Premier Model 88-N Tube Amplifier

Premier  Model 88-N Tube Amplifier

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Item # 7791
Prices subject to change without notice.
Premier Model 88-N Model Tube Amplifier, made in New York City, serial # 9355, two-tone fabric finish.

One of the most distinctive and interesting amp designs of its era, the Premier Model 88-N is a very early example of a two-stage amplifier with a stand alone speaker cabinet and separate power/control section. This would become common by the 1960s, but when this amp was introduced around 1950-51 it was still a radical idea, and Premier was its primary exponent.

The Model 88 was designed for guitar and/or accordion as a bandstand amp that could be configured pretty much any way onstage, with the separate side-mounted control section that detached from the speaker unit. This could then be positioned anywhere in the stage set up, connected by a fairly long multi-prong cord. Premier designed a clever cabinet where the halves locked side-to-side together for convenient transport as a single unit, although that makes for rather a heavy load in this case. The amp section has the transformers and power tubes on the bottom of the cabinet, with the controls and pre-amp section mounted at the top, with the cord stowed between.

The amp itself is a great-sounding with a deep rich jazzy tone, a very good early tremolo and slightly kitschy cool period cosmetics. The fabric covering is two-tone brown, with a Premier logo across the face of the speaker unit, over an almost automotive-styled grille. The control unit features a bank of colored plastic tabs used as tone voicers, just below knobs of brightly colored plastic controlling volume and tremolo for the two channels just above, all typical of the company's signature look. There are two inputs for the "Microphone" channel and four for the "Instruments" channel -- this single amp was designed to handle the entire band!

This Model 88-N has pots dating to mid-1950 and early 1951, so it appears to be an early example; the amp was in production up through the 1950s but is fairly rare today. These often under-appreciated Premier amplifiers -made in New York City-have been gaining attention recently as some of the most interesting -- and distinctive -- of their era. This model is the flagship of the line and stands as perhaps their crowning achievement, with a lovely rich sound that can get mighty gnarly when cranked.
Height is 21 in. (53.3 cm.), 25 1/4 in. (64.1 cm.) width, and 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm.) deep.

This is a lovely and fine-sounding example of this unique and innovative amp, probably the most sought-after product of the 1950s New York-based Premier operation. Internally the amp remains nicely original with just a new 3-prong cord and some typical cap replacement work, retaining a lovely set of period tubes and the Jensen F-12N speaker. There is some wear overall, with scuffs to the outer covering and some moderately heavy corrosion to the control plates, but this is a better preserved specimen than many we have seen. All the vibrant multi-hued plastic bits are complete and intact, and the external hardware is original except for newer leather handles. A cool amp by any standard, just oozing with period vibe -- not to mention killer sound! Excellent - Condition.