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Hiwatt Custom 50 "Jimmy Page" - thoughts?

jpage

Senior Member
Messages
9,226
Am looking at one of these but I won't have a chance to play it first. I know there are some contentious feelings towards all of the Hiwatt versions--Reeves, Hylight, etc...how do you tell the difference between each? Thoughts on tone through a Hot Plate down a couple notches?
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
This sounds like a newer production Music Ground UK or Fernandes USA licensed
Hiwatt .

Nearly every discussion about these new production Hiwatts regard them as far
inferior to vintage Hiwatt or Reeves in build and component quality.

The prices on these modern day Hiwatt Re-issues are completely unjustified.
 

E-Rock74

Member
Messages
88
I've been looking at these as well. From what I can tell, there are three main options for a Page-style Hiwatt clone:

http://www.reevesamps.com/customJimmy.htm
http://shop.hi-tone-amps.com/DR307-JP-Custom-30-NOS-Mustard-Caps-JP307-NOSMC.htm
http://www.royalamps.com/home.html

How much power do you really need? What cab/speakers are you planning on using? The main differences:

Reeves:
- 50w or 100w options
- Power Scaling option
- effects loop option
- NOS tube options

Hi-Tone:
- 30w/15w switchable with 6V6's
- 1x12 combo option
- Heyboer transformers
- NOS Mustard Caps option
- NOS tube options
- authorized by Dave Reeves family (family receives a royalty from every amp sale)

Royal:
- '69-'71 "JPP" model
- '73 "MSG" model
- various NOS component options

I've not played any of these...though I have spent significant time with a Reeves CP504 (excellent) paired with a Dr.Z/Trainwreck Airbrake (not excellent). I'm a big fan of Power Scaling, though I've read the Ultimate Attenuator works especially well with most Hiwatts. And by all accounts the JJ 6V6's sound great in the lower-powered Hi-Tone.

Check out YouTube for clips. Tough decision....
 
Last edited:

jpage

Senior Member
Messages
9,226
This sounds like a newer production Music Ground UK or Fernandes USA licensed
Hiwatt .

Nearly every discussion about these new production Hiwatts regard them as far
inferior to vintage Hiwatt or Reeves in build and component quality.

The prices on these modern day Hiwatt Re-issues are completely unjustified.
How does "this sound like" a Music Ground or Fernandez? How do you tell them apart?
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
How does "this sound like" a Music Ground or Fernandez? How do you tell them apart?
Fernandes had the U.S. Hiwatt license but many were also imported directly
from U.K. and those are Music Ground UK .

If you google Music Ground U.K. you'll see why our friends in the U.K.
have strongly warned us not to deal with them.
 

ROKY

Member
Messages
7,259
I've been looking at these as well. From what I can tell, there are three main options for a Page-style Hiwatt clone:

http://www.reevesamps.com/customJimmy.htm
http://shop.hi-tone-amps.com/DR307-JP-Custom-30-NOS-Mustard-Caps-JP307-NOSMC.htm
http://www.royalamps.com/home.html

How much power do you really need? What cab/speakers are you planning on using? The main differences:

Reeves:
- 50w or 100w options
- Power Scaling option
- effects loop option
- NOS tube options

Hi-Tone:
- 30w/15w switchable with 6V6's
- 1x12 combo option
- Heyboer transformers
- NOS Mustard Caps option
- NOS tube options
- authorized by Dave Reeves family (family receives a royalty from every amp sale)

Royal:
- '69-'71 "JPP" model
- '73 "MSG" model
- various NOS component options

I've not played any of these...though I have spent significant time with a Reeves CP504 (excellent) paired with a Dr.Z/Trainwreck Airbrake (not excellent). I'm a big fan of Power Scaling, though I've ready the Ultimate Attenuator works especially well with most Hiwatts. And by all accounts the JJ 6V6's sound great in the lower-powered Hi-Tone.

Check out YouTube for clips. Tough decision....
Of the three, I would tend to go with the Reeves version in 50 or 100w -likely, the 100 watter .
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
I believe Hylight Electronics reissued this amp as well...?
The only way to tell is by determining the actual production date.
Obviously a Hylight model was produced before current production
Hiwatt Branded Re-Issues, but be careful because Music Ground
has also been accused of putting out vintage forgeries.
 

cr8z4life

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,768
Of the three, I would tend to go with the Reeves version in 50 or 100w -likely, the 100 watter .

Bingo.....built like a tank! The only issue is on resale.....for whatever reason the Reeves dont hold their value. It shouldnt be. They make great amps and build quality is second to none.
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
Bingo.....built like a tank! The only issue is on resale.....for whatever reason the Reeves dont hold their value. It shouldnt be. They make great amps and build quality is second to none.
That's not really fair because the resale of Any new production amp
is likely to have a 15-30% drop in resale, unless the amp has an unusually
high demand with a long waiting list.

