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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had this put away for some time because it was in need of minor maintenance. It is big and heavy for my age and physical limitations these days. I dug it out, and wrestled with it until I could carefully pull the chassis. Everything looked good, so all I did was clean up the dust, cobwebs, spills, etc. The pots were sprayed with Deoxit and worked.

I carefully reassembled and gave it a go. The full capabilities of the 39 year old amp, all original (I believe), including tubes, are back. It is a beautiful example of this classic amp. She does clean, she does mean, the effects are stunning, and using them instantly takes me to some well known classic rock tunes that I always say that I should learn better.
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The iron used in this amp is HUGE!
 

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Wow, they are big. But I think the correct pronunciation is

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I've got a buddy who owns one. It stays in his jam space, and I think I know why. Good sounding amp, but real loud. Louder than necessary in a garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The cleaning of the pots made the master control much more effective than I ever remembered. It used to be very touchy. I can get nice low volume tone out of it. Including natural drive.

The original speakers are not as efficient as modern speakers. I added a 112 neo closed back cab to it yesterday and it outshone the originals. I am pretty sure new speakers would make a dramatic difference, but it would be a sin to modify, and it may hurt the long term value as a survivor amp.

I added a cheapo EQ pedal in front of the amp, and modest settings made huge tonal improvements, particularly when naturally overdriven, (and really enhances driven tone at low volume levels). Both channels naturally overdrive, but the channel without effects gives more drive. I may keep the EQ pedal with that amp all the time.
 

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I had the PA version head. Wonderful amp with good iron (if you think that's big, I got news for you.... ). The PA and or head versions in general are a bit nicer in that instead of that cheap -looking output impedance turret board selector, there are seperate 4 and 8 Ohm output jacks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Beautiful old amp, built to last forever. Thanks for letting us drool over it :)
Just finished cleaning up the amp again yesterday. So it's drool that I have been cleaning up. The spots that form always looks questionable. I learn something new every day.
 

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I just noticed. That amp is so heavy it's creating its own gravitational field. Look at those first two pics. The top is warping towards the moon. I suspect the moon is now a couple miles closer to us. Thanks, Gar. :mad:
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The camera I used has issues; so do I. I stupidly think that I can fix everything.

I keep getting my wife's hand me down, broken cameras. I manage to get them working, but obviously not well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I spent some time sifting through the Garnet info that I could find. They call that HUGE iron, BTO size iron. I think that is kind of a cool designation for the transformers, (Big Time Operator).
 

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The Session Master features a unique Overdrive instead of Tremolo. Only about a dozen of these made. In spite of its rarity, I think the Session Man is the classic.

It is a sin NOT to change the speakers. Mine had Garnet PA speakers. Gar slapped in whatever was on hand apparently. He was not a big fan of parts mojo. Definitely poo-poo'ed a lot of what passes for wisdom these days about resistors, tubes, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That Session Master looks sweet and very unique. I have to do some reading on that one.

Is that your amp? Or have you experienced one?

When I say that it is a sin to change out the speakers, I only mean in reference to originality and being a survivor all these years. That is just my personal view. I also think that way about old, and classic cars. If it has already been made into a hotrod fine; if it is likely only one of a few in original state of design, maybe it should be maintained that way. Maybe.

I know that when I was looking over my amp, one of the speakers had several marks that look like the beginning of cracks in the paper. So it may be time to shelve the original speakers. Then comes the thought, what kind of speakers do I put into that amp?
A set of neos would make it a little more manageable to carry.
 

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That Session Master looks sweet and very unique. I have to do some reading on that one.

Is that your amp? Or have you experienced one?

When I say that it is a sin to change out the speakers, I only mean in reference to originality and being a survivor all these years. That is just my personal view. I also think that way about old, and classic cars. If it has already been made into a hotrod fine; if it is likely only one of a few in original state of design, maybe it should be maintained that way. Maybe.

I know that when I was looking over my amp, one of the speakers had several marks that look like the beginning of cracks in the paper. So it may be time to shelve the original speakers. Then comes the thought, what kind of speakers do I put into that amp?
A set of neos would make it a little more manageable to carry.
Yeah, I own it. Good amp. Fantastic clean, and the OD is good, but not as versatile as I would like because the volume gets impossibly loud very quickly.

