Value of an old Ampeg Head

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rojo412, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    A friend of mine who plays guitar has an old head that I've been using at practice. He used to be a bassist for a local legendary band, but has since settled down. Anywho, I know the thing is a legend but I have no way to really guage this other than to ask...

    It's an old SVT. No SVT Classic, No BS reissue, no V4B, no blah blah blah. This is the real deal (and I have the chiropractor bill to prove it. It weighs more than my 4x10... seriously). It's a silver face, but I have no idea of the year. It's in pretty good exterior shape, it works like a trooper. Sounds like a jet engine warming up when you switch it on. What is this worth? It's so different from what I have and yet sounds so sweet. I want to buy it (as a backup mainly), but I don't know what to offer... he thinks it's worth a ton.
  2. I'm sure Kelly's Blue Book can give you a general idea of its value. My experience with electronics is that they tend to degrade as they age. As the caps and resisters age the values start to change and things just don't sound the same. As these values start to change through age it throws off the bias on the tubes until the unit becomes unreliable. As a piece of working gear for giging, I wouldn't waste my money. If you wanted to buy it as a collectors item or if it has some special sonic characteristic that you can't live without, then it is worth whatever you are willing to pay.
  3. Worth a lot, and it could be a workhorse if you had it checked out by a good tech and some of the old power supply filter capacitors replaced. Check eBay. You'll see that they go for about $700 to $1000 depending on condition and age.

    Don't be scared of old amps. It's worked this long hasn't it?

  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I was tempted to buy this one off ebay not too long ago. Does it look like this:


    $700-1000 is pretty much right on. I might even tighten up and say $800-900. For $1k, it would have to be almost mint.

    I paid $200 for one in 1988. It was a 1973. They can be a bit fickle, and are extremely expensive to to maintain if worked hard regularly, at least this one was.

    They do have a great sound and are grossly loud if you want a tube amp sound.

  5. I got a hankerin' for an SVT a year ago. I didn't begin looking right then because I thought I'd just waltz right across one when I was ready to buy. Wrong! (For me) it required lotsa digging and prodding and arm twisting. To make a long story short, I spent the better part of six months looking. As a result I spoke with or met with or emailed over 30 (I kept a log) "sellers". I use that term loosely because most will change their minds when it comes time to go fishin'. Now that I have one....OH MY G_D!! I could marry it! A buyer would have to literally twist both my arms off :eek: . Looking back though, the hard part is finding a truly competent/experienced tech to go through it.
  6. Rickenbackerman


    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    You got that right. I had my '73 SVT and 8x10 for FIVE YEARS before I finally got it sounding the way it should. The head went to east coast tube amp guru Pete Cage who recapped and went through every bit of it, and all the speakers were reconed by Ted Weber. Now that I've got some hours on it and the speakers are breaking in, the thing sounds absolutely divine.
  7. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    "Does it look like that one?"

    Sort of. It has a similar design, but has the black top switches and the on/off and standby switches are toggle, not just flip switches (older I guess).

    The head works fine and you make a good point... it's worked this long. It is super bassy. I turned the control down on my bass all the way and still had booty. Only problem I see is the same problem every tube amp has... the longer you play on it, the better it sounds. Yeah, that's cool, but it takes 3 hours to sound great. Flip it on, it sounds good. Warm it up, it sounds great!

    It looks like he was right to ask $800 for it. I think he may sell it for rent, which is about $700. I just have no intention of spending that much when I really need a backup to my GK which was $450 (employee discount when I worked at GC, 1001RB).

    Thanks for all the help, much appreciated.
  8. Rickenbackerman


    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    rojo, you speak of the holy grail. If you do not buy it, you will kick yourself in the future... especially if you can get it for $700.
  9. I agree. Old SVT's in working condition can fetch $1000 or more. I'd like to add that tube amps are actually nowhere near as fragile as they're made out to be. With a cap job and the replacement of a couple of resistors and diodes, it will work like new. If you keep the power amp biased correctly (easy to do via the bias adjustments just under the grill) tubes can last quite a long time. I just replaced the original power tubes in my '76. They still worked fine but a couple were a bit microphonic.
  10. Rickenbackerman


    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    I agree with all of this, and will add that the original GE 6550A's in my '73 are still going strong. My '66 B-15 has all of it's original tubes, too.
  11. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
  12. funkfish

    funkfish Guest

    Jun 20, 2002
    U.S., Princeton, NJ
    i've been playing through that at our rehearsal space/studio. its got amazing tone.

    are you looking to sell it? if so i'm definetly interested

    email me:
  13. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    The ebay one in NY has 1646 power tubes!! I think these have to be modded to 6550s.

    The SVT in the pic looks like a 1970-71 (blue etched- squared cornerd graphics)
    There is a site lnked to that has dating info.
  14. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Thanks for all of the help, I really appreciate it.

    It's actually not my head, but if the guy who owns it decides to sell it, I'll let you know.