Magnatone Guitars!

New for Fall 2013, a complete guide to Magnatone guitars and the stories behind them!

1938-1960 Steel Guitars

1956-1963 Bigsby/Barth Era

1964-1966 Starstream Era


Magnatone 108/118/218

From 1954 through about 1963 Magnatone produced this simple single channel 5W single ended amp.

These were low-end student amps, but they were a big step up from the entry level 3W AC/DC amps Magnatone also offered to budget minded buyers. The 108 included a power transformer that provided the circuit with 325+ vdc and allowed the 6V6GT to produce 5W. The provision of the power transformer also isolated the power plug's 110V from the rest of the circuit and made the amp a lot safer for the musician. There were louder amps, and produced less hum and noise than the smaller amps.

The tube compliment consisted of a 12AX7 pre-amp tube, a 6V6GT power tube, and a 5Y3GT rectifier tube. In some cases, a 6X5GT was used instead of a 5Y3. For the 118 and 218, a 7025 was used instead of a regular 12AX7.

The 108 was produced from about 1954 to 1959, when it was replaced with the 118. The 218 came along sometime on the early 1960s and continued in small numbers until 1963 or so.

The 118 also used a 12" Oxford speaker and a 3" tweeter whereas the 108 used an 8" speaker (usually a Jensen).

118s: Quite often, these amps are found missing the metal bezel carrying the brand's name, like the one on the right.

118s: At least two speaker companies supplied the 12" speakers seen here. The left example is an Oxford, the right might be a Utah.


Photos courtesy of Cream City Music.




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