GT Electronics (Groove Tubes) Bass preamp (old SWR)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pablomigraine, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    Director of Commercial Sales - Neural DSP

    This is a very rare unit and Ive heard nothing but good things about the very old SWR stuff under Steve Rabe..........

    I have a chance to get one of these units in EC/VGC from a friend and Im wondering if anyone has had any experience with them?

    Any help would be appreciated....

    ** pic is from an ebay listing, not the unit I'm actually getting, but they're the same unit and I use it for reference only.**
  2. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    If you like the SWR sound, then you'll like this pre. Quality was very good. IIRC, the SWR SM-400 used this pre.
  3. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    i loved the pre on the sm-400. i believe phil lesh used this same pre for a long time before switching to eden. i might be wrong.
  4. cripula


    Dec 20, 2006
    I had one in the early 90s. Paired it with a Carver PM 1.5. At the time I thought it sounded great. My tone goals did a 180 and I got rid of all the rack stuff for a vintage SVT.
    Probably should have hung on to that pre, I pretty much gave it away.
  5. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    Director of Commercial Sales - Neural DSP
    Can you be more specific? In other words, you stated you like the way it sounded for a particular range of sounds, but your goals changed tone wise and it no longer served..... what were those tone "goals"?
  6. cripula


    Dec 20, 2006
    That's going a long way back, late 80s IIRC - At the time I was going for a hi-fi sort of thing; 6 string bass, big clean rack power amps, pair of Hartke 4x10s. I went from a Yamaha PB-1 preamp to the GT and really liked it. Still very clean, but definitely a warmer tone than the PB-1/Carver combo.

    Eventually I started playing more roots/blues/R+B/pop/rock and less jazz/fusion. Some time around 1999 I was weedling away on the high C and had my epiphany - I wasn't digging the hi-fi sounds and I didn't care for the high C string anymore either. I wanted everything different. Bought a '64 Precision and a '76 SVT/8x10 and have been chasing vintage basses and tube amps ever since. I love the sound of an old B-15 or the dirt of a V4-B or SVT just as it's starting to overload a little (or sometimes a lot...)
    A GT through a rack amp was just too clean for me. A different power amp might have been better, but I was headed to tubeland :p

    Does that help?
  7. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Pablo, there were a couple of older threads discussing the GT preamp, did you see those?

    I, too, had a GT back in the day when they were still in production. I coupled it with a QSC 1400 power amp.

    I bought mine because of an interview with Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival that appeared in Guitar Player back in the late 80's. Stu was really into the sound he got with the GT.

    I would agree that the preamp was very clean and tight sounding, with a bit of tube warmth. It's not SVTish at all. It was pretty much the forerunner of the later SWR heads with the same panel and control layout, and to me, the sound was almost identical to the SWR SM-220, SM-400 and SM-500 heads, if that helps.

    I would love to have another one. I don't need one, but I do miss the one I sold. I sold mine to get an F-1X, with one rack space size and a better tube tone, not to mention simpler controls. But I'd still love to have another GT.

    Hey, if you are getting back into rack setups, Pablo, this is a really nice preamp. You will dig it. If you don't, you will be able to sell it here on Talkbass. In fact, keep me in mind for the #1 slot. :)
  8. chicago_mike


    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome - Dallas
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    Good pre, clean quiet sound. Nothing wrong with that 90's pieces of a dream and bet onjazz tone. =)
  9. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    Director of Commercial Sales - Neural DSP
    Well, It will be on its way to me next week, so If I don't end up loving it I will probably be looking to trade it out right away, probably for an Ashdown RPM-1 (nearly as rare) or for an Alembic FX-1 (two of the fattest sounding preamps in existence)

    YES!!! :bassist:
  10. greenbass5


    Sep 16, 2007
    Oklahoma City
    If this is the same pre that is in my SM-400, you'll dig it. And if you don't like it at first, DO NOT flip it without trying different tubes first!

    I'll always have my SM-400 just for the pre.

    Still :hyper: after all these years!
  11. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    Director of Commercial Sales - Neural DSP
    I actually have a Starbucks Shopping bag FILLED with 12AX7 and 12AU7 tubes........ NOS RCA, GE, JAN, Amperex, tons of Sovteks, some newer EH and GT tubes as well.
  12. sirpug


    May 8, 2008
    Everett Wa
    Would it be difficult to get more modern sound out of the Groove Tube preamp? I'm watching the one on Ebay and was just wondering.
  13. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I had one as well as a swr stuio 220 which is the same preamp with a power section. Modern is the word. very clean, easy to get a scooped sound with the enhance knob, just a bit of dirt from the tube. imo it was best for slap.