Valco fans: got a rare one for you


Drowning in lap steels
I stumbled upon this at a local shop today. It was owned by the shop's tech, who re-capped it and installed a grounded cord and some nice NOS glass; otherwise, it's all original. As far as I've been able to tell, no Valco amp with these features was ever cataloged under the Gretsch brand.

The control panel says "Electromatic", but as far as I know Gretsch dropped that name around 1959; I presume they were re-using an old silk-screen. The chassis is stamped "6157", which would become the model number of a bass amp several years later. The Jensen C10R has a 1963 date code, and the serial dates (roughly) to late 1962. The cabinet doesn't correspond exactly to any other cataloged amp (18"x14"x7.5"), and I've never seen this split-chassis arrangement on such a small amp. The amp runs on a pair of 6973 power tubes, with one 12ax7 and one 6DR7 with a 5U4 rectifier. This tube lineup is fairly normal for a contemporary Valco, but this is the only Valco amp I've ever seen that had reverb without tremolo (excluding dedicated reverb units). The reverb tank is the usual short cardboard affair.

The sound of this amp is unreal. With humbuckers, it starts to break up around 10:00 on the volume knob, making this an unusually low-headroom amp for a '60s Valco. The cleans are nice, but the overdrive is positively glorious - crunchy and aggressive, with a strong mid-range hump. The stock C10R is a bit boxy and inefficient, so I plan on fitting the amp with an external speaker jack.

Has anyone seen another amp like it?




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