Ampeg ReverbRocket

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Ampeg ReverbRocket

Postby jeffl » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:46 pm

I test drove a 1963 Ampeg Reverb Rocket yesterday,at Dave's Guitar in LaCrosse,Wisconsin. I used my day off to hit some music stores I normally don't get to shop at. I'd be interested in the opinions of anybody who has blown through one of these. I think they could be a great harp amp. It has 3 input jacks, labelled guitar,microphone,and accordian. I guessed that the accordian jack would be the one best suited for the tone I wanted, and I was right (to my ears). The other two jacks produced no gain until I turned the volume up past 4 or 5, and then they came on in almost uncontrollable fashion. When played with the tone knob nearly zeroed, the tone was nice and warm,except on the guitar and mic jacks, where it huffed the bass end like it had a bad cough. As soon as I got the tone knob to about 4 or 5, it cut like a filet knife; definitely able to get through a stage mix with that thing. Lotsa power,too. A single 12" Jensen in this one,with a tremolo footswitch (a veritable surf music monster), I couldn't find a thing not to like about this little classic. When yer starin' at an Ampeg,you know it's an Ampeg. This one had all the original purchase papers from the factory: the warranty card,schematic diagram, a handy-dandy "fast facts" type of brief intro card, and receipt. They wanted $495 for it. I'm not buyin' it,but once I saw it, I had to play through it, for future reference. I'd have to chew hard to make a decision between the Ampeg and the Gretsch 6161 that my local music store owner offered me. I think the Gretsch had more usable volume and tone knobs, where the Ampeg seemed to have portions of the adjustments that were basically unusable. I don't know how many watts the Ampeg has, but I think it had more headroom than the Gretsch.
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Postby dcblues » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:55 pm

My Premier has inputs for "Bass Fiddle" and Accordion. The accordion input is the best one for harp.
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Postby bosco » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:04 am

Thanks for the nutshell review Bubba, I enjoy reading about vintage amps most of us will never get to play through or admire!

:wink:
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Postby jeffl » Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:37 pm

bosco wrote:Thanks for the nutshell review Bubba, I enjoy reading about vintage amps most of us will never get to play through or admire!

:wink:
You bet,Bosco...except I forgot to mention one of the most impressive things about this little beauty: It's got a great creamy reverb on board. You can't turn it up much past about 1,for any normal playin', 'cuz it's like bein' inside a tunnel, but this amp doesn't need any pedals to get a super tone. It's almost a shame to use an amp like this for harp, 'cuz it should be a great guitar amp...it's got a footswitchable tremolo, reverb, and lotsa guts; it's a very versatile amp, and it's lightweight, considering its vintage and all the circuitry onboard. The schematic in this one sure is handy,too. Personally,if I had the amp, I'd make copies of the paperwork, and frame the originals with a copy of the story of the development of the Rocket Reverb line on the Ampeg history page online. One comment I read is that this amp may have had the first combo reverb ( not an external reverb tank,like the Fender tanks) to be put into an amp.
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Postby bosco » Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:25 pm

It's almost a shame to use an amp like this for harp, 'cuz it should be a great guitar amp...

Doesn't that always seem to be the case.

The Fender blackface Princeton Reverb, which I believe came out in '64, is pretty much the holy grail for a harp combo amp, but unfortunately is one of the most highly sought after guitar amps as well. Interesting bit of history about the Ampeg reverb, they may well have beat Fender by a matter of months as far as the first offering in a combo amp.

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