• TGP is giving away a Strat, Tele, and Jazzmaster. Click Here for full details.
    Click Here to upgrade your account and enter today!
  • If you are seeing this, you are on the new TGP servers. Bear with us as we work out any issues related to the move. The end result should be a far better snappier experience on TGP. *Notice: You can close this notice by clicking on the "X" in the upper right corner.

Zorko El Basso!

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,028
First one I've ever seen in the flesh. Made in 1961. Fat sounding. Super cool.

Want!




Don't you dare plug a regular instrument into the "Zorko Bass" input! Lord knows what might happen.



EDIT: here's a bit more info.

Zorko! I just love the name. Rare as hen's teeth, this amp is.

Story is, the Dopyera Brothers (Dobro) invented a fiberglass bodied bass. They needed an amp for it, so they approached Ray Massie (who allegedly designed amps for Fender in the 1950s, and later started his own amp company) to come up with one.

The result is the Zorko El Basso. What a name. I could say that all day long.

Then Ampeg saw the bass and purchased the design from the Dopyeras. Thus the Ampeg Baby Bass was born and the Zorko was no longer needed, as Ampeg already was in the amplifier business. Hence not many Zorko El Bassos were made.

Well, here's one of them. I took it in for repair and it sounded a bit weak and had some other issues. Mostly it was corroded grounds and bad tubes. Now it is rocking properly.

About 25 gloriously greasy Watts from a pair of cathode biased 6L6 power tubes. A way undersized 6CA4 rectifier tube gives it a really nice, spongy attack with a lot of envelope around the notes. Phat Tweed style crunch with good gain, actually.

See the two inputs "Standard Bass" and "Zorko Bass"? Well, they are exactly the same. There's even a schematic inside the chassis that shows zero difference between those two channels. So I made the "Standard Bass" channel just a touch brighter and more guitar friendly, and now it sparkles with harmonics and feeds back on clean chords like crazy.

The cabinet design is really advanced for the time. It's a single 12" speaker with two small bass ports in the main part, then an internal shelf and a large port on top. This gives it a really deep bass response that is at the same time very guitar friendly. I might have to steal that, actually...

I'm trying hard to talk myself out of buying this. I have no use for it. Repeat after me, I HAVE NO USE FOR IT. But I want it, badly.
 
Last edited:

scmavl

Enjoyer
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,559
Never even heard of those, that's really cool. Is it a 15" in the cab?
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,902
Looks vaguely Ampeg-ish to me? Love the logo!


Really cool, Hogy!

Thanks, Dana O.
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,028
Added a bit more info to my initial post. This is a really cool sounding amp. Sort of wide panel Tweed like, but with big, proper bottom end. Enjoyed checking out this one.
 

Artie Fisk

Member
Messages
1,551
I think I’d want one of these even if it didn’t sound good, or even work. What a crazy-looking amp. Such a groovy slice of space age design. Any chance of a demo?
 

drewl

Member
Messages
8,583
Wow, never saw one of those.

I've repaired a couple Oliver* bass amps, but not a Zorko!

* Jess Oliver worked for Ampeg and designed the B15, for those who didn't know.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,902
Story is, this was built by (or for?) the Dopyera brothers, who also invented the Baby Bass. The design of which they sold to Ampeg.
Thanks Hogy - very interesting. The Baby Bass was in use in LA when I was in high school - I heard a couple cats play them at gigs. At the time, they were about the only 'crossover' bass instrument I knew of that had elements of acoustic and elements of electric in it. and that shape - pretty cool!

Thanks for this, Dana O.
 

indexless

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
267
Too cool, I just landed a Vox Student for 64 and the Thomas Organ company, I thought that was a rare bird, but the "Zorko", crap I'd play in on the name alone
 

bluejazzoid

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,336
I've never heard of Zorko amps (or the El Basso lol), so thanks for posting that! Very cool!

Question: do you think the undersized rectifier was intentional, or maybe just what was available when it was built, or perhaps just a design flaw that is now appreciated? :)
 

Anje

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,417
What a cool looking rig! Thanks for sharing with us :beer
I would have some use for it :)
 




Trending Topics

Top