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Thoughts on the Traynor YBA-1?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by T-Forty, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. T-Forty

    T-Forty Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    I have the opportunity to purchase a 1978 Traynor YBA-1 head with matching 2x15 cab. I don't know much about Traynor but I am looking for a loud, reliable amp for a good price and this seems alright. Harmony Central reviews say it is built like a tank

    The price is $699 Canadian. It may have been a Canada only model..was built in Toronto.

    It is a 50 watt tube head..will this be loud enough to cut through a Marshall JCM head/cab?

    Here is a couple pictures:

    This is the first time I've purchased a tube head/cab..what kind of questions should I be asking and what should I be looking for in terms of performance when I try it out?


    p.s. I'd be playing a 1983 Peavey T-40 through it.
  2. T-Forty

    T-Forty Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    10 views..someone has to have some thoughts!
  3. ctufankjian


    Sep 28, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: Unicornbass.se
    I too have been strongly considering picking one of these up. According to what I've heard, They are an excellent amp for the money, but have tube tone that lacks tremendous character. however, I hace read in more then one place that there are a multitude of, on the cheap, mods that can make this amp in to a literal tone machine.
  4. RCCollins

    RCCollins Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    San Diego, California
    I guess there are a lot of those in Canada eh?

    I'm a big Traynor fan, but you should understand that the YBA-1 is their version of a Fender Bassman, not their take on an Ampeg SVT. It won't be as loud as many tube amps, and it won't grind all that hard without a proper push.

    That one looks to have been very well kept, however.
  5. T-Forty

    T-Forty Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    Good responses. I play punk, so I am looking for something loud and gritty. My T-40 inherently has a lot of growl to it, but a little extra from whatever amp I get is always a plus. Is this amp pretty clean sounding? By "push" I assume you mean to get grit from it I'll need to really crank it up, right?

    Also when it comes to mods...what kind of work are we talking here? I am not technically inclined, but I am adventurous if the mods don't totally screw my amp up.
  6. I have the same amp and cab. That's a later YBA-1 without the range expander tone controls that other Traynors are famous for. It's only good for about 70 usable watts maxium; after that, it just farts. That setup will work for moderate volume, but nothing demanding for bass. It will not be able to keep up with that a JCM in volume. It's basically a copy of the earlier Marshall JTM45. For guitar, it is absolutely killer. FYI, the two channels are linked so turning up channel 2 while plugged into channel 1 makes the amp louder. I paid $250 for mine 13 years ago. I wouldn't pay more than double that now.
  7. T-Forty

    T-Forty Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    Oh man that's good to know!

    I don't need no fartin
  8. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I wouldn't use it for any loud gigs where you have to cut through wailing guitarists and pounding drummers. It's only a small tube amp. Great sound within its limits however. Much better than the Fender Bassman. It has more solid bottom end. Driving a good and efficient speaker cabinet it can keep up with a moderate volume R and B group in a small rehearsal room. I used one for a couple such rehearsals driving a 1x15-1x10-horn custom 3 way cabinet and it did the job but I had it maxed out. If this had been a typical rock group it never would have come close; at least not if you want to sound like a bass.

    If that rig is in good shape and you can afford to buy it, do it if you're a vintage lover. The head with a smaller good sounding speaker cabinet would make a wonderful recording amplifier. But you'll need something with a lot more power and better speakers to play the type of music you like in a live situation.

    By the way T-Forty--what kind of proper Canadian are you that you know nothing about Traynor amps eh?
  9. T-Forty

    T-Forty Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    Hah! I started playing guitar and bass during my 12 years living in Miami, Detroit, Chicago, and NYC. Never got into Traynor, but they have a very high profile here in Canada, so I am just now learning about them!
  10. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    That amp looks to be in amazing cosmetic condition. It looks like it's never been gigged. You can expect by now that it would need a set of new capacitors and the tubes should be checked out and make sure it has a 3 prong power cord.

