Jonesin' for a Philly

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ellery, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. Ellery

    Ellery

    Mar 25, 2015
    This may just be the GAS talking, but I am seriously considering upgrading my home practice amp. My 1965 Alamo Paragon is a charming novelty, but doesn't seem to be doing my basses any justice.
    I've realized that for how much I use it at home, and how much I've put into my bass collection, it would not be unreasonable to get a practice amp that can really express the tone that I want. I've certainly achieved that with my stage rig. I'm getting tired of plugging in a US Spector or G&L and getting lo-fi muffled dullness.
    I began looking for something that takes up minimal space, can fill up a small room, compete with a small guitar amp, and faithfully deliver the full spectrum of frequencies required for 5 string and downtuned basses. One unit that caught my eye is the Phil Jones Double Four.
    Screenshot_20181212-151732_Chrome.jpg This could not be any farther from the tube driven analog concepts that have sustained years of GAS, and it sure ain't cheap, but everything I read informs me that it should do the job and more. However, all I can find is positive reviews, and I wanted to put it out there and ask the TB community if there were any drawbacks or problems I could expect, or if there were any comparable alternatives that I'm missing. I have yet to find a local store that has one to try out, and intend to buy used. My styles range from classic rock to technical death metal, and I will often use a B3k going into a Sansamp Bass Driver. Thanx a bunch!
     
  2. Dang it... I was expecting a cheesesteak!
     
  3. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    Score me as astonished that you still have a working Alamo amp of any sort, much less this rare bird. Did you buy it new? More on topic, if you had room for that odd duck, you've got room for a lot of different things. I wouldn't want to pay the premium for the uber-portability of a micro-amp like that if it's just gonna sit in the practice room.
     
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  4. Ellery

    Ellery

    Mar 25, 2015
    Classic clickbait tactic... go for the stomach!!;)
     
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  5. Ellery

    Ellery

    Mar 25, 2015
    Thank you for your response. I got this combo a few years ago, all I did was have a tech install a 3-prong plug. Still has the original Jensen speaker. Size wise I am most concerned about depth. A combo with a deep cab would stick out too much. Standing up and on it's side, a Double Four would fit into that space, that made it particularly attractive. Any ideas on something else?
     
  6. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds Guest

    Oct 7, 2016
    From Philly here. Was somewhat disappointed. :(
     
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  7. Ellery

    Ellery

    Mar 25, 2015
    Now I'm wondering if I should re-tube the Alamo. They are very old. I would be disappointed to invest in this amp only to discover the sound was not improved. Or, I could discover that worn tubes were holding it back, and be delighted with it's performance. Then I would be able to keep this apparently rare amp. Any thoughts? Anybody?
     
  8. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    My gut reaction to your initial post (after getting over the disappointment that it indeed was not about a cheese-steak) that you were on the right track to brand that amp a 'charming novelty' and start the quest for a new amp. Just because it's old and rare doesn't make it a good choice for an amplifier for you. My initial interest was because Alamo amps were made in San Antonio, TX, just down the road, and were relatively common in the area when I was a lad. I think they were the house brand for a large music publishing house, and were never a top-tier brand. I had kind of forgotten they even existed and I'd be surprised if they were of much interest to the 'vintage' crowd, although it wouldn't surprise if are a few eccentric types who are 'into' them. At any rate, unless you were just in love with the sound of it back when you bought it and you think that sound has somehow been degraded, I doubt there's much point in re-tubing and restoring that amp. Except for the charming novelty factor. Like keeping a Model-A running...it's quaint and all that, but you wouldn't necessarily want it to be your only way to get to the store.

    My other gut reaction when I first read your post was that one of your stated prerequisites was that you wanted your new rig to handle 5-string and detuned bass, which I presume means handling that low, 30-Hz double-BB, and you were considering an amplifier with two 4-inch drivers. Seriously? I don't care how many tricks one plays, at some point a fair amount of air must be moved to reproduce a 30-Hz signal at a realistic volume, especially a dynamic one like a plucked electric bass string. I freely acknowledge that I don't know anything about that specific amp, but my passing acquaintance with the physics of it all tells me to be skeptical of it's suitability to your purpose.

    Update/correction: Dopey me, of course there are folks into Alamo amps...there are about two dozen amps on the Reverb web site. Interestingly, no two of them are the same, and none of them looks like your bass amp. From the looks of it, they were making amps even during the early 50's. They were distributed by Bruno, which was a broad-range music distributor that had one of those big hard-bound catalogs, and sold to music retailers and also directly to schools. I guess that explains why they were so plentiful around here. I think the first few I saw were in educational settings...my high school had one, if memory serves. Despite the nostalgia value, I stand by my opinion that it's not likely to be a suitable vehicle to savor the subtleties of your cherished basses.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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