1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Gallien-Krueger 1200SEB Official Club

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CLPalacio, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. CLPalacio


    Nov 1, 2011
    Austin, Texas
    Does anyone else on the forums own one of these rare amps? It was manufactured for just a few years in the late 80s and was their top dog at the time. I believe it listed at $1100 or so new when I bought mine in 1989. It utilises switching MOSFETs which was it greatest and weakest asset (unlike today's Class D amps). Great tone and light weight but at the time the technology was expensive and the original runs had some issues, some having to do with getting the FETs from overseas suppliers. I had to send mine back twice within a 2 yr period after blowing the FETs and they had to do some rework on the board the second time. It has been solid since. Before I bought it, I played through that and a Trace Elliot head both through a Hartke 410XL at the store and the GK blew the Trace out of the water. I went home with the GK/Hartke combo that day and have used the same setup since (until last week when I got the SBXs). I have searched the threads/posts but only found a few people (including my old sn-"justluis") that make a mention of this amp.


    Stereo :D
    Switching MOSFET amp (class D)
    Compressor, Voice Filters, Active EQ, Chorus, Limiter
    LEFT and RIGHT Balanced outputs (mono switchable)
    Direct Output (clean signal)
    200W @ 4ohms speaker outputs x2
    EFX loop
    Optional Effects foot switch
    Headphone output

    I will update with more pics of rear panel and perhaps the internals.
  2. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    My teacher back in the 80s had one of these, he bought it after hearing my 200MB combo. He ran it through a couple of Hartke 4x10s and it sounded excellent.

    It looks like this is based on the 200MB preamp, with the compressor/chorus and lack of Boost control. IIRC GK made a line of rackmountable metal 1x15 and 4x8 cabinets for these.
  3. By "Switching MOSFET amp", you mean a class D amp ?

    In one issue of Bass gear mag, there's an interview of Rob Gallien, and I remember well. He stated that he already worked on class D amp at the beginning of the 80s. But the technology wasn't ready at that time.

    If it's possible, can you make a picture of the inside, please ?
  4. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I've never seen this GK, interesting though.
  5. CLPalacio


    Nov 1, 2011
    Austin, Texas
    Yes, it is a class D amp. "Switching MOSFET" is silk screened on the front under 1200SEB which is why I included it in the description. Sounds more "high tech" than say Class D. Kinda like dihydrogen monoxide. :eyebrow: I believe this is the amp of which RG spoke. They only made it a few years and at the time it was expensive and they hadn't gotten the reliability quite right. They were also plagued with FET shortages from overseas. (made with unobtanium, perhaps?) The second time I sent it to GK, they reworked the board. But I fell in love with the tone. I guess you could characterise it as a clean digital tone, like Alex Lifeson's guitar tone in the late 80s when he was also using GK. Geddy also used them for a short time and their clean digital sounds on those CDs were definitely and influence. Had the GK not sounded so good, I was going to get the Trace Elliot head that I had played at the store.

    I will try to get some pics of the innards. I need to replace the blown horns on the SBXs and will try to get the pics when I head to the rehearsal room to do that.
  6. CLPalacio


    Nov 1, 2011
    Austin, Texas
    Ok, here are the pics:






  7. Nice !
  8. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'm going to resurrect this zombie thread. I bought a used 1200SEB about 10 years ago and really liked it. I, too, would describe the sound as clean-digital -- sterile, if you want to use that word. Mine self-destructed after about a year, and I knew better than to try to have it repaired. I held on to it as a relic for a while, but eventually discarded it.

    I'm fascinated by the 1200SEB because it was an early attempt at a switching amp. Walter Woods did it before them and did it successfully, but he was (and is) a singular craftsman.
  9. LittleLondon


    Nov 11, 2012
    Owned one in the late '90s. Fried-out for the reasons mentioned above within months, but sounded great while it lasted! GK explained that it wasn't worth repairing and offered some sort of credit against a 400rb instead. I bought a used 800rb as a replacement.
  10. disssa


    May 6, 2009
    This has been working without problems for 28 years:
    the_philth likes this.
  11. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    Just curious - how do the dynamics of this amp compare to an RB series GK head?
  12. the_philth


    Jan 24, 2007
    Neurotica, CA
    Wow... talk about Zombie Thread!

    Yeah, I've had a 1200CEB for years, I personally haven't used it in years, but my bass player plugs it in every weekend when we get together on Tequila night, and I've gotta tell you, this amp is very versatile.

    We'll play 60's Psychedelic Fuzz and King Crimson, where he'll add a Big Muff, and the thing sounds great.

    We'll go thru some Steely Dan or Slayer or Van Halen or even Sabbath, and that kid'll make that amp his b***h... all while using an '86 Japanese Fender P and/or a late 2000's Schecter Stiletto.

    I've never played an RB, but I can tell you one thing, another friend of mine (who uses an 2001RB that pumps a Mesa/Boogie 8x10 in his band) will come over and play a bunch of Tool and Alice In Chains songs with us, and HE'LL make this little amp sound killer!

    So my takeaway from all this is: if you're a versatile musician, and you happen to come across one of these little combos/heads on the cheap... pick it up!

    I love the fact that I own one, and that it's been in my studio all these years, trouble free and it has never disappointed!
  13. Look at the parts layout on the PCB. That's art! Serious looking bit of kit. How many were made of this amp? Any of them end up in Europe?
  14. disssa


    May 6, 2009
    I play my 1200SEB in Germany... ;)
    Treb likes this.
  15. Ach ja, das stimmt... :thumbsup:
  16. Marii Cipollina

    Marii Cipollina

    Aug 22, 2017
    I bought a 1200 ceb during our Huey Lewis and the News 'Fore' tour. Though I don't use it for everything, it comes out of the shed often and ALWAYS blows my mind. I'm doing a Quicksilver show at the Great American Music Hall in S.F. this weekend and I pulled it out today - it sounds so good in going to use it with its 15 in slave in a stereo configuration. Many people don't know that the ceb is a fully stereo bass rig....which makes it ahead of its time STILL! It's truly a marvelous amp and u wouldn't sell it at ANY price.
    mviker, the_philth and munkeyfish like this.
  17. Laza


    Sep 15, 2008
    And I play mine in Serbia. An awesome piece of hardware.
  18. I had one, it lasted for many years until a harmonica player spilled some beer on her.
    Harry Kolbe himself could not repair this head. I know because I brought it to him. You just can't get the parts anymore, specifically the MOSFETs.
    Now I have a 400RB.
  19. mviker


    Dec 30, 2016
    Well dang... I've had a 1200CEB for quite some time. I loved it then, but it died playing a party one night, so I sent it in via my music store to GK for repair. It took like 3 months but was fine for a while after it came back only to die again. I put it in a closet back around '95 and only just dug it out as I'm getting ready to move. Are these things repairable still? I'm currently playing through a MarkBass rig, got a nice SWR 4x10 backup, but truth be told, I'd love to get this old GK up and running again also. No idea what crapped out, but I'm fine getting it repaired and back in use if at all possible. No one fixing them anymore?
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
    BrentSimons likes this.
  20. And they sound pretty remarkable, even by modern standards. I'd love to find a second of each.

    Attached Files:

    BrentSimons likes this.

Share This Page