Gretsch 6161 amp

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Postby jeffl » Thu Oct 12, 2006 8:24 pm

I still haven't heard a offer outa my music store guy. I hope he's using the time to go over that amp. I might jus' ask him if I can take the thing outa the store tomorrow nite...some buddies of mine are playin' down the road a few miles, and they always love me sittin' in with 'em; could be time for a road test.
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Postby t bone bruce » Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:28 pm

Have you heard anything more about the amp?
I finally found a schematic for it. The Gretch amps were made by Valco:
http://www.schematicheaven.com/bargainb ... o_6161.pdf
At least with that it might be possible to work out some mods/tube subs for it.
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Postby ricochet » Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:32 pm

Well, now we know the 6973s are the only oddball tubes in there. The rest are 12AX7s and a 5Y3GT.

I love Schematic Heaven!
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Postby angerboy » Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:55 pm

Look at it this way, you can find Silverface Champs in every major metropolis and in every non major metropolis. The Gretsch sounds really cool and unique.

The only downside to owning a really unique amp is that it can be difficult to locate parts. I own a really ancient Tower amp. I suspect it's a really old 15W Valco. It's got a very cool sound to it. It's all original. I don't use it much out of fear of breaking it and not being able to find replacement parts. I'm not sure where I would find a replacement 9" Jensen speaker.
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Postby ricochet » Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:10 pm

I think I'd have to figure out a way to graft in an 8" or 10" modern speaker for that 9" if it blew.

As for the 6973, my little tube substitution book only lists a 6C25, whatever that may be, as a substitute. That's not a U.S. RIAA type number. Sounds like a British type.

I think that with a little socket rewiring, EL84s would work in there. Might want to reduce the value of the shared cathode bias resistor for the power tubes a little, but I'd try it first as it was.
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Postby angerboy » Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:22 pm

Nah, I was thinking that I would just throw the whole hunk of crap into the garbage, if the 9" speaker or one of the tubes died.. :-)
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Postby ricochet » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:35 pm

Great idea! I've got a garbage can you can throw it in, right here.
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Postby jeffl » Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:43 am

I haven't heard from him yet,but it's only been a few days. I wouldn't be surprised if he's tryin' to figure out whether he wants to bother takin' a trade on that Gretsch at all; If I was him, I'd wanna make sure that I didn't put so much in the Champ that I woulda been better off jus' sellin' the Gretsch outright. I put him in a tough spot though, 'cuz I've been a pretty good customer over the years, dealing pretty much solely with his store for my equipment. The way I'd look at it if I was him is that if he doesn't even come out quite as good dealin' with me, he's takin' care of a good customer, and with repeat business, you don't have to make as much each time. Of course, if he's smart, he'll find a trade $ point where I'm happy and he makes maybe $50 -$75 more sellin' 2 amps insteada one.
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Postby bosco » Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:03 pm

>If I was him, I'd wanna make sure that I didn't put so much in the Champ that I woulda been better off jus' sellin' the Gretsch outright.<

Well, looking at it that way, The Champ oughta be ten times easier for him to unload than the Gretsch. Folks are familiar with Fenders and most times think real hard about acquiring older vintage amps and the possible travails that come with them.

Still hoping it works out for you.
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Postby jeffl » Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:27 pm

Your points are well taken Bosco, and I know that the only Champs available in Minnesota are selling for at least $100 more than I paid him for this one a coupla years ago. As far as the potential upkeep on the amp, the Gretsch community of owners seems to be well organized, and well versed in how to get replacement parts for them. Some of the original transformers,etc., are not available, but substitutions work. I think if a tranny fails, you'd jus' keep the original in case somebody wanted to rebuild it.
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Postby jeffl » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:31 pm

I'm a Gretsch amp owner as of today! I stopped down to pick up a harp at my music store and finished the swap with the owner. I felt a little bad about havin' to trade my Silverface Champ, but I couldn't rationalize hangin' onto it. I never quite got accustomed to the limited low end response on it, and with this Gretsch in the house, I doubt that I would've ever played the Champ anymore. I got another chance to look the Gretsch over real good today, and it impressed me even more. The speakers are the original 6X9" Rolos; you can tell the solders are factory and they've never been touched. I don't think the amp's been played alot, 'cuz it's jus' mint. The original Gretsch "G & arrow" bright knobs are still on it, and the original Daisy tremolo footswitch is still with it. The handle hardware is slightly corroded, but I'll take some lamp cleaner to it, and it'll be fine. The only thing missin' off it is the milk white power light jewel, and I got a feelin' I can get my hands on one of those through the grapevine. If you guys have never played harp through one of these dual 6X9 Electromatic Gretsches, do yourself a favor and test drive one if you get a chance. For a low output small club amp (14 watts in 1960), it is the bone. It's real loud, with plenty of bass response at any volume, and it's quiet as a churchmouse at idle. AND, they're cool lookin',with a real art deco flavor to 'em. I've never heard 'em talked about much for harpin', but I'm guessin' that their cousins, the Valco/Supros, are gettin' all the hype. This amp has prob'ly the best circuitry that Valco put in one of their amps, and the Gretsch heritage is jus' cool. It's a shame to "waste" the wonderful tremolo in this amp, but there aren't many tunes I'd use tremolo on. I'm pickin' the amp up tomorrow, and sayin' goodbye to my ole Silverface.
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Postby ricochet » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:48 pm

Congratulations, Bubba, that sounds great!
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Postby 1armbandit » Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:55 pm

Great Bubba, congrats on the new baby in the family.
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Postby bosco » Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:29 pm

Way to go Bubba! Yeah!

The rest of my amps are collecting dust as well. Once your find the tone you've searched for, it's hard to give it up for any reason.

Too cool. :wink:

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Postby jeffl » Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:49 pm

Yeah, well I backed outa the purchase today. I went to pick it up, and he tried to bump me $60 over what he told me yesterday, sayin' he got confused over the numbers, and after talkin' to him, I can see that he WAS confused. I also think he stumbled across a much higher asking price for one on the Gretsch vintage site, and he got seller's remorse. I'm very disappointed. I'm not surprised that he got sloppy with the deal,'cuz I've known him for prob'ly 10 years, and I've known guys who worked for him, and he's got everything he can do to stay organized. On the scale of musicians who are businessmen, he's just over the line where you shouldn't even be runnin' your own band. I've been in the car business for 28 years, and if I quote a guy a price on a deal, I stand behind the quote even if it's a mistake, unless I'm losin' my ass so bad that the owner would fire me. I told him I didn't need the amp that bad, which is true. There's other amps out there,jus' like cars and boats.
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