Gar Gillies serviced it in 2004. Since then, I had it completely re-vitalized by Mark Stephenson. So its ready for another twenty or thirty years of use.

Having known Gar in person, I can GUARANTEE he would want you to drop the "original condition" stuff, and experiment with difference speakers to get something YOU like. When he first saw my Session Master, the disappointment in his voice was obvious: "Looks like its never been used." No sacred cows with that guy.

Like you, I never take it anywhere, so I put in massive speakers. Its too heavy even with NO SPEAKERS, so I don't recommend the neodynium route. Two 16 ohm vintage 30's in it now. Any good speaker will sound fantastic. Mine has clips, no soldering, so I have switched back and forth several times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@KapnKrunch , I may heed your advise and experience.

I find adding a cheap EQ pedal and subtle changes, makes huge tonal improvement with the existing speakers, particularly, naturally overdriven and lower volumes.
 

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Lots of info here. And guys who know a lot more than me. Search other threads and you will be busy reading all weekend!
 

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Yeah, I own it. Good amp. Fantastic clean, and the OD is good, but not as versatile as I would like because the volume gets impossibly loud very quickly.
The FTR version of the Sessionman was the same that way but a little more manageable. Gar always made the Fuzz/OD parallel with the clean vs replacing it when engaged (a la a proper 2 channel amp), the more dirt you want the louder it had to be (unless you turned down the clean, which was not useful when using it live to switch tones - you'd be too quiet clean). It got a bit worse in that regard later when he started running the dirt circuit after the first preamp stage vs tapping the signal just before v1 - more drive but also more volume; also probably more consistant response when using different instruments due to V1 acting like a buffer). The dirt sounded better (tighter, more focused and controlled - the original stinger circuit can be quite knarly); that was the tradeoff.

Having known Gar in person, I can GUARANTEE he would want you to drop the "original condition" stuff, and experiment with difference speakers to get something YOU like. When he first saw my Session Master, the disappointment in his voice was obvious: "Looks like its never been used." No sacred cows with that guy.
Yep, he was always about customisation and modding; aside from the schematics that's pretty much the entire thrust of his book - tweak yer amp to make it do what you want; here's how.

Like you, I never take it anywhere, so I put in massive speakers. Its too heavy even with NO SPEAKERS, so I don't recommend the neodynium route. Two 16 ohm vintage 30's in it now. Any good speaker will sound fantastic. Mine has clips, no soldering, so I have switched back and forth several times.
I don't get it; I've had 3 Sessionman heads and they were not that bad. Sure combos are heavier, but most of that is the speakers. Then again as a bass player my reference is SVTs and my Sunn 1200s - the iron is twice as big and 3 times as heavy. Hate moving the Sunn around.

IMHO speakers were the weak link in most Garnets especially later in the ceramic era. I do love the Alnico Marsland 12s Gar used for bass - even for guitar use, but just about anything else was m'eh. V30s have large heavy ceramic magnets and aren't all that light - prob heavier than the original Marslands so neos will help, but they cost a lot more and you don't have all the tonal options to choose from. My fave Neos are the Weber Neomags - dead ringers for JBLs tonewise but easily half the weight or less. What would also be cool in there is a pair of 10s or 12+10. Like a greenback 12 (fat) and a Fane 10 (more middish - Weber made a good copy but I forget the model name).

I have an early Quad (4x12") with the fuzz circuit instead of master volume. It has the optional Philips/Norelco speakers. You think yours is heavy!
Ooooh lucky. Those Norelcos were great and makes a rare config even rarer (though a few of these have popped up locally this year which is cool to see). I thought those were only used by Traynor, but if there was a Canadian supply chain for em makes sense Garnet tried them too at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I put a pair of Eminence FDM speakers in mine. A well broken in Reignmaker, and a new Maverick. Using the attenuation capability of these speakers, makes the amp even more versatile. Accentuating one speaker or the other, also makes it more interesting. I also removed one panel from the back of the amp. I kind of like what I am getting from the amp.

Sometimes I use the combo cab and speakers with other amps. My modified Fender Bronco, Dr. Z Monza, Ceriatone Expression, etc. Making a longer speaker cable lead helps make it useful in more ways.

The combo amp serves many purposes.
 
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