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Kustom K200 B1

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by The Courier, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. So I've been helping my parents clear everything out of their home (very sad, they're selling the house I grew up in :crying: ), and we came upon my father's old Kustom bass amplifier. I'm having a bit of trouble tracking down any information about it, so I figured I'd post some pictures here and see if anybody is familiar.

    I figure I'll start with some pictures:

    The whole thing:

    Amp head:

  2. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    Wow a relic for sure. I had one back in the 60s with two bottoms. Nothing was miced back then so I would set one on each side of the stage so the whole band could hear the bass
  3. Anyways, here's what I know about the amp. It's a Kustom rig he bought second hand way back in the 1970s. We've fired it up a few times over the years, but it hasn't seen consistent use in quite a while. When used, the sound quality was fine and dandy, but I suspect there's a short in the amp head. Often times, when plugged into the amp, the strings on the bass would shock me. I don't have any experience with electrical engineering, so I'm hesitant to try and DIY fix an electrical problem.

    So, I guess the kind of information I'm looking for is:
    -Any specs for this amplifier, as there doesn't seem to be much available for vintage Kustom rigs
    -Any recommendations on how to fix the electrical issues with the amp head
    -If the head cannot be repaired (or repairs are not cost efficient), what kind of replacement unit would be a good fit, and how to safely test the cabinet if this is decidedly the better route

    I know this probably isn't much to go off of, but any input is highly appreciated!
  4. So old school, they tore the school down!
  5. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    Does it work? Is it for sale?
  6. It's been a while since we've fired it up, but unless things have changed it should still power up. The previously mentioned electrical issues may or may not manifest still, I'm not sure. I've ordered a speaker cable, once it arrives I'll test this bad boy out and let you know.

    I'm not sure what the plan is yet, whether to keep or sell it. I'll definitely keep you posted, once I've tested it, cleaned it up, and gotten an idea of what we want to do with it.
  7. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    I don't if I would buy it. But it sure brings back nemories6
  8. Get it serviced by a tech. There's electrolytic capacitors that have dried up, so get it recapped. There's also a cap called a "death cap" which is why you are getting shocked. Get a 3 prong electrical cord installed and get the "death cap" cut out.

    On a good day that amp put out a tad over 100 watts into 4 ohms. It is not a 200 watt head, that was just marketing. Although they advertised that the amp could run into a 2.7 ohm load, that was really really pushing the amp into tough territory, the amp has terrible heat sinking.

    I see the cab was marked CTS. The CTS speakers were standard. Pull the cover off the back and double check...maybe you got lucky and they swapped in the optional JBL's at some point.
  9. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    Here's the scoop. Black is the standard and most common color. Head was manufactured between Oct. and Dec. 1970 and, as shown, is 100 watts RMS @ 4 ohms. The cab is the standard match 2x15 with the standard CTS speakers. If the originals are still in it, they are 16 ohms wired to a final of 8 ohms for the cab. To achieve the most power from the head, you need two 8 ohm cabs or one 4 ohm. Way above average wear and tare. Servicing could be just a good cleaning with a tuner cleaner/lube, but could be way more. As mentioned, the shocking is from the old 2 prong cord. Something an experienced tech should do.

    You could clean it up for personal use, but a proper restoration would far exceed the value of the rig, unless, it would happen to have some optional speakers, like JBL D140F's, Altec Lansing 421A's or 418's. Those would enhance the value a good bit if in good shape. Good luck. :)
  10. heynorm


    Oct 21, 2010
    Omaha, NE
    That's just like one I often play through owned by a local Eagles club. After getting a few "lip bites" I took it in myself for service and new AC cord as different bands use it almost every weekend. It's got some black duct tape repairs and still sounds pretty good, up to 10:00ish, then starts to fart. I don't miss moving those up and down stairs!
  11. Sorry for the lack of replies, it is awesome seeing some of you know about this amplifier though! I'll compose direct replies once work lets up a bit. I'm also trying to take a look inside the cabinet sometime this weekend to see what speakers are installed.

