#1
i thought i might as well put all this in one thread as i acquired some new gear while i was writing my dissertation of my degree so naturally didn't get around to making a NGD thread at the time.

First - the new amp:



It's a 1980s Musicman HD75 - This amp is a hybrid, designed by Leo Fender. This was the most basic model musicman offered in 1980 till 1984 when the company was bought by Ernie Ball and moved away from amp production entirely to focus on making guitars and basses. I was fortunate enough to find one in great shape - this amp is almost mint!

This is an interesting amp because it features a purely solid state preamp and a purely tube power amp running 6L6GCs. This, in my view, gives you the best of both worlds, which is exactly what i want - the tightness and transparency of a solid state preamp, combined with the warmth and response of a tube power amp. So with a strat or a tele you get an amazingly defined "spank", and a nice rich and focussed 'thump' from a les paul or SG. As you'd expect, it's voiced similarly to a Fender - kind of like a twin or a deluxe reverb.

The amp has 2 channels, normal and bass, each with hi (1) and lo (2) inputs and their own bright switch - master controls include a master volume and a deep switch. Both of these channels are very similar, but i find the bass channel sounds a little harsher and feels a bit stiffer, and also has a little less gain - but that's probably because it's clearly meant for bass.

The channel volumes work like gain controls, although that's not really their intended purpose - you can get a small amount of drive out of the amp this way (about as much as i'm likely to use for most things), but if you push it too far beyond just a little breakup, it loses all clarity and becomes a grainy mess. i think the best way to use this amp is to set the channel volume right at the peak of its headroom so you get a tiny little bit of dirt when you play your guitar harder, and then set the output volume with the master volume control. the preamp doesn't have a lot of headroom on the normal channel, it will start to break up with a moderate output humbucker with the channel volume set around 4, making the usable threshold up to 6-7.

The amp takes pedals extremely well - it even handles being boosted with an overdrive pedal surprisingly well, provided you aren't getting too much overdrive from the preamp already.

So... in conclusion - very very crisp and clear sounding amplifier, which is very transparent and lets you hear your guitar's tone in great detail. It'll make a great guitar shine, but it certainly won't polish a turd... Fortunately, a few months ago i bought this:




(apologies for the dark photo here... no excuses for poor photography skills!)

A EBMM Albert Lee model... with a twist. This is pretty different to what albert lee actually uses - which is a more strat-like guitar, with 3 single coils, an ash body and a maple neck - to get his spanky hybrid-picking sound. This guitar features an african mahogany body, a rosewood neck, and two custom spec dimarzio humbuckers. I'm literally over the moon with this guitar - the lightly oiled rosewood neck, with the narrow string spacing, 10" radius and tall medium gauge fretwire is a dream to play, and the body is very light and shaped very comfortably too, well contoured and allowing for upper fret access to rival an SG. The whole guitar balances well, the tremolo is very stable, holding it's tuning exceptionally well, and the combination of a big brass block and stainless steel saddles lends itself to a big, bright, bell-like sound which transfers into the PAF-like humbuckers very well.

In addition to this the 5 position switch offers the standard tones you get from 2 humbuckers, as well as some very usable coil tapped tones - position 2 gives you the outer coils of the humbuckers in parallel, giving a somewhat tele-esque tone, and position 4 is the inner coils, making the guitar quack almost like a strat - but like the middle ground between positions 2 and 4 on a strat, due to the pickup locations. This makes the guitar incredibly versatile, and enables me to get through an entire gig without being tempted to change guitars occasionally.


And finally, there's the pedalboard my friend has kindly let me borrow - well, the board, the power supply and the true bypass loop box - the pedals are mine. the true bypass looper allows me to switch all my pedals in and out of the circuit when i'm not using them, which is useful since i only really use an overdrive, compressor and sometimes a bit of delay for solos, or occasionally a bit of phaser or chorus for little sections of songs, and mostly my pedals are all bypassed - this means i don't have to deal with tone-suckage caused by bad buffers at times when i don't use the pedals.

here's a shot of my new rig (minus the cables that connect it all together):


(in case anyone's wondering, the tape on the grille cloth of my cab is there because... well... celestion vintage 30s are harsh, and i find it tames the sound a little bit, for those unfortunate enough to be caught directly in the line of fire)


Ok.. now the NGD part of this post is over -

As i mentioned earlier, the amp runs 2 6L6GC power tubes - mine currently has some groove tubes which sound a bit noisy, and brittle in the high frequencies at higher volumes in the same way the sovteks were in my laney VC30 (and i'm aware groove tubes are rebranded and some are made by sovtek). my instinct therefore tells me that i should swap them for some JJs like i did with my VC30 - any other suggestions?
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#3
I've played one of those amps! Great punch to them!


