't making any more TGA-3s. Even if you ask. That's why I have a few - I have spares. I also got the different Wattages. Plus, I know a tech who has worked on several TGA-3s.

    As far as low volume, an attenuator helps.
     
  3. gregc

    gregc Member

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    I've had em both, and sat them side by side. I love both amps. The '3' had more EQ options and a controllable boost for the 3rd channel which the 2 did not........ until the recent 2.1 version, which I believe adds a control for the boosted 2nd channel (hi-gain sound). My old '3' was also built with a 75W Fender ultralinear transformer. I'm sure Jim no longer is using those. They sound different but they're both real good amps. If you can, try them both. They are both loud amps. Having said that, the 100W Inverter is not punishing loud and comes with a 50/100W switch. In any case, I always liked the tone best with it set to the 100W setting (Pentode ve Triode mode).
    My old '3' was SN 8. The early ones differed from each other as Jim experimented and refined the amp so ....... they're not all the same, I guess is what I'm saying.
    gregc
     
  4. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    One of my TGA-3s has that transformer. I have a couple of the slave units and I'm not sure what those have.

    I should clarify that my TGA-2 is the old kind, not the TGA-2.1, which I have no experience of.
     
  5. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

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    I owned a TGA3 for a long time. The lead channel was awesome, main reason I had to have it after playing it. The clean channel was sterile sounding to me and the middle channel which was supposed to crunch like a Marshall...didn't. I am sorry I got rid of it cause it was cool and I would have liked to experiment with tubes a bit more with it. Mine had a toroidal tranny. I talked to the guys at Demeter a while back and they said that they improved the clean in the TGA2 but I have never heard one.


    Dennis
     
  6. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    Yea, I was introduced to the Demeter TGA-3 after hearing/seeing Sonny as well. Just had to have one. I've been through a few and settled on a TGP-3 Preamp and TGA-Slave Power Amp. My power amp is rated 75 watts (2X 6L6)( although James Demeter said they put out between 50 to 60 watts) and has the toroidal transformer. This combined with the TGP-3 offers more flexibility than the head but both share just great tones. Great touch sensitive amps........a lot to do with having an ultra-linear output section.
    Although you can get it to sing at low volumes, it really sounds best when the masters are past 12:00. Channel 1 is a great Fendery clean and when you turn up the gain, you get those Robben Ford "D" tones. This is the channel I use with my Zendrive and it nails that tone at all volumes. Channel 2 delivers great Marshall tones and with the boost engaged it just rips, more gain than I ever need or use. Channel 3 is a very smooth high gain channel, sensitive gain control, very touch sensitive, a little less harmonic content than the other two channels. This channel reminds me of those David Lindley slide tones from clean to massive distortion.
    Just look at the list of Artists that use or have used the TGA-3 on great recordings and you can see/hear the quality and versatility of these amps. That list includes Sonny, Bonnie Raitt, Michael Ward, Clint Black's Steel guitar play (Peterson-I think), John Hiatt, DeLeo with Stone Temple Pilots, and more.
    I've been through a lot of amps, but Demeter TGA-3's have been my go to amps for 10 years, even if now I just get together with the guys for fun.
    Just grab one and test drive it yourself, I'm pretty confident you could sell it if it didn't suit your needs.
    FWIW,
    Rick
     
  7. Steve_2020

    Steve_2020 Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. Very helpful and confirms a lot of what I'd thought. There is magic tone in the '3' for sure..

    Sorta wish someone would have checked in with a user's opinion of the TGA-2, but the info here was more than I could ask for. I knew they were great amps from the players using them- and my own ears. Just tough to go somewhere and try one out....

    Seems like folks in the LA area do well demoing them somehow (perhaps I'm wrong). I do believe I could fairly easily resell one if it wasn't my cupr of tea but I hate the ebay process..

    If anyone has has anything else to add, pls do.

    thanks!

    Steve
     
  8. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    I did, and I think some others did too.

    I have a TGA-2 downstairs right along with my three TGA-3s. I've used the TGA-2. And every once in a while I get it out and see what it's about. But it's not an amp I push on anyone. The TGA-3 is another story.

    And I am sure that in another thread there was a guy who has used both and preferred the TGA-2. And that was before the TGA-2.1 came out.
     
  9. Curly

    Curly Member

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    Sonny no doubt gets great great tone. There's a lot of gear info on his site I think.

    On Grant Street, he used his Dumble and Matchless DC 30 running in stereo, and said the only editing they did was to pan the amps a little wider.

    Sonny uses his Demeter when he travels. He gets his great fat strat tone partly from the Demeter pedal that he uses as a mid boost.

    sorry, I can't help you with any first hand knowledge of the Demeter amps, though :(
     
  10. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    I have an early TGA2-100 watt head (I think #5? ) , and an early TGA3 combo..

