Price paid: $ 350
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 10
I play this amp with my Gibson Les Paul and Fender Strat. It is completely clean (even dimed with my Les Paul), I can only dirty it up with a fuzzbox. I like the tone with the both guitars, and I find this amp really lets you hear the true voice of your guitar (amazing). I like the Strat better, because I find it fits the tonality of the amp better and gives you a bit more tonal flexibility. With my bridge humbucker on my strat, this amp is extremely bright without being harsh, it's a great early 60's sound (back when ulta-treble was in fashion). The reverb is extremely lush, and the tremolo is amazing sounding, much better than any stompbox. These two features open up a very big door to surf sounds. There's not an abundance of hum, a little bit when you turn the volume past 6 or 7.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mainly blues, classic rock and the like. Rock encompasses so many tones, and this amp harkens back to the early days of rock n' roll. At first I wished I could coax some breakup out of the thing, but after a few weeks I came to greatly appreciate the clean, chimey, crisp, defined, sweet sounds of a Vintage amplifier. I have been playing for three years, and I have modern Epiphone tube amps like the Blues Custom 30 and Valve Junior Head and Cab to compare this to. I play a Gibson Les Paul Vintage Mahogany (Burstbucker Pros) and a Fender Standard Strat (Texas Specials). If this were lost/stolen I would feel a great loss because these are not in production anymore, and I feel it is more of a collectible than any other piece of gear I own. My favorite feature is the tremolo, because it is not easy to find a good tube-driven tremolo these days without paying and arm and a leg.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't trust this amp for too awful much since it's so old. The tubes are still the original RCA's and the power supply isn't grounded. The amp doesn't turn on sometimes, or maybe the light doesn't. The amp has cut out on me a time or two, but if you are careful with how hard you Drive it, it will give you no guff. The tolex has some cuts, dings, and scratches, but it's still there after about 40 years. The handle is sort of ratty looking, I might replace that. Hardware (screws and metal corners) are looking a bit rusty, might clean them off.
Features — 9
This amp is from either 1968 or 1969, made in Kalamazoo, Michigan (copy of an earlier Gibson amp, the GA-20 RVT Minutman). All tube 12.5 watt combo with 12" speaker. This Vintage piece is not very versatile at all, it fills a certain niche in my tonal desires. This amp excels at surf, rockabilly, honky-tonky, jazzy, and clean blues sounds. It has tube-driven reverb and tremolo circuits, 2 non-switchable channels with 2 inputs each, and 2-band equalizer for each channel. Channel 1 is what I call the "dry" channel, and I don't ever use it. Channel 2 is what I call the "wet" channel, because it utilizes the reverb and tremolo circuits. I really don't think it needs anything else, except for a three-prong ac cable mod and I wish it had an external speaker output.