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.
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!