Vintage Supro Amps

Tube or solid-state, this section goes to eleven!

Vintage Supro Amps

Postby adam79 » 15 Feb 2017, 14:00

I've gotten sucked into the blackhole of vintage Supro amps. There seems to be so many awesome models that were made, and now they're really hard to find, especially in a local store that'll letcha actually play/feel it. So I've basically been stuck check out what's available online and watching videos were I have to rely on that person's setting preferences and recording skills to make a judgement.

I'm looking for one of the late '50s-early '60s models...the ones with the additional gain stage before they updated the circuit and cleaned things up. I'm trying to figure out which models from this golden era are the heaviest, i.e. have the best classic Supro mid-crunch. The heaviest one I've heard so far was a '58 Holiday that had an 8ohm tranny put in to support a 10" speaker replacement (those dual 6x9" arent exactly my favorite speakers either). Anyways, this thing was amazing; it sounded like it could pull off doom metal no problem, but with a cool vintage crunch, not modern day zero feedback rubbish.

Besides that Holiday model (which I believe was the 2nd version; the first is supposidely a bit sterile as it was mad for a.lapsteel), I've read that the 1624T (pre-dual tone, with the 3 big knobs, 2 volume, 1 tone) and 1695T (first version w/ the 6L6GB's) can be pretty ballsy as well. Also the early 1690 Coronado and 1688, but I'm looking for a lower wattage recording amp, not a big 2x12 combo like the 1688.. not sure what the Coronado wattage is.

Anyways, I'm sure I've left out models that would be perfect for me, which is why I'm starting this thread...to get some suggestions on models that dodged my radar. I'm also looking for a broken Supro so that I can use as a canvas to learn how to work on them. I'm no amp tech, I can basically just use a soldering gun well, but I've gotten some good suggestions on where to go to start learn this art. I've been hesitant to pull the trigger on vintage amp buys in the past cuz I think u really need to be able to work on them yourself. A 50+ year old aml needs upkeep and I dont have the cash for repeat tech visits.. especially after I drop a grand on one of these things!

Thanks,
Adam
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Re: Vintage Supro Amps

Postby smackoj » 25 Feb 2017, 13:02

All of the supro amps were made by Valco of Chicago IL.Supro was just one of several brand names that sold the Valco amps. There are many other names that sold Valco amps. There was Gretch, National, Oahu, Mont. Ward. I even saw a Valco amp badged as 'Penncrest" which were sold by JC Penney. Wikipedia will have good info on Valco and an amp builder in CA called 'Vintage47amps makes several clones of the early Valco amps. They use to ave a historical narrative on their website that tells the story about Valco amps. There are several ways to search for Valco amps on ebay. You can search Valco, or Gretsch or Mont. Ward or Oahu. Here is a link to a Gretsch Pro Bass amp that is a Valco amp. I owned one of these and really liked it.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1968-Gretsch-Pr ... Sw4DJYlP~3

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Re: Vintage Supro Amps

Postby adam79 » 27 Feb 2017, 22:32

smackoj wrote:All of the supro amps were made by Valco of Chicago IL.Supro was just one of several brand names that sold the Valco amps. There are many other names that sold Valco amps. There was Gretch, National, Oahu, Mont. Ward. I even saw a Valco amp badged as 'Penncrest" which were sold by JC Penney. Wikipedia will have good info on Valco and an amp builder in CA called 'Vintage47amps makes several clones of the early Valco amps. They use to ave a historical narrative on their website that tells the story about Valco amps. There are several ways to search for Valco amps on ebay. You can search Valco, or Gretsch or Mont. Ward or Oahu. Here is a link to a Gretsch Pro Bass amp that is a Valco amp. I owned one of these and really liked it.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1968-Gretsch-Pr ... Sw4DJYlP~3


I'm familiar with Valco owning Supro and the multuple other clone brands, but not knowledgeble about which non-Supro branded amps have the same curcuits. Inhave read that even thk the circuits are similar, there are, however, slight variations in the circuits and tube selections for the different Valco brands. Ive listen to many comparison videos comparing Supros to the re-branded twins; I have yet to hear any non-Supro models that are supposedly their twins (under another brandnames) that sound the same or even that close to the mid crunch those mid/late '50s - early '60's Supro.models. Same with the clones, although I haven't heard all of them. Any suggestions on the better clone brands?

Also, like I was saying, I just got into Supros, so I'm not familiar with their many models, but I do know that I want one pre '62, with the original circuit board that has the extra gain stage. The three Supro models I've heard (only via youtube videos, not in person unfortunately) that are my style.are:

- 1624T (pre-dual tone, with the three large knobs, 2 Volume, 1 Tone)
- 1695T (first version w/ 6L6GB power tubes. NOT the later 7027 or 6L6GC models)
- 1623CT "Holiday" (second version (w/ 6v6 power tubes); the first one was made for lapsteels and can be sterile sounding). This amp also comes with the dual 6x9" speakers. The Holidays sound best when u replace those two speakers with a 10" speaker, or a 12" (if u can find one that fits into the chasis). it also requires an 8ohm OT replacement to drive the replacment speaker..

I thibk I may have mentioned these three Supros in my original post, but oh well, here they are again. If anyone has knowledge of any other models that have the original, dual gain circuit, please, let me know what they are. I'm partial to the 6973 power tubes, and the 6v6 coming in a close but distant second

Thanks.
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Re: Vintage Supro Amps

Postby phatt » 28 Feb 2017, 03:06

Hi Adam,
Some interesting observations from an Aussie player who is also a builder of old vintage amps.

http://www.guitargear.net.au/discussion ... ic=45363.0

Phil.
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Re: Vintage Supro Amps

Postby adam79 » 28 Feb 2017, 03:27

phatt wrote:Hi Adam,
Some interesting observations from an Aussie player who is also a builder of old vintage amps.

http://www.guitargear.net.au/discussion ... ic=45363.0

Phil.


Not a fan of the Thunderbolts. He's right about the lead tone sounds nice, but I.don't hear thay classic.Supro mid crunch on the Thunderbolt with rhythm guitar, which is what I mainly want.one for.
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