#1
Hi. I was honestly not expecting this - Not in a million years lol.

Long story short, I bought this off a friend who had had it along time and never really known what to do with it. I offered to buy it several times, he didn't want to part with it, but last week he found a great deal on a guitar he'd been looking for for a long time, needed the money in a hurry and this time, to my surprise, decided to sell it to me for a very good price He even included a road case at no extra cost.

It might not look quite like one, but it's a 1964 Vox AC30 Top Boost! It's clearly seen a lot of use in the last 50+ years. It looks like somebody has painted the entire cabinet with black paint to cover up all the rips in the tolex, the grille cloth is not original, has been installed poorly, and looks like it was taken from a T60 bass cab from the same period, the speakers are late '60s Rola Celestion G12M "blackbacks", the top vents have been cut into one big opening, and it's missing a couple of handles. But the circuit and the components remain almost entirely original and unmolested!

Obligatory pics, I apologise in advance for my lousy photography.






(I tried to clearly photograph the "JMI" label here - camera flash ruined it!)


Looking at the pictures of the control panel it's clear to see how the original UK made amps differ from the ones currently manufactured by Korg. These AC30s have the simplest control layout ever. I'll explain each channel separately:

Normal Channel - The simplest of all the channels, in that it only has a volume knob. It has a very raw and transparent tone and response. Sounds a little bit dark and dull on lower volume settings, but really opens up when the amp is cranked, for a very thick and incredibly dynamic overdrive sound which responds beautifully to varied picking velocity and interacts with the volume and tone controls on the guitar like nothing else. Part of this is down to the rawness and lack of any type of signal processing in the circuit. You hear all the nuances of the guitar and of the player.

Vib/Trem Channel - Like a slightly brighter/thinner sounding version of the normal channel, but with a single button footswitch (I forgot to include the little egg shaped metal footswitch in the photo!) that turns a pre set vibrato or tremolo effect on and off. The effects aren't actually working right at the moment, but if they were... you have a 2 position rotary selector switch to select tremolo or vibrato, and a 3 position rotary selector switch for speed. The only other control, once again, is volume!

Brilliant Channel - This channel has the famous "Top Boost" circuit which adds an additional gain stage for active treble and bass controls, allowing for a much brighter sound with deeper bass and sharper highs. This channel is the very definition of "vox chime". You can boost the treble and bass to almost absurd levels using the ass-backwards treble and bass EQ where you turn the knobs counter-clockwise to get MORE. It generates beautifully glassy, chiming clean sounds, but cranking it up gives a sharp and aggressive overdrive sound which cuts through the mix like a hot knife through butter. And like the normal channel, it is still extremely transparent, and responsive to the nuances of your guitar and your playing style.

The only other control I didn't mention is the master tone cut which subtly filters out any harsh high end at the phase inverter stage - so in the event that the amp is sounding shrill, there's a simple solution!

I realise I haven't really used enough hyperbolic adjectives (It sounds mindblowing! epic! amazeballs! awesome! etc)... But I just don't feel like I need to. This amp quite simply has that sound which defined an entire generation of british music, and it really is a joy to play through. It's the real deal

Also, I forgot to mention - It cost me less than a brand new AC30C2 - although I will need to spend a bit getting it re-capped and re-tubed, getting the vib/trem issues corrected, and possibly buying a couple of handles to replace the ones that are missing.
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.
#2
That's beautiful for real
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#5
That is very cool, congrats on your score!!
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#6
WOW that is a nice amp. think it's time to get a Brian May Red Special or a Rory Gallagher custom shop strat to go with it.
#7
Quote by monwobobbo
WOW that is a nice amp. think it's time to get a Brian May Red Special or a Rory Gallagher custom shop strat to go with it.


Think Rory would say that that strat is way overpriced and you can get a similar one to his for a lot cheaper.

Anyways, congrats on the VOX! Don't blow your eardrums.
Gear pics

Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

#8
Thanks for the replies so far

I already own a Red Special and an OC44 Treble Booster (which is odd, because I've never set out to replicate Brian May's tone - it's actually just a coincidence that I ended up with the 3 key ingredients for it lol)... But I haven't had a chance to get the amp into an environment where the amp cranked up all the way and boosted with a treble booster wouldn't be painful.

I'm trying not to blow out my eardrums, but it's very very tempting push the volume just that little bit more than normal... and then a little bit more... and then a little bit more... (repeat until volume won't go any louder, windows are shaking and elderly neighbours are scared!)
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.
#9
HNAD.
Any overheating problems been detected yet?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


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My band
#10
Quote by Cathbard
HNAD.
Any overheating problems been detected yet?

Not yet.

I'm guessing it has had overheating problems in the past though, which would explain the significantly enlarged vent on the top.
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.
#11
They all did. Ventilation was the issue. Enlarging the vent and/or adding a fan was the normal solution.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#12
That would explain why I've seen so many AC30s with enlarged vents
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.
#13
sweet
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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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#14
Just remember, if you have to choose between saving the amp or a relative from a house fire, people breed much more readily than vintage amps.

