Ampeg VT-40's and V-2's absolutely ROCK!

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Ampeg VT-40's and V-2's absolutely ROCK!

Postby Peter Stroud on Fri Apr 22, 2005 11:42 pm

As of late, I've been back on an Ampeg kick. My particular interest is in the early 70's period Ampeg's, namely the VT-40 combo and the V-2 head. I've had both of them for a while and yesterday I just picked up a very clean V-4 412 cab to pair up with the V-2.

Today - for what seemed like the first time - I really spent time experimenting with the midrange control, midrange shift switch, input pads and treble control with it's bright switch. There is now no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most versatile amps out there.

It may help to understand the slightly technical aspect of the circuit of the V-2:
- The input "Sensitivity" switch changes resistor values on the cathode of the input 12AX7 tube, changing the amount of gain on the channel.
- The Bright channel simply has a .005uF cap across the input to brighten it up a little.
- The midrange control has it's own dedicated tube (6K11) and circuit and some sort of transformer (choke?)/ coil, which is why it's so active. Really curious about this, but haven't opened up yet for a look.

I've always cranked the midrange control either on the 1K setting, which sounds great (ala Faces), but today I experimented more with the 3K Hz setting and then lowering the midrange below 0 in the 300hz setting. The amp cleaned up and sparkled reminiscent of a blackface Fender, but with more oomph. Sounded like an entirely different amp. Total Stones "Get your Ya Ya's" Midnight Rambler Keith tone. Can't believe I haven't tried this before.

Just had to share my incredibly inspiring tone day with everyone and now attest my new love to Ampegs. Also, the reverb is incredibly effective and full sounding.

And it ain't over...I just bought a 1970 Ampeg Gemini G12 112 30watt combo that is en route! I'll post again when it comes in.

Cheers!...Back to playing.
:D
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Re: Ampeg VT-40's and V-2's absolutely ROCK!

Postby jmal on Sat Apr 23, 2005 1:00 am

I used an Ampeg V4 for years back in the 70’s and those amps were great. I've also had a VT22 that I converted to 6550 tubes, tons of head room and endless volume.
Not too long ago I bought a B25 head and it really sounds good with a guitar. It breaks up nicely when pushed at a reasonable volume. Ampeg has made some great amps over the years. Maybe there should be an Ampeg Forum.
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Re: Ampeg VT-40's and V-2's absolutely ROCK!

Postby Gooch on Sat Apr 23, 2005 1:16 am

Ronnie Wood w/the Faces... yeah!! Great tone - what sorta guitar do ya figure he was using? Doesn't sound like a Strat to me - maybe the Zemaitis?? :cool:
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Re: Ampeg VT-40's and V-2's absolutely ROCK!

Postby Peter Stroud on Sat Apr 23, 2005 2:01 am

Originally posted by FrankieD:
Ronnie Wood w/the Faces... yeah!! Great tone - what sorta guitar do ya figure he was using? Doesn't sound like a Strat to me - maybe the Zemaitis?? :cool:
Ron's guitars of those days seemed to be Strats, the Zemaitis and the Dan Armstrong Plexi guitar. There's a DVD.."Rod Stewart And The Faces - The Final Concert" that's a must to check out. Ron is playing his 50's sunburst Strat through the Ampeg's and it's just as meaty as any Gibson. Great DVD with Keith Richards jumping in playing a dbl cut Jr.

That's the thing about the Ampegs of that period. You could plug just about anything into it and get the same fat meaty tone.
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Re: Ampeg VT-40's and V-2's absolutely ROCK!

Postby chill on Sat Apr 23, 2005 4:58 pm

Funny you should mention it, I pulled my late 70's '40 out yesterday. It was "converted" to a V-2 by a prior owner who cut the speakers off...running through a tall Fender 412 with a couple of Emi squarebacks and a couple of new Emi Swamp Thangs, man it sounded good. And definitely moves some air. The DS-1, muff, and Schaller fuzz all came to life with the '40 on the verge of overdrive.

What kind of speakers are in your 412? I've found I like brighter speakers and less cone breakup with Ampegs.
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Re: Ampeg VT-40's and V-2's absolutely ROCK!

Postby Lordathestrings on Sat Apr 23, 2005 6:15 pm

Welcome 'back', Tonedef! :D

I have a pair of late-70's Ampegs. They're both absolute killer amps! The only sound they can't do on their own is the more modern high-gain stuff, and that can be handled by a pedal. My '76 VT-22 has that sorry-ass Distortion control, but it doesn't make problems 'cause I don't use it. And the JJ KT88's gave it the Voice Of God. My salvaged '77 VT-40 became a unique 1x15" Weber California combo that has amazing tonal range. Both amps are loud enough to require ear plugs and long cables.

Magnavox-era Ampegs all have a wonderful, throaty bellow that brings out the best of whatever axe you plug in. And that tone section is the best that's ever been, IMO. I sometimes wish for switchable channels with separate tone controls, but hey, I'm a guitar-player, not a tap-dancer.
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Re: Ampeg VT-40's and V-2's absolutely ROCK!

