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Questions On The Ampeg SVT "Skunk Works"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kdogg, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. kdogg


    Nov 13, 2005
    Hey all, I'm currently using the SVT-CL, but have been interested in purchasing an older SVT. Though I love the tone I get from my CL, I'm a little disappointed in the build quality, as I have already had the amplifier into the shop in the first year I've owned it. I have checked out the VR, but seeing that the power sections, and many of the rest of the components are the same, I'm a little suspect of its reliability as well, especially given the hefty price tag.

    So, as many of you already know, vintage SVT's come up for sale on ebay from time to time. There is currently a "skunk works" SVT for sale there now, and I was just wondering if there is anything I should know about this particular model, when contemplating a bid. How much does this model have in common with the early 70's era SVT's? Is the build quality substantially better than the newer SVT models? How similar would the tone be, to the modern SVT-VR or CL?

    I have a great tube shop just a half hour away, so having the head checked and serviced would not be an issue.

    Thanks Guys :bassist:
  2. It is very similar to the vintage SVTs. IIRC, the only real difference is it uses a 12AX7 in place of a 12DW7 and maybe a different type of driver tube (tho i cant remember).

    The reason for not using the 12DW7s, as used in the original, was that in the 80s there werent any manufacturers producing 12DW7s.

    So compared to the CL and VR, it'll be similar to the VR.

    Also, the skunkworks were limited and numbered (500 made).

    If it were me, id take it over a newer model.
  3. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    The Skunkworks are some of THE best SVT's ever made. The tone is just as good as, if not better than a blueline, and it uses readily available tubes as opposed to archaic extinct breeds. I got the opportunity to play one last year; it was in fantastic shape but the shop wanted $2000 for it. Which is somewhat reasonable for what it is, but I really could not afford it.
  4. kdogg


    Nov 13, 2005
    Thanks guys! Good stuff so far. Is the wiring point to point in the "skunk works" head?
  5. lomer


    Mar 20, 2005
    Perth, Australia

    More info here.
  6. FYI, the power sections of the VR and the CL are not identical. The VR does not have the output protection circuitry of the CL. And, the bias procedures are a little different.
  7. Just for accuracy, some of you comments need to be addressed:
    The entire "blueline" category is a made-up term that dealers and collectors use to try and justify charging more money for SVT's that have blue-lined faceplates. There is NO attributable difference in tone between them and other 70's SVT's.

    Of all the tubes in an SVT, only the 6C4 is out of production, and it is still readily available and IIRC, in the Skunkworks SVT anyway.
  8. No; nor was it in the original SVT.
  9. kdogg


    Nov 13, 2005
    Is the output protection circuit the only difference in the power sections of the two amplifiers, VR and CL? I was lead to believe that that was the case, and that the real difference lay in the preamp sections.
  10. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Once again PBG sifts through all the BS myths and sets the record straight.
  11. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Pretty much...... The CL is the same power section that has been used in many other SVT versions.

    BUT, the removed protection also lets the bias resistor go back to 1 ohm for the bank of three, as opposed to three separate of a higher value (10 ohms) in the CL due to the funky stuff. That alone is a significant difference.

    The main difference is in the preamp as you are aware.

    PBG is correct on the limited edition units. But the 6C4 is a problem child that can cause a lot of noise....
  12. Thanks for the deets on the power section, Jerrold.

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