This 1979 Guyatone EX1 amp is very rarely seen outside of Japan. It was most likely built and sold for the domestic market only. I found this one in a used music store in Portland, Oregon and suspect maybe a U.S. service man or woman brought this amp over from Japan.
The EX1 is an analog, single channel, solid-state amp with 20 watts of power, a 12-inch speaker, overdrive and reverb. Gain and volume controls, high and low EQ, reverb depth. Normal and overdrive inputs, headphone jack, pilot light.
I had this one serviced by Audio Synapse in Portland, and had a new reverb tank installed, as the original was ineffective.
This amp is bright sounding to begin with, and the 12-inch speaker by Tokyo Sound Co. only makes it brighter. I replaced the original with a Peavey Neo and that added a lot of lower end.
The Sears 60BXL (labeled as Silvertone model 1428) was a electric bass amp similar in design and appearance to guitar and bass amps built by Danelectro in the late 1960’s. It appeared in the Sears Catalog from 1971 through 1973. According to the catalog, the 60BXL was a two transistor-powered 60-watt (marketing hype) bass amp with a 15-inch speaker. It seems that very few of these amps were sold, maybe because the more powerful 200BXL met the needs of electric bass players.
Not much is known about these amps; they are rarely seen in the wild. Here is an image from the 1971 Sears Catalog.
Looking for a good, vintage, analog delay for your pedal board? You can get a legendary early 80’s Boss DM-2 for $200 to $300. But why not give the Arion Stereo Analog Delay a try for about $100 or less? The SAD-1 is a surprisingly great analog delay that truly makes it a serious Tone Gem. It’s warm. It’s quiet. It definitely enhances your sound without robbing your guitar’s true tone. The SAD-1 adds depth and definition to whatever I’m playing without changing or coloring the original tone of my guitar.
This one is dead quiet; and it doesn’t suck tone. I find myself keeping this pedal on most of the time. I snagged this one, in excellent condition, from ebay seller New Vintage Music (seller ID: new_vintage_music) for a great price. A real bargain and sleeper. So give this Tone Gem a try. I think you’ll like it.
This one was built the 30th week of 1985. Not to be confused with the newer Arion SAD-3 pedal, which is made in Sri Lanka.
The MN3025 BBD is an analog 16-pin integrated circuit semi-conductor producing a 4,096-stage echo, repeat, or reverberation effect.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION FROM THE DATA SHEET:
The Panasonic MN3205 is a 4,096-stage, low voltage operation (VDD=5V), low noise Bucket Brigade Device (BBD) that provides a signal delay of up to 204.8ms at clock frequency 10K Hz and is suitable for use as reverberation effect of audio equipments such as portable stereo and long delay time since S/N is 67dB in spite of the many stages.
The MN3205 is driven by the MN3102 CMOS Clock Generator.
Function and Controls
Pedal Operation: Press pedal down for the ON position and LED indicator will turn
on. Depress again for OFF position, LED will go off.
Battery Cover: Press both ends marked “PUSH” to lift cover and access battery compartment.
LED Check Light: When shining bright, indicates effect is ON and battery is in good condition.
Input Jack: 1/4-inch mono phone jack from guitar.
Output Jack (OUT 1): 1/4-inch mono phone jack to amplifier.
Output Jack (OUT 2): 1/4-inch mono phone jack to second amplifier for stereo effect.
OUT 2 / Mode Switch: Selector switch for direct out or stereo out.
AC Adapter Jack: Input DC 9-volt, 100mA to 200mA, center pole negative.
Delay: Dial Short to Long. Echo, reverb, slap back. Controls the delay time of the effect, from 50ms to 300ms.
Depth: Dial Min. to Max. Controls to depth of effect.
Repeat: Dial Min to Max. Controls the number of repeats, from one to infinity, as the effect decays.
Input Impedance: 240K
Load Output Impedance: 10K
Maximum Input Level: -1dB (0dB=1V)
Maximum Output Level: 0dB (0dB=1V)
Noise Level: -65.5dB (0dB=1V Input Short)
Delay Time: 50ms to 300ms
Controls: Depth, Delay, Repeat, Output to Direct or Stereo
Jacks: Mono In; Mono and Stereo Out
Power Requirements: Requires DC 9-volt battery, or AC Adapter, Outer ring Negative
Manufacturer / Country: Prince Tsushinkogyo Ltd. / Japan
Analog Solid-State/Tube Guitar Amp from the 1980’s
This page (which is a work in progress) is dedicated to the Music Man 110 RD Fifty guitar amplifier, which I recently had an opportunity to play.
Last weekend I was fortunate to make some new friends, hang out, and play some guitar. I had never met these guys before, but we hit it off right away, and it was a great time had by all. Thank-yous go out to our hosts David B, and his wife Elizabeth, who graciously allowed us to invade their home and make noise until the early hours of the next day. And thanks to the other guys for letting me be part of the group. I had no idea I would be in such good company!
