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A little Trace Elliot history please.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MXP553, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. MXP553


    Dec 6, 2013
    Indiana, USA
    I quit playing in 1995. Started playing again just a few years ago and am having a blast again. I have a Hratke 3500 that the fan went out on while playing and toasted the power amp.

    I loved the Tube pre amp sound. Now I am using my back up Old Peavey Sessionbass head turned wide open just to keep up.
    It is a good amp but not loud enough and not built to push the Low B

    Now I have a chance to buy a Trace Elliot GP7 300W head for $200. Yes I am on a budget...So no M6 Carbine, Ampeg monster for me..

    My questions are :Is it a newer model or and older one? I hear the newer ones suck..Yet back in the day I wasn't impressed with them when I was playing professionally. But I didn't get to try it with my bass etc...

    300 watts should be enough for my 2 cabs as my 3500 (350Watts) is never turned up really at all (4). But what kinda of tone will it pump out? Clicky/cold solid state or is it worth a try?

    Or should I just buy another 3500? What about the newer LH1000? I read on here that they are not as loud as the 3500?

    I am also looking to sell my Back up Sessionbass..What should I ask for it? Thanks for any positive feed back
  2. I think those Trace GP7's are pretty good, I had one for a while, and used it a lot.
    I think they pump a good amount of power and will easily push 2 cabs if you need to.
    Tone is very Trace Elliot, it is unique, and I like it.

    For $200 bucks it is a good deal if it all works correctly.
  3. MXP553


    Dec 6, 2013
    Indiana, USA
    I read on line its a "High Fi" sounding amp..What ever the hell that means? So is the GP7 an older unit? Pre Fender ownership?
  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Trace Elliot isn't exactly hifi. It has a strong coloration, dark lows and very bright highs. GP7 is an older model.
    I may have lost track but last I checked, Trace Elliot was owned by Peavey, not Fender.
    I haven't heard anything bad about TE, old or new but if you didn't care about them back then and aren't confident about newer models, maybe you should buy something else.
    T Bassman likes this.
  5. MXP553


    Dec 6, 2013
    Indiana, USA
    Thats right..Peavey owns the brand now. My bad. Like I said. The bass I played through the TE back in the 90's was nothing I would play. So I don't think its fair for me to judge them based on that from 20 years ago. Dark Lows and Bright highs sounds like what I like!
  6. Fender might be the only conglomerate that hasn't owned Trace?

    It's vintage, if you didn't like it then it's doubtful you'd like it today.
  7. MXP553


    Dec 6, 2013
    Indiana, USA
    I had an SWR Working Pro 400 before I bought my Hartke 3500 (What I played back in the day) The SWR was a nice growler sound, but the bass intensifier has either not enough or too much. The Hartke is warm, tight, composed with a tone of over head (Groove Tube Ax7 in mine)....But they are so easy to find used that I think I am going to try the TE and see what I think. It looks like new for $200...I just can't play through it before I buy it..On Line.
  8. I put my ubass through my new ART tube pre into my Trace 250 last night. With all the graphic and shaping off it sounded nice and full, but something about the tone with it all back on is meatier.
  9. chienmort


    Aug 15, 2012
    Trace was originally sold to Gibson who showed Fender the way to screw a good brand. After Gibson dropped Trace, Peavey bought it and restarted manufacture at the Peavey plant in England, just a few miles from the original Trace factory.

    As I understand it the original owners of Trace formed Ashdown after the buyout clauses in the Gibson sake had expired.

    As to the sound, Trace used Mosfet class A/B for almost all of its power amp stages. Preamps were either GP7 or GP12 with either 7 or 12 band Graphic EQ.

    Trace may not have been the first to include the graphic but was certainly responsible for the scooped mid or smiley face sound.

    It is wrong to think that Trace are a one trick pony though. You could switch the graphic out totally and some preamps had an EQ slope that I found really useful when conventional EQ did not quite get there.

