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Yes!!! Ampeg VT-40 on its way!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mike aufrichtig, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. mike aufrichtig

    mike aufrichtig Silver Supporting Member

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    I’ve been lusting after one of these babies for more than 30 years, ever since hearing its close cousin, a V-2 with a matching 4x12 at a local music store in 1975, saying to myself “self, that’s great tone”, but a wanting a more portable version. I was outbid on one on EBAY on Christmas Day, then one appeared locally at Lark Street Music last week (http://www.larkstreetmusic.com/list/pict/Vt40.jpg), but they’re asking too much considering its condition and the consignment seller wouldn’t budge on price. Saw this one ( http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7395405634&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&rd=1 )on Ebay this morning (I had spoken to the owner about it last week after seeing his HC ad, but he had no pics at the time), and went for the BIN option instantly. Looks to be in great operating condition with newer tubes, recent Jensens replacing the original speakers, and a three-prong cord (none of which the Lark Street one had). A jam scheduled a week from this Saturday with some brethren from the TDPRI will be the perfect testing ground. More to come once received……..
     
  2. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Mike, a bunch of us were treated to Leon playing his in January (~NAMM) and it was spectacular. And capable of major paint peel removal if desired - it was phenomenally loud and clear with volume ~3!! In Leon's masterful hands, it was a sound to behold :BEER

    jon
     
  3. mike aufrichtig

    mike aufrichtig Silver Supporting Member

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    Jon, I think "in Leon's masterful hands" is the key here - from the clips I've heard of Leon's playing, I think he'd make a Teisco Del Rey through a Heathkit amp sound like a choir of angels (no disrespect to Teisco's or Heathkits of course!) . Me, I think I'll try to just keep the peeling wall paint from running away. But when I played that V2 years ago, the tone and feel of that amp just put goosebumps on my arms. I'm hoping the VT-40 will do something similar.
     
  4. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    hahah! Jon you're too kind man! Both of you guys. My biggest problem is that I often wind up with a masterful foot stuck in my masterful mouth. hahah!

    Anyway, congrats Mike. I bought a V2 last summer. I figured I prefer Head+Cab to combos. I tried that V2 through every cab I had (and I've got a few). And you know what I liked it through most? the VT-40s cab!!!

    I debated having fliptops build me a 4x10 to match my VT-40...but then I figured, "Oh fer Pete's sake, I've already got the VT-40!! What am I thinking???" hahahha! So I sold the V2 (to another forum bro, who loves it!)

    Anyway, the VT-40 is just a little monster. Some of the best cleans I've heard with any guitar...but OMG does that amp love Les Pauls!!!! Excruciatingly good (and LOUD) tone...ask Seavall, MikeyG, Frankenstrat...any of the guys who have heard one of these--the thing is just deadly good with a Les Paul.

    I modded mine so that I can get an attenuator between the amp and speakers (very un-obtrusive mod) and I also added a bias pot and played with the bias...turns out I liked the "factory" setting best. Man, those engineers at Ampeg knew what they were doing when it came to tone.
     
  5. mike aufrichtig

    mike aufrichtig Silver Supporting Member

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    Leon, It was your prior comments on how your VT-40's cab beat the V-2 with any other cab that convinced me to focus on the VT-40; I had been vacillating between the two, waiting for one of either to become available at a reasonable price.

    If I remember right, yours looks like its near mint; the one I just snagged on Ebay is not quite as clean, but nonetheless pretty good for a 30+ years-old amp. The bias pot and mod for an attenuator are both good ideas; I'll probably wind up taking mine to Dennis Kager for a once-over and have him do both mods too. This one's got Jensen C10-somethings in it, but I'll probably wind up trying a combination of those and some other tens I've got hanging around (Reverend's, alnico Weber's, etc). And I've got the LP to really put the amp through the wringer, never mind my ears!
     
  6. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    I've got the Jensens in mine. Think they're C10R... Sound damn good...but I don't have any to compare them with. Let me know what you find out.

    Interestingly, I just got a Gemini GV22 as well. It had the original 12" speakers in it, and they sounded pretty damn good. I liked the Jensen 10s in my VT-40 so I figured getting a couple 12s for this GV22 would improve it. Result? Hmmm...a little different...a little earlier breakup (to my surprise). I'm going to want to break them in a bit further before making a final judgement...but I think I actually prefer the originals. Some odd looking unlabeled speakers with chrome domes....