During our Saturday night “jam session” (and I use the term loosely), I had the opportunity to play my ’70 Silvertone Mosrite Copy through David’s vintage Music Man amp. And boy, what a great amp that was! It was a Music Man 110 RD Fifty. Similar to the one pictured above, minus the grill fabric, it was the perfect match for my old solid body Surf Guitar with Teisco single coil pups. I simply plugged my guitar into this amp and it immediately started playing beautiful big clean tones with just enough added bite and grit. I loved the sound of that amp so much that I decided to dedicate this page to Music Man, and specifically to the 110 RD Fifty.
Thank you, David!
BTW: If you don’t know what a Mosrite is, then Google it right now!
Back in the mid 70’s a new music company from Anaheim California, called Music Man, hit the scene. This new company was founded by some former Fender employees: Forrest White, Tom Walker, and most notably Leo Fender. Leo himself designed a new line of amplifiers and a new bass guitar for the company. (BTW: The bass guitar, called The Music Man Stingray, is still around today and sold by the Ernie Ball Company.) Some of you reading this will know more than I about Leo Fender, his second guitar and amp company, his Stingray bass, and the Ernie Ball connection, as I am still learning the facts.
The Music Man amps were designed to be clean and LOUD with lots of headroom! They sounded very “Fenderish” (I wonder why?). According to literature, Music Man amplifiers were a unique hybrid design, employing solid-state electronics for the preamp stage, and tubes for the output. Apparently, the 12AX7 tube in the preamp stage is just for the distortion only, but I’m not exactly sure about that? The amps were big on power and built like tanks, to handle the difficult task of traveling professional musicians. Music Man produced amps in several sizes (65-watt, 135-watt, 150-watt) and configurations (combos, heads, cabs).
The Fifty Series
The Fifty series was introduced in the early 1980’s. The Fifty series included heads and cabs, as well as small combos that had either 10-inch or 12-inch speakers. These amps were packaged different ways. Some had a built-in distortion effect; others had a phaser; but all had real spring reverbs.
The 110 Combo with Reverb and Distortion (RD)
The 110 RD is a compact (but heavy!) 50-watt single-channel combo, with a 10-inch Ceramic speaker, reverb and distortion effects. I read that the designers of the amp were aiming for a clean tone similar to a Fender Blackface Deluxe Reverb, and apparently they hit the target!
Specs for the Music Man 110 RD Fifty
Music Man, Anaheim California
1×10-inch, Ceramic Magnet
Preamp: 12AX7; Output: 2x6L6GC’s
3-spring Reverb; Distortion
2-Button Foot Switch
Schematics for Music Man RD Fifty
A Bit More Character
Now the one I played had a woven wire mesh front grill, so it looked more like this one. But that just added to its character.
As I work to gather more info about the company and their products, here are some links:
Here’s an interesting one: an early 1980′s Boss DM-2 in Like New condition for sale on eBay. Only $579, woah! It even comes with the correct power supply (ACA-120) which is also in pristine condition. The DM-2 is coveted for it’s classic analog delay effect, and is the choice of many professionals. This early version is the original Boss circuit design and uses the MN3005 bucket brigade device (BBD).
Good times for vintage Arion pedal players and collectors.
If you like to play or collect vintage Arion pedals, there are many more pedals currently listed on eBay than I can recently remember. Vintage Arion pedals are all-analog guitar effects pedals that were made in Japan by Prince Tsushinkogyo Ltd. mostly back in the 1980′s. Although they were considered a “budget brand” at the time, Arion pedals had many of the same internal components and IC devices as their higher priced competition, and some pedals had features that no other effects maker offered at that time (i.e. stereo output). For example, the SCH-1 Stereo Chorus used the same MN3207 Bucket Brigade Device as the Boss CE-3.
The SAD-1 Stereo Analog Delay, the SCH-1 Analog Stereo Chorus, and the SRV-1 Analog Stereo Reverb pedals are now highly regarded and sought after by musicians and collectors.
This great little combo tube amp was built by (who?) and sold through Sears and Roebuck in the late 1960′s and early 70′s. It was originally sold as the Silvertone Model #1421, and in later years as the SR 10XL, and lastly as the Sears 10XL. Oh, the photo of this amp looks innocent enough, but, this is one serious sounding tube screamer. And you won’t usually find them as nice as this one!
Summary: A 10-watt tube combo with tremolo and 8-inch speaker. Hand-wired. Lots of midrange growl that transitions into a creamy overdrive. Great for classic and indie rock, jazz, blues, country and rockabilly. Use as a practice amp or at small venues. Perfect for recording.
Pluses (+): Vintage British, Vox-like, valve sound in an affordable practice amp. Compact and lightweight.
