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Discussion Starter #1
So here I am driving around Stoney Creek on a Saturday morning of Flag Day weekend when I spot a charity yard sale in front of our old fire hall. I get parked and start to nose around.

I spot a little Champ style guitar amp! It's a National version of a Champ, with the tolex kinda battered and a big ugly industrial yellow 3-wire plug. The faceplate is rusty brass but to me of course, it's beautiful!

They have a plug handy so playing dumb I ask "Does it work?" The old guy manning the booth says "Let's plug it in and see!" I can hear a little bit of filter cap hum and some hiss with the volume up full. Of course I can fix whatever's wrong with it anyway but it sounds like it's playable as is!

It has a sticker on it saying "$10". I keep looking at it and turning it over until the old guy finally says "Would you give $5?"

"Oh, all right." I say. "It's for charity, after all."

Here's hoping with my first photobucket.com attempt:





Hopefully before the day's out I'll have it cleaned up a bit and I'll see how she sounds!:rockon2:
 

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Good score Bill. My last yard sale score was a mint condition 1962 Beltone amp. It had the faux tweed covering and as I drove by the yard I initially thought it was a 50's tweed champ. Try to imagine a guy with a bad knee try to hustle to the table before someone else bagged it. Anywho, I got it for $5 and got $280 US on ebay for it.
 

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That's probably the same amp as my Gretsch 6150. Sweet!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
"Just the same, only different!"

That's probably the same amp as my Gretsch 6150. Sweet!
Well, I couldn't find a schematic listed under National but the 6150 gretsch schematic is almost identical to what I see inside.

I fired her up and she sounds not too shabby! Like most Champ circuits you get a lot of breakup near 10. Another bluesy Chicago tone little amp.

Two friends have already heard about my score and want to buy it! I haven't owned it for 5 hours yet!

We'll see. I'm not a player, just a solder sniffer. To me it's a novelty but maybe it should be in the hands of a professional who'd do it justice.

I'll worry about that later! Right now I'm having fun with it!
:rockon::food-smiley-004:
 

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Bill, do you know a guy named Bernie R? I can't recall his last name.

He built the Filmo amp that Colin Cripps, Lanois, Thornley & the Hip guys use.

He used to work out of Hamilton, but I think he's know in BC.

He worked on my Gretsch 6150 amp, it sounds great. I'm not exactly sure what he did to it.
 

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$10.50 !!!

I though finds like this were just urban legands.
 

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Nice find Bill. I've never had any luck at yardsales. Usually just beat to crap no name acoustics that they want $50-$100 for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
"Un autre Molson, s'il te plais..."

Bill, do you know a guy named Bernie R? I can't recall his last name.

He built the Filmo amp that Colin Cripps, Lanois, Thornley & the Hip guys use.

He used to work out of Hamilton, but I think he's know in BC.

He worked on my Gretsch 6150 amp, it sounds great. I'm not exactly sure what he did to it.
I know Bernie by reputation. Nobody seems able to remember his last name!

Apparently, he lived in a house jammed full of gear in the west end of Hamilton. A lot of big name artists worked with him.

I wish I had met him but he had lit out for the west coast a few years ago. There are stories of him fleeing a second wife but I chalk those up to urban musician legends! :smile: I've inherited some of his customers and worked on some the same amps as him. From what I saw he knew his stuff quite well and I would very much have appreciated sharing a few beer with him.

:food-smiley-004:
 

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damn, i just remembered that there's an old tube radio outside in town...i wonder if it's gone already :( lol (i was gonna thief the tubes!!)

sounds like a nice find - now rehouse it! :D
 

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damn, i just remembered that there's an old tube radio outside in town...i wonder if it's gone already :( lol (i was gonna thief the tubes!!)

sounds like a nice find - now rehouse it! :D

Dude, if you don't want it, bring it by my parent's place and get them to hang onto it for me! :thanks5qx:
 

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Bill, do you know a guy named Bernie R? I can't recall his last name.

He built the Filmo amp that Colin Cripps, Lanois, Thornley & the Hip guys use.

He used to work out of Hamilton, but I think he's know in BC.

He worked on my Gretsch 6150 amp, it sounds great. I'm not exactly sure what he did to it.

Bernie was the guy that fixed all of the tube stuff from the Guitar Clinic. He would pick stuff up and bring it back to his shop and repair it back in the late 80's early 90's. He was quite good and reputable. Colin Cripps also freelanced Vintage Gear out of the Clinic with Dan Achen at the time, so that would probably be his connection with Bernie.

I don't know Bernie's last name either, but Colin has a brother named Curtis who is an incredibly smokin bass player.
 

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I don't know Bernie's last name either, but Colin has a brother named Curtis who is an incredibly smokin bass player.
Yep, I met, and played with Curtis one time here in Calgary. Great musical family.

There's an interview with Ian Thornley when he was in Big Wreck in a GP magazine. They mention Bernie's last name in the article. I don't think I have the magazine anymore.
 

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National

Bill
I replied earlier, but post doesn't show.???
No schematics but i do have some info on nationals. Name is actually Valco and they made their own as well as amps for other cpmpanies in Chicago.
Were part of national guitars until the brothers split up. made amps up to the mid to late 60's.
I have a few pages of info at home if you are interested.

cheers
RIFF WRATH
 

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Bill
I replied earlier, but post doesn't show.???
No schematics but i do have some info on nationals. Name is actually Valco and they made their own as well as amps for other cpmpanies in Chicago.
Were part of national guitars until the brothers split up. made amps up to the mid to late 60's.
I have a few pages of info at home if you are interested.

cheers
RIFF WRATH
Neat. So now you know that you own a piece of guitar history!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Bill
I replied earlier, but post doesn't show.???
No schematics but i do have some info on nationals. Name is actually Valco and they made their own as well as amps for other cpmpanies in Chicago.
Were part of national guitars until the brothers split up. made amps up to the mid to late 60's.
I have a few pages of info at home if you are interested.

cheers
RIFF WRATH
That would be great!

I'll hoist one in your honour!
:food-smiley-004:
 

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A guy I work with came into work last fall and I knew by the way he was walking towards me smiling something was up. Guess what, he says. I went yard sale hopping the other morning with my wife and bought a really old Gibson Les Paul for $20. I beleive he said it was a Deluxe. All the binding had been removed and someone had started to change pickups, or had changed the originals out and then had put them back on the guitar but didnt re solder them. Anyhow it has yet to be restored but I wish I was yard sale hopping that day.
 
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