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NAD: 1969 Traynor YBA-1

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ptensioned, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    I picked up an old Traynor YS-15 cab for a song a while back. While I love the vintage (i.e. middy) tone, it felt wrong to run it with newer amps, so I figured an old Traynor head would fit the bill. So I started looking for either a YBA-1 or a YBA-1a locally, figuring I could make sort of a Canadian B-15 practice and potential recording combo. I mean, everyone knows, old Traynors are amazing bang for your buck.

    Well. Clearly, everyone where I live knows it, because they wanted lots of bucks for their bang. I was looking for over a year, and didn't see a single one of either amp for less than $800, and usually poorly modded by guitarists looking for a Plexi on a budget. A shop in Seattle was (is?) asking $1,600 for a mint YBA-1 and matching 215 cab. Yikes. So much for deals.

    Finally, one appeared on my local CL for a fair price, and miraculously it wasn't modded except for having a grounded plug installed. All original 1969 model, including the 6CA7 tubes. Of course, I snapped it up.

    It sounds great. At least until the treble and 'low expander' are cranked together, at which point is gets awfully hissy, but that EQ combo is almost never used, so it's not a big deal. It's a pretty decent 40W, and with no master volume needs to be way above practice levels to get dirty. Otherwise, it has a great feel, and responds very dynamically to different basses. (Much as I hate to admit it, when a guitarist buddy played a Strat through it, it sounded stunning.)

    Here's some pics:

    20161230_201601. 20161230_201636. 20161230_201734.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  2. cripula


    Dec 20, 2006
    Your pics aren't working for me, but I believe I saw that one on CL. Congrats, they are great amps and built like tanks!
    I have a YBA-1A that Dave Vidal modded to run 6550s and it's a terrific sounding amp, love it.
    Rocker47, salcott and ptensioned like this.
  3. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    No pics here, but congrats on finding a classic.
    ptensioned likes this.
  4. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    Tried reposting, let me know if the pics are still missing...

    I'd love a 1A as well, but as it's a practice amp, 80 W is probably overkill. Dave Vidal is a magician. A buddy of mine has a Road Worn Stratocaster that Dave rewound the pickups on, and it's the sweetest sounding Strat I've ever heard.
  5. FronTowardEnemy

    FronTowardEnemy It is better to go unnoticed, than to suck Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Plainfield Illinois

    Have lots of fun with that.
    ptensioned likes this.
  6. Uber-cool, love the old stuff!

    It even looks to be in very good cosmetic condition. Wipe it off, clean it up, ride it hard. ;)
    ptensioned likes this.
  7. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    It's definitely in good shape. The seller claimed to have bought it from someone who had it in storage for 30+ years. Normally, I'd be a bit suspicious of that sort of claim, but it's definitely got that sort of vibe.

    Currently it's being used at home, so riding it hard is a bit of a stretch. It does sound great when pushed into dirt, though. Maybe I'll take it to the practice space and see if it can keep up. Maybe if I do that, I'll pop in some new tubes so I don't fry the old ones...
    handofseven and blindrabbit like this.
  8. On a nice old tube amp like that, a preemptive cap and tube job might be a good idea, and often prevents bigger/catastrophic issues down the road.

    Anyway, great score.
  9. cripula


    Dec 20, 2006
    Pics are working now ptensioned - amp looks awesome! Nice condition.

    Sounds like you know who to take it to when it needs anything :D
    It was a sad day when Dave V decided he didn't want to work on SVTs any more. Thankfully he'll still do the smaller amps.
    Don't know what us Vancouver tube guys will do when he finally hangs it up.
    ptensioned likes this.
  10. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    I love the silverface on them, though yours are way more mint than mine. I have the original driver, though I'm not sure who made it. If I recall, it has a square magnet and just '1970' stamped on the back.

    Jeez, talk about an odd but amazing collection. Impressive stuff. The YBA was designed for guitar use as well, so I'm assuming it was pretty identical.
  11. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    What, we can't go to Backline? Where you have the privilege of waiting months for gear, being overcharged, and treated like dirt, all in one fell swoop?
  12. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88

    Sep 16, 2013
    Nice score. The range expanders are mid & presence controls. Mine don't hiss but are pretty subtle. Have you jumped the channels together yet? I use ch2's high gain input, set a nice deep tone and blend in ch1's treble content.
    Hard to imagine these creeping up to $1000.00 but they've been under the radar for so long I guess it's time.
    Enjoy !!
    ptensioned likes this.
  13. ptensioned

    ptensioned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    Vancouver, BC
    I haven't really figured out the channel blending yet, except to discover that even with only one cable plugged in, the 'unused' channel's volume does subtly affect the tone.

