SKYDOG AMP amplifier 50w marshall 1986 Duane Allman NEW!!
FEATURING JJ 6CA7 re-issue power tubes, small-box black cab, master volume & "Yellow Jacket/EL84" option! MSRP: $2599.00
Option 1: Includes JJ 6CA7 power tubes, $1949.00 + shipping. Option 2: Includes JJ 6CA7 power tubes + "Yellow Jacket" adapters & JJ EL84 power tubes, $2029.00 + shipping.
The SKYDOG (T.M.) amplifier features the ORIGINAL "1986" model layout with top-quality components & superb workmanship. Named after the nickname of the Allman Brothers Band's founder & leader (until his untimely demise), this amp is as close as you will get to a replica of the amps (2 of which Duane used, at once, on stage). If you want a faithful reproduction of Duane's stage sound, this is the amp to get. I simply wanted to make this quality re-creation available to players who want an accurate version of Duane's amp without paying tens of thousands of dollars for an old one. The SKYDOG is priced hundreds of dollars lower than stock printed-circuit-board-factory-made amps & thousands less than many boutique amps...amps which CANNOT duplicate the sound of this one! Duane used 6CA7 power tubes (military-spec of the better-known EL34), & I've included JJ's re-issue 6CA7s with all SKYDOGs (they are also my favorite tube, which I used until they were discontinued in the mid-'80s).
Allman & Paul Kossoff (of Free) used this model amp on stage. I could never get close to Allman's tone without this amp, he played numerous Gibson guitars ('50s Les Pauls & Dickey's formerly-owned SG Standard for slide in Duane's last months) with the ABB & always got an incredible sound - it was mainly this particular model BASS/LEAD amp, not any particular "vintage" guitar, that achieved that unsurpassed tone. If you've heard "ABB At Fillmore East" or (better yet) "S.U.N.Y. at Stonybrook" (recorded only weeks before Duane's death) then you've heard how this amp sounds, enormously thick with incredible sustain & controlled feedback. For slide it is unsurpassed.
There was nothing done cheaply in making this amplifier; the basic circuit board & chassis were replicated & assembled by Ceriatone. Their component quality & assembly are second to none & it is an accurate duplication of the original circuit, in component values & layout. See the old model layout pic & SKYDOG pics for comparison. This IS NOT a stock Ceriatone amp, though; my additions to the circuit are the master volume & internal channel bridging, to use both together for added pre-amp gain (eliminating external patch cords). This relatively low-wattage amp produced tones that got Duane's attention...& that of many guitarists since - even if they didn't know what amplifier they were hearing...it sounds like no other model Marshall amp.
All assembly is hand-wired point-to-point in this exquisite amp, NO PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD JIVE! The tubes included are the best new tubes on the market: JJ/Tesla matched re-issue 6CA7 power tubes & JJ/Tesla ECC83S pre-amp tubes (a Tung-Sol re-issue 12AX7 is available for V1, for a hotter preamp tone). The cabinet is birch plywood back/front & 3/4" pine box-jointed top/back/sides) & it's hand-crafted & covered in original Marshall black Tolex. I also did all the final assembly & biased the power tubes at slightly under 70%.
Allman bridged the channels with a "Y" cord for maximum gain from his '1986's, the SKYDOG now has the channels bridged internally. Either channel can still be used independently, the other channel only needs to be turned down. Duane used his channel volume settings on "10" with the guitar into ONLY the "NORMAL" (II) channel (Clapton ALSO plugged into the "NORMAL" channel only, on his '1962'-'1986'-chassis amp); if you desire LESS DUANE-TONE (for some unwise reason!), you can plug into the "bright" (I) channel, or balance the tone/gain with the channel volumes. The PRE-PHASE INVERTER MASTER VOLUME FEATURE allows cranking the SKYDOG's pre-amp, while the master volume control controls the power stage volume level. As you probably know, 35-40 years ago amps weren't always (read: seldom!) miked, so guitar players "dimed" them to be heard [above the drummer], resulting in pre-amp & power tube saturation - AKA "full-tilt screech"(Duane's description of his high-gain-controlled-feedback sound). At lower channel volume settings (higher on the master volume) the amp gets a very nice clean tone. The general idea is to set the channel volume (pre-amp) controls on "10" & turn up the master volume (power stage) as high as possible for your circumstance, in order to saturate the power tubes to the fullest extent. The master volume DOES NOT adversely alter the tone, it simply lets you max-out the great pre-amp before the power stage and/or balance the two when using the amp clean.
If you want the option of cranking the master volume higher, with less overall volume (for smaller clubs, practice, etc.), I highly recommend the included THD "Yellow Jackets"& matched JJ EL84 power tubes. With these power tube socket converters, you can use the lower-power EL84s (EL34/6CA7's little brother, a very similar tone) without re-biasing or modifying the amp in any way. The amp will also run in Class A, as the EL84s are cathode-biased. There is enough room in the Skydog cabinet to install the "Yellow Jackets" & EL84s without removing the amp chassis. The SKYDOG running on EL84s puts out about 30 watts & sounds simply incredible. I have found myself using my amp most of the time with the "Yellow Jackets"/EL84s - they truly make the SKYDOG "two-amps-in-one!"
Duane used a combination of AlNiCo-magnet 12" JBL D-120s or 12" Cerwin Vega ER123s (JBL copy) & Celestions in half-open-back 4-12" speaker cabinets. If you intend to use this amp at high volumes only, old JBLs are the way to go (if you can FIND them!). In reduced-volume venues with lower master volume settings , less-efficient-high-quality speakers (i.e. Celestions) may be desirable. Whatever your speaker choice, the added master volume feature alone should be more than adequate to achieve plenty of overdrive to capture the SKYDOG'S tone at moderate volumes; but as with any rock 'n' roll amp, the master volume needs to be turned up loud enough to saturate the power tubes.
This model amp is a tone/sustain monster but it will most likely never be re-issued, as the'1986' was originally marketed as a combination "bass & lead" amp, perhaps Marshall thought that would be a turn-off for guitarists. The '1986' was, however, Duane's choice of all the amps on the market at the time, & with good reason. It's hard to put your guitar down when playing through this thing, if YOU CAN PLAY, you should have Duane's tone nailed, but don't expect any amp to channel his talent to you! This is a "niche-market" amp & it, of course, mates best with humbuckers for an early-ABB tone, but it has also received high praise for use with single-coil guitars. Originals of this model amp go for obscenely high prices & often need full re-capping & other maintenance because of their age. This faithful re-creation is a 40-year step back in time, with a name that's in a class by itself!
I have been asked a couple of times if I'd post sound files of the amp; Duane's ABB sound is NOT an unknown commodity & if you are not familiar with it, you are wasting your time reading this listing. I have, however, made a couple of short (& very rusty, on my part!) .WAVs with my personal SKYDOG, in an open-back combo with a Jensen AlNiCo 'P15N' copy, channel volumes on "10", master on "5". The guitar is an SG with Gibson Classic 57s (NOT worthless 57+s). This is NOT DUANE'S SPEAKER SETUP, & CERTAINLY NOT DUANE, but, for what it's worth:
Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3
For rough comparison, "S.U.N.Y. at Stonybrook" samples can be found here (slide on tracks 04 & 05)
I also suggest reading Hal Canneyt's sincere comments at the end of this listing regarding the amp's tone & response. I cannot possibly cover recording/posting all of the the speaker configurations & volume settings bidders may intend to use, plus, of course, sample .WAVs sound completely different on a complex stereo system versus (for example) 2" laptop speakers. PLEASE BE AWARE: this amp sounds like DUANE, not Dickey Betts, not Warren Haynes, not Derek Trucks, not Jimmy Herring; this is NOT a one-size-fits-ALL-man-Brothers-guitarists' sounds. All of those players have their own great tones, but none of them use(d) the model amp Duane did.
As with any tube amplifier, the owner needs to make sure that the impedance setting matches their speaker setup (4, 8 & 16 ohm settings on the selector) before using the amp or unwarranted output transformer damage may result. The Skydog has a full Ceriatone warranty:
Returns accepted ONLY on defective amps (a very remote possibility); those should be returned to Guitar E.R. & I will handle the return to Ceriatone. Any charges deemed by Ceriatone to be paid by the owner (shipping or repairs not covered under warranty) will be billed to the original owner by GuitarE.R.
I know that there are scores of players seeking Duane Allman's tone & the SKYDOG is my contribution to an extremely integral part of that legendary sound & a tribute to one of the most gifted musicians to ever walk this Earth, if only for a very short time.
Here's an email from a recent SKYDOG purchaser:
I got the amp today, and it is everything you said it would be and then some. I've only had the chance to play through it for an hour, and didn't want to stop. It sounds great loud, it sounds great soft, it sounds great with single coils, it sounds great with humbuckers! It's the most touch sensitive amp I've ever played, every nuance is articulated so delicately, yet full and rich. What an amp. Thanks!
Thanks again for bringing to life a tone that has been in my head for 36 years."
****Plus, his follow up:
I played my first gig with the Dog last night... haven't had that much fun in years. I got many comments on how great my guitar sounded, it was great.
I told my wife that I may need to sell one of the Alessandros and see about getting a second Skydog as a back up, I am badly spoiled now!
Also, some recent raves for the SKYDOG from New Mexico-way:
I got the amp last Friday. It's as advertised. This thing has Duane's tone dripping off of it. Great bass low's and screaming highs. It's Very Very loud too. I appreciate your work man. I now sound like I have been trying to for years.
This is by far the best tone I have ever heard in my life. I even plugged a Telecaster into it and I only play Gibsons, and I was blown away! It's an identical match to Duane! However, I am going to have order another one from you soon. I have to have two of these running on stage. One clean and one all the way up. I am so happy with this amp. Like I said, it really is a dream come true. I've been searching for this tone for years.
This amp is currently available on a special order basis ONLY, build-time will vary, please mail me for the current delivery estimate.
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