    It ain't an Ampeg (but you would not be looking at Trace if you wanted that sound) then you can get more variation in tone than from many other amps.

    I don't have one now as I sold my gear some years back and when I started playing again. Would I have one again? Yes but having just been diagnosed with a degenerative wear issue on my spine, my old combo would be a no no.

    The old BLX 130 was the best sounding 10" combo ever though in my opinion and i would love one of those at home just for fun,
  10. teemuk


    Mar 1, 2011
    Trace Elliot was originally started by Fred Friedlein as "Soundwave", named after a music shop ran by Fred. They initially built custom PA gear, which tended to wind up being used as bass amps. This was in the late 1970's.

    In late 1980's Soundwave, Inc. changed its name to "Trace Elliot" because by then the trademark had gained more visibility.

    In 1992 Trace Elliot was sold for the first time. Not to Gibson but for Kaman Music Corp., the US distributor of Trace Elliot. Around this time Mark Allan Gooday (one of the employees and later founders of Ashdown) was sacked because he was held responsible for some incidents concerning reliability of many of Trce Elliot products (e.g. failing transformers in SMX series, unreliable tube amp designs, etc.).

    In 1997 Kaman decided to downsize their music division, seized production of Trace Elliot products, and this eventually lead to three Trace Elliot directors to purchasing the company. However, by the time they were doing very poorly financially and within a year they were practically forced to sell Trace Elliot to Gibson Corp. Original founder Fred Friedlein left the company in this part. He didn't go to Ashdown (like his former employees Mark Gooday and Clive Button) but founded SoundRanger, which was not nearly as successfull venture, though, as far as I know, still remains operational and family-run.

    Gibson's ownership didn't screw up a good brand. They gave it financial backing to actually keep it going and continued to develop new products. Rumour is that they had purchased the company due to certain tube guitar amplifier designs, which later became Gibson Goldtone series. At the time Gibson was constantly outsourcing its manufacturing to others. Following this principle Trace Elliot designers were, for example, involved in manufacturing and designing several Orange amplifiers (another trademark owned by Gibson). Gibson likely didn't buy Trace Elliot solely for making bass amps, they bought the knowhow and resources of the company.

    In Millennia manufacturing of the products was located from UK to parts of USA and Asia. By 2001 production of Trace Elliot products was seized entirely. Importing probably became too expensive.

    Peavey didn't acquire Trace Elliot in 2005. They acquired distribution rights to North America and as distributors they naturally had some foothold about products Trace Elliot should make. Peavey went on to hire many former Trace Elliot employees and also re-established the plants in UK.

    I don't know much about what Peavey has done but at least they have revised some of the power amp designs to new class-D format. Most of this design process was outsourced to SML. Similarly to some Peavey amps they use OEM modules bought from EcoTec Systems.
  11. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    With the current trend on 80s tone, Trace would have a card to play with GP preamps coupled to a class D amp. They don't seem eager to bring out new products though.
  12. MXP553


    Dec 6, 2013
    Indiana, USA
    Awesome Teemuk. Ask and you shall receive! :)
  13. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass What key is this?

    One of the guys that was with Kaman back then is on this forum, he also ran Bass Centre LA...I've talked with him several times (since way back in the day); heck of a nice guy. I'd definitely defer to him....
  14. Was his name Alan Morgan?
    He sold me a Status bass years ago..
  15. iamprowla


    Nov 28, 2016
    I've got to Trace Elliot kit and it can be had at bargain prices. One of the trademarks was a UV light to highlight the amp panel graphics (and graphic).
  16. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass What key is this?

    Nope. Chris Maury. He goes by nixdad here.
  17. I remember Chris too.
    I sold him my old Wal 5 MK2
  18. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass What key is this?

    Worked for a dealer back then. Seriously, Chris is a "salt of the earth" kind of guy. Very few of those in the MMR business.
  19. Cool, this was back in 1991.
    I remember his sincerity.