    Just to be clear, what you're describing above has the bass input into the bottom jack of channel 2, then you jump from the bottom jack of channel 1 to the top jack of channel 2?
  14. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88

    Sep 16, 2013
    When you plug into one of the channels the unused input of that channel becomes an output. Run a short lead from that to either input of the other channel.
    Channel 1 is bright, designed for guitar. Channel 2 is darker and was intended for bass. Both have high & low impedance inputs so the combinations of tones you can get is huge. Try all the combinations, there isn't anything to be concerned about except you might find channel 1 to be very bright and noisy.
    ptensioned and Rocker47 like this.
  15. IMG_6301.JPG Looks just like my set up! You will enjoy it emmensly. Mine is a 1971 and is next on the list for a little work under the hood. It hasn't acted up or anything, but I don't want anything terrible to happen to it. Great amps! Congrats!
  16. Nice score! I saw that on CL. Woulda, coulda, shoulda bought up a bunch of Traynor tube amps in the 80s.
    TN WOODMAN, Rocker47 and ptensioned like this.
  17. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    My band uses local Rehearsal/recording studios to practice in and each room has different sets of amps... I'm getting to try Marshall, Fender etc etc. One room had this Trainor amp that blew me away... It looks like your and I think it was around 65 or 95 watts into a 115. Man did that sound full and rich. I miss those old tube amps.
    Rocker47 likes this.
  18. StatesideRambler


    Jul 1, 2015
    A few months ago I sold for a shade under $600 the YBA-1A that I'd bought in 1972 or 1973. I loved that amp and held onto it much longer than I should have. I'll never play another gig that calls for that much oomph. What a sound, though!
  19. ofajen

    ofajen Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    Enjoy it! They are great amps and very versatile. I've been using both an early YBA-1 like this and a YSR-1 for years. I think I got them about 15 years ago, and you absolutely do not want to know what they were going for back then. The YBA-1 is amazing on guitar, too. It has a more flexible eq. OTOH, the reverb and tremolo on the YSR-1 are delightful, too.

    The tone stack on the YBA-1 tends to cut mids about 10 dB with knobs at 12 o'clock. I tend to run the low expander (mids) up high at around 7 or 8, which reduces that mid cut somewhat. I tend to run the bass at about 3 or so and treble around 4 or 5, which gives a small treble boost and keeps the low end controlled. Presence can be cranked for an edgy sound or left lower to keep things mellow.

    Channel 1 is the "normal" or bass input. Channel two is the "guitar" input, which I call the "scratchy" input. It has a cap across the path that causes a big boost of highs at low volume settings, but has progressively less effect as volume is raised. You can tame this a bit by installing a larger cap, say 250 to 500 pF, rather than the stock 100 pF. If you play a two channel instrument like The Stick, it can be handy to remove the cap from the path, leaving a second normal channel input.

    The lower jacks are the normal instrument inputs, the upper jacks are padded somewhat. I only use the upper jacks for serious line level sources like my analog synths, and run both active and passive basses in the lower jacks. You can tie the two channels together by running a patch cord from the unused jack on the channel you plug into over to one of the jacks on the other channel. That allows you to get a mixture of the two signal paths. Experimenting should be fun.

    I normally do this with guitar on the YSR-1, and sometimes with bass on the YBA-1 when I want an aggressive tone. Run your bass thru a clean boost with both inputs turned up a bit and you won't be wondering what overdrive pedal to buy next.

    Have fun, it's a delightful little amp!

    Lowendtech and ptensioned like this.
  20. Great rig!! I had a yba1a and ys15 for a couple years. Great tube warm round tone. The Speaker is a marsland which was traynors standard. As far as tone knobs it's a Fender Bassman stack. Low extender is mids and high extender is presence. So try bass treble and high extender at 0 and low extender all the way up. That's close to flat. Go from there.
    ptensioned likes this.

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