    The speakers if in good shape will be okay but nowhere near as good as most of the newer ones you can buy these days from Eminence. But okay for 1978. They'd be hard to get reconed or to find replacements for but with a bit of research you could find something new that would work as well or better in that cabinet.

    There are a number of these amps around the Toronto area still being used. They're starting to get expensive. I've played through a number of them in rehearsal studios or belonging to other musicians I know. I've never seen one that looks so good.
  11. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Okay, that's a good enough excuse. Make sure you hang out in Tim Hortens while you're reading up on Traynor.:)

    Edit to add--Check out the new Traynor amps and speaker cabinets next time you go to a Long and McQuade store. They have some very good new amps and cabinets and more new stuff coming out. If you want a really good sounding home practice amp try to find a used Yorkville Sound XM50C combo. Impressive little thing and loud for a 50 watt, 1x10 combo that weighs 30 lbs. They recently discontinued that model in favour of a new Traynor branded but made in China version. I like the Yorkville model better although it's heavier. The new Traynor is about 10 lbs lighter.

    The new Traynor single 15 cabinet sounds very good. I've used a pair of the older Yorkville models for over 10 years driving them with GK amps. Traynors and Yorkvilles seem to live forever.
  12. T-Forty

    T-Forty Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    Since you guys have been so helpful - the same guy is selling a Fender BXR300 head with an ampeg 8x8 cab. Thoughts?

    p.s. he is asking $699 but the 3rd speaker needs to be replaced
  13. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I used that head once on a big outdoor stage driving pair of 1x15 cabinets. It did the job. Not a particularly warm sound but it was loud enough. I think the speaker cabinet might be a bit of a weak link here, but I've never cared for 8x8 cabinets although (surprise) Traynor makes one.

    I think that $699 is too high especially considering you'd have to replace a speaker.
  14. T-Forty

    T-Forty Guest

    Mar 14, 2008
    I might stop trying to deal with this guy. Seems like he's in the business of charging too much!
  15. It's got a three-prong AC cord in the picture. One thing worth mentioning is that a LOT of old Traynors came stock with Mullard EL34's. They're usually rebranded as other names (Philips or GE ) but if that's a set of Mullard EL34's in there, you could get $200 or more out of the pair of them.

    No, you won't. The cab is far too small for any kind of real bottom and different speakers would be a waste of money for worse sound. The stock Marslands are extremely efficient anyway, just bright.

    The Traynor is better than that. The Ampeg 8x8 is rare, but not a great cab. The BXR300 is overrated powerwise. It will be cleaner for longer than the Traynor, but that clean sound isn't all that great. The BXR series of amps basically killed Fender's rep for making decent bass amps.
  16. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I've owned four Bass Masters over the years - I still have one of them and a Mark II/YBA-1A (and a Bass Mate and a Guitar Mate Reverb...). As far as "No range expanders", really the Bass expanders is just a mid control and the treble expander is just a presence control. They're great amps for what they are and I love them. If you really need to do battle with a punk band it's not going to cut it. It's around 50 watts and it's not going to keep up, unless _MAYBE_ you were driving an 8x10 cab with it.

    It's in great shape and I don't think the price is terribly out of line. I just don't think it's the right tool for the job. Bass amplification is always the hardest thing to do on the cheap. Loud bass is expensive.

  17. I'm aware of that. I was making the distinction of labelling. Earlier YBA-1's and YBA-1A's (as well as YBA-3's and 3A's) have the "range expander" labelling on their tone controls and are much more common.
  18. Loudthud


    Dec 25, 2007
    Dallas Texas
    Versions of the YBA-1 after Oct 1975 differ from earlier versions. The cathode follower is replaced by a gain stage, there is a bridged T circuit (read scooped mids) on the input side of the new gain stage and the Presence control is an L-R-C network in the cathode circuit. Really rocks as a guitar amp, not so much for bass. You won't find the schematic online anywhere. One later version I know of removed the inductor.

    I played a couple of gigs with a YBA-1 and needed more power. Classic Rock - Drums, Keys, 1 guitar (tremolux), Bass and vocals.

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