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Original Versatone Panoflex Bass Amp $700 0bo!

Discussion in 'For Sale: Double Bass Amps, Strings, & Accessories' started by Mike Carr, Jan 7, 2012.


  1. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    In 1979 I bought a used Versatone Panoflex Amp from some guy in LA who was having hard a hard time paying his rent. It worked perfect and sounded very good at low volumes. The Panoflex was an amp handmade in very small quantities for just a few years in the 60's and most of them were used by Los Angeles studio musicians. Carol Kaye was one of the most famous users. Jack Cassidy of the Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna used them too. I used to see them around LA a lot when I was just starting out. Red Rhoads the pedal steel player who also had an amp shop in Hollywood sold them I think and certainly fixed them. These amps pre-dated the Polytone and WW Amps by a few years. They are about as rare as hen's teeth these days! I doubt if even Carol Kaye has her's anymore, the only other one I know of in LA was owned and used by the fine upright bassist John Gianelli, who used to play for Sarah Vaughn, and that was a few years ago. The Panoflex amp is stereo, two amps feed into a single 12 inch Utah speaker and are controled by a pan-pot. This provides a wide range of tones, dark and punchy to a wide scooped sort of tone. Very easy to dial in a great tube tone. Not a very loud amp, only 25 watts I think. Still amazing tube tone! Probably worth a small fortune, music history, you dig! This is the type of amp Carol used on many hit recording in the 60's and on many movie score dates too. A classic amp for the snobbiest of gear snobs, vintage gear nuts and geeks of all ages.
    Now here's the bad news...
    I used this amp on small gigs, rehearsals and such with good results for a couple years when I was a young man who played mostly electric in those days. People always loved the tone with the Fender bass. But many of the gigs got pretty loud and the amp, at 25 watts couldn't keep up some of the time. Later I bought a WW Amp. The only other speaker I had at the time was a big 18 inch job in a very heavy cabinet. So for the small gigs I started using the Woods amp to power the Versatone, just disconnected the Versatone guts and plugged into the Versatone's speaker. Sounded great and much louder too! So great and loud in fact that after a while I got the boneheaded idea that I should just simply remove all the Versatone guts from the amp and cut off the part that holds the amp's chassic! So like an idiot I removed the compleate chassic of the amp, including the faceplate with the knobs, logo and all and packed it away. Then I took the electric saw and hacked off the wood part of the amp where the chassic sat and had myself a very cool little easy to tote speaker box to sit my Woods on, this became my small gig rig for the next few years. Little did I know know at the time time that I had butchered a classic, super rare tube amp that now would probably command a kings ransom if sold in original intact condition! ***! I was young and dumb, had just bought myself a brand new Walter Woods and thought, "who cares about this old thing, tubes are for squares!" Oh the mis- adventures of foolish youth, truly wasted on the young! So I've keep the Versatone's guts, the compleate chassic, tubes, faceplate knobs, logo and all stored at my folks house in So Cal for 30 years now. I allways told myself that someday I'd find someone to build a new box, to make an amp head only kind of rig out of it. Or put it in some sort of rack so I could use it again. Better yet find someone to build a replica speaker and amp combo box and re-intall the chassic, I'd have myself an "old-new amp" kind of thing, someday, someday...
    Well someday never comes and probably never will for me. Again I've been sitting on a classic, but totally useless piece of gear for me now that I'm based in Asia, where everything runs on 220 volts.
    So here's the deal. 30 years ago the amp worked fine. It has been stored away ever since, not in the garage but indoors, safe from dust and the elements. This is an project amp only, something that someone who knows and loves old tube amps should have. Idealy, I'd like to see if any sort of boutique amp builders out there might be interested in having it, and reverse enginner it as to re-introduce the Versatone to todays market. I think people might be interested in buying replicas of this classic amp from the 60's that's sound is so much a part of pop and rock music history. Like I said, it's a project amp but a worthy project for the right person.
    So $700 obo as is. OBO is best offer as I don't know how many of you want to take this on. If any boutique amp builders want to contact me to have this amp as a specimen, a model of something you might want to reverse enginner and re-introduce and market you can have it free, just as long as you promise to give me a new one free, replicated and wired to run on 220 volts. and you must promise to give one free to Carol Kaye too as a tribute, signature model with a piece of the action too if they sell. Folks will probably pay $2000 for Versatone vintage replicas. Otherwise $700 obo. I'll put some photos up after I get to LA next week and dig it out of the closet!

    FLASH! I just saw an amp up for sale on ebay. The guy is offering a compleate working version of this very amp for $5500!!! Mine is exactly the same
    model chassic, all the guts, tubes and all, minus the wood cabinet that holds the amp and the speaker. I can not promise you that mine still works at all but 30 years ago when I quite foolishly hacked up the wood part of mine the amp worked fine. 30 years later you might plug it in and burn your house down! I'm not about to try! But FWIW, imagine his amp, slid out of the wood part and that's exactly what I'm offering for just $700! I'm pretty sure I still have what's left of the cabinet in the gargage too. The little speaker only box that I ended up with after I hacked the thing up. This would include the original, single Utah speaker. $300 obo. It's dirty, been in the gargage all these years, not like the amp that's been inside but would probably clean up real nice. It might be years before I make it back to the States again so if you want this stuff you should start thinking about it now. Or buy his for $5500!!! and buy mine for spare parts! I'll get photos up as soon as I can after my flight gets in on Tuesday, but for now I apoligise to the eBay guy for highjacking his ebay ad!
     
  2. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Here's a little bump because I'll be back in LA just days from now.
    Don't miss your chance to own the the chassic of one of the rarest of all vintage tube bass amps! If it works after all these years you own the classic of classics! If it doesn't...well have some hot dogs handy or maybe some steaks because after you plug it in you might have the worlds most expensive electric bbq grill!
    "fire up the grill Andy!":hyper:
     
  3. "we want pics to watch and feel more clever" bump!
     
  4. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    LA
    saw one near downtown LA for 3k a while ago
     
  5. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    As promised, the Versatone!
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    More pics!
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    one more
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Here's what left of the speaker portion of this classic bass amp, after I took the electric saw to it 30 years ago. Remember kids...don't try this at home!:crying:
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Sold!!!:hyper:!!!
     
  10. Robal

    Robal Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Just a side note, since the amp chassis is sold. See all those extra holes in the chassis that are covered by the face plate? That's because this is the simple bass amp version that Audio Guild, an amp maker in Van Nuys, Ca, made under the name Versatone. Audio Guild also made a guitar/accordian version OEM for Lyric and Titano that had one or two channels with reverb and a true tremolo, but same transformers, tubes, tuned cabinet, and speakers. Those guitar amps you can find from time to time on ebay for a fraction of the price of the Versatone bass amp, and they have more parts and features than the bass amp. I have one of those and it's pretty good sounding, for either bass or guitar. I also bought one of those two channel guitar amp chassis, that I hope to gut down to the bass amp (with some modifications) for $160 on ebay a few months ago.
     

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