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The Elusive, Vintage, Marshall Super Tremolo Posted on 24 Jul 18:55

 

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Whenever a discussion turns to how the circuit for the first JTM45 was lifted nearly point for point from that of Fender’s 5F6-A Bassman combo, it seems there’s always a caveat about how it ended up sounding slightly different as a head through a closed-back 4x12" cab. Oh yeah? Well how about this 1965 Marshall Super Tremolo 4x10" combo (otherwise known as Model 1961)?


We still have the British components to consider, but this has got to be as close a Marshall’s rendition ever came to sounding like the Yankee combo that Jim knocked off to get the ball rolling. The funny thing is, too, that by the mid ’60s, Fender offered nothing that retained nearly this much of the DNA of its larger tweed models – yes, the blackface Super Reverb was a 4x10" combo, but its circuit was voiced differently at almost every stage – so the JTM45 Super Tremolo in this rendition was the closest thing to “a tweed Bassman copy” that was available anywhere, even if no one ever looked at it as such. All of which is to say, it sounds somewhat like we think of a Marshall sounding, but not entirely... which takes us back to that caveat: put a tweed Bassman through a closed-back 4x12" and it can sound pretty Marshally; put an early Marshall through an open-back 4x10" and it can sound pretty tweedy.

After two years of building only separate head and speaker cab setups in the JTM45 format, Marshall introduced its first combos in ’64, taking the same chassis, with or without tremolo, into open-back 2x12" and 4x10" cabs. It’s ironic, perhaps, given Jim Marshall’s inspiration for the range, but the 4x10" Model 1961 combo was never as popular as the 2x12" Model 1962, and as a result is now a rarer find. Otherwise, it’s the same guts as the fabled Bluesbreaker, but with four Celestion 10s instead of two 12s. The combos also arrived on the cusp of a cosmetic transition at Marshall, as the early metal panels of 1962 to ’64 evolved to the gold Plexiglas panel (a change that occurred in early ’65, before the so-called “plexi” circuit changes of ’67). During the transition, though, amps were briefly made with cream Plexiglas panels. This beautiful early-/mid-’65 Super Tremolo, therefore, proudly displays its transitional origins with a gold front panel and a cream back panel – an unusual, short-lived combination.

 

 

The circuit of this JTM45 really did follow that of the 5F6-A Bassman of 1957 to ’60, virtually component-for-component. The “plexi” rendition of the 50-watt Model 1987 that followed (1967-’69), and the metal-panel amps after also continued to closely track that tweed circuit, but differed in few ways that made them different-sounding amps. As such, the ’67 to mid-’70s 50-watters tend to be more representative of “the classic Marshall sound,” with its crackling upper-midrange crunch and crispy high-end edginess at the point of breakup. The ’62-’66 JTM45, on the other hand – while still “Marshally” – presents a warm, juicy, tactile edge-of-breakup tone that has “big tweed” written all over it. Why? Well, for several reasons. Elements common to both are the dual channels – one “Normal,” one “High Treble” – sharing a three-knob cathode-follower tone stack, a long-tailed-pair phase inverter, and a fixed-

bias Class AB output stage. The JTM45 platform, this 4x10" combo included, achieves that High Treble preamp stage with a bright cap of moderate value (0.0001uF a.k.a. 100pF) in the form of a high-pass filter around the channel’s Volume control, and another around the 270k-ohm resistor between the Volume control and the PI. Otherwise, both channels use .022uF coupling caps for a round, full, balanced frequency response. The plexi, on the other hand, uses a higher-value (and therefore brighter) .0022uF coupling cap on its bright channel, with a bright cap on the volume control of an extremely high value (relative to most bright caps, at least) of .005uF. Treble city. Beyond that, the GZ34 tube rectifier in the JTM45 and lack thereof in the plexi and the KT66s versus EL34s respectively also contribute to the aforementioned differences in playing feel and sonic signatures.

 

 

Entirely original where it matters (a few minor and necessary items of routine maintenance notwithstanding), this vintage amp is also in extremely clean condition, aside from a few typical tears at the edges of the black bronco vinyl covering and an L- shaped gash in the otherwise tidy pinstripe grillecloth. Inside, the circuit is virtually mint, with replacements evident for some of the larger filter capacitors, but all of the original “mustard” coupling caps remaining, and that’s the stuff that really counts.


Though the JTM45 is nominally rated at 45 watts, most techs who know these amps will tell you that they actually put out between 30 and 35 watts in this configuration with KT66 tubes. The relatively inefficient Celestion 10s of the era will reduce their punching power even further (a good thing in the estimation of most players today), and it’s a glorious 30/35 watts by any standards. Toothsome and pliantly clean at lower volumes, meaty and tactile at mid-level crunch, and singing and expressive up near full whack, this combo is an impressively versatile amp and a great British-American tone summit in a box, able to acquit itself beautifully at just about anything short of metal. Alternatively, just patch it into a good vintage closed-back Marshall 4x12" cab with Greenbacks and you’re skidding back toward the right side of the pond. As for the tremolo that gives it its name, well, it’s there. Never a hotly admired rendition of the effect, it’s a useful addition regardless. From all angles, though, this is a lust-worthy amp indeed; breathe deep, and you can almost smell the potent musk of Marshall history.







