This is a rare beast indeed – a fabulous vintage Selmer Zodiac Twin Thirty combo amp with 2 original Celestion G12 speakers in great condition.
From the Selmer catalogue (back in the day) – “Here at last is a new amplifier with built-in tone colours. By simply operating the exclusive push-button controls you are able to vary the degrees of response from High Treble to Contra Bass, thereby obtaining an infinite variety of tone colours. The new Zodiac Twin 30 is a two-channel amplifier. Channel 1 acts as a conventional amplifier with normal controls for volume and tone. Channel 2 is controlled by the unique Selectortone push-button controls. This design enables you to use one channel for a microphone without cross channel interaction, leaving the other channel free for guitar and other musical instrument amplification. Each channel has two high impedance inputs – giving you a total of four inputs which can be used simultaneously. Built-in tremolo on Channel 2 is instantly switched on or off by the footswitch provided. Speed and depth of tremolo are adjustable over wide limits by variable control knobs. Exclusive Selmer “Blinking Eye” (Patent applied for) gives visual indication of tremolo speed. The Zodiac 30 is fitted with two 12″ loudspeakers and all controls are housed in a recessed panel. A pilot lamp is fitted. Attractively finished in two-tone crocodile leatherene with modern styling. AC mains only, 200/250 volts, 50/60 cycles. Valve complement EF86 (2), ECC83 (3), EL34 (2), GZ34 (1). Output ratings British 30 watts, American 60 watts. Dimensions height 20″, width 29″, depth 10″. “
These amplifiers were built in England between 1963-1965, and this one is extremely rare because everything still works the way it should. The Twin Thirty was part of Selmer’s Truvoice series which was their highest spec range of the day, built to a quality that holds true now.
When we took delivery of this crocodile skinned creature, it immediately sparked our interest – what would an amp that presented like this actually sound like ? Well, it better be good …..
We were not disappointed. After a little cleanup & dust removal, we plugged her in, got ready to hit the power switch (no standby), stood well back & prepared to ignite the building. But what transpired was a true revelation. This thing sounded like a vintage Vox AC30 on steroids. It’s got that classic British bark & bite, with a deep growl and tons of midrange punch. The tops are chimey and ring with harmonic overtones. These combos have a sound to die for, assisted by the crazy rare Celestion G12s, which sound strong and robust.
This amp was originally listed in Australia by Grouse Guitars (currently not trading). This was their description – “When the owner sold it to me, he wrote: I had it since new. We had a group in England, and when we split up I came here (to Australia) with my share of the gear. I had just turned 19, and the amp has been in my spare room for many years under cover. It also it has the original foot switch which I never used. The amp is fully serviced and has 2 new Svetlana EL-34 output valves. Speakers are the original Celestion G12 T731 Alnico silver units, and both have just been professionally reconed, and magnets remagnetised to bring them both back to as-new specifications. The speakers have a Selmer factory stamp showing they were received 14th May 1964, and have the Celestion date code of 09EJ and 11EJ (9th April ’64 and 11th April ’64 respectively). This amp is really toneful and LOUD now that the speakers have been brought back to new specifications!”
While the valves may have been changed, those currently installed are powerful, are quiet, and deliver in spades. Internally the point to point wiring appears to be unmolested and the layout is tidy. Transformers appear to be original. As noted above, the speakers have been reconed & remagnetised, but are original to their manufactured specification.
The cosmetic condition is remarkably clean for an amp over 50 years old. There are some marks and scuffs on the fabulous faux croc shin tolex, but no significant tears. The front grill is in great shape, again with no holes or tears – most unusual for its age. All the handles are intact and can be utilized as originally intended.
The controls and switching as described above all actually work well. Each channel can be controlled in the traditional way with rotary volume & tone knobs, or you can utilize the unique pre-determined voices on channel 2 which can be selected by its switches, which all work properly. And there are a couple of these presets that actually sound great.
The footswitchable tremolo is thick & throbbing, and the kicker is the wonderful “Blinking Eye” light on the front panel that pulses with the tremolo rate.
It seems Selmer was determined to build an amp that would compete with the Vox AC 30 for the attention of some demanding guitarists in the UK at the time. It appears they more than succeeded in that mission.