Just sayin'.
Quote by Diemon Dave
Don't go ninjerin nobody don't need ninjerin'
#16
Quote by greeny23
But does it do Dumble?


Nah, he's got a pedal for that...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#17
It doesn't do teh dumble toanz, but it didn't cost as much as a dumble - you get what yuo pay for
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
Quote by slapsymcdougal
Just remember, if you have to choose between saving the amp or a relative from a house fire, people breed much more readily than vintage amps.

Just sayin'.

Old AC30's used to cause the fires - so where does that leave you?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#19
That looks amazing, congrats. You should definitely hook up the Red Special and the treble booster in to it
#20
Quote by Cathbard
Old AC30's used to cause the fires - so where does that leave you?

Burning to death struggling to get into th3 middle of the fire.
Quote by Diemon Dave
Don't go ninjerin nobody don't need ninjerin'
#21
Quote by nico_9550
That looks amazing, congrats. You should definitely hook up the Red Special and the treble booster in to it

I did this for a little while, but it was just too loud for me to really enjoy the experience of hearing it at full volume at home - every room in my house is too small for that kind of volume.
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
I did this for a little while, but it was just too loud for me to really enjoy the experience of hearing it at full volume at home - every room in my house is too small for that kind of volume.


Extension cord, (neighbors) lawn, sorted. It will take the cops at least a few minutes to respond, and you can be packed up and back inside by then...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#23
Oh man, sweet score. Looks proper rock n roll and I bet it sounds great too


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#24
Vox grill cloth is so sexy...
"If you're looking for me,
you better check under the sea,
because that's where you'll find me..."
#27
Quote by Cathbard
Old AC30's used to cause the fires - so where does that leave you?

They still run pretty hot.
You could set a frying pan on top, toss some eggs and bacon in there and make breakfast, even with the newer ones.

Nice score though.
And OC44 has always been my favorite transistor in a treble booster.
Last edited by CodeMonk at Nov 2, 2015,
#30
also, i don't know what your thoughts on it are, but...

i'd consider a pro level re-tolex and grill. the amp is worth it. i realize it's not going to be the stock stuff etc etc, but it is worth it in this case. imo.

ridiculous find, congrats blomp!
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#31
Quote by gregs1020
also, i don't know what your thoughts on it are, but...

i'd consider a pro level re-tolex and grill. the amp is worth it. i realize it's not going to be the stock stuff etc etc, but it is worth it in this case. imo.

ridiculous find, congrats blomp!

Parts for that kind of project can be found here :
http://www.voxshowroom.com/northcoast/shopping/index.htm
#32
Quote by gregs1020
also, i don't know what your thoughts on it are, but...

i'd consider a pro level re-tolex and grill. the amp is worth it. i realize it's not going to be the stock stuff etc etc, but it is worth it in this case. imo.

ridiculous find, congrats blomp!

I agree that this would be worth considering, because it might be a situation where the work actually increases the resale value, given the condition it's in at the moment.

Having said that - I think I ought to try and trace the amp's history as best I can before doing something like that. When I described the condition to the guy who provides PA gear for one of my bands he said my description seemed familiar and suspected that it might've belonged to someone noteworthy at some point.
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.
#33
Awesome! HNAD!
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I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
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maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





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#34
Quote by Blompcube
I agree that this would be worth considering, because it might be a situation where the work actually increases the resale value, given the condition it's in at the moment.

Having said that - I think I ought to try and trace the amp's history as best I can before doing something like that. When I described the condition to the guy who provides PA gear for one of my bands he said my description seemed familiar and suspected that it might've belonged to someone noteworthy at some point.


Unless you can show certified provenance, it's unlikely to change the actual value (except perhaps to you), while a makeover from exceptionally shoddy often will.

That being said, I'd probably leave it as-is as long as it's functional, it's got a 'mojo' vibe going on. (In the interests of full disclosure I purchased a brand new, period correct tweed cabinet for my 5e3, so I'm really in no position to tell you to leave it alone...)
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#35
Quote by Arby911
Unless you can show certified provenance, it's unlikely to change the actual value (except perhaps to you), while a makeover from exceptionally shoddy often will.

That being said, I'd probably leave it as-is as long as it's functional, it's got a 'mojo' vibe going on. (In the interests of full disclosure I purchased a brand new, period correct tweed cabinet for my 5e3, so I'm really in no position to tell you to leave it alone...)

The reason I want to look into the history is because I know someone who had an old ES-335 restored in the 1980s which turned out to be the guitar often played with a violin bow by Eddie Phillips from The Creation, who pioneered that technique. He only discovered this a couple of years ago, and I seem to remember him saying it felt like by covering up the marks on the finish made by the violin bow, he had erased a piece of history.

It's probably nothing, I just want to be 100% sure I'm not making the same mistake before I even consider that kind of work - in any case, keeping it in full working order is always going to have priority over cosmetic repairs.
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.