This is a little piece of history – less than 1700 of these Gibsonette amps were made between 1952-53, and the few that have survived rarely come up for sale.
Before the Skylark, one of Gibson’s small amplifier offerings was the Gibsonette. They were produced in several styles over the years, but this one is from 1952-53. It has a 10″ Jensen field coil speaker and a tube compliment of 1x6SJ7 (pre amp) 2x6V6 (power amp) 1x5Y3 (rectifier).
Gibsonette Guitar Combo
Inputs (instr + mic) 2
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: No
Preamp Tubes: 6SJ7
Phase splitter Tubes:
Output Tubes: 2x6V6
Rectifier Tubes: 5Y3
Watts Output: 8
Shipping Totals: 1952: 637, 1953: 1051, new style from 1954
This early version of the Gibsonette was not a single-ended amp. While it looks as though the two 6V6s are parallel, they are actually being run push-pull in what is called a “self-balancing” configuration. Basically, the signal is fed from one tube to the other, without the use of a phase splitter (which is why it appears to be single-ended). The design was only used briefly because, while it saved the company money, it was terribly inefficient.
Which means this amp amp is not terribly loud. Rather, it stays mighty clean right up to the 8+ zone on the dial, when it pushes into crunch territory. However, it does take pedals well.
The octal preamp tubes give a nice warmth to the tone, and the field coil speaker doesn’t compress, so the feel is crisp and responsive. Smoky jazz tones are probably its strong point.
This one features the original Jensen Field Coil speaker, and what looks like all its original RCA valves. There is a small hole in the speaker cone about the size of a pinky fingernail, which does not affect the lovely vintage tone of this vintage amp. It has a new volume pot, and some caps replaced in recent times.
Apart from that it appears to be very original, including its funky leather strap and wonderful brown tolex in great condition apart from a couple of worn areas on the rear. It still carries its original 110v output transformer so you’ll need a step-down tranny for this one.
So, not the ballsiest rig in the backline, but it is a lovely piece of Gibson history with a sweet vintage tone. And it sure is pretty to look at ….