    Take my opinions with a grain of salt, as opinions over the net are just opinions!

    MY TGA2 is WAY QUIETER .... I can't find anything the matter with my TGA3 but the hi-gain is way noisy. It has the TORROIDAL transformer.. woopee ... it's noisy. . IT's WICKED HARMONICALLY RICH... BEAUTIFUL sounds exactly like Stone Temple Pilots... The TGA2 has NO NOISE at all.. Is nowhere near as harmonically rich or versatile ,but is a totally professional amp thru and thru... I'm totally bummed mine doesn't have the separate volume control/gain controls for channel 3 , so the way it's set up , it's useable as a 2 channel amp for me... They smartened up and now figured out with the separate controls it's an excellent 3 channel amp.. The mod costs too much for me.

    SO There ya go.... I don't know if I have an open cap or something in the TGA3 75 watter, but the hi-gain is noisy and the hum control , although it eliminates hum ,doesn't eliminate the other noise.. ALSO since mine is a 1x12 combo, it's not designed so you can actually see the knobs at your gigs. . The chassis is too far back in the combo , and there's LOTS of knobs, and you can't see them. I'd love to try another to see if it's quieter than mine, as it's an ultra cool amp

    ERIC
     
  11. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

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    My TGA3 was remarkably quiet in the high gain mode...I think there is something wrong with yours...

    Dennis
     
  12. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    Yea I think so too, as my tga2 is totally quiet compared to most of my amps. I have lots of amps too! The Tga3 would be awesome hi-gain if it was quieter.. I've ruled out each tube and the hum control works, so someday when I have more time I'll delve deeper. Thanks for letting me know that! ERIC
     
  13. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    You're in Vermont, but if you ever get to New York City there is a guy (Matt Wells) that has a good knowledge of TGA-3s.
     
  14. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

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    Mine started out as a combo and I found it to be a very weak sounding cab with any number of spkrs.. I had James send me a head cab for it. You have probably tried it but it sounds so much better through a different cab...4x12 for awesome huge fat lead tones, quality 2x12 open back for richer cleans... Wish I still had mine... I got it way back before the boutique revolution for about 1100 or 1300 (can't remember exactly) in an unloaded combo cab, a huge number for an amp at that time, but great fat lead tones and I had to have it. . Tried to sell it a few years later and nobody was paying a grand for an amp at that time and I couldn't move it. Ended up give it to my friend the recording equipt. broker as a commission for getting me a steal on a Neve console. Oh well, I think about picking one up now and then, maybe it'll happen.

    Dennis
     
  15. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    I usually run my TGP-3 and TGA-Power Amp through a Roccaforte 1X12 open back cab loaded with an 8 Ohm Governor. If I really want to make some noise, I run it through my 4 Ohm DR Z 4X10.
    Both cabs sound great clean or in overdrive.
    FWIW,
    Rick
     
  16. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    Anybody have the scoop on the TGA 2.1 50 watt head?
    S>
    j
     
  17. gregc

    gregc Member

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    I think it's the same as the ol TGA/2 Inverter, with a gain control for ch#2's boost.
    gregc
     
  18. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    Hi, and thanks a lot.. Yep there's a LOT going on inside the TGA3 and very crowded!!! It'd be great having someone close by who was familiar with them. I've heard nothing but great about Matt Wells. I'm rarely in NYC but will keep it in mine.. I'm hoping my Houston Astros might play the Yankees tho in the World Series!! Or the Red Sox..... ANYONE! When People's Express started their airline, I used to fly down to Newark and take a bus to NYC and spend the whole day on w48th strett and then fly home at night for about 70.00!!! No more unfortunately


    Thanks for the info

    ERIC
     
  19. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    You should! I actually don't mind the sound of my 1x12 with the Demeter. It has a Mesa /Cele MC90 in it and actually matches the amp very nicely as would the new Eminence Governors or Cannabis Rex's.. So many excellent speakers these days (imo) The cab on this is very similar it seems in dimension to my old Seymour Duncan Convertible 100 1x12 I had, and I liked that sound too. However, yep I have a bunch of 2x12's and a few 4x12's and it kills with all of them... I really need to tackle the noise issue as it's 1 of the nicest sounding amps I own... NOW if you got a good deal on a Neve nothing wrong with that !!!! ERIC
     
  20. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    You guys are KILLING me! the Demeters remain the only amps that I still want to try, and never have. The tones people get on records with them are just killer. Very unique sounding amps, and thats something I always love. Maybe someday Ill run into one.
     

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