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Gallien-Krueger 250ML: Does Anyone Still Have Theirs?

Messages
3,728
I had one in the late 80's, it was a great home practice amp. I didn't have any cabinets at the time, so I never got to try it out with a band--I'd just use my Twin for those situations.

A few years ago, I found a used one locally and plugged in, intending to buy it, but it sounded horrible in a "there's something actually wrong" way. I believe it still had the original speakers, which tend to rot away, and I wasn't in the mood to source some replacements and swap them out.
they make great heads though .. But i spoze i'd want functional speakers as well ..
 
Messages
113
Slight bump. I just acquired one of these babies recently. I was told to not run these with 8 ohm cabs because theres a chance they could blow the amp. Mine's a series 1, so it doesn't have the speaker bypass switch, but the previous owner told me that his amp would bypass the internal speakers automatically when external speakers are plugged in. Lo and behold, it does.

Is this a normal feature with the Series 1 250ML? Or was this one possibly modded? I did a bunch of reading and I've yet to see any mention of any automatic speaker bypassing.

It's definitely an interesting amp. Very smooth sounding so it can sound kinda woofy with power chords, but sounds phenomenal with leads. Plan on pushing it with an SD-1 to get that crunch '80s chug going on. :D Also definitely got me interested in finding a 250RL or one of the 2000-series amps/preamps.
 

nikostrat

Member
Messages
12
I recently picked one up for ridiculously low price. Included the original gig bag as well. It is very clean and devoid of any of the speaker deterioration mentioned. I think because the gentleman I bought it from kept it in the gig bag, it survived the elements. Regardless, sounds just like I remember in the 80s. I am a bit disappointed with the lack of bass response, even though they are little speakers, I remember it sounding a bit fuller. Maybe age has been unkind to some of the caps or something. Overall, everything works properly and its potent. I may opt for an old MXR 6 band EQ to help it out some for home use. Just sounds a little thin thats all. I have bigger gear for the fuller stage sound. I got this because of the price and novelty and great shape its in. Ive seen some modest posts about it online, but surprised there isnt more. Not sure if I will tinker with the trim pots. BTW, sounds best with humbuckers. Tele sounded like ass through it.
 

flask28

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
129
I still have the one I got as a kid along with my first guitar (don't have that anymore though). I pulled it off the dusty shelf in the garage about a year ago to see if it still worked and it does!! There was that icon clean chorus sound for sure.

I spent about 30 min playing some NIN and a flock of Seagulls song, then put it back away, where my kids will probably pull it out when they are cleaning the house for the estate sale. :)
 
Messages
113
Slight bump. I just acquired one of these babies recently. I was told to not run these with 8 ohm cabs because theres a chance they could blow the amp. Mine's a series 1, so it doesn't have the speaker bypass switch, but the previous owner told me that his amp would bypass the internal speakers automatically when external speakers are plugged in. Lo and behold, it does.

Is this a normal feature with the Series 1 250ML? Or was this one possibly modded? I did a bunch of reading and I've yet to see any mention of any automatic speaker bypassing.

It's definitely an interesting amp. Very smooth sounding so it can sound kinda woofy with power chords, but sounds phenomenal with leads. Plan on pushing it with an SD-1 to get that crunch '80s chug going on. :D Also definitely got me interested in finding a 250RL or one of the 2000-series amps/preamps.
Okay so apparently the on-board speakers aren't being defeated. It's just they get super quiet when using external ones. Luckily I didn't crank my amp loud enough to burn anything up since I was using 8-ohm speakers.

But FWIW, Ijust got another 250ML. This time a Series II. Got it for cheap because there was no output, but it turn out being that someone removed the FX return jack and it killed output to the power amp. I installed a new one (Switchcraft still makes the jacks luckily) and it works proper. :D

Well, almost proper. I noticed the echo is SUPER quiet on the clean channel, and non existent on the dirty channel. The chorus also seems slightly more subtle than my Series 1? Not sure if this is related to previous damage, or just the fact the Series II sounds different compared to the Series I. I'm probably gonna eventually looked at by a professional. Unless it's something super simple I can do myself, like replacing old/dead ICs?
 

slo100

Member
Messages
156
I still have mine. It is fun to plug these into a couple of 4x12 cabinets and hear the stereo chorus with better separation than the onboard speakers provide. I have adjusted the trim pots for a little bit more gain so there is a tweakability factor. I also had to go through the exercise to rplace the surrounds on the speakers. The actual replacement process of the surrounds was far easier than actually getting the speakers out to perform the operation. The speakers are Pyle 6 1/2 and also available as replacements.
 

