Need help identifying an old 1954 Gretsch Electromatic amp, please!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bigalthethird, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    I'm copying this over basically from my post on the Gretsch pages. I realize that an old Gretsch amp might not be very well known around these parts, but here's hoping, right? Anyways, here goes:

    I bought this Gretsch amp from here a few weeks ago and it arrived today. From as far as I can tell, it's a Gretsch Electromatic Twin amp from 1954 (serial number X33747). However, I simply cannot find any information about this model ever existing online.

    The closest thing I've found is an ad from 1955 for the Electromatic Twin, and it's basically identical. Only problem is, mine has no tremolo at all, whereas the 55 does. So what in the heck is this!?

    I'll be doing a full restoration at some point - she powers up now and you plug in a guitar and it's audible, but you need to turn the volume all the way up to work well at all. I'm hoping new tubes, plus some new wiring will fix that. We'll see! First thing on the docket is to completely clean the tolex.

    Thanks guys! Hope somebody knows this.

    Here's the 1955 ad:
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    And here are pics of the amp the seller sent me, sized down to fit on the page:

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    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    Details:

    The amp has 5 tubes. A 6SQ7 and 6SC7 in what I assume to be the preamp section, a 5Y3GT rectifier, and 2 6V6GT power tubes. The 6SQ7 is the only one I'm intrigued by, as it seems to be in fine shape, but when I took it out, there's this weird bell like rattle in it. Not so much like something's loose inside (although that's more than probably it), but it sounds like a bell ringing when you shake it. Weird.

    Lastly, there's this Mallory can, which I presumed to be a cap. It says "Mallory Type FP" on it, so I googled that. From what I'm reading it's a cap of some sort. And if that's the case, I'm not going to be touching it until I know for certain what it is (I know about the dangers of old caps, and caps with a charge still in them). While it's more than likely nothing to worry about, I'm not taking my chances. Anyone know anything about them?

    Here's a picture I just hastily took:

    [​IMG]

    Lastly, for anyone curious, here's what the guts look like. Surely not the prettiest wiring job ever done, but I don't see a PCB board so I'm not complaining. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  2. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    Nothing huh? I've not got high hopes that anyone here knows about it - this seems to be an extremely obscure amp. But hopefully I get lucky either here or on the Gretsch pages. :)
     
  3. alaskagrown

    alaskagrown Member

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    I'm sorry, I don't know anything about Gretsch amps, but that's pretty cool!

    What's with that tranny mounted to the speaker?? That's weird...
     
  4. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    Thanks alaska, it is pretty damn cool I think! I was wondering the same thing about that transformer, just seems weird to me. Matter of fact, from a wiring perspective the entire thing is kinda goofy. But for the 10 minutes she was working yesterday, I heard some promise coming out. Definitely very tubey (6V6's are my favorites).

    So we'll see. Hopefully somebody knows something. :)
     
  5. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Those are old field coil speakers - thats why the transformer is mounted there. Those old Rolas are nice sounding speakers...

    I don't know anything else other than thats a cool amp - hope you get it running properly and that is sounds as good as it looks!
     
  6. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    Looks like a 1953, most likely about 12 watts. The one with the two tone white covering and steer head is worth a few $$$$. I think I have a few NOS/NIB glass 6SQ7's if your interested.
     
  7. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    Looks like the tubes and caps are original except for the black cap from the pot to the switch, which has a '61 date code. The Mallory twist lock should have a couple of values on it like; 20/10/10 @ 450 volts. That one should be replaced. You should also check the cathode bias resistor for drift. I think Ted Weber offers custom made caps of that type.
     
  8. v-verb

    v-verb Supporting Member

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    were they made by Valco?
     
  9. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    Slider, thank you very much! Why do you say it's a '53? The Serial number has it a '54. Great info though. I would definitely take one of your 6SQ7's, but I just bought a NOS one last night on eBay (RCA, only $7 shipped).

    I'll be having this whole amp restored (wiring wise) this summer by the same dude who fixed my Falcon (thanks to erksin btw!). I just want to get her somewhat working before then.
     
  10. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    And yeah, v-verb, I'm pretty sure it's a Valco. The one in that ad up there at the top of the page was made by Valco, and mine says "Chicago" on the back, so I'm reasonably sure it's a Valco.
     
  11. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    The power tranny is 29th week of 53,one speaker 15th week of 54 the other 41st week of 52. So yes it's a 54.
     
  12. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Definitely a '54, Valco-made (Chicago = amps, Brooklyn = guitars)...
     
  13. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    Anyone know anything about the Mallory cap? I'm sure it's harmless, but safe than sorry, right?

    Thanks for the help btw guys.
     
  14. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    lol Thanks fish, but I'm a member there and nobody has the slightest clue what it is. It's not on that list of amps on the page you linked to. Our best guess is that's it's a G6155, which as you may notice, is missing from the amp page (it goes G6154 to G6156).

    But if you check this schematic out (http://www.schematicheaven.com/bargainbin/gretsch_g6156.pdf), it's identical except mine has 2 speakers not one. So that's why our best guess so far is a G6155.
     
  15. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    The weirdest thing:

    I plugged it in last night, and it transmitted a signal - as in, with the volume on 10 I could hear the guitar squeaking through. Now for it to work, the standby switch needs to be on (crazy, right?). I turned the Standby switch off, no audio came through. Turn it back on, and no guitar noises come through at all. Really weird.

    So right now, I decide to put a new 5Y3GT in. Take out the old one, pop this one in, and it's making the same noise it did the first time I plugged it in. It definitely amplifies the guitar, but not enough to hear over a normal conversation (literally). So I turn the standby switch off, nothing. Turn it back on, and it's doing the same thing! Makes no guitar noise again!! Weird!

    I say it makes no guitar noise because the speakers still crackle when I move the volume knob, and they crackle somewhat loudly. So I know this amp has life, but getting guitar sounds out of it (quiet as they are) is really hard to do, and it's really weird. Any ideas what the hell is going on?
     
  16. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    Possibly a cap that gets filled up, and needs to discharge (which might happen quickly since these caps are so old) before the amp works again? A hairbrained theory I realize, but at this point I'm grasping at straws.
     
  17. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    More like a shorted cap. I wouldn't be fooling with it until it's been serviced. There's a chance you could fry the power tranny.
     
  18. bigalthethird

    bigalthethird Member

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    Thanks for the tip, that makes sense. That transformer is gonna get changed anyways, but I certainly won't be fooling too much. Only problem is it'll be at least 5 months before I get back down to L.A. and can get this all fixed up - I'm not an extremely patient individual. :) But seriously though, I'm not gonna be screwing around too much, we'll see what a few new tubes do though. That's about the extent of my fooling around.
     
  19. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    Don't put a new set of tubes in without checking the bias cap and resistor. If the bias cap is shorted you could take out both your power tubes and maybe your power tranny. New tubes won't fix the problem.
     

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