National (Valco) Amplifier National (Valco) Amplifier - Guitar Vintners
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National (Valco) Amplifier This was part of a set in a museum show 2008-09. Amp is exceptionally clean under that original cover. But the leather handle has seen better days and one side has parted. This amp has an 8" Rola 4 ohm speaker with code 285844 stamped on the frame and 550-10 stamped on the Alnico button magnet. This amp has the characteristic National/Valco tone, good volume and very sweet class A overdrive. National was Valco’s top line of amplifiers. Nice thick dark tone that goes into a higher frequency harmonic when cranked up full blast. Note definition is excellent with chords, single notes and riffs. Treble and bass response was improved with this Rola supplied version. Chords and riffs sound excellent in this amp. The volume stays tame even up to the 12 o'clock position on the volume knob. Turn it up to 2 o'clock and it'll start to get quite loud (for it‘s size). And cranked further it really starts to come on strong. At full the overdrive & sustain is remarkable! If you can master touch-sensitive playing with some dynamics, you'll get the most out of these little amps, as well as with most of the Lap Steel era amps. Even though there is only one volume control, there are a lot of different and great tones to be had from this type of amp. 6J7, 2-6V6’s and a 5Y3 rectifier and a 6SC7 tube used for the treble and bass circuits. It has active tone circuits in it. The active tone circuits in the National dedicate a triode from each half of the 6SC7 to amplify the treble and bass frequencies rather than employ a passive cut circuit commonly found in most other guitar amps. Even though the amp has 2-6V6 power tubes, this doesn't mean it's twice as loud as a single 6V6 amp. In theory it should double the output wattage, but in the real world, one power tube ends up doing most of the work. The other essentially backs up the one & really kicks in when you crank it. Using 2 power tubes gives a cleaner definition at all volumes. The output circuit has both output tubes configured in parallel, plates, grids, and cathodes tied together, and this amp can benefit from some tube tweaking. This amp has stock tubes. But, you can hear the difference that different brands of 6V6 and 6SL7's bring to the table. You can also install a 5V4 rectifier tube in to increase the B+ voltage, which will increase the volume and headroom. But, many of these old Valco's had the B+ taken off of pin 2 of the 5Y3. So to get the most benefit from subbing in a 5V4 you should have a tech wire the rectifier tube socket so that the B+ comes off of pin 8. Stock. As is, it is the top design of it’s day. It out-classes most amps. It is a favorite.

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