What's In Gartone Amps

Every Gartone amplifier is entirely handmade using only the finest components, materials and construction methods for the ultimate in tone and reliability.

Each amp is designed and engineered to give years of trouble free professional use. All components are overated to ensure reliability, and all necessary circuits are fused to prevent component damage in the event of tube failure.

All components are chosen on the basis of quality, reliablity and how they sound (where relevant). The transformers, tubes and speakers are the best currently available. These are the most important - and most expensive - components in the whole amp, and any skimping here will certainly show through. All other components such as pots, capacitors and resistors etc are high quality choices from the leading brands.

Each amp is handwired by myself, with the components either chassis mounted, board mounted using eyelets or turrets, or on terminal strips. Jacks, pots and tube sockets are all chassis mounted. Reverb cables are vintage style braided with metal RCA plugs. Tweed, tolex, grill cloth, hardware and knobs are the same as found on reissue amps.

My amps are not built in batches, or to a production schedule. They are built one at a time, and everything except the cabinet woodwork is done by me. This gives me complete control over build quality. All the testing is done by me, with the help of a few test pilots. Each amp is only passed to the customer once I'm satisfied.

 

Cabinets

All cabinets are handmade locally by a highly skilled restorer and maker of antique and reproduction furniture. Each cabinet features handcut dovetails or fingerjoints, and is hand assembled and finished.

Example picSolid wood cabinets are made from selected quality pine, with handcut dovetails for extra strength. These are cut so they can only come apart sideