Gibson GA-50T Tube Amplifier (1951)

Gibson  GA-50T Tube Amplifier (1951)

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Item # 8058
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Gibson GA-50T Model Tube Amplifier (1951), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, brown vinyl covering finish.

The GA-50T was Gibson's top-of-the-line amp at the beginning of the 1950s, when Fender was still a small regional company just breaking into the national market. Covered in the same brown vinyl as the company's new cases, this amp announced to the world that Gibson was the leader in electric instruments, building the most elaborate and classiest units of the day. The amp was one of the early projects overseen by Ted McCarty and designed by Seth Lover at Gibson, as the company worked to re-establish a leading role in amplified instruments after the interruption of WWII.

The GA-50T is a very large, elaborate, and powerful amp for its day. Initially rated at 18 watts, the amp had a dual speaker rig with one 12" and one 8" Jensen for a wider range of tone. The two channels each have a total of 4 inputs (three for "instruments" and one for "microphone") and share bass and treble knobs and tremolo controls. The two 6L6 power tubes give a good clean tone that shades into darker distortion when cranked. The back panel detaches neatly to reveal the speakers and controls. Everything is high-grade on this amp, which has a classy and fairly luxurious look and feel, making many later Gibson amps seem cheap by comparison.

The GA-50T was available from 1948 through '55, 1951 being the peak production year with 352 shipped. This is a very nice example, used but not abused and with a lovely sound, darker and richer than the more common Fender amplifiers with a lot of character. The model was a particular favorite of Jim Hall and Jimmy Raney, and is generally considered one of the finest of 1950s Gibson amps for the classic jazz tone players like this established.
Height is 17 in. (43.2 cm.), 22 in. (55.9 cm.) width, and 7 1/2 in. (19 cm.) deep.

This amp has some general wear but remains in nicely original condition. It is set up with a 3-prong cord but otherwise internally has had only light cap work and maintenance, including some work on the speaker connections. Most tubes are period, but there are a couple of newer power tubes. The covering shows some wear, mostly at the bottom edges of the cabinet where some is worn away. Most of the "GI" is missing from the Gibson logo on the face. The hard-wired trem pedal is still intact and working. Overall a very nice and great sounding example of this classic amp, one of Gibson's best of the 1950s and considered one of the finest jazz player's amps of all time. Excellent - Condition.