Thermionic Amplifiers

From Thermionic Studios
Jump to: navigation, search


Ampeg is better known for their bass amplifiers than their guitar amplifiers. We're on the lookout for good Ampeg bass amplifiers, but we happened to run into these guitar amps and are keeping them because they're so good. Now, on the issue of the 6K11 tubes both these amps need... Ugh...

  • Gemini-II: 15-inch speaker!
  • V-2: Picked this up with matching 4x12 cabinet on consignment from Dawn of the Shred for a remarkably good price.
  • V-4: Bought on eBay "For parts or not working". This is the 100-watt big brother to the V-2.


While Electro Harmonix is known best for the Big Muff and their vintage, large, sheet-metal enclosured effects like the Electric Mistress. We picked up these pedal-sized amplifiers made by them for two reasons: 1.) They make great, inexpensive back-up amps should something go south during a live performance, and 2.) When these are driven into Power Amp distortion, they actually sound pretty good! We especially like the power amp distortion on the 22 Caliber. At any rate, it seemed sensible to have "back up amps" if needed, and these certainly fit the bill.

  • 22 Caliber (out of production): 22 watt solid state power amp - Pedal board friendly!
  • 44 Magnum: 44 watt solid state power amp - pedal board friendly!


  • Pacemaker: Vintage Deedle-ee-dee
  • Valve Jr.: We picked this up because Pat Furlan on YouTube loves it so much for modding. We're got our eyes open for another to mod, but they're actually becoming pricey and scarce!


It would be shocking for you to have gotten to this website and navigated to this page without knowing Fender Amplifiers. We've not concentrated our efforts on getting Fender amps, as Leo Fender made a point to keep his amps clean as he was a fan of Country Music. It can be argued that it wasn't until Dick Dale pressed him for a LOUD amp, that Leo branched out into the 100-watt Fender Showman. Given that there is the 80-watt Fender 5F8A in Tweed that came out in 1958, this doesn't necessarily hold up. But it's a nice story. So we've been keeping our eyes open for good vintage Fenders (Blackface: Princeton, Bandmaster, Bassman) and we are also on the lookout for gems like a Silverface Dual Showman as that's what Hendrix used on Are You Experienced before he was introduced to Jim Marshall. We're planning building a couple of Tweed Deluxes, a Tweed Bassman or two, and if we ever get so extremely lucky, a V-front Super. Of course, we'd like to get vintage, but with the prices and rarity on them, and especially taking into account their fragility (in many cases, even the old pine cabinets are falling apart) and the lack of reliability of those vintage components, for many of those amps, we're at a place where we'd prefer to give you the option of choosing between a vintage amp, and something with a vintage pedigree that shouldn't present a risk of imminent failure. Here are the Fender amps in our stable:


  • 250ML: Not a conventional amp to get for rental. There's a lot of power in this little box. 50 watts!



  • H305A: Harmonica amp.
  • H415: Likely not an amplifier you're familiar with. Ken Fischer who built the famous Trainwreck amplifiers said these were hidden gems and when overdriven properly could put a $6000 Marshall stack to shame. Got a deal on this but only because it's so trashed. This is going to take a lot of work.


  • Custom Slave 100: No idea that Hiwatt even made these? We found this and had an opportunity to get it inexpensively. So we did!

Jet City

Jet City is a Seattle-based company that had the famous Mike Soldano (of Soldano Amplifiers) design their amps. They then

  • Amelia: 50-watt dual-channel amplifier.
  • JCA-22H: 20-watt dual channel amplifier.
  • JCA-100H: 100-watt amplifier dual-channel amplifier. Ours is one of the original first-run releases. This is the amp that put Jet City on the map.


We have a soft spot for Laney. Lyndon Laney built amplifiers after he determined he wasn't such a good musician himself. He also just so happened to know Tony Iommi just as Black Sabbath were getting their start. We're always on the lookout for a used 100-watt Supergroup, or a 100-watt Klipp (by Laney), we just haven't found the deal we're willing to say "yes" to yet. (Update! We got a 100 watt Klipp. Time to find a 60 watter!) We also have a soft spot for Laney because a lot of the great sound of early Ratt came from Laney amps. And of course, how could we ever forget the 100-watt Pro-Tube Laney featured in the video for Sleep's Dragonaut?


