Heathkit Bass Amp TA-38 Anybody played one?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by comet909, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. comet909


    Feb 18, 2007
    I picked one up off of CL. Its an old gigantic 2x12 240 watt solid state vintage combo amp.

    I did some research and I guess these amps were sold as kits that you could assemble. Heath made lots of kits for radios amps and other electrical devices. I found some favorable reviews for their guitar amps. So I was confident that it wouldn't be too bad. And for the price. It was a straight up steal!

    Here's a picture...


    Stands about 45 inches tall, 23 inches wide and 14 inches deep.

    It sounds darn good. A solid and very loud vintage thump machine. I turned up to about four and shook the whole house. I've read they used Jenson speakers. Three knobs, volume, bass, treble. That's all you need right? :)

    So anybody ever build one of these in the past? Or have you played heath stuff?

    Oh yeah, the best part is the price. $30

    yup. I couldn't pass it up.
  2. fbny71

    fbny71 Supporting Member

    May 28, 2010
    West Hempstead, NY
    Are you still happy with it? Do you still have it? I found one locally on CL too, but I'm haggling with the guy on the price...
  3. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    a TA-38 was the second bass amp that i owned. i bought a brand new kit and built one myself in 1968. i've kinda been looking for one (completely for nostalgia's sake) ever since i sold mine to buy a blonde '62 showman in '69. i did find and buy the head/amp chassis for one about 4 years ago on ebay and still have it, but i need to make a cabinet for it. just an FYI, the 240 watts is what they draw for the wall, not its rated power output. its rated power is 100 watts, but in reality, i found that to be a bit optimistic.

    a bit more info here:

    . TA 38 Radio Heathkit Brand,

  4. DeaconK


    Nov 17, 2006
    I've played through Heathkit guitar amps a couple of hundred years ago and they were great. BUT...they are only as good as the person that assembled them! I've built several Heath kits over the years (mainly Amateur radios) and as long as the instructions were followed and the person assembling them had good building techniques (soldering, point to point wiring or wiring components to the circuit board, etc), they were good value for the money.
  5. fbny71

    fbny71 Supporting Member

    May 28, 2010
    West Hempstead, NY
    I guess I'll go take a look at it and play through it tomorrow. I don't need it but it looks cool and if it sounds good I might not be able to pass it up. The guy wants $140.
  6. mikeddd


    Nov 12, 2009
    San Antonio, TX
    Very cool! I built some HK stuff back in the day but none of it bass-related. I do miss HeathKit. They had some cool stuff. :(
  7. I've got a couple old tube preamps, and an all-purpose 20watt tube amp from heathkit, I've used the all-purpose to power a 115 before, sounded loud and good enough for me.
  8. dhomer

    dhomer Commercial User

    Apr 9, 2009
    Hickory Corners, MI
    Owner, Gigmaster Soundworks, Auth. greenboy designs builder, MI
    My uncle was a Heathkit sales rep back in the day. his R/C airplane had a Heathkit radio.. Would be interesting to try one for grins n'giggles...
  9. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    Cool. I haven't heard the Heathkit name mentioned in years! I spent many an hour poring through the catalogs. I somehow missed the fact that they offered a bass amp kit.
  10. hrgiger


    Jan 11, 2009
    I like that throne your drummer has...
  11. This is asking a lot from the memory banks.....but.....I remember the guitar amps were stock with Jensens, bass were stock with Utahs. Both could be ordered with Altec or JBL upgraded speakers. I retired (well the wife did) my Heathkit 25" color TV in 1990. Replaced the jug (picture tube) in 1983. That was a great set, the ultra-sonic remote sucked though.
  12. Epidrake


    May 24, 2011
    I'm still using an old Heathkit stereo amp and tuner in my basement. Whoever put them together did a really nice job. They still work perfectly.

    You got a great deal on that bass amp! Enjoy it.
  13. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    Dang, that was my first amp. Can't tell you how it sounded 'cause it was about 100 years ago. I can tell you it was heavier than heck though.
  14. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    My dad built both a mono amp and the tuner. That was my first gear.

    I wish I still had the mono tube amp. Not really sure where I lost that along the way.
  15. fbny71

    fbny71 Supporting Member

    May 28, 2010
    West Hempstead, NY
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Man, I used to stare at that amp in the Heathkit catalog when I was a kid and wish I could own something that good!

    Does my heart good to see them return. Don't think I could build an amp but I would definitely like to try a couple smaller kits.
  17. mikeddd


    Nov 12, 2009
    San Antonio, TX
    Thanks for that link, faviobarrio. Can't wait to see what they'll have for sale!
  18. monkeyking


    Feb 6, 2009
    My uncle lived near the Heathkit place in Michigan when I was a kid. I never built one but maybe with their re-entry I finally will.

    On the home audio side of things, refurbished Heathkit stereo amps are in some demand these days along with the old Scott gear.

    Thanks for the link!
  19. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Is it Solid State? Oh, never mind....I guess it says so on the front panel. Must have missed it.

    Yes, my dad built more than a few Heathkit components. Strangely enough, I have a stronger memory of the Lafayette catalog and their line of import guitars and basses.

  20. fbny71

    fbny71 Supporting Member

    May 28, 2010
    West Hempstead, NY
    I never really got into this stuff as a kid- I'm more of DIY-er now so I'm interested to see where this goes.

    It looks like their first kits will be a garage parking assistance kit and a wireless swimming pool monitoring system.