Minuses ( – ): Cheaply constructed lightweight cabinet and thin vinyl covering. The original grille cloth was fragile, and most are completely deteriorated by now. Loud enough for a small venue (i.e. coffee shop) but not for anything larger.
Surprises: 1) The 7189 output tube! This is the higher plate voltage version of the EL84 tube made famous in British amps of the 60′s; and 2) The 8-inch Oxford Alnico speaker sounds great!
Value ($): Depends on the condition and market demand. I have seen them run from $100 to as high as $500.
Similar Amps: The original 1960′s Vox AC4 practice amp. Nothing else in the Silvertone line is similar.
The Complete Silvertone 1421 Review
(Stay tuned… this section under construction)
The 1421 Photo Gallery
This amp is in fantastic condition for it’s age. It even came with the factory original vinyl dust cover. It is all original, except that I replaced a broken power switch, and then replaced the old 2-prong power cord with a safer grounded cord. The tubes, chassis, speaker, cabinet and finish are all in perfect condition — sans for the cigarette-sized hole burned into the original grille cloth (not by me, it came that way!).
The Sears 10 XL was sold through Sears and Roebuck in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. The 10 XL is a single channel, 10-watt (peak) combo amp for electric guitar with a very cool built-in tube-powered tremolo effect.
This little amp first appeared in the 1969 Sears Catalog as a 10-watt tube-powered amp and, transformed into to a solid-state amp around 1972, and then discontinued in 1973. The label on the rear panel identified this model as Silvertone 257.1421100.
The photo of this little amp looks innocent enough. But don’t let the its appearance fool you! This is a serious sleeper of a tube amp, and sounds fantastic. Perfect for your next garage band. And you won’t usually find them as nice as this one!
Summary: A 10-watt tube combo with tremolo and 8-inch speaker. Hand-wired. A classic garage amp! Starts out loud and stays there. Comfortable at full volume playing in a garage, but will blow you out of your bedroom. Lots of midrange and natural tube overdrive. Highly responsive and touch sensitive to player’s technique; so a talented strummer can get a wide variety of tones and sounds. This amp lives mostly on the treble end of midrange, but depending on the speaker can growl and howl on the low-E notes. Great for classic and indie rock, jazz, blues, country and rockabilly. Use as a practice amp or at small venues. Perfect for recording.
Pluses (+): Vintage 1960’s tube sound in an affordable practice amp package. Compact and lightweight. Tube powered tremolo that is other-worldly!
Minuses ( – ): Typical department store construction; lightweight cabinet and vinyl covering (it’s a Sears amp!). The original fabric grille cloth was fragile, and therefore most are completely deteriorated by now. Not really loud enough for a big venue, but still perfect for those small and intimate gigs (i.e. coffee shop).
Surprises ( ! ): 1) The 7189 output tube! This is the higher plate voltage version of the EL84 tube found in British valve amps of the 60’s; and 2) The 8-inch Oxford Alnico speaker sounds great!
Value ($): Depends on the condition and market demand. I have seen them run from $150 (beat up and not working) to as high as $500 (too much!).
Similar Amps: Unique, nothing else in the Silvertone line is similar. Preamp tube (12AX7) and power tube (7189 version of EL84) used in the 1960’s Vox AC4.
The Sears XL Story (as best I know it)
The Sears 10 XL was a member of the Sears XL Series of amplifiers that first appeaed in the late 1960’s and ran through the mid-1970’s. The XL Series followed the venerable Silvertone 1400 Series (1472, 1482, 1483, 1484, 1485) from the early to mid 1960’s. The XL Series ranged from the little 5 XL (3-tubes, 3-watts) to the giant 200 XL (200-watts solid-state).
Before the XL Series, the Sears Silvertone 1400 line up of amps was designed and built by the famously efficient and economical Danelectro Company of Neptune, New Jersey. Danelectro was founded by the pioneering electronics engineer and builder Nathan Daniel. Nate Daniel specialized in building quality musical instruments and gear at reasonable prices. Danelectro built and supplied all the guitar amps to Sears and Roebuck from about 1958 to 1968. In 1966 founder Nate Daniel sold his company to MCA, and unfortunately by 1969, MCA had to shut down the operation and thus the original Danelectro Company no longer existed.
From about 1968 to 1972 the smaller amps in the Sears XL Series (the 5 XL, 10 XL, 40 XL) continued to be hand-wired tube amps. But by 1973 the entire XL line – except for the little 5 XL – had transitioned to all solid-state electronics. Exactly who built these XL amps for Sears remains a uncertain. We have speculated that the 5, 10 and 40 XL’s were still built in New Jersey with left-over parts from the defunct Daneletro.
