Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 73

"amplifying unit," though there's
little or no information on it.
The Model 120 was manufactured in '39, and is typical
of the Vega line before the
war. You'd be hard-pressed
to find a cooler-looking art
deco motif than on this little
amp, and it's rendered with
such stylish simplicity, with
a subtle-yet-distinctive "V"
carved into the wooden grille
that fronts the golden moire
speaker cloth. And this was
not just any guitar amplifier,
but a "High Fidelity Amplifier," as the plate on the rear
of the chassis (also equipped
with three inputs) proudly
proclaims. A look at the
hand-wired circuit inside
is likely to inspire thoughts
rather far from "high fidelity," though. This is real deal
pre-war/point-to-point wiring - a far cry from the way
several boutique makers are
doing it today, and yet... you
have to imagine there's a little
sonic veracity in there, too. It's
often surprising the way these
simple, cobbled-looking old
circuits can wring every ounce
of tone from a tube complement, and the amp's owner,
George Aslaender, Brooklyn,
says you'd better believe that
applies here.
"It really is a great-sounding
amp!" he reports. "I put a [Gibson ES-] 175 with humbuckers
through it... great sound.
Output is decent enough
to play with a small combo or
solo. I also tried it with a Stratocaster;
lower gain, but again, a real nice tone. It
does not really overload, just gets louder
and warmer. Would be a great amp for
Fender-style guitars in the studio. It seems
to make everything sound good - reminds
me of what people say about the [Universal
Audio] 1176 compressor and how it 'puts
a hug around the sound.'"
As you can see from the internal shot,
this Model 120 has newer filter capacitors, and several replacement signal caps
too - routine maintenance that's simply
essential to keeping an old amp running
- but the majority of the components are
original (a grounded three-prong plug
was installed for safety). That whopping potentiometer, backing the only
knob on the entire amp, is the Volume
control, which also includes the on/off

the Model 120's single-ended
tube complement includes
(from left) a 6N7 and 6C5
in the preamp, a lone 6L6
producing about five watts
output, and a 5xxY3Gt
rectifier. Note the 8" Rola
field-coil speaker. the Vega's
ambitious three inputs - one
suitable for microphone - but
just a single Volume control.

switch coupled to its back.
The tubes two 6F5s in the
preamp, a single-ended 6L6
for output, and a 5Y3GT
rectifier, for five or six watts
at best. It all goes into an 8"
Rola field-coil speaker that
has survived in surprisingly
good condition... Fingers
July 2016

73

Vintage guitar


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Cover1
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Cover2
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 1
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 2
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 3
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Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Contents
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Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Cover3
Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - Cover4
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