    Mine looks pretty good but I sure wouldn't call it mint. It was missing a number of those oddball "clutch" screws that Ampeg was known for using. (TIP: Ace Hardware sells clutch screwdrivers for cheaper than anywhere else.) There are also plenty of scrapes and a few chunks of vinyl missing.

    Dennis Kager?!! Cool! I'm certainly a Kager fan; probably couldn't find anyone better to do that work.
     
  7. mike aufrichtig

    mike aufrichtig Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, sometimes the manufacturer actually does make a pretty good choice speaker-wise, don't they? You would think they probably go through a bunch of possibilities before settling on the one they decide on. Then again, could just be a matter of whatever's cheapest and works, and sometimes they really get lucky. What do I know?

    Sounds like your GV-22 is a good one. I actually bought one about 32 years ago, after some guy had advertised a VT-22 for sale and I went to check it out. Turns out to be a bait and switch "Oh, it's not a VT-22, I thought all Ampeg 2x12's are". Well, I bought it anyway at a somewhat reduced price (probably a good thing for my ears it WASN"T a VT-22), figuring I'd made the trip and wanted to go back home with something! The reverb was really nice, but overall the amp just sounded kind of blah, didn't get juicy or break up much or anything, so I got rid of it pretty quickly. Probably just needed a bias adjustment, but I had no knowledge of anything like that at the time so away it went.

    Thanks for the tip on the clutch screwdriver, Ace hardware is just up the road a piece! Though I've never dealt with him before, I know Dennis's name is closely associated with that era of Ampeg, and his Central Jersey Music Service is not too far away, so it seems like a natural choice. I'll let you know what happens speaker-wise once I go through a few.
     
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Supporting Member

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    On my VT40 there is an external jack to plug in : Master Volume Mod

    I just bought one from Baja tech, I have it in my possession, but have not used it

    Will Update you

    The "Master Volume Pedal" was $65
     
  9. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Mike- Congrats. I have a VT-40 and love it. Mine was done up by Todd Sharp (look for the tonequest article and his V2 mods). He installed an accutronics reverb and some protective mods to keep the circuit protected in case of power tube blow outs, and also pulled out an old master volume mod and did a great cap job. I had replaced a lot of burned resistors and caps. I encourage you to keep the caps and resistors in check with the bias circuit, I know Dennis will likely do a great job. If they are cooked in any way the amp can be hard to bias and the tone suffers. I had a quartet of Jensen C10Qs in mine which sounded good, then yanked them out because I found a pair of old celestion vintage 10s that I paired with two Jensen Neos and now the tone is pure bad ass. You can get a lot out of these amps. Tone is killer, bass response is fat, amp responds well to pick attack and playing dynamics, and although loud, has some wonderful distortion that can be dialed in. I have been running the amp with an american strat with maybe a little OD to boost it up at lower volumes, and also a 335 with or without an OD pedal. With pedals you can play it quiet and it is ok, no need for an attenuator. But the magic is in the volume. Dialed up is is pretty intense. In the toneqest Oct 2005 issue they tlk more about the VT-40, theirs was loaded with 2 Jensen alnico P10 reissues and two tone tubbies. I got the Jensen Neos as a suggestion from Todd Sharp and with the Celstion V10s also rated highly for wattage, I am not as worried about blowing my speakers. I am going to next install some FRED diodes soon, this is supposed to gain even more touch sensitivity. Got them in hand just haven't had a chance to install them. What is cool is the fact that the amp gain goes up when the controls are maxed, so you can get a real good Marshall sound, then dial everything back and you can get a twin reverb or Pro reverb loud and clean. Really nice amp with humbuckers, and single coils are fat too. The 335 sounds like BB, and my strat with a little Bluesbreaker 1 or Fulldrive 2 or OCD is all Tejas...I hate that the amp is old since it needs to be pushed to get THAT tone, so I'll likely buy another one one of these days...Send the chassis to Todd or Denniss and they'll get it back to full form. Have fun man-and buy some earplugs.....
     
  10. Brick

    Brick Member

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    Oh yeah! I am the lucky one that ended up with Leon's V2, and I have to say that Leon knows a lot about these amps and is very generous in sharing is knowledge and experience.

    mike, congrats on your VT-40. It looks good from the auction pictures and sounds like it is in good shape. :BEER

    I love my V2 through my Avatar 2x12 cab (c-rex/red fang) but ultimately I would like to find an old Ampeg 4x10 cab and I'm interested in everyone's speaker experience.

