Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tech Talk - Gibson GA-30 (1948)

Here's our daily amp video. These old Gibson amps can really have an interesting sound. Designed to be played with a humbucking pickup they are totally different from a fender based design.

Gibson GA-30(1948)
15Watts 1x8" & 1x12" speaker

Built some two years after Django's 1946/7 American Tour this amp is barely comparable to that which was used by Django to be heard adequately while the Duke Ellington Orchestra wailing alongside him. His must have been a special and who knows perhaps a prototype issued by Gibson to support their Gibson ES300 Guitar used by Reinhart throughout the tour. He wasn't well received by the Ellington Fans who were more than discontent if the band remained silent but for a few riffs and a crescendo during his sets. Django was lone figure without his usual support and Ellington had not written anything special for his unique talents, but there again Django new nothing of Key's or reading Music Notation, didn't speak much English and always played by ear. What an educated ear and a matchless improvisational talent!

Note the 'very large for the times' white Amp to the left of Django with Gibson and that closed striped case at his immediate 'left' which also appears on the La Plar Ballroom Picture with a small black amp connection box stood on edge to the camera.

Anyone have any ideas on this Amplification arrangement - early 'Vibrator' type power unit or pre-amp perhaps. Was it a Seth Lover Special as it closely resembled the much later Fender Amps in size suggesting multiple speakers.

Could the case be the controls and the large White Box just the speaker housing?

The GA 30 must have been about 24 x 18 inches say 610 x 460mm

The GA-30 with a picture frame style speaker opening and dark brown leatherette covering. "New bass tone expander control allows the player to increase resonance and quality of the lower notes, advantageous in instrumental solo work".

First version of the series with 1-12" & 1-8" speaker. Massive magnets made this a very heavy amp.

Has a GREAT low volume Jazz tone that is the Charlie Christian tone all over again with the right guitar.
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