Fender Special Event! Saturday, July 22nd Posted on 17 Jul 14:36


Trade-In Trade-Up! Posted on 27 May 18:56

No doubt you have some great used or vintage gear lying around which you simply aren't using anymore. Now's the time to put it towards something shiny and new that you CAN use. From now through the end of June, Truetone is going to sharpen it's pencil to it's finest possible point, in an effort to help you get what you need!
The beauty of instruments, particularly ones in great condition, is that (unlike your fifteen year old refrigerator) they actually have value. During this limited promotion (the first of it's kind in our history) we will make every effort to go above and beyond where your trade ins are concerned.

Don't have enough dough to get what you want?  Find something you're willing to part with and use it as part of the purchase price, softening your cash outlay! Your quality trade ins amount to the equivalent of real money. We're going to do everything within our power, to help you get what you need. 

Supro Amps & Guitars! Posted on 25 Apr 14:18

Supro Amplifiers: the Lore, the Legend, the Tone

The legendary Supro logo with signature lightning bolt stirs several images simultaneously for most guitarists. Sum these up as unique looks, individual tone, and a near-mythic cool factor that is unmatched in the world of vintage tube guitar amplifiers; but the most common reactions to all of these sensations are best rendered simply as, “I want one!” Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Albert Lee and countless other stars wanted one too—and got ’em, using Supro amps to lay down the foundations of blues and rock. But the roots of the Supro brand go way back to a time well before the period for which we best know them now, to the very birth of the electric guitar.

Supro’s origins date to the pre-electric guitar days and the formation of the National Resophonic guitar company around 1926, with roots in the resonator guitars that became a blues tone standard prior to amplification. National and Dobro merged in the early ’30s to form Valco, and Supro. Soon, Valco-made Supro amps were tearing it up on Chicago’s south-side scene, establishing a tone that has been synonymous with gritty blues ever since. By the mid 60’s, Jimi Hendrix was playing a Supro Thunderbolt amp on tour with Little Richard and the Isley Brothers. A few years later, Jimmy Page, inspired by the raw tones of the Chicago blues scene, cut seminal Led Zeppelin tracks on a Supro Model 24… and so the chain of influence goes, full circle from Chicago blues, to London blues-rock, with Supro the hip tone to beat.

Player upon player has since discovered the sonic splendor of Supro’s extremely original circuits and unique build style, as well as the surprising versatility hidden within the appealing simplicity of these amps. Plug into one of these beauties, and you know you are striding out onto original and inspiring sonic ground. There’s a girth, depth, and dimension to the tone of these old circuits that is simply unattainable from the other brands, and a dynamic playing feel that definitely puts a smile on my face every time. Keep them clean, and they are sweet and rich; crank them up, and even the smaller Supro models issue a bold, furious roar that retains its edge and cutting power amid heavy overdrive.

From authentic Chicago blues to all-out rock’n’roll, the Supro brand has distinguished itself as a sound for players who want to make their own mark on music, rather than merely chasing some tired standard that has gone before. Players who know Supro amps and understand what they can do have always appreciated them for their ability to help you sound like you. Supro has always presented a great alternative way to get your music made, and to get it noticed. For years, the only way to achieve that legendary Supro tone was to track down an original amp, get it running well, and hope it stayed that way. Not any more. Supro is back—and the lore, the legend, the tone, and the total attitude is back with it. Check out Supro’s growing lineup of American-made amplifiers that honor the original circuits, while presenting value and performance unparalleled in today’s market, and a tone that is truly all your own.

 

Supro Guitars


 

Supro Amplifiers


 


Used & Vintage Showcase: Original 1957 Gibson Les Paul Posted on 02 Jan 14:49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Menatone Fish Factory Dual Overdrive Truetone Music Edition Posted on 02 Dec 15:32

INTRODUCING A VERY LIMITED EXCLUSIVE:

The Menatone Fish Factory is here exclusively through Truetone Music while supplies last! What makes this baby particularly special is how it combines two legendary Menatone pedals into one case for near-limitless tone shaping and gain stacking possibilities!



GIBSON TEST DRIVE! Posted on 29 Nov 11:47


Club Fender 5th Anniversary Fan Appreciation Day! Posted on 13 Oct 16:14

 

What is Club Fender?

  Club Fender is, first and foremost, the largest Fender showroom in the United States; with hundreds of Fender Instruments in stock including rare Custom Shop, Master Built, and One-Off pieces. That isn't all, however. Club Fender is not just the premier destination for those looking for their next Fender instrument, it's a vibe that's very unique and special to us at Truetone Music. It incapsulates the essence of Fender, and it's a piece of guitar history that all you musicians and music fans should come check out when in Santa Monica or the greater Los Angeles area. You won't be disappointed!


Martin Mania Posted on 30 Aug 13:36

TRUETONE MUSIC PRESENTS:
MARTIN MANIA!


The month of September is Martin Mania at Truetone Music! We have special deals, events, and new inventory arriving throughout the month, so be sure to check out our website, call, or visit our store for details and updates.

FRI. SEPTEMBER 9TH, 8:00PM
Master Class with:
Laurence Juber


Limited space available, RSVP by leaving your name and number at  live@truetonemusic.com
one person per email

Martin Product Specialists on-hand

 

SAT. SEPTEMBER 10TH, 3:00PM
Martin Custom Shop
Product Showcase 


Outside of our normally outstanding selection of Martins, we will be featuring exotic, one-off Custom Shop Martin Guitars for one day only. We will also have a  complete line-up overview of by Martin Product Specialists.
SPECIAL OFFERS:

FREE Martin Guitars: A History

FREE Coffee Table Book with purchase of any USA-Made Martin Guitar! Limited Quantities available, while supplies last.
 

Special Deals on all USA-Made Martin Guitars

New inventory arriving throughout the month!

Gibson-a-thon Posted on 07 Jun 09:39