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AC50 / small body / red panel
Restore? Keep? Sell?

New MessageAC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) thehophouse
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Hi! --- I'm new to Voxtalks. I hope someone here can offer advice. I've recently acquired an old AC50 head... with a small body and a red panel behind the knobs etc. From the small amount of info I can find, it would seem that the smaller AC50s were earlier than the more commonly seen larger versions... and the dull red panel would seem to be scarce as well. The amp has a great sound but without it being restored, I'd just hate to 100% rely on it at a gig. And taking a spare amp with me is something I can do without! My main amps these days ares either a Kustom 72 Coupe or a Cornford Harlequin run into the band PA. Ideally I'd like to upgrade the Cornford to a more powerful version... and I'm thinking that if the AC50 is worth anything, I could sell it to part-fund the new purchase (Cornford's are damn expensive!). Mind you, the AC50 sounds great... so there is the option that I could get it restored and use that instead. I quite like the idea of a small head with a separate 2x12 speaker cabinet...

Also: any historical info on the AC50 would be gratefully received. I've had it looked at by a guy here in the UK who is a bit of a Vox expert (Eric Snowball)... and he said he didn't see many of the smaller box AC50s... and he wasn't sure what date it was. To be honest, I think he was being intentionally cagey as he offered me cash for the amp there and then. Which kinda made me a bit suspicious as to its true value.

09-02-2008 12:54:59HOST/IP: 83.104.39.143

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) Jim Elyea
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You might have a nice piece there. I have a couple of questions that will help figure it out.

1) What is the serial number on the metal plate on the underside of the amp?
2) Are the sides thick (3/4") or thin (3/8")?
3) Does it have two or four unputs?

09-02-2008 16:39:07HOST/IP: 207.200.116.136

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) thehophouse
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Hi Jim, thanks for your message. In answer to your questions:
1) Serial number on the plate is: 1244
2) Thickness of sides is 3/4 in
3) It has four inputs.
Hope that gives you some clues!
09-02-2008 16:54:38HOST/IP: 83.104.39.143

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) Jim Elyea
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You have a second model (Mk II) small box A.C.50 from 1964. This version is different from the 2 input ones The Beatles used. Channel I is voiced for bass and Channel II for guitar. Properly serviced, it should sound great. Pairing it with one of Northcoast's Washington cabs would make a good combination, alhough it would be proper to use one of the larger Mk II cabs that they also offer.

If you decide to part with it, let me know.

09-02-2008 23:14:27HOST/IP: 207.200.116.136

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) thehophouse
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Thanks for the info Jim! Quite an old amp then... which makes me think that gigging it would not be such a great idea. I've had it overhauled (by the aforementioned Eric Snowball) but even so, lugging around the pubs and clubs of south-east England would seem unkind to such an ageing (and distinguished!) amp. Does it have any re-sale value? I'm reluctant to keep it 'gathering dust' at home: God! I have way too many amps and guitars already - the wife is already at breaking point! I guess I'd need to find a vintage amp dealer here in the UK. Anyone know of a reputable company?
09-03-2008 08:27:35HOST/IP: 83.104.39.143

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) speed
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Jim mentioned two channels. I have a small box AC50 with four inputs, aligned in a diamond pattern, but only one channel. Thehophouse, is your amp a single channel model or does it have two channels?
09-03-2008 12:44:11HOST/IP: 12.23.230.85

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) thehophouse
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Actually, that's a good point: my AC50 has four inputs in a diamond pattern - same as yours. NOT two channels. Reading back through Jim's reply it looks as if I misunderstood. Reason I got confused is that I had recently tested each of the four inputs to see if they did anything differently from each other... and I kinda thought that a couple did sound different (so Jim's reply about two for guitar and two for bass kinda rung a bell). However, I've just tested them again... and no, they all seem the same to me. So it is definitely a single channel, four input version.

I've also been told that the red top versions (do all these small box AC50s have have red control panels?) were never on sale to the general public. I've been led to believe that they were only ever given to bands in endorsement deals, or used as demo amps at trade shows etc. I don't know how true this is.

