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Yamaha G50 / G100 – Maybe the Best Sleeper Amp Yet

by vaughn skow July 31, 2016 2 min read 1 Comment

Yamaha G50 / G100 – Maybe the Best Sleeper Amp Yet

Okay gang, as you all know, I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for guitars and amps that I consider “sleepers” … you know, they are awesome, but somehow the awesomeness has been undetected and so they  can be bought “for a song”.  Today’s entry is the Yamaha G50 and G100 amps of the late 1970’s - 1980’s.  I had one come through my shop, and it turned out the only problem it had was a tired speaker.  With a new WGS ET65 in her, she was a superb clean amp.  I’m going to keep this short (I promise), but let’s talk just a little bit about why these are cool and VERY under-rated amps.

Okay, first, let’s start with this:  these amps are often able to be bought for under a hundred bucks.  Got your attention?  Good, let’s dive in.

These solid-state amps were Yamaha’s take on Fender’s Twin Reverb, the reigning heavy-weight combo king of the late 1970’s.  Their 50 and 100 wat versions are as loud as comparable 50 and 100 watt tube amps; this was far before the days of inflated solid-state output ratings. Yamaha was, and is, a great Japanese company that takes quality seriously.  Designed with help from Paul Rivera, they are built well and can fill a big stage.

Yamaha G50 / G100 – Maybe the Best Sleeper Amp Yet

They were made in the original series as well as the II and III versions.  With all three variants, the clean tone is big, fat and juicy with acutronics long-spring verb; in other words, a GREAT clean amp for Jazz, etc. … but also a great pedal platform!  With all three variants, the “distortion” is downright awful; unless cheesy buzzy 80’s solid-state distortion is your thing (hey maybe you’re in a Devo tribute band), you will NOT like the amps distortion.  Put a pedal in front of her!

A final note:  As is soooo often the case with mass-produced amps, the one place where Yamaha cheesed out was on the speaker(s).  Just like with Gibson’s excellent Lab Series amps of the same period (see my blog), they stuck speakers in that didn’t really sound great and couldn’t really handle the power of the amps. So, be prepared to drop a WGS ET65 (or two if you get the 100-watt 2x12 version) in to unleash these amps true potential!

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1 Response


June 08, 2024

I have a G100 112 that could use a new speaker. It says it runs 100 watts at 8 ohms, I should be able to use a WGS ET-65 16 ohm speaker shouldn’t I?

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