At least Reeves is a well established, highly respected brand and built here in
the USA One at a time, to order. Bill remains deducated to outstanding
quality.

The only way to improve a Reeves is to load it with a full compliment of NOS
Mullards.
 

cr8z4life

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,768
Believe me its not a knock on Reeves......if anything the opposite. These amps should be held in high regard. There just isnt enough buzz about them I guess. With the options listed above if it was me, I would go with the Reeves.
 

shakti

Member
Messages
1,314
AFAIK only the Hi-Tone and the Royal have the correct circuit, and it does make a difference.
 

E-Rock74

Member
Messages
88
I believe Hylight Electronics reissued this amp as well...?
No. The original Hiwatt amp spec'd for Jimmy Page was never commercially reproduced by the original Dave Reeves-run Hylight Electronics company. Page's amp was a custom-spec produced only for him.

Since 1985, the "Hiwatt" brand has been owned by Music Ground in the UK. They've also (more recently) secured the UK rights to the name "Hylight Electronics" so beware the "Hylight Electronics" serial number tags on some modern Hiwatts - these are Music Ground amps. This company has no relation whatsoever with the original Hylight Electronics company founded and run by Dave Reeves through 1981.

I've read that Music Ground may have produced a JP-spec reissue at some point in the past, but there is scant info available out there. If so, did they copy the "correct" circuit? Which transformers did they use? How reliable are they? Hard to answer any of these questions....

I'd advise you to do some web searching for the history of Hiwatt (especially post-1981) to find out the full story behind the brand. In short:

'66-'81: Hylight Electronics (founded and run by Dave Reeves - the original Hiwatt amps)
'81-'85: Biacrown (Hiwatt amps built largely by former Hylight employees and associates)
--------
'85-present: Music Ground UK (owns the rights to the "Hiwatt" and "Hylight" names)
'85-early 2000's: Sterling, Audio Bros., Fernandes, early Reeves (independent companies contracted/licensed by Music Ground to produce "Hiwatt" amps)
early 2000's-present: UK amps made by Music Ground in-house

I'd recommend you do some further web searching for Music Ground to find out the full story behind their "operation." You may be surprised by what you find....

Hope this helps clear up some confusion.
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
Believe me its not a knock on Reeves......if anything the opposite. These amps should be held in high regard. There just isnt enough buzz about them I guess. With the options listed above if it was me, I would go with the Reeves.
Understood,

If you want to see some re-sale pain look at the amps that sold in the high $3K
+ ranges.
 
Messages
2,027
Dave Reeves must have been one of the 1st Boutique builders. He did great work, and I'm sure he influenced a lot of people.

 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
There are many accounts of why Pete Townsend abandoned Marshall for Sound City
and Hiwatt. Some say it was because PT expected free amps in return for promotion,
but early hand wired Marshalls were terribly inconsistent in build execution according to my father who worked on many of them in the 60's & early 70's.

He was military trained and said the Hiwatt Builds totally put the Marshall builds
to shame on consistent quality control as well as component quality.
 

ROKY

Member
Messages
7,259
There are many accounts of why Pete Townsend abandoned Marshall for Sound City
and Hiwatt. Some say it was because PT expected free amps in return for promotion,
Pete Townsend originally asked Jim Marshall to make a louder version of his beloved 6G6-B Bassman.

Jim and Ken Bran looked at the 5F6-A Bassman and decided to copy that .

A tube-rectified Tweed Bassman and a SS-rectified Blonde Bassman have
fairly different tones and responses when turned up.

Pete wanted the volume AND the tone that he was used to .

Townsend loved his Fender amps and JBL speakers .
During that period (early-mid 60s) Fender amps were in short supply in UK.

Pete got his Fender Pro and Bassman from John McLaughlin who worked
at a local music store as a salesman.

Townsend used Marshalls but was never happy with the way they sounded
for the kind of tone and response he was after .

Pete, while experimenting with feedback and high volume playing did not
necessarily find the 100w Marshalls to be the "tone" he wanted .

To this day, he is a rhythm guitarist and, at least 50%, an acoustic one.
When he found the early Reeves-designed Sound City/ amps he was
thrilled because he much prefered them,and said they reminded him of
a top line Fender amp.

That Fenderesque sound suited the material he was writing; the cleaner hifi
sound was kind of an extension of his acoustic guitar playing, which was
the instrument he composed on.

He might've owed Jim some money for the Marshall amps and cabs, but
he was looking for the big Blonde Fender ->-> Hiwatt sound, anyway, and
they never gave him that sound when he originally asked for it.
 






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