09-03-2008 13:22:40HOST/IP: 83.104.39.143

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) Jim Elyea
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The evidence is that the small box A.C.50 heads only had copper panels. Although a fair number of well-known groups used these heads, as with all the other models, these were offered to the general public.
09-03-2008 22:10:05HOST/IP: 207.200.116.136

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) domino
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- those things are valuable & pretty rare, I'd hang onto it....
09-03-2008 22:13:02HOST/IP: 195.54.230.160

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) speed
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If you are interested in selling it, please let me know. You can email me at speed@mississippi.net.
09-03-2008 23:54:41HOST/IP: 68.32.245.66

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) Don Butler
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Speed; I think Jim asked him first if he was offering it up for sale...
Don Butler

09-06-2008 03:26:52HOST/IP: 67.101.104.248

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) speed
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Obviously - and if he and Jim can't work out a deal, I'll appreciate his contacting me.
09-06-2008 13:42:55HOST/IP: 12.23.230.85

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) thehophouse
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Guys... thanks to some valuable advice (mostly given privately off forum)... there is a chance l may consider selling the AC50 - so if anyone IS genuinely interested in it, feel free to ask!

I've kinda resigned myself to the fact that gigging it would not be the most sensible option (however great it sounds!). Because it is so old, I don't think I could rely on it anyway (although saying that I've no evidence that Vox amps are any more unreliable that any other make --- any opinions on this?). Perhaps because it is so old, lugging it around the pubs and clubs of south England wouldn't be the kindest option... it may well deserve a more kindly home... a retirement if you will! The poor amp has obviously been putting in great service now for 45 years! Not bad eh?

If I do decide to sell, the decision I now need to make, is whether to sell it 'as-is' or to perform a small amount of restoration.

Internally it would seem to be original... and I know it has been serviced at least twice: once up in Denmark St in London (the so-called 'tin pan alley'!) in the late 80s/early 90s and again, more recently, by Eric Snowball (renowned Vox expert) at his store in Maidstone, Kent (UK). Eric claimed it was original internally but he altered the amp so it could use a modern mains lead... previously it had the original circular mains socket that I couldn't get a lead for for love nor money. I was told that even if I could get hold of a suitable lead, it would have been illegal to plug the damn thing in because of the dangerous voltages the amp gave out. Whether this is a load of rubbish... I don't know. Anyway, the amp now powers up fine and sounds great (bloody loud I have to say!).

Externally it does NOT have the original cloth... which is one of the things I'm considering replacing. It also has had a non-original handle added at some point in its history because you can see the extra screw holes in the tolex! However it now has a proper Vox handle... but a newer one, not the original. It looks as if one of the corner protectors is new as well. I guess I should take some photos to show everyone... especially anyone interested in buying it.

I have been advised to take the amp to another Vox expert (in addition to Eric Snowball) to give it a once-over and second opinion. I'll do this in the coming weeks... and I'll report back. Hopefully that way I will know what has been done (if anything) to the all-important electronics. I also hope to get an opinion on whether it is worth replacing the cloth or not.

If anyone has any opinions, or really is interested in buying it, please let me know. You can email me at: voxtalks(at)hop-house(dot)com

I also welcome comments and opinion from anyone who says "hang on to it - don't sell!" because there is a tiny part of me that still wants to keep it --- especially since I've heard it 'in action' (a mate of mine played it the other day and it sounded fabulous with his SG!). S0 maybe I don't need that Cornford after all!...

Mike

09-06-2008 16:21:11HOST/IP: 62.56.91.153

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) Don Butler
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Cornford's are great.. but they only wish they could be an AC-50... I can't believe that he replaced the Bulgin socket for the mains! you can still get sockets and plugs. I hope he returned all your original parts to you. They weren't his to begin with. I've never understood repair guys who keep the customers old parts.. that's stealing in my book.
Don Butler
>
09-06-2008 20:36:26HOST/IP: 68.165.233.213

New MessageRE:AC50 / small body / red panel (modified 0 times) thehophouse
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>Cornford's are great.. but they only wish they could be an AC-50...
Erm... not sure I'm 100% with you there but I agree there are certain similarities. Great thing about Cornford's is that they sound wicked at any volume, whereas the AC50 does need to be at full tilt. And when it is... it's BETTER than a Cornford in my opinion... but that's a very subjective view obviously. The problem I have is just sheer practicality... I need an amp to gig with and the AC50 is just not practical. Mine is an 'old gent' and I need a whippersnapper to gig with!

I agree with you re the mains. And no, he didn't return that parts. But to be fair to him, he was preparing the amp for me to use... not to restore it to museum-condition. And I just couldn't have used it as it was --- it wouldn't have passed the tests needed for me to use it at bigger gigs and festivals. I don't know what it's like in the States but here in the UK we're meant to get out kit 'PAT tested' for certain gigs (mostly swanky corporate affairs). Not sure if you have similar restrictions over there?

Anyway... bottom line is that I need to USE my amps. I'm not a collector, I'm a guitarist. But I guess it would've been nice to at least have been handed the old parts!

09-06-2008 21:39:58HOST/IP: 62.56.91.153

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