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.
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.
Just arrived! A 1984 DOD FX50 Overdrive Preamp in like-new condition, in the original factory box. There are plenty of these pedals out there, but this one has been barely used and came along with the original manual, papers, and schematic diagram. Plus, I got a great deal! Can’t wait to try this out and report back on the tone.
[This is an update to an earlier post. Since then we have done some more testing of this unit with different instruments and amplifiers.]
I was looking for a good analog pedal to overdrive my tube amp without loosing that “great Gretsch sound” of my Electromatic. The DOD FX10 was originally built as a preamp for acoustic guitars, but I had read some pretty good things about using the FX10 as a clean boost, so thought I’d give it a try. I ordered this one online from Studio 1525 (BTW: Studio 1525 has a huge selection of vintage pedals). According to the America’s Pedal web site, the FX line of pedals was first introduced by DOD in 1982, and the FX10 was part of the first group of FX pedals released that year. It remained in production through the mid-1990’s. According to the date code on this FX10’s pots, it was made in 1983. This sample is the original version that has the really cool larger knobs, similar to some other respected DOD pedals of that era.
DOD FX10 Specifications
Gain of +17 Decibels
Controls: Level and Tone (CTS pots)
Jacks: ¼” In and Out
Construction: Die Cast Metal Box
IC: TL062 Dual Op Amp, TI Malaysia
JFET: Two J113’s
Bypass Switch: CMOS 4007
Power: 9-volt battery or PS125 (10VDC)
Mfrd: 1983 in USA
Serial No: FX216329
How does it sound?
Others have reported more success with this pedal than I have been able to achieve. It does perform OK on a guitar amp when both controls are kept between 0 and 6 (up to about 2 o’clock on the dial). But above those levels it will add a significant amounts of noise.
Originally, I tested this unit with an old Silvertone tube amp. Initially I was disappointed, because, even though the pedal boosted the amp into overdrive, it was pretty noisy and thickened my guitar’s tone more than desired. But that could have been due to the minimal (or no) shielding in the old tube amp. So I took the pedal out of chain and set it aside for awhile.
Later, I tested this pedal on a solid-state Univox bass amp and it really did a good job of boosting the signal without changing the original tone of the guitar. And unlike before, it barely added any signal noise into the chain of effects. So obviously the combination of equipment makes a big difference.
Birthday’s are great! This pedal was a gift! My son and his wife remembered my affinity for chorus pedals and found this Danelectro at a used music shop. It’s the 18-volt version, all analog, made about 1996. It sounds great! Very warm and lush sounding with a broader depth and speed range than similar analog pedals. Maybe it sounds so good because it’s a clone of the legendary Boss CE-2, with the following chips on-board:
MN3007 — 1024-stage analog Bucket Brigade chip (BBD). Panasonic, Japan.
Along with my other analog chorus effects pedals, I hope to have a full review posted here in the very near future. Stay tuned…