stargazer747

Member
Messages
3,352
This was me using one in 1988 ;)
Gallien-Krueger 250ML & Kramer Guitars, Randy Rhoads & Eddie Van Halen all over the place! GOD you guys are sending me on a time-warping trip right now back into the 80s. I might have forgotten where I parked the Delorean, that's OK I prefer it here anyway!
 

stargazer747

Member
Messages
3,352
I’m wondering now if I would have kept mine how it would have sounded thru my current cabs; a Marshall 412 with Celestion Vintage 30s and both 212 and 112 EVH5150III cabs that have the 70th Anniversary. These cabs are perfect for my Orange Rocker 15 & Dark Terrors, and EVH5150III LBX-S heads. I’ll bet the G-K 250ML II would thunder out some mega rock tones.

Aw man, you guys, I was almost over the G.A.S. Thing, now I’m pondering finding one in perfect condition!
 
Messages
3,728
I heard one with the built in speakers and I didn't like it. It might sound better connected to a cabinet with twelve inch speakers.
I mean the sound was very limited with those two 6in Pyle speakers .. they could do the job and by that I mean sound reasonably good at a very low volume and after that it was actually kind of shameful but then at higher volumes they sounded reasonably well again and I mean for what they are .. where they really shined was with 212 and 412 cabs .. surprisingly enough, while I was in a three piece band + singer are you the GK 250ml to drive a 215 cab with Electro Voice SROs stand my tone was particularly great .. I received a lot of compliments on my sound .. never underestimate what you can tonally accomplish with a graphic EQ
 

alberob

Member
Messages
1,854
I still have mine.It was as early one with 16 ohm outputs.I have an old Hartke 4 X 10 guitar cabinet that I split the wiring for two speakers in series on the left and right.Everyone who played through it were amazed how good it sounds.At one point I had to replace the Pyle speakers and that was tedious .Multiple pieces held together the chassis with more screws than I thought possible.
 
Messages
113
I heard one with the built in speakers and I didn't like it. It might sound better connected to a cabinet with twelve inch speakers.
It does. Very much so. I also run the headphone out with a TRS-to-dual-TS splitter. Since it's a tap off the speaker outs, you still get the built in effects, and you can run those into cab simulators or IRs. But when I just want a quick practice rig, or something to check on guitar mods/repairs, the stock speakers are perfectly fine. And still get damn loud.

Still curious about the deal with my Series II though. Anyone else had issues with the built in chorus/reverb being weak?
 
Messages
1,288
In the mid-80s, i just had to have one of these things. Lifeson used them. Iron Maiden used them. Gilmour used them ... ergo i ...must have one.

I remember first playing one of these compact, powerhouse badboys at Central Music. I was impressed by its stereo chorus .. Not better than a Roland but .. Different .. And wOw! What a powerful l'il §h!t .. And .. Surprisingly HEAVY. It sounded really good as a standalone I was surprised to find that those six inch Pyle speakers were as responsive as they were. I mean, in all seriousness, I never expected an ounce of an ounce of bass out of them .. but it actually had some bottom end

I wasn't quite sold on it yet. Really had excellent cleans .. the distortion was not quite what I wanted but close enough that I could throw a rock to it. What I really wanted to know was How well it drives cabs. I first tried a 212 and it was great. Ok .. I'm digging it at this point .. Not enough to pull the trigger though. I have a Peavey 412 cab and a Kustom 215 cab (loved those EV SROs) that i'd want to drive. Jerry, the sales manager, plugged in a 412 cab (i believe a used Randall) and .. Ok .. it was fantastic. Tight, punchy bottom end! Woo00oo hoo00oo! I messed around with the tone knobs and it had a beautiful chorus, an excellent echo, a broad wsrm mid-range and very crisp top end. This is prior to the whole "scooped mids" trend (which i never bought into .. in my opinion, - and it's only my opinion - the guitar is, by Design, intended to deliver mids)

Jerry then plugged in an additiinal 412 cab ... I was now .. powering .. A full stack. It sounded great and had 0 trouble driving those 8 speakers. Though I was very excited, I hid my Zeal from Jerry so that I could try to hammer out a deal.

The Gallien-Krueger 250ml was such a hot commodity at the time that I really couldn't get Jerry down all that much. I walked away from the Gallien-Krueger and was checking out other gear while weighing whether that thing is worth the $550 price tag i managed to wrangle. It was .. I left with that surprisingly heavy son of a gun. I even returned a week later to tell Jerry to keep an eye out for another Peavey 412 cab.

