Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - 36

Add up its features and the
outrageous ambition of its
design, and this amp clearly carried the full weight of its maker's
hopes and dreams as it headed
out to conquer the world of Vox,
Selmer, Watkins, and those pricey
overseas imports from Fender
and Gibson.
Did it succeed? Errr, no. But
you know that already. If it had,
Bird would be a household name...
in guitarists' households at least.
Regardless, the Golden Eagle 4/25
was kitted like few other amps in
the early '60s - bigger Magnatones
and Gibson's GA-79RVT come to
mind as competition in the "let's
see what we can pack in here"
stakes, and it's also likely Bird was
taking a swipe at Watkins' echoequipped Joker featured here last
month. The model name denotes
number of inputs (four) and output
rating (25 watts), respectively, and
the amp packed two independent
channels, reverb, tremolo, and a
mystical effect dubbed "Repetitive
Echo." That alone should have
won fans.
But, Bird wasn't fated to crack the
big-time. For the company's lineup,
as with so many interesting also-rans,
that likely had to do with a lack of
understanding of what made a tube-driven
guitar amp sing - elements achieved in
abundance in Fender's tweed Deluxe or
Bassman, Vox's AC15 and AC30, and the
yet-to-come Marshall JTM45 and JMP50.
Bird, it just so happens, was primarily a
manufacturer of electronic organs, and it
approached amplification more like a hi-fi
manufacturer than a guitar-amp maker.
With the goal of building clean-sounding
amps, it rendered many rather anemic; the
smaller Golden Eagle 2/15, for example,

SOARING
IN
BIRDLAND
The Bird Golden Eagle 4/25
BY DAVE HUNTER

M

any of the oddballs, also-rans, and otherwise unusual creations we see
in the amp world fall into the "B-list" category - the budget, student,
and catalog amps that often display appealing '50s and '60s cosmetics but
were never expected to lead the field. British maker Bird felt otherwise in
creating the Golden Eagle 4/25.

VINTAGE GUITAR

36

October 2017

Amp and photos courtesy of Mike Tamposi.

1962 BIRD GOLDEN
EAGLE 4/25
* Preamp tubes: three EF86,
six ECC83 (12AX7)
* Output tubes: two EL34
* Rectifier: GZ34
* Controls: Volume and Tone for
each of two channels; tremolo
Depth and Speed; shared Reverb
Level with Max/Min switches
and channel-assign switch;
and Repetitive Echo switch
* Speaker: 15" Wharfdale W15/EG
* Output: around 25 watts RMS


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