The chassis of the 10 XL is all hand-wired point-to-point electronics with a 6X4 tube rectifier, a 12AX7 preamp tube, a 12AX7 tremolo tube circuit and a single 7189 output power tube. The amp has volume and tone controls, Tremolo speed and intensity controls, two 1/4″ guitar input jacks, and one 1/4″ tremolo foot switch input jack.
The loudspeakers that came in the Sears 10 XL varied throughout production. All speakers were 8-inches in size. But the manufacturer and type of speaker varied. This particular model has an 8-inch speaker made by Oxford with an Alnico magnet, which perfectly compliments the lower output level of the 7189 power tube, and sounds great in this amp. Some other 1421 models were made with speakers from the CTS or Fisher factories, and by my account, those all had ceramic magnets instead of Alnico.
The Baffle Board and Grille Cloth
The baffle board is typical Silvertone quality: 1/8″ pressed board (Masonite). That just helps to establish this amp’s personality. The original silver, gold and green sparkle fabric that covers the baffle board is quite delicate, and in most cases rotted away over the years. Thankfully, somehow the original fabric survived on this model.
The 10 XL Photo Gallery
This 10 XL is in fantastic condition for it’s age. It even came with the factory original vinyl dust cover and tremolo foot switch. It is all original, except that I replaced a broken power switch, and then replaced the old 2-prong power cord with a safer grounded cord. The tubes, chassis, speaker, cabinet and finish are all in perfect condition — sans for the cigarette-sized hole in the original grille cloth (not by me, it came that way!).
I love stereo! That’s why I got pretty excited when I looked at my Boss CE-3 chorus pedal and realized I could connect a pair of amps to the CE-3′s dual outputs and play my guitar in stereo. So I decided pick up two inexpensive Silvertone 1421′s (aka: Sears 10XL) off eBay. These are great little tube amps from the late 60′s and early 70′s. The 10-watt 1421 uses two 12AX7 tubes—one for pre-amp and the other for tremolo—and a single 7189 as the output tube. The 7189 tube is the industrial version of the venerable EL84, a tube found in so many British valve amps. The 12AX7/EL84 tube combination is unique to the 1421 amp within the entire Silvertone line, and compares it nicely by design to the original Vox AC4 Combo of the early 60′s.
Silvertone 1421 – Completely Original
This first amp is a beautiful 1971 model, completely original and in excellent condition. The Sears model number is 257.14211100. It probably sat in someone’s closet for the better part of 30+ years and was hardly played. Except for a power switch stuck in the “on” position, the old two-conductor power cord, and a little bit of hum, this combo is totally functional and sounds great. It even has its original protective vinyl cover (I’ve never seen a cover for these before) and its original tremolo foot switch. The original grill cloth is in great condition, which is truly rare for this model, even though it does have one cigarette-sized hole in the fabric. The speaker is an 8-inch Oxford Alnico magnet speaker that rings clear at low volume, but breaks up nicely when cranked (along with the tubes in overdrive). All in all, this little combo is a real sweet find! After I fix the power switch and replace the cord, I plan to keep this guy all original. I can live with a little hum for now.
Silvertone 1421 – Grill Cloth Replaced
The other amp is a 1970 model 1421. Also Sears model number 257.14211100. It’s in pretty good condition too, and is almost completely dead quiet (no hum) when running. But the original grill cloth was replaced and the tremolo is not working. Somebody already replaced the notorious power switch and the 2-prong power cord before I bought it. Unlike it’s twin, this 1421 has an 8-inch CTS speaker with ceramic magnet. I plan to mod this amp as my next project. I will need to work on the tremolo circuit, then replace the caps, ditch the ugly brown fabric, and build a new baffle board to hold a bigger 10-inch Alnico Blue speaker (think: Celestion). After those mods are complete, this 1421 should sound more British than American.
Then, plug these two into my CE-3 stereo chorus pedal and have fun!
A full Tone Gems review of the Silvertone 1421 will be in the near future.
Drop dead, new old stock guitar, amp and accessories.
A guitar time capsule discovery. While out trolling the flea marts, pawn and antique shops today, Jon and I ran into this absolutely beautiful 1967 Tesico EP-7. It came with its original matching Checkmate 12 amp, guitar strap and cables. It was entire ’67 Teisco electric guitar starter package, minus the original gig bag (but the seller might have had that hanging around, too). Even though the set was 45 years old, the guitar and amp were as new as the day they came out of the Teisco factory. Someone must have received the set back in ’67 and then locked it on a closet. The nitrocellulose finish was perfectly glossy, the chrome was gleaming, and the rosewood fingerboard and brass frets appeared to never have been played before today. We did hear some hum coming from the solid-state Checkmate 12, but that may have been caused by the super-cheap unshielded guitar cable we were using. The EP-7 sounded just “OK” through it’s little solid-state amp. But when we plugged it into a ’47 Harmony tube amp, those two single coil pickups really began to shine. We were impressed by this little guy. It was the find of the day, and maybe the year.