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GK 800RB was 1990 a good year?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by LoTone, Jul 24, 2012.


  1. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    I know the title sounds like I am asking for a good year for Dom Pérignon champagne.

    I am asking the question because I have the opportunity to buy a used 1990 GK 800RB head at a reasonable price.

    I wonder if the 800RB of lore were as reliable as the ones we have today?

    -- LoTone
     
  2. JonnyAngle

    JonnyAngle Dropping Acid Pedal Etching .com Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Maple Grove, MN
    DroppingAcidPedalEtching.com
    IIRC the "horizontal power switch" models are "the best ones" to get. But in reality, they're all amazing!
     
  3. every year was/is good - however it’s not uncommon for filter caps etc to start leak/failing with age
     
  4. husky123

    husky123 Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Leesburg, VA
    Endorsing Artist: Bergantino Audio Systems
    I've played both (horiz and vert switches) and cannot hear a bit of difference. They all just rock.
     
  5. +1, recapped my '87 800RB recently, my '91 400RB is no doubt due soon for one as well. But it's worth it, great amps :bassist:
     
  6. +1
    I recapped my early 80’s 800RB about 2 years ago and now my friends son is using it. By the way, it worked 3 to 6 gigs per week for nearly 30 years (pushing it hard) and it NEVER failed. I’m guessing it will last another 20 to 30 years before needing a little servicing again. Awesome amp.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There was a period in the 80's when some GK amps would just seize up and trash themselves, but I don't know the exact timeline on it. But it was well over by 90, so yeah, it's likely fine, though there's always a possibility of a used amp that old needing some sort of repair in the near future. It's the price you pay for buying used.
     
  8. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    They're all good years.;)
     
  9. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2011
    Central NJ
    I saw several smoked 400RB's and 800RB's around 1986~1987.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sounds about the same time I remember seeing a couple, too. Saw a buddy of mine seize one on a gig. That was fun...it worked one second, then completely fried the next.
     
  11. husky123

    husky123 Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Leesburg, VA
    Endorsing Artist: Bergantino Audio Systems
    That said, I'd put the 800RB's reliability record up against any amp ever made.

    Of course, I have no way to quantify this but everyone has a story...
     
  12. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    I wouldn't know. I turned 15 in 1987. Rockin' my Fender sidekick combo and my Squier Precision Bass. (should've kept that thing, who would've known old Squier's are good now?). Makin' a cool $50+ a night in the bars and usually gettin' comped a burger and fries with Dad on concertina and acoustic guitar and Mom on piano and we all sang.

    Nowdays, everything's more expensive but the local dive still expects you to take the same $50.:D
     
  13. +1

    FWIW, I owned a few 800RB’s in the 80s and never had a problem with any of them (except the one I kept and had to recap nearly 30 years later). However, I remember hearing there were some damaged by people who didn’t match them with the correct impedance cabs when biamping and I wouldn’t doubt there were a few duds out of the millions sold too.

    Anyway OP, every year was/is good - the GK 800RB amp is world famous for being a good reliable amp.
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, that's true...I do still see a lot of 80's GK's out there.
     
  15. BawanaRik

    BawanaRik

    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    I sold my RB800 a couple of months ago. It was from right about 1990. Worked ,sounded great. Believe it or not these were the micro amps of twenty years ago. Compare the
    RB 800 to an Acoustic 220.
     
  16. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    The early 800rb's had 2 output jacks for the high amp, which is an 8ohm minimum amp. That lead to some people chaining along too many speakers and burning stuff up. I think later versions had only one jack for the high amp. Which doesn't have to be a dedicated high frequency amp BTW. When the amp is set to full-range, it's just another 100 watt fullrange amp (with an 8 ohm minimum impedance).

    Mine's an '89, it has 2 jacks for the high amp.

    Maybe they had a bad run of parts in there somewhere, who knows?, it happens. I would think if you find one that works all these years later, it's either not a problem amp, or has been fixed/upgraded, etc.
     
  17. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2011
    Central NJ
    Oh, no doubt.
     
  18. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    The seller is asking $400 CAD for it. I have been watching it on Kijiji for a while going from $550 to $500 and now down to $400.

    The seller is a music shop. So, I would guess that this head has some mileage as a rental. However, the guy selling it is a tech with a good reputation for repairing amps. So, I am pretty sure that he did a spot check before putting it on sale.

    I will have a chat with the seller tomorrow.

    I will keep you posted on whether I buy it or not.

    Thanks for all the info guys.

    -- LoTone
     
  19. The only real changes to the 800RB have been removing one output jack on the High amp (this is where user error would fry the high amp and shut the amp down) and the move from laminated iron core power transformers. :)
    I worked in a repair shop in So Cal, before moving to Az, for a very long time. G-K was the least seen brand and the failures were usually either miss-use (including here two 4 ohm 810's on the 300 watt low amp outputs), corroded effects return jack or worn out input jack. Other brands tended to be more spectacular in their failures. :)
     

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