Magnatone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by SOcular, Jan 17, 2006.


  1. SOcular

    SOcular Member

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    Grew up in South Georgia, live in Atlanta now, but
    Has anyone played or heard of this brand? My band was sharing practice space with another band and the other lead guitarist had this brand of amp. I played through it and was thoroughly impressed. He had hotrodded it with some different tubes and possibly some other things. He made his own footswitch for the amp and had a compressor pedal he had made himself. Overall, it sounded great, with or without effects. I would guess it was about 30ish watts and had a Vox-esque tone.

    Here's what I found from a quick Google:

    http://vibroworld.com/magnatone/archive.html

    I think it was one of the 1964-66 line. Just curious, they seem really cool.
     
  2. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Member

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    The originals I wouldn't consider Vox-ish at all. They are their own deal. Buddy Holly played a Magnatone. Excellent clean with warm, warm warm tones. Not the value they once were - what is. But very nice amps.

    Jet
     
  3. SOcular

    SOcular Member

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    Grew up in South Georgia, live in Atlanta now, but
    Fair enough, I don't have much experience with Voxes. But I'd love to get my hands on one, I was having a blast with the one I played this weekend.
     
  4. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Member

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    Sure, no biggie - but you have to think back to what are now considered "other" manufacturers. Fender wasn't the big dog on the block in the fifties - at least certainly not like now where they own every f-ing thing (don't fret - I like some of Fender's products and have a good buddy that's pretty far up the food chain there - but their hegemony in the marketplace limits choice, in my opinion).

    Plus, amps back then were built for a variety of uses. Keys, harps, gits, vocals in some cases... It was in the late fifties where you started to see amps built more towards guitar - because the music industry was embracing the electric guitar.

    Hence you had several choices of flavors.

    Now, the Mag is a very "American" sounding amp -- just not a Fender amp.

    If you like that tone, man, I wish you could hear a Ray Butts or a Standel - unreal dimension and depth to those tones.

    There are so many cool little amps that got lost in the shuffle - most department stores had lines built by companies like Valco, Chicago, etc. and sold at Sears and Montgomery Ward - and these nowdays go for nothing compared to boutique amps, let alone a Blues Jr.

    Good luck on your tone quest!
    Jet
     
  5. SOcular

    SOcular Member

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    Grew up in South Georgia, live in Atlanta now, but
    Thanks for the other suggestions. Most of the Magnatones on the website I found were acquired for good prices. It's nice to know there are still diamonds in the rough waiting to be found.
     
  6. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I don't suppose you know the model number of the Maggie you played, do you? They are all quite different sounding...

    Maggies are truly unique sounding amps - most guys pick them up for the Vibrato alone (the 200/400 and 'suitcase' series) - but they sound really, really nice clean and overdriven. Very fat, lots of harmonic complexity, etc. The only problem is finding one in proper working order - or finding a tech willing to dive into a very complicated amp with iffy schematics available. A Maggie in great running condition is truly a thing of beauty...
     
  7. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Socular: I now own my first maggie; it certainly won't be my last. Finally scored an M-10A Custom, one of the "suitcase" amps from the early 60s. This is one of the strangest, coolest amps I've seen yet. Looks like a suitcase from outer space. The "M" lights up when you turn it on. Two channels, 3 EQ presets (mellow, brite, even a boost) per channel in addition to tone knobs. Reverb and that god-amighty true pitch shifting vibrato on one channel. 20 to 25 watts, oddball 7189A tubes. Sounds unlike anything I've heard. Really fine reverb, wetter than fender w/o the boing, sort of like the best Ampeg verb but not really. The Vibrato is beyond good. It's pretty clean up to a point, then starts driving. Beautiful overdrive, once again, not quite like anything else. Every note hangs there, sustaining right on the edge of feedback. Oh man. Did I mention, I LOVE THIS AMP.

