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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was not ready for this. I've been fixing up an old (original, but in very poor shape; rusted to snot) Sessionman Vocal, hoping to eventually get a hold of a G250FTR - early era guitar version. Well that's been delayed by my Herzog build. I never expected to have this sweet problem as I have never seen an FTR head for sale locally. Ever. The odd combo. I've only been aware of 3 in existence (yes there's many more, not rare just that people tend to hold on to them). So you can imagine my jaw drop when one came up on Kijiji, a few KM N of me. Not just an FTR, but a fricken spotless near-closet-classic. I mean this thing, and I may be a little skewed by the sorry state of the Vocal head on my bench, is cleeeeeeeeeean. Haven't looked inside yet; can't let myself get distracted from finishing up that Herzog; it'll keep. From what I can tell from the outside, it has the nicer Hammond output transformer and all the cap cans are Sprague (cardboard) or Mallory (metal) ; loaded with the good stuff (not that there's anything wrong with other parts used at various periods, but it sure is nice to see it in there). It's had the power tubes replaced, but nowhere near recently - vintage Japanese 6CA7s (m'eh), just like the ones used on later-era Garnets. Now with the (I'm guessing; confirm later) vintage of this head, I would think it would have had Sylvanias in it from factory, but it has also been upgraded to 3 prong power cord, which looks almost stock (totally, if one ignores the 2 prong receptacle next to it, and the age of the thing); wondering if this one was maintained by Garnet at some point; he was pretty adamant about updating amps to modern safety specs when they came back for service.

The single issue, and it barely qualifies as one, is that it's missing the rear brace - basically a 4" wide board wrapped in tolex. I've got wood (if you must, then yes, in all senses of that phrase) and enough tolex offcuts to rectify that. Oh, and also there's a bit of tolex detached at the seem on the underside; just need to glue that down.

So there's nothing pressing, I can play her for a while at jams and make sure everything is good and to my liking. Then book her a physical later. I don't expect to be doing anything, but the one thing that does strike me as an option is to rip out the ground polarity switch and install a master volume. A younger me would have insisted, but since my main bass amp is a no-master Sunn I have been getting used to the lack (and that does have some advantages) and also since this has a switchable dirt circuit, I'm not sure I will require it. Definitely not for bass, but maybe for guitar. The one thing I may do right away actually is replace the feet (undersized with metal base) with the larger heavy duty ones I tend to throw on all my gear; this thing gonna get shook.

Anyway, TLDR because so dang ecstatic. On to the good stuff:

.... oh, can't upload; cock blocked by the BBS, stand by while I do it the hard way...





Final Q: This amp is actually designated G250D, which I know is the same as G250FTR (so says the schem in the Garnet book) but does anyone know if the D vs FTR suffix denotes earlier vs later build date? I'd guess later, but not sure it is an indicator at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Looking back at the pics above now I notice the bear trap power tube retainers are screwed in vs rivetted. Nice; I hate those and like to replace them with the spring n cap type tube retainers. That makes it much quicker and easier.
 

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With the Hammond transformer and the fuzz on it, you know its an early one ! Great find !!!

Those look to be the original tubes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It feels weird, but I think I'm good for amps, guys. There really isn't anything else I desire, except as backups. ... yeah we'll see how long that lasts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
just some gratuitous pron:

WTF why can't I post any pics at all anymore? Not even external hotlinks.


 

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It has to do with the security certificate for your website. (at least that's the message I get when I right click and choose 'view image')
It may have to do with the recent forum glitch regarding certificates.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I was assuming as much but I don't see how that could affect a hot-link (uploading sure). I can't even del those IMG tags; invisible in post edit mode. Oh well.
 

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5E434A57-F824-4017-841A-45EC23CF557E.jpeg
Best I can do. Enjoy the new amp bud.
 
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With the Hammond transformer and the fuzz on it, you know its an early one ! Great find !!!

Those look to be the original tubes.
Since you mentioned the transformer, does anybody know who made the transformers for Garnet? Always been curious about that.

Great amp BTW. Back when I was modding amps, I worked on quite a few Garnets but not this model.
 

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Now the fricking images are showing! How does THAT work?!?
 