Do we even have to say anything about this name and brand?

  • Bass 20:
  • JCM800 MkII: our 50-watt JCM800.
  • JCM800 MkII: our 100-watt JCM800.
  • JCM900: our 50-watt JCM900.
  • JCM900: our 100-watt JCM900.
  • JCM900 SL-X: The "hotrodded from the factory" JCM900.
  • JCM2000: our 100-watt JCM2000, "DSL" or Dual Super Lead - 2 channels
  • JCM2000: our 100-watt JCM2000, "TSL" or Triple Super Lead - 3 channels
  • Lead 12: The stupid microstack dealio thing.







Randall is an interesting brand. Don Randall, who started Randall Amplifiers, began working with Leo Fender prior to World War II. After the war, he became the head marketing and sales guy at Fender. He was so good at marketing and sales that Fender became the household name it is today. Randall Amplifiers is hardly the same company that Don Randall started and built in Irvine, CA. After Don passed away, the company was sold off in the early 1990s. It would not be inaccurate to currently describe Randall Amplifiers as "just another brand" under the ownership of U.S. Music in Buffalo Grove, IL. That said, even under Don Randall's watch, it was an amplifier brand that became very closely associated with heavy music.

  • RG-80 PH: How could we say "no" after talking the owner down to $100.00?
  • RG-100 "Original": We rescued this poor thing and gave it a new life. Check out the articles searchable on our front page.
  • RG-120 ES: This was one of George Lynch's amplifiers from the Tooth and Nail tour, as confirmed by Gary Sunda, who built the amps with George. We even have the "XP-3 Block Booster" that goes in the back that Gary made for George to amplify the additional gain boost that's activated with the pull/push treble knob.
  • MTS / LB-100: Randall Lynchbox 100. One of the "RM" or modular preamp series made in conjunction with Bruce Egnater.
  • MTS / RM-100: Standard RM 100. Along with the Lynchbox, we have 22 modular preamps that can go into these.
  • T2: Hybrid Tube preamp/Solid state power amp. 400 watts. This is a beast and these amps are hard to find today.
  • T2: Hybrid Tube preamp/Solid state power amp. 400 watts. This is a beast and these amps are hard to find today. (yes, we have two)


Musician Lance Keltner tried to get into the amp-building business. "It's just too hard" he ended up texting me when I asked him about what happened to Retro Channel. I also asked about a schematic to the RR-1. Lance said he'd look but didn't get back to me.


During the days of the "Wild West", when people couldn't afford (or didn't want to pay for) toilet paper, they would take the Sears and Roebuck catalog with them to the outhouse. In its day, Sears was seen very much the way we see Amazon today.

  • 400G: Crappy 1960s combo practice amp. For when you want a really crappy sound!


  • Mig-100H: This amplifier is basically a Marshall Plexi workalike that was built in the Soviet Union for Electro Harmonix. Uses 5881 power tubes instead of EL34s, KT-66s, or 6550s. This model is the high-gain version model, as opposed the lower-gain model Mig-100U.

Thermionic Studios


  • YBA-1: Classic Traynor YBA-1. Loud and tough. Stock amp.
  • YRM-1: Classic Traynor Reverb Master. Offers more than just a YBA-1


  • S400: 40 watt cheeseball combo amp that actually sounds good in a mix. Truth be told, we got this because of the ridiculously groovy 1970s font that spells out "400" on the front.


  • 36 Watt Handwired: Somehow we happened to be on eBay when a few of these unfinished VHT amps & headshell combinations went on sale. We got the highest wattage model available at the time. We think this was originally designed as a "36-watt handwired". It was clearly part of the surplus that resulted from the spillover of the less-than-friendly VHT/Fryette split. The power and output transformers that came with it look big enough so we're gonna see if we can try and turn this into a 50-watt firebreather.


  • 6O100: Clone of a 1972 Orange OR-120. High headroom output transformer - more versatile with high headroom.
  • 6O100: Clone of a 1972 Orange OR-120. Low headroom output transformer - so more distortion!
  • Smokin Joe II:


  • Dominator MkIII: Found a good deal on this shipped from England. These have a great sound that's all their own.