    In the mean time, I discovered some of the history behind this thing. If you look at the second picture, you can see words are painted on the back. They read "Miss Lady Finger Marcy Francis". There was a dearth of information in the search results, but I found a Google cached page from a website that sold one of her CDs. Here's the biographical blurb I recovered:

    "A. Marcy Francis is a seasoned musician and entertainer whose musical spirit continues to enrich the lives of all she meets. Whether it's singing, playing the bass, shekere, healing gourd meditations or massage, Ms.Francis is the go to person for raising spiritual vibrations. Inspired by Sarah Vaughn, Etta James, Louis Armstrong and James Brown among others, she began as a vocalist, picking up the bass and shekere in her later years. As Ms.Lady Fingers, she was the leader and founder of the all female band, Better Days, that toured the world working for the USO and the Department of Defense. She is Artist-in-Residence at the Arts and Spirituality Center of Philadelphia and the C.A. House of the University of Pennsylvania. Teacher of the Shekere (sacred African hand drum) and also leads stress release management retreats throughout the Caribbean. Her first love is the teaching of children and helping them achieve a strong spiritual foundation for love of life and living."

    The album sold on this page actually did not feature her on the bass, but rather Leonard Nelson Hubbard, former bassist for The Roots:

    "I am blessed to have established my career in the music industry as an accomplished musician and performer. I have shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the business. After traveling internationally the past 15 years as bassist with the world's greatest hip hop band, The Roots, I realized it was time to present my songs and compositions. I then established Reachin Higher Productions. This first project features a dear friend of mine A. Marcy Francis. Marcy and I have worked together for many years and I truly felt that her talent needed to be presented to a worldwide audience. All of the performers on this project I've known for decades and was a blessing to oversee. The next project is my highly anticipated solo cd. The cd will highlight my performance and composing skills. I've already begun recording with a who's who of friends from various styles of music. None of these accomplishments would have occurred without the love and support of my many fans. For this I am truly grateful. It is with love and resounding joy that I present to you, A. Marcy Francis. "

  12. A little bit more on Marcy Francis:

    "Marcy Francis
    Born in the 'hood of West Philadelphia, Marcy was inspired by her father who was the first African American firefighter in the city, and a mother who was a prayer warrior and healer who made her own oils and soaps. Her Uncle Benny Francis who was renowned for his musical talent of playing a saw to evoke the sounds of a violin, inspired her musical talents. She began her career as a 'do-wop' girl on the corners of West Philly.
    She combined the skills of both her parents, her love of music and rhythm and her instinct to heal and soothe troubled spirits to become what could termed a modern-day shaman. Note however that she says, "I am so fed up with those people who call themselves healers. There is no healer but God the Creator." Seeing herself as only a conduit for healing she says "I work with Spirit, Truth and Love."
    Marcy takes a holistic view and always seeks to connect the mind, body and spirit in her work whether it is giving a massage, playing her bass guitar, or singing rock or African music. She has performed on various USO tours throughout the world and been in numerous bands. She has been trained by some of the greats and says "I studied from people from the old, old school. I learned just keep it basic and simple and the Spirit will come out."
    Besides performing in three bands, teaching sekere (pronounced "shake ker ray") classes, and giving healing touch through massages, she is volunteering at The CA House to bring her music and her musician friends to the CA coffeehouses as a way to create fun, healing times and places on campus.
    Please note however she is hardly a staid woman. she has a marvelous sense of fun and a spontaneous personality. One never knows if she will break out with opera sounds or 'get funky' music, if she will grab an African drum or break into a boogie on the stage! But everyone has a good time when they have been around Marcy! Isn't that what the spiritual life is about?"