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Very cool @Granny Gremlin

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the sound. I recently had mine fully serviced and fixed the weak reverb (recovery tube) and now it'll surf. Interested to know if your Ultra Mix channel is much quieter than the Wide Range—mine seems to have about 50% of the vol., just doesn't get louder half way up the dial, but that's loud enough. Mine's the same, less the Hammond sticker and "Reverb" logo on the grill, though that might have gone missing.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Yeah the reverb badges tend to fall off - just held on with 2 brad nails.

Initial testing (through a single 10" speaker not even loaded in a cab) shows the channels seem very similar volume wise but I don't think I went above halfway. All the fx work, if anything is weak it's the trem, but I think it just takes stupid long to warm up (got better after a bit).

Wonder if you've got a 1/2 12AX7 that's weak or dying on your ultrmix channel. It'll be the one right behind the gain knob for that channel I think.; try swapping.

I think I'll drink this bottle of wine with The Whiff and hook it up to my home practise cab tonight and see.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Very cool @Granny Gremlin

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the sound. I recently had mine fully serviced and fixed the weak reverb (recovery tube) and now it'll surf. Interested to know if your Ultra Mix channel is much quieter than the Wide Range—mine seems to have about 50% of the vol., just doesn't get louder half way up the dial, but that's loud enough. Mine's the same, less the Hammond sticker and "Reverb" logo on the grill, though that might have gone missing.
You know what, Ultramix is a bit quieter than Wide Range (really only a tad, though this likely is exacerbated with volume, and I couldn't crank it; only about half way). I figured there would be some extra insertion loss due to the mid control (often a high pass and a low pass in series, so Ultramix has double the passive filter loss as Wide Range) but underestimated how much more. It was barely noticable, but this difference will get exaggerated as you add more gain. That said I may not have noticed if you didn't mention it, so still try a tube swap because that would make it worse still. An easy solution would be to use a stronger 12AX7 in UM and a weaker one in WR.

I have to play with it more (it makes things a lot louder and the kids were asleep) but the fuzz is a little, cut-offy (no sustain) and exaggerates the attack in a way I don't like (sounds like pick noise). You find that too or do I need to look at that on mine?

Trem is pretty nice, but again, even after the amp has warmed up, the trem still needs to warm up and it doesn't start warming up until you actually turn it on (off being Depth = 0). Don't quite understand that as it's not an off switch but that's the way it appears to behave. Sounds good though and works as expected.

Reverb is nice; probably not as lush as my favoraite - my Garnet Rebel PA, but rather nice and usable.

The fx are better than on my Sunn ( as well as my other Sunn that I sold).
 
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You know what, Ultramix is a bit quieter that Wide Range (really only a tad, though this likely is exacerbated with volume, and I couldn't crank it; only about half way). I figured there would be some extra insertion loss due to the mid control (often a high pass and a low pass in series, so Ultramix has double the passive filter loss as Wide range). I figured it woul dbe barely noticable, but this difference will get exaggerated as you add more gain. That said I may not have noticed if you didn't mention it, so still try a tube swap because that would make it worse still. An easy solution would be to use a stronger 12AX7 in UM and a weaker one in WR.

I have to play with it more (it makes things a lot louder and the kids were asleep) but the fuzz is a little, cut-offy (no sustain) and exaggerates the attack in a way I don't like (sounds like pick noise). You find that too or do I need to look at that on mine?

Trem is pretty nice, but again, even after the amp has warmed up, the trem still needs to warm up and it doesn't start warming up until you actually turn it on (off being Depth = 0). Don't quite understand that as it's not an off switch but that's the way it appears to behave.

Reverb is nice; probably not as lush as my favoraite - my Garnet Rebel PA, but rather nice and usable.

The fx are better than on my Sunn ( as well as my other SunnI sold).
Good tip re stronger/weaker Ax7s to balance it out.

My tremolo doesn't act like yours—acts as you would expect it to. Agree re the fuzz... I was considering a master vol. knob there, but I think I wouldn't like hacking this one up, not sure. Yeah, the reverb's really nice. I like to run it 3/4 full sometimes, but that adds a good dose of hum/noise with mine as it is. Dead silent otherwise.
 
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