HNGD, bud, enjoy it.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#4
What an ugly amp and guitar.


Bet they play and sound amazing
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#5
Quote by Robbgnarly
What an ugly amp and guitar.



I've played one of those heads before too, many years ago. Had several friends who used different Music Mans for years. Very reliable amps, too. Pretty fun to play. Nice score, man! I like amps & gear that are a bit different. I'd play that guitar any day!
Congrats on the cool stuff!
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#6
nice scores there
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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#8
since when have the music man guitars been so sexy? HNG&AD bro.

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#9
Quote by an epic mistake
since when have the music man guitars been so sexy? HNG&AD bro.

Music Man makes some of the nicest guitars I've seen. Still GASsing hard for a JPX!

OP, that looks like an awesome combo. HNA&GD!
#11
Thanks for the replies so far - i guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so lots of people are gonna have different opinions about how the guitar looks. i would simply describe it as "distinctive and unusual"

The deep switch on the amp is an amazing feature, probably intended for bass players. at first i thought it would only work on the bass channel, but it actually works on both, and does a great job of providing almost the same amount of depth and punch from single coils that you naturally get from humbuckers.

The only thing i want to change is the tubes the amp was shipped with - it has some groove tubes 6L6GEs which i think are struggling with the high plate voltage, and are sounding a little bit harsh in the high frequencies. a few people have recommended i try some svetlana winged C 6L6GCs as they should be able to handle the voltage ok and should sound a bit smoother in the high frequencies. Any other suggestions?
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#12
Those 6L6GE's are made in China. They claim they are made using old American GE machines but they don't specify what. I suspect it's a spanner.

SED are the best tubes made today. If you can afford them buy them.


And HNAD. Now play some Clash on it.
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#14
thanks

i just put some sovtek 5881s from my friend's identical HD75 in mine - even they are 10x better than the groove tubes with this amp... these amps have huge plate voltages (something like 725vdc or thereabouts), i think the groove tubes just can't handle that very well.

i think i'll get some SED =C='s then. a few bits of information i've read about them stated they can handle a higher plate voltage than pretty much any other valve that's currently in production.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#16
nice scores blomp!

duck tape fixes everything..

if you can't duck it...

**** it, it's broke.
#17
by the sound of it they are definitely worth it for my amp because it seems like pretty much no other modern valves will actually survive in the amp

i've gone ahead and ordered a pair - i guess the groove tubes can be 'last resort' spares.

i currently have another musicman HD75 head lying around belonging to the same guy who has loaned me his pedalboard/true bypass loop. I've been borrowing that amp for about a month now and it's the reason i decided to get myself one.

when i compare the two amps, with the same tubes and speakers, they aren't the same, but they are very very similar.. mine's a little brighter and edgier on the normal channel, and the gain on mine needs to be a couple of notches lower to achieve the same amount of distortion. With a few small tweaks of the EQ though, i can't tell the difference between them half the time. The bass channels on both amps sound literally exactly the same with all controls in the same place - it's spooky.

interstingly, these two amps' serial numbers are only 20 units apart
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#18
One of them may have an out of spec capacitor. Even when they are within spec they can be up to 20% different if both have a 10% tolerance. More devices will add to that tolerance. It isn't uncommon for two identical circuits to sound different due to that, and not just capacitors - ALL components have a tolerance and they all add up.
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Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#21
Quote by Cathbard
One of them may have an out of spec capacitor. Even when they are within spec they can be up to 20% different if both have a 10% tolerance. More devices will add to that tolerance. It isn't uncommon for two identical circuits to sound different due to that, and not just capacitors - ALL components have a tolerance and they all add up.

i've been talking about it with the owner of the other HD75 and he said exactly the same thing. It seems to make sense that since the normal and bass channels on his amp both have the same amount of gain as the bass channel on mine, it's the normal channel on my amp that isn't quite 'right' - although i find it has a bit more of a usable range of preamp distortion this way, somehow.

so long as it's not doing any harm, i think 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' could apply here - and yes, it does have a 3 prong plug
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#22
Quote by Blompcube
Thanks for the replies so far - i guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so lots of people are gonna have different opinions about how the guitar looks. i would simply describe it as "distinctive and unusual"

I was just messing with you

That is a nice haul. MM amps have a great clean channel.