  13. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    I like this lady! :)

    It's too bad her amp wasn't preserved very well. My brother goofing with my old (CTS) 3x15":

  14. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Nacogdoches, TX
    I've got the same 215B speaker cab as the OP. If the interior speakers look like THESE, they are the CTS brand.

    70445c4c-c767-49c4-a298-85e468494738. d8d6cde3-be03-4e5a-8131-1306a26cec4f.

    Mine still sound fine, if not pushed to the limit. The K200 amp should sound very good through this cab. I had the 3-prong upgrade done to the power cord on my amp, which makes the "Polarity" switch on the front redundant. I also had my tech move the internal fuse to a standard "barrel-type" mounted on the rear, so I wouldn't have to open up the amp any time the fuse blew.


    A word of warning....the "main power" and the "polarity" switch on this amp are both VERY fragile (and at this point, VERY old), and care should be taken with them. If they are functional, either you or your tech should use zip-ties to secure the back of the switch with the front, as the plastic "barrel" will snap right off. These switches are absolutely unobtainable now. Nothing says "vintage Kustom" more than a bright BLUE light glowing from the switch on the amp head in the dark!

    LICON switch 01-740122


    The main power switch on mine was shot, so I used the one from the "polarity" socket (they are the same switch) and did the zip tie upgrade. i then stuck the bad switch in the (now unnecessary) "polarity" socket unwired to fill the hole.


    Good luck bringing this baby back to life! It will never be worth much financially, but its history alone makes it worth saving, IMHO!

  15. mario chi

    mario chi

    Sep 1, 2014
    dude, this is why i came here to search for the same info!!

    its nice to know that there are ppl out there who do know this stuff. my father passed away and left me this 'stuff'. things i knew nothing about nor did he ever tell me about. they were in the basement and i wasnt allowed to go through his stuff. i literally dug through it just a few days ago. i found this kustom 200 in metallic red(you know the little flakes of silver or whatever), not black. it had been under a vinyl cover for decades never used. its in pristine condition with no cuts, bruises, or rust whatsoever. just brand new. the amp was like 20-25 lbs. but the speaker is easily 100lbs on casters. its all in pristine condition. also found an original fender super reverb heavily used. luckily the tubes are still intact. it will get used again, i hope. he got use out of that! i just found and restored his 65 fender strat to basically brand new condition. these vintage guys that i took it to did an amazing job for not much $$. it plays like 'buttah'.

    thank you for the info guys...and gals, if applicable
  16. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Nacogdoches, TX
    mario- Sorry about your Dad passing. It sounds like he left you some nice stuff! Red is a very desirable color among vintage Kustom fans. The "200" amp is certainly a player (with updates....see my earlier post), and especially through the 2 X 15 Kustom cab. I find that this cab sounds great with almost any other amp I plug into it: 100-watt Ampeg, 275 watt Peavey, 100 watt all-tube custom amp. This cab can rattle windows in my house!

    Enjoy! You are now the proud owner of a vintage classic Tuck-'N'-Roll Kustom outfit that many 60s and 70s players drooled over. How many people can say they own gear from a company whose owner eventually lost it in a card game?:D
    mario chi likes this.
  17. xed


    Dec 8, 2007
    Coastal NC, USA
    Ah memories. I had the exact same amp in the early 80s. K200 black tuck-n-roll 2x15. I got my first job in order to buy it and worked fast food for 6 months to pay off the amp since I had put it on layaway. I continued to use that same amp through all of my high school and college gigs. Everyone else had GK's or peaveys or ampegs if they were fortunate. I was most definitely the only one rockin it old school with the tuck-n-roll.
  18. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Nacogdoches, TX
    "Rockin' it old school" with Kustom TnR definitely gives you a leg up in "cool factor"!
  19. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    The old Tuck N Roll. The drummer in my band has one at his place that I play through once in a while. Nice old school tone. It belongs to his nephew. It's in immaculate condition too.
  20. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Hub is a great player. I knew him from my time at Berklee back in the day. He used to hang out there quite a bit.