    I took mine to Pete Cage (www.audiocage.com) for a health check and it only needed some caps replaced. It sounded great at his shop through his 4x12. Pete is just great...as a person and an amp guy.
     
  11. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    try Mojo for a nice 4x10 open backed cab. One other option is an old 4x12 Ampeg V4 cab, loaded with different speakers of course (Scumbacks, Greenbacks) The front loaded cabs have the nice bass response and work well with the V2 or V4 heads. Both are about the same price. I think the front loading is the key for the V series...don't know the physics behind it but they sound sweet, especially the 4x10 VT-40 cab
     
  12. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I've been wondering about those. Let us know how that works out!

    dewman - yeah, my moderate-volume solution has been to set the amp around 9:00/10:00 and just use pedals. I've got a few that the amp absolutely loves.
     
  13. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    When I grow up I want to be Mike and Leon.

    Best, Pete.
     
  14. mike aufrichtig

    mike aufrichtig Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow, we've got a wealth of experience here with Ampeg's! Then again, they've been around for a while, haven't they?!

    DaveF - I wanna hear bout that Blue Velvet you got coming - I like Bruce Zinky's take on tone.

    hdiddy - I've seen those master volume devices on Ebay and wondered about them. Looks like a new and improved version of the original, please do let us know how that works out, that might be money well spent.

    dewman - Wow, that's a wealth of knowledge you have to offer, great stuff! I read both of the TQ VT-40 articles (been a sucker/subscriber since the beginning), and they certainly helped fan the flames of GAS for that amp. I'm kinda curious about how two of the Southbay amp tens would sound in that amp, couldn't be too terrible, eh?! Think I'll give Todd Sharp a call and see what advice he's got to offer. Lemme know how those FRED's do. I've got an old (68) LP to try with the amp, and a new set of Timbuckers just waiting to compare to a set of 12-year old SD Antiquities, we'll see how the Tim vs. Seymour bout goes. But also want to see about Tele's and Strat's with this baby - I think there's great potential with all of them. And yes, earplugs are a must! I've lost more of my hearing than I care to think about.

    Brick - There's a Fliptop website where they sell Ampeg-style 4x10's, that might be something that would suit your V-2 nicely. That's the amp that gave me the desire for the VT-40, just awesome. And as Dewman says, the old Ampeg 4x12 cabs are top notch, they just cost a fortune to ship if you're not in the neighborhood of the seller. The V-2 cabs are actually larger than the V-4's, a bit taller if I remember right (big if!).

    Now I'm going to have to see which of my overdrives pairs well with this beast. Might make a good excuse to buy yet another!
     
  15. mike aufrichtig

    mike aufrichtig Silver Supporting Member

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    Pete, when I grow up (never happen!), I want to be that Chapin Strat of yours. Dogs bollocks, indeed! Now that's a guitar that would sound righteous through a cranked VT-40.
     
  16. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    That's what I was thinking.........

    Are VT-40's particularly rare? Did they all get beat up or what?

    Best Pete
     
  17. mike aufrichtig

    mike aufrichtig Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't think they're particularly rare Pete, but they're not easily found on an everyday basis, either. I see them appear on Ebay from time to time, but usually either overpriced or severely worn. This one seemed to represent a good mid-point between the two. And prices have been rising. Then again, what else is new?
     
  18. JakeELee

    JakeELee Member

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    Those fliptop extension cabs are great... I have one that matches my VT-40 so I can stack the two for a little touch of spinal tap flair. A tad over the top...but so damn much fun!!
     
  19. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Pete they were produced in mass numbers from about 72-78 or so, something like that. They're not as common as Reverb-e-Rockets or Geminis. But they come up for sale with some frequency between EBay, H-C, Craig's list, etc. You want to hear the earlier ones that have the controls in the back, not in front (even though front mounting makes them easier to read/use, IMO).

    Don't expect to hear God or anything...we tend to make any amps we like sound like the penultimate tone round here, don't we? But they're just good, versatile amps that are an excellent value. The dark side is that they are mass-produced PCB construction amps that use oddball tubes - 7027a (like extra-resilient 6L6s) and 12DW7, 6K11 and 6CG7 - and are NOT easy to service. Most of them are relatively beat at this point too...So they're hardly for everyone.

    That being said - God I'd love it if someone produced a new amp that had these features, functions and sound and didn't cost an arm and a leg...
     
  20. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Whoa..so you stack the VT-40 on the 4x10??!!! Bet that's louder-n-fk!
    :BEER

    You're my new hero, bud! hahahhahah!
     

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