I found that I liked the gallien-krueger powering the 215 cab moreso than the 412 cab. I think four or five weeks passed and Jerry called me to tell me that he had another Peavey 412. It was a little pricier than I wanted to spend and I couldn't get a decent deal on it so I didn't bother to buy it because I had already fallen in love with my new sound.

I still have the GK250ML and its in great shape .. The speakers are still great. I am sooo thankful i stored it so well. Gone is my 215 EV SRO cab but I was pleased to learn that the Gallien Krueger works so well with my current 2 112 Peavey Black Widow cabs.

I dragged this 250ML out of storage to play with a group of guys that I played with in the early 90s .. we decided to play a lot of 80s songs so just for Goofs I pulled out much of my 80s gear .. I wanted to sound authentic .. My GSP-21 worked splendidly .. We didnt record our session .. Stupid .. because we sounded great .. we were a little rusty but we really had our sound down .. we are going to have to get together again because that was a lot of fun and my 250ML did not disappoint .. it hasn't gone back into storage yet and given its compact design and coupled with the two 112 cabs .. it makes a great little mini stock that doesn't take up a lot of Real Estate

Does anyone still have their 250ML? Or regret getting rid of theirs? Or are psyched they parted ways with theirs?

Yup. Picked this one up for a Benjamin about three years ago

 

j_el_jee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,988
I'm pretty sure Rush and Maiden did not use 250MLs. I'm pretty sure they used the 2100sel/2000cpl.
I had this... the 2100SEL. Geez just seeing this image brought a shiver to my spine... and not in a good way.

I remember this thing being pretty cold sounding, but I was 17 or 18 and didn't really know what decent tone was yet. I bought it from the local guitar hero... I think I paid $800 for it (around 1989 or 90). A year or two into ownership and a buddy asked to borrow it for his band practice for whatever reason. Well, it was the last time I ever let a buddy borrow an amp - as it came back to me with a blown channel.

I took it to the local amp guy, he had it for weeks before he admitted defeat due to the "digital circuitry" and it had to go back to GK for repair. I think I recall it was some output transistors and something else that fried. Guess who ate the repair cost of $300... well it wasn't the buddy who didn't have job. By this point I was so soured on this thing I couldn't get rid of it fast enough. I had no takers in the local paper at $500... none at $400... and then some guy offered me $300 and I had to drop it off to him. Problem was I didnt have it back from the repair place yet... so I figured I had lost that deal. Well this guy called me every week for like a month asking if I got it back yet. And true to his word when I got it back, he agreed to buy it. But when I got to his house man I sure got this serial killer vibe. He somehow ended up getting me to take it down to his basement with him to plug it in... and that's when he showed me that he was replacing a GK250ML that his "roommate" had blasted with a shotgun IN THE HOUSE... the 250ML still had the plastic wad from the shotgun shell embedded in the side case!! I got my money and got the he\\ outta there as fast as I could.

So yeah, the GK250ML is pretty solid, but I can attest that it just won't hold up to a point blank 12 gauge blast.
 

JonSick

Member
Messages
1,390
I borrowed one off a guy I worked with years ago!

It was absolutely fantastic! His was a USA version (he was American) with a stepdown transformer. I've always wanted to pick one up, preferably UK voltage!
 

Digital Larry

Member
Messages
668
I took it to the local amp guy, he had it for weeks before he admitted defeat due to the "digital circuitry" and it had to go back to GK for repair. I think I recall it was some output transistors and something else that fried.
Unfortunately that was relatively common and it was the beginning of the end for G-K's guitar line (though they did put out a few more models for a few years).

I did see a YouTube video from NAMM maybe 20 years back where G-K showed a prototype of a 250 ML that had a 12AX7 in the preamp and motorized knobs to store a couple presets. They never went to production with it, too bad!
 
Messages
626
I worked at GK from 88 to 92, however I was playing bluegrass at the time and only ever got a 200MB (still have it) and 400RB (on permanent loan to a friend). I recently had the speaker on the 200MB replaced as the foam surround had completely disappeared. I got online with my old buddy who worked there much longer than I did - he said that the foam surrounds would typically disintegrate by the time 30 years rolled around. He still has a few... think he replaced the Pyles with EVs or something. We used to call the 250 "the lunchbox from hell".

I know Jorma Kaukonen from Hot Tuna used a 250 frequently as I saw them whenever they were coming through town. Jack Casady would use a 200MB under duress but I think it was too clean for his tastes. Jerry Garcia also used a 250 backstage and onstage with his acoustic band at least. I recall Bob G. saying that the Dead bought 20 of them.
I think I saw your bluegrass band back then. Did you guys use to play at the Country Store Cafe? Opening up for the Tennessee Fred Experience? Those guys were loud AF!
 




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