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 150

Years 1954-1956 (maybe 1957)
Channels two
No. Tubes 7 (or 8)
Power 2x 5881
Preamp 2x 12AX7
Phase and post Phase gain 2x 12AU7
Rectifer 5R4 or (2x5Y3)
Speaker 1x 15" Jensen P15N
Output 32 watts peak
Weight 52 lbs.
Price $189.50 (1956)


In the early to mid fifties, the Maestro name was given to both a line of premium steel guitars as well as a premium amplifier. The name first appeared in the early fifties, and was used until about 1957 or so. Sometime in 1954, the model number 150 was given to the amplifier along with a cabinet design upgrade.

The circuit changed quite a bit as well. The earlier verson of the amp was M-212-8B, The quality of engineering and assembly of the Maestro improved significantly with the introduction of the 150.

The 150 had two channels each with a "volume" control. Both channels shared a "treble", and "bass" control pair. To the righ tof the controls is a Hi/Lo switch.

The big engineering news for the 150 is the use of an ultra-linear output transformer. Eventually, other models were added (160/180/190), all with ultra-linear output transformers. At the time, this design was becoming popular in HI-FI circles and touted more clean headroom in amplifiers. Magna might have been the first to apply it to guitar amplifiers.



The steel guitar Maestro was a three neck 8-string steel (at some point, the guitar carried the Model No T-8, in 1953, it was a G-2495, and by 1956, it was the G-95-TW).

A remote 15" speaker cabinet was available for $109.50. The remote cabinet was the same speaker and cabinet as the amplifier but with a filler panel fitted were the amp's chassis would usually go.

When the 180 came along, Magna shared the same cabinet and baffle board between the 150 and 180. This means on the 150, there is an extra, unused speaker hole for an 8" speaker (which was fitted with a plug). 150's built prior to the introduction of the 180 simply had a baffleboard with a single speaker cut out for the big 15" Jensen.



Note the above cabinet design wasn't introduced until 1955 or so. The first 150s were similar, but the baffle board is fitted from behind where the baffle board on these exampels is fitted from the front. The 1954 design has a wider

See also the 160 and 180. For schematics, see the 180 schematics. While not identical, they will have a lot in common, especially the power section.

Get a load of this great picture. The amp is very likely a 150. The photo is from 1955 or 1956. I need a source for this picture, email me if you know more!


If anyone has any information or more details about these amps, please contact me..




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