NAD Gries Plymouth 20

Jim Soloway

Member
Messages
15,286
I e-mailed Dave Gries about his Gries 5 combo a few weeks ago. It's basically a blackface Champ circuit in a Princeton-size cab with a 12" speaker. He told me that he had a new model that wasn't on his site yet that he thought would do a better job for me: the Plymouth 20. It's in the same cab as the Gries 5 and uses the same 12" speaker but the amp is used on the normal channel of a Blackface Deluxe. He described it as being warmer sounding than the "5" with obviously more headroom and that he would do a few more tweaks for me to max out the warmth for clean tones. Even better, he had one in stock and I had plans to go down to Oregon for a few days over the holidays so I'd be able to pick it up while I was there.

We got home with the amp late in the day yesterday so I've finally had a chance to play though it for a couple hours. A few impressions:

Visually it's a wonderfully clean build: simple lines, colours and clearly laid out controls. The build quality is exceptionally clean. It's about the size of a Princeton but a bit lighter and with nicely padded handle making it a breeze to carry. It's not an amp for riding a subway but it is an amp for putting in the back of a sub-compact car.

The controls do not mirror a Fender so it's definitely not just a recreation. From left to right, it has volume, treble, mid, bass and master volume. Playing my Godin Kingpin II it took me about 30 seconds to get a sound dialled in that worked for me but I think I could have been happy with a wide variety of settings. The basic tone is not nearly as scooped as a blackface amp and it's a lot warmer and smoother than I was expecting.

Having gotten accustomed to the drop dead silence of my Gallien Krueger MB200 heads, I was a surprised to hear the usual hum of a tube amp when I first powered it up but by tube amp standards, it's actually very quiet and unobtrusive. I haven't recorded the amp yet but I don't expect the noise to be an issue. I do wish it had a standby switch though so I could get complete silence without having to turn it off.

The amp is not as loud as I was expecting but the clean tones are wonderful. It reminds me of a really great vintage Princeton but with smoother mids and highs and not much of rat Fender glassiness. It's beautifully matched to my playing, picking up the nuance and feel that I get from a very light touch but I suspect that it would also respond very well to the stronger attack that a lot of players prefer.

I find the Plymouth to be a great solution, especially where enormous amount of volume are not a priority. The size and weight are attractive and the clean tones are incredibly appealing. Playing through it last night and again this morning, I've found myself smiling ... a lot.

Here's a look at the amp sitting next to my Earcandy 1x8 cab just to give it some perspective.

GriesWith1x8Cab.jpg
 

A440

Silver Supporting Member
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4,812
looks like a great amp. Is this dual 6v6? Just curious, what kind of speaker?
 

Jim Soloway

Member
Messages
15,286
looks like a great amp. Is this dual 6v6? Just curious, what kind of speaker?

Yes, dual 6v6. The speaker is an Eminence Man O War. (I suspect it might be a lot louder with a different speaker but maybe not as smooth)
 

Jim Soloway

Member
Messages
15,286
Was it in the same price ballpark as the Gries 5? I'm only asking because I saw this amp the other day and I've never heard of it, didn't know if it was a sort of "proto" Plymouth or what...

http://www.area22guitars.com/gries-amplifiers-green-monster/

I can't really comment on the price. I don't know if Dave has really set one for the model yet. He happened to have this one sitting in his shop and I think he probably gave me a particularly good deal on it. I'm guessing that he'll be posting it on his site soon.
 

Jim Soloway

Member
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15,286
Any chance of a demo?

Sure as long as you don't mind a very rough first take with both the new amp and a new mic with absolutely no testing. I'll try to get things dialled in over the next day or two and do some sort of video but for the moment, here's a "plug in, press button and play" recording that I just knocked off. I was playing my Godin Kingpin II tuned down a full step.

 

NewLeaf09

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,609
Sure as long as you don't mind a very rough first take with both the new amp and a new mic with absolutely no testing. I'll try to get things dialled in over the next day or two and do some sort of video but for the moment, here's a "plug in, press button and play" recording that I just knocked off. I was playing my Godin Kingpin II tuned down a full step.


Very nice! I'll look forward to more when you have the time and inclination.
 

Jim Soloway

Member
Messages
15,286
Here's a short clip with the 12AX7. There's a bit too much hiss so I still have some work to do but I really like the basic sound.
 

Rotten

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,756
Jim,

Over on the Jazz Guitar Board we discussed using his bass amp for jazz guitar. Did you speak with Dave about that amp?
 

Jim Soloway

Member
Messages
15,286
Jim,

Over on the Jazz Guitar Board we discussed using his bass amp for jazz guitar. Did you speak with Dave about that amp?

No, when he told me about the Plymouth I was pretty sure that it was going to be a good match for what I was after and so far, it seems to be just about right for me, especially now that I've put in the 12AX7.

Now I seem to have gotten rid of the last of the hiss (master at 11 o'clock and volume at 1:30). I just recorded this short bit a few minutes ago. I think it sounds great.

 

gep

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
77
I have a similar Gries Amp.... I've had 3 different Gries models all great and this one just happens to be one of my favorites... Beautiful clean sounds which you can also tweak to get it a bit dirty.... Maybe Dave can chime in on how close our amps are...
 

tele_player

Member
Messages
733
Is Gries in Oregon, or Massachusetts, like his website says? Or maybe he just winters in the marginally less uncomfortable Pacific Northwest?
 




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