Postby expat on Thu Apr 28, 2005 4:18 pm

I have big and small Marshall but a year ago embarked on a project to resurrect my old '73 Magnavox Ampeg V-2 I had in my band in high school. I moved to England from the States 18 years ago and it had been at my sister's in a closet in Maryland all that time, unused.

I called Fliptops (Bruce) and sounded him out about making a combo cabinet (2x10 spkrs) for the V-2 chassis compact enough to use as a practice amp but also ballsy enough to use at gigs, including with a "Y" lead into the Marshall DSL 50 I gig with through a 1960 vintage cab.

The workmanship on the cab was superb, the amp was polished up and is in as near new "closet classic" condition I bet as any in existence. Most importantly, when I flipped the toggles, the amp came to life, and I have been using it for the past year. It sounds better than ever and looks like it was made yesterday. You can find on the net some of the various tone control and switch settings suggest in the manual to model e.g. Marshall, Vox and also Fender Twin - the latter is the setting I use the most.

Imnensely satisfying to be using the amp I had 30 years ago! Fliptops also very much like the concept and now are offering this configuration on their web site.

http://http://www.fliptops.net/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=61&products_id=535
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Ampeg VT-40's and V-2's absolutely ROCK!

Postby NoFi on Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:27 pm

I'll think of it when i'm tired of hauling the monster around... :D
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Last edited by NoFi on Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby ayh on Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:30 pm

Does the V2 have a switchable output tranny ala V4?
Played one last week but forgot to look back there.Was also lookin at a B25
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Postby Lordathestrings on Sat Jun 18, 2005 8:26 am

ayh wrote:Does the V2 have a switchable output tranny ala V4?
Played one last week but forgot to look back there.Was also lookin at a B25
Yes.
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Nice to see the love

Postby LeonC on Sat Jun 25, 2005 3:43 pm

for VT-40s!

My very first amp was VT-40, purchased new in the summer of '72. Worked my butt off all summer and went with my dad to Gus Zoppi Music on 8 Mile Rd, just north of Detroit and picked out a brand spanking new VT-40. I remember sitting there listening to the Fenders--which I went there with every intention of purchasing--and the Ampegs and just thinking that the Ampeg's sounded better and were a much better value.

The following year, I moved in w/a drummer and bass player and we were really getting into McLaughlin, Miles - B++ches Brew and other interesting stuff. The VT-40 sounded great...but unfortunatly, it was stolen before I even had it a year. :(

In the preceding year, I found a '61/'62 Blonde Bassman and matching 2x12 which I picked up for like 75 bucks. So I wound up using that...not sure why I never went back to the VT-40...

Until now. I just bought one from some guy on EBay. Will have it next week. Can't wait!! 8)
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Re: Nice to see the love

Postby Lordathestrings on Sat Jun 25, 2005 4:18 pm

LeonC wrote:... Until now. I just bought one from some guy on EBay. Will have it next week. Can't wait!! 8)
Good on yer!

Be sure the tubes and caps are good. The VT-40 (and V-2) had high plate voltage to begin with. The voltage on the AC mains tends to be a bit higher than the 110 - 115 volts common back then, so the plates get even more than the design value. The lines around here often get up to 120 V or more, putting a tad over 600 volts on the plates.

If you decide to replace the power tubes, I recommend a pair of KT88's. And some earplugs. :mrgreen:
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Postby LeonC on Sat Jun 25, 2005 11:32 pm

I've already spoken with my tech--who loves these amps--and he already showed me a brand new set of 7027s that he got scrounging around in the back of his favorite electronic shop. Bastid picked them up for like 9 bux apiece!!! So I'm rigged in that dept.
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Postby LeonC on Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:02 pm

Well, I've had my new (old) VT40 for several days and have gotten in some good time on it at rehearsals. The thing absolutely rocks. Big, fat, juicy cleans. Turn it up and the sound gets beefier, more muscular. There doesn't seem to be a real focused tonal orientation--it's real even--plenty of highs, broad, strong mids and smooth, bit but not farty low-end.

I haven't been able to turn it up loud at rehearsals and so I've relied on pedals, which it absolutely loves. I'm getting some fantastic sounds out of it with a variety of pedals.

The only drag is that it is heavy and clumsy. I've contacted the guys at fliptop.net and they told me they can do an Ampeg-style head cab for the chassis. Before I go that route, I think I'll try diconnecting the speakers and hooking the speaker cable to a seperate cab and see how that works out...
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Postby Lordathestrings on Mon Jul 04, 2005 6:03 am

My VT-40 came to me as a sad, soggy flood victim, so I was only able to salvage the guts of the amp. I built it into a sealed-back combo cab with one 15" Weber VST ceramic California with a paper voice-coil dome. It sounds great for classic rock and blues-rock guitar, and the low end goes deep enough to run bass as well. I think you're gonna love that amp with any decent cab. Just remember that the power rating is conservative. I think you'll find that it puts out close to 70 Watts clean.
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