    Maggies are an acquired taste. For high gain, metal tones or the like, look elsewhere. The rap is "underpowered, heavy, not loud enough." Depending on what you play and where, maybe so. Mine is manageable in size and weight, gets loud but not loud enough for every stage. Buying vintage maggies is a crapshoot. I happened to find a mint, barely played example with original GE power tubes and Mullard preamp tubes. Others are not so lucky. There are many hacked up, abused models around ... not cheap to get them right. Which is why I someday will own a Juke. It's the only amp I know of being made with that gorgeous vibrato. And at 35/45 watts, they're the right size for gigging.

    Check out the Magnatone/Valco list on Yahoo. These people are an invaluable resource for owners.
     
  8. bscepter

    bscepter Member

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    I'd love to try one of these -- especially since they have a true pitch-shifting vibrato. Very cool. Either that, or it's time to drop two grand plus on a Juke!
     
  9. stephenT

    stephenT Supporting Member

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    I have two. One's a Titano 262R (same as a Maggie 280R) from the very early 60's.

    Like this: http://www.vibroworld.com/magnatone/T262R.html

    Sean Costello gave it to me, it's a beautiful thing, the Vibrato is stunning. The amp sound lovely, deep rich sound and breaks up just right.

    The second is a Magnatone 180 Triplex from the mid 50's. The fellow I bought it from got it in Chicago from a accordian player who he met at the Polka Hall of Fame. It's the actual amp at the bottom of the page here:

    http://www.vibroworld.com/magnatone/180.html

    The original covering was painted black and fender grill cloth was installed in an attempt to make the amp look like a fender. I have since restored it so it looks like the amp at the top of the page. Dig the leather corners. One 8 and one 15 Jensen. It's an amazing amp (no vibrato), overtones, rich harmonics, just wonderful.

    Magnatones were more expensive than Fender amps in their day, they were a heavy built, very well designed except for the amp controls in the rear.
     
  10. jmp2204

    jmp2204 Supporting Member

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    wow, my first amp was a 460(?) Custom; 2x12 and 2 6x9 speakers, vibrato and two channels? It hasn't worked in a looong time and I would love to get it working. I have the schematic that was attached to the inside of the cab. I got it for $20 years ago, and only recently discovered that it had some nice Mullards and telefunkens in the preamp!
     
  11. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Since we're doing show and tell, here's mine: http://www.vibroworld.com/magnatone/M10A.html

    Stephen, if you ever tire of your 262R, please drop me a line. And JMP, it you'd like to get rid of that dusty old thing, sell it to me. These are the other models I would love to own. And those cool jukes too. In the meantime, gotta have more of that vibrato, so next up is an Austone Vibro-Stomp.
     
  12. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I know the contact info of THE Maggie tech if you're interested in sending it to him - PM me for details...
     
  13. erksin

    erksin Member

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  14. Anje

    Anje Supporting Member

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    I had a nice little Custom 410:

    [​IMG]

    about 5 (?) watts, great home or recording little combo

    I still have 2 little soundclips I had made with it:

    http://www.savefile.com/files/1777823

    should find the other one somewhere, I will post it when I see it
     
  15. humbucking

    humbucking Supporting Member

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    was that the one that the 440 that just went on ebay? i just bought a Twilighter 260. it looks clean, but the seller didnt want to open it up to take pics. i got the feeling he didnt know much about amps & i took his word. it should be here in a couple of days & then i will know if i got a deal, or got raked! cant wait though!
     
  16. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Are you refering to me? I didn't sell my 440 thru eBay...
     
  17. redtoploader

    redtoploader Member

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    I have a '56 magnatone troubadour....tweed deluxe killer. And they are built really well, used heavier components than the fenders did. Mine has a real nice p12q in it. Unfortunately, I need to sell it pretty soon- so anyone looking for a 50's version(no vibrato) feel free to PM.
     
  18. Anje

    Anje Supporting Member

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  19. moreeye

    moreeye Member

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    There is a Magnatone Custom 450 for sale here in Turkey. I wonder how these amps sound like and how much the fair price would be for these amps. Here are the pics
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    A Magnatone with vibrato is on my "Amps to buy list." Problem is clean ones now sell for $1K. And this thread won't help.
     

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