Unusual Amp V-4B insights

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lafayette, Mar 1, 2018.


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  1. lafayette

    lafayette

    Nov 23, 2010
    Denver, CO
    Howdy fellow internet bass forum friends,

    I have owned an early 70's V4-B for about 10 years and after searching the internet far and wide, have no more information on the specific model than I did when starting. I am decently knowledgable on V-4B's and Ampeg in general, however I have yet to find any info on this amp. I believe the amp is likely from '72-75, produced under the ownership of Magnavox. The odd part is really noted on the front panel, which has a black face with white details, and the "John Williams Model" is printed on the left side of the panel. The only non original aspect would appear to be cosmetic, the original tolex was replaced by grey speaker box carpet and black plastic corner guards. Who knows that could be original, but it looks to be more like a product of the 80's. The previous owner had little information other than he had purchased it in the early 90's, and it had a matching 8x10 cab (also covered in grey carpet, the grill cloth had been replaced by metal diamond shaped grill).

    I contacted Ampeg direct and they had no idea. Any insight into this mystery is welcomed.

    Thanks
     

    Attached Files:

  2. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    I’ve not seen anything like it. The metal knobs put it in the range of dates that you mentiond. Looking in the chassis at the pot codes can refine the date.

    The face panel looks like someone customized it on their own. The large Ampeg logo doesn’t seem to fit.

    Does the back panel look as it should or was that repainted. There’s company ide tification and regulatory info there that Ampeg would not modify if they did the work.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  3. lafayette

    lafayette

    Nov 23, 2010
    Denver, CO
    As many times as I've worked on this amp, I've never checked pot dates... if I open her back up and can remember, I'll share results.

    The face plate is weird in that it is virtually identical in design and lettering (past the model and logo location) as other v4/v2/bn 25 that I've encountered. The logo is weird, and I've never seen another amp with the size and placement quite the same, but it is very clean. Having pulled apart the front before I can't imagine someone wanting to take the time to remove everything to custom paint it so close to original but slightly different. It certainly could have been done after the fact, but hasn't really appeared that way to myself and my musical community.

    The back looks as it should, same as other Ampeg's of the era. No modifications, the only non original additions are stickers from a music store in Champaign, Il, and another store in Quincy, Il. Neither store exist today that I have been able to find.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    The back looks just like my '74 V4B. Earlier ones, not sure when, had the two conductor aux outlet.

    Doing a single faceplate would be a lot of work.

    The story will be very interesting if you ever get to the bottom of it.
     
  5. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    From the ampegs I’ve had over the years I think the two to three prong outlet changeover was 72.

    This seems to me like a custom faceplate made and added to a 72-75 amp.
     
  6. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    +1 on face plate refinish
    I had 2 both with the 2 prong outlet and have never seen a black face.
    Best sounding tube amp I've ever owned but needed the SVT for loud, clean, gigging power with a 2x12 cabinet
     
  7. MattZilla

    MattZilla

    Jun 26, 2013
    CNY
    John Williams (bassist) - Wikipedia

    Probably either personalized for post-theft identification or was hotrodded a bit by some trusted tech who went a bit overboard and blinged it a bit, maybe to match those 80s(?) blackface models.
     
  8. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    You can always email Mr. Willams and ask about the amp. He seems to have endorsed many products over the years. Perhaps at some point he had a relationship with Ampeg and could have been his amp.


    [email protected]

    Web site: John B. Williams
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  9. Bass 45

    Bass 45

    Jun 23, 2011
    Tempe, Arizona
    So many "John Williams " in music.
     
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  10. lafayette

    lafayette

    Nov 23, 2010
    Denver, CO
    Thank you for the suggestion. I have contacted him, so we'll see.

    In the mean time, I found this and thought I would share. It appears there is another black face V4 out there! Ampeg V4.com | All Ampeg All The Time

    It is definitely older than mine, but the face plate is close. Could be coincidence, but then again maybe not, Ampeg certainly was an odd company over the course of history...
     
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  11. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    That one is interesting. It could be the lighting but the black color looks like a matte finish. The back is more of a gloss finish which is normal.

    It isn’t unusual for the paint on the control panel to easily come off. It is often worn off on vintage amps. Wipe the panel to clean it and the paint crumbles away. Painting graphics on aluminum isn’t easy. Fortunately fliptops sells repro panels. The quality is pretty good. I see a lot of amps with their panels installed.
     
  12. Bass 45

    Bass 45

    Jun 23, 2011
    Tempe, Arizona
    Bruce seems to have stopped making face plates. Maybe he is waiting for a worthwhile demand to swell before producing more.

    Catalog of Products
     
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  13. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    That’s a shame.
     
  14. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Unfortunately as Rich pointed out Bruce isn't making the panels anymore. I had thought about grabbing one for the 1970 I had, the script had completely worn off and was replaced with clear label tape.

    LlWeOkG.jpg

    That one was an interesting amp, patent pending logo, silver chassis, wood side supports, cut out chassis sides, black bat switches, 69 dated components, the 100uf bias cap arrangement, etc. Must have been a really early model, all those features disappeared pretty early. Almost made me wonder if the labeling was original and it was a prototype of some kind but the back panel was fully printed.

    xyxNIMo.jpg
     
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  15. Bass 45

    Bass 45

    Jun 23, 2011
    Tempe, Arizona
    I had a ca. '69 Gemini that had the wooden chassis supports too. I replaced them with a pair of metal brackets.
     
    coreyfyfe likes this.
  16. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    A very early revision indeed. Could be from the first run. Who knows, maybe a prototype. The wood blocks are something that I’ve seen. The earliest amps had very good quality circuit boards. A few years later they were thinner and the traces lift easily.

    I wonder about reproducing face panels for restoration work. When I build prototype pedals or other gear I never do anything fancy in terms of labels and graphics. There is some pretty slick work that people do with water slide decals, metal etching, laserjet printing of laminating labels, hand painting always looks cool. UV printing is a very good way to do it. One place that does pedal boxes for example, is pedal parts plus: UV Printing.

    You start by creating a digital version of a panel with a CAD tool. There are companies do one of or low quantity runs of panels. If you had an original Ampeg panel, it can be preped and used to lay down the graphics by a UV printing company.

    The cost is something else. :laugh:
     
    coreyfyfe and Bass 45 like this.
  17. lafayette

    lafayette

    Nov 23, 2010
    Denver, CO
    I have heard back from Mr. Williams, he could not recall such an amp in his line up as he hasn't played Ampeg's since the 60's. The mystery persists.
     
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  18. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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