I agree with cath, if you have the money SED are great tubes
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#23
Quote by Robbgnarly
I was just messing with you

That is a nice haul. MM amps have a great clean channel.

I agree with cath, if you have the money SED are great tubes

It's ok - i do think the guitar is the kind of thing where some people are either gonna love or hate the way it looks. it's not really classic design that people have come to know and accept for what it is... yet
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#24
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
It's duct tape.

DucT, with a capital t

Duct is the type of tape, Duck is a brand that makes it... Both are acceptable.
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#25
Quote by Blompcube
thanks

i just put some sovtek 5881s from my friend's identical HD75 in mine - even they are 10x better than the groove tubes with this amp... these amps have huge plate voltages (something like 725vdc or thereabouts), i think the groove tubes just can't handle that very well.


yeah, the plate voltages are redic. i've been told it limits you options on what brands of 6L6GC's you can use.

great get, i love my music man amps and i got a great deal on all of them.


Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
It's duct tape.

DucT, with a capital t




duck tape is duct tape and band aids are really self adhesive bandages.
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
-ae
#26
my musicman weighs as much as a thousand suns. maybe its the transformers.

does yours?
mojostompboxes.com
#27
Quote by greeny23
my musicman weighs as much as a thousand suns. maybe its the transformers.

does yours?


you have a combo? my combos are redic heavy, but i have a 130HD head (with no effects like TS) and it is actually pretty light.
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
-ae
#28
good to see another music man on here. truly underrated and some serious tone. i have a HD212 130 watt combo and i love it. they are pretty damn heavy.

does your model have a tube phase inverter?

i have a 12ax7 PI in mine which i have been told that there weren't all that many made. just curious.

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#29
Quote by trashedlostfdup
good to see another music man on here. truly underrated and some serious tone. i have a HD212 130 watt combo and i love it. they are pretty damn heavy.

does your model have a tube phase inverter?

i have a 12ax7 PI in mine which i have been told that there weren't all that many made. just curious.



the tube PI was only in their early models with silver badge plates. although i am not totally sure they seem to have done away with tube PI's by '78. his is an 80's model so it won't have one.
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
-ae
#30
Quote by gumbilicious
you have a combo? my combos are redic heavy, but i have a 130HD head (with no effects like TS) and it is actually pretty light.


i have the 210 sixty five combo yeah.
mojostompboxes.com
#31
Quote by trashedlostfdup
does your model have a tube phase inverter?

nope, no tube PI in this one.

Quote by greeny23
my musicman weighs as much as a thousand suns. maybe its the transformers.

does yours?

not really, but all the weight is on one side making it a little bit awkward to carry
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#32
Nice MM dude! Love those amps. I have a 1978 RP112-one hundred. Reverb and phasor work like a champ! There is no PI on this amp. The power section has a pair of GT 6L6b tubes that were installed by the previous owner and then didn't use the amp for 18 years after the new tubes were put in! The amp looks a little rough, but I'm just interested in the sound than the appearance. That amp is a beast! I would like to get my hands on more MM amps. I'd also like to test some different tubes with this just to see what tones can be had from this monster. Lately I've been using the amp as a master using the low level out into a Crate FW120h as the slave into a full stack of Peavey 412e classic cabs loaded with Sheffield 1230's. Pretty cool sounds IMO! MM gear rocks!
PS--- the transformers in these are crazy heavy!!
Last edited by stringDIA at Jun 21, 2013,
#33
Quote by stringDIA
Nice MM dude! Love those amps. I have a 1978 RP112-one hundred. Reverb and phasor work like a champ! There is no PI on this amp. The power section has a pair of GT 6L6b tubes that were installed by the previous owner and then didn't use the amp for 18 years after the new tubes were put in! The amp looks a little rough, but I'm just interested in the sound than the appearance. That amp is a beast! I would like to get my hands on more MM amps. I'd also like to test some different tubes with this just to see what tones can be had from this monster. Lately I've been using the amp as a master using the low level out into a Crate FW120h as the slave into a full stack of Peavey 412e classic cabs loaded with Sheffield 1230's. Pretty cool sounds IMO! MM gear rocks!
PS--- the transformers in these are crazy heavy!!

It was going good until you said you put it through a crate flexwave

Why not just use the MM to run a 4x12 cab, it has plenty of power
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate