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1959 Ampeg Jet
BY SETH HANSEN
The growing popularity of the Ampeg
Bassamp Company’s Guitaramp and
Accordiamp models in the mid to late
1950s paved the way for the release of
the Universal Series in January of 1957.
Advertised as guitar or accordion amplifiers,
the Mercury and the Rocket were designed
for the economically minded player. Sporting
a single tone control circuit, these lower-wattage amps could be overdriven more
easily than their more expensive, high-headroom brothers in the Guitaramp line. Over
the next year, these cream-colored amps
with watermelon-pink grills laid the foundation for the Universal Series to become some
of Ampeg’s most popular guitar amps, especially with later blues and rock players.
The release of the Jet model in January of
1958 came shortly before the entire line
received a cosmetic update. In the middle
of ’ 58, the amps lost the cream covering
and pink grills in favor of the “Navy Random
Flair” vinyl covering and silver grills. The
1959 Jet featured here is an excellent
example of the move to the more understated cosmetics. This Jet is all original
except for the two 6V6 and one 5Y3 rectifier
tubes, which have been replaced with NOS
Sovteks. Basically a stripped-down Rocket,
this 15-watt Jet features two inputs, single
volume and tone controls, a tremolo circuit—minus the depth control featured on
the Rocket—and one 12" Jensen Concert
DP-Alnico- 5 6613 speaker. The amp has a
unique, rich sound that gives a nice satisfying crunch when pushed.
Thanks to Lawrence Lemaol at Classic
Guitars Ltd. for listing this amp on Gear
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