Removing amp from combo - crazy?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by dwjazz54, Feb 19, 2014.


  1. dwjazz54

    dwjazz54

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    Afternoon, all-
    For a while, I've been trying to unload an old GK 400RB/115 combo to a new home, since gigging that heavy sucker around NYC in a Fiat is less fun than doing the same with my MB212-ii. But no one seems to want it.

    Thing is - I LOVE that amp. Whilst sitting here at the office pretending to work, a thought went through my head - what if I removed the amp and just used it as a head? Our rehearsal space has a few cabs lying around that aren't mine, and sometimes I have access to other cabs wherever our music might take us. And I would LOVE to have that GK voicing in a package even more tote-able than my lightweight combo.

    I know that chopping up my old girl will make her pretty un-sellable, but I haven't had any luck in selling her as is and have pretty much given up on that idea. So, not worried about re-sale or anything like that.

    How hard could it be? Anyone have any experience with this sorta thing?
  2. DonnyDanger

    DonnyDanger

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Location:
    Brussels Belgium
    I would do it for sure!

    If you love the amp and the sound, it would be a waste to let it go. I currently have a Trace Elliot twin valve, that used to be in a combo. The owner had a tech make a new wooden enclosure, but it you're a bit crafty, it shouldn't be to hard to make one yourself or just leave it as is.

    I don't know the amp, but it might even be rackmountable!
  3. electracoyote

    electracoyote

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    Purple Mountain Majesties
    I know the amp is relatively easy to extract from Markbass combos. You may be able to do it clean and preserve the cab, making it sell-able.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Maybe you don't have to chop it up to remove the amp. Most slide in, probably from the back.
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  6. nashvillebill

    nashvillebill

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2002
    Location:
    Nashville TN
    Almost all amps can be removed from their combos without having to resort to chopping it up. Lots of people do this for combos like the Ampeg VT-22 which is a V4 head in a combo--very very heavy, so people pull the amp out and use it as a head only.

    So-remove the amp and merely fabricate a new small enclosure to use it as a head only. That way you can keep the combo enclosure intact so it can be sold later as an intact combo if you wish.
  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    If you remove the amp, notice if the cassis has a cover plate or not.

    On some amps, the chassis doesn't have a cover plate and is open. In these amps, they often use a shield, a sheet of aluminum, metal tape, a screen, or even paint, against the open chassis surface to reduce electronic noise. If your combo cabinet had a shield, you should build one into the new case that you make.
  8. elgecko

    elgecko

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Location:
    Anasleim, CA
    I just did it with a Markbass CMP121P. Now I have speaker cabinet AND an amp! :cool:
  9. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Some combo amps will need a lid to make them safe. As Bill opined, a head case is a fairly simple thing to make. There are folks on this site who will make you a very professional looking case, in almost any colour/finish you fancy, to suit your amp.
  10. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    N.H.
    Yes, most combo heads are easily removed. They a re built on a U-shaped sheet metal.
    You would need to fabricate a top piece for it.
  11. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    I removed the 3500 head from my old Hartke 1155 combo. That was a no-brainer though - it's a rack-mount head anyway, fully enclosed. Four screws at the front and two on the sides and it slid right out. I now have it in a Gator 2u rack bag. The old 15+5 cab sits at my singer's place for rehearsal. I just use my GK MB200 with it.
  12. dwjazz54

    dwjazz54

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    I thought this might be the case - and was kinda hoping it was. Thing is, I'm usually pretty good at figuring out this kinda stuff on my own, but the thought only came to me here at work where I can't look at it in person.

    But knowing how easy this *might* be, I am VERY much looking forward to having a look at it when I get home tonight.
  13. dwjazz54

    dwjazz54

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    Wouldn't happen to know anyone around NYC, would you? 'Cause now you've got the aesthetic part of my brain going!
  14. mcnach

    mcnach

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I don't suppose you took pictures of the process, right?
    I would love to do that to mine.
    But I would still need a cover. How did you go about making one?
  15. dwjazz54

    dwjazz54

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    An update - to laugh at myself thinking this might be complicated!

    Got home, grabbed a cold Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald (yum!), and had the amp out of the combo before I took a sip. Fours screws being undone was all it took.

    So, now I'm enjoying the brew and admiring the innards. I could pretend to myself that I know what any of the parts are (well, other than the FAN ;)), but I'm finding it visually fascinating nonetheless. So...who wants to build me a sexy lid? (And sides.)

    Pics to follow when I feel inclined!
  16. elgecko

    elgecko

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Location:
    Anasleim, CA
    I'll shoot some later.
  17. dwjazz54

    dwjazz54

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    ...and what a pretty thing it is inside (and out!)

    Thanks again everybody for the reassurance earlier that this would be as easy as it turned out to be - you learn something new every day.

    Attached Files:

  18. oddeotek

    oddeotek

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Location:
    Sammamish, WA
    I removed the amp from both of my Hartke Kickback 15's and made a small stack. It was pretty easy to do although I had to cut off the top of each speaker cabinet where the amp fit. the speaker was still in a complete box after I made the cut. I was even able to peel back the carpet covering before the surgery and reuse the pieces to cover the newly exposed top of the cabinet.
    The amp has no cover plate on top or sides when you pull it out so I bought two custom speaker grilles from Reliable Hardware (I think about 7" x 21") to cover it. They cost about $14 each and matched the original grille material on the amp. I centered the grille, screwed through the top holes into the existing screw holes, folded the grille down around the sides and overlapped the bottom by 1 inch and screwed that down. The result looked like a small, lightweight amp such as a Mark Bass head on top of my small custom 15 cabinet.
    I'm on vacation in San Diego this week but I'll post some pics when I get home.
  19. dwjazz54

    dwjazz54

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    That would be awesome - sounds like something I could do myself. Enjoy San Diego - I imagine your weather is nicer than ours right now...
  20. oddeotek

    oddeotek

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Location:
    Sammamish, WA
    Here are some old pics that were already on TB. This is before I put the nice speaker grille covering on the amps. I actually painted some gutter leaf screen black since it was already the right width and folded it around in my first "prototype". It worked well enough to keep curious fingers from harm until the speaker grille material came.

    Attached Files:

  21. dwjazz54

    dwjazz54

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Jersey City, NJ
    oddeotek - Looking forward to more pics - would love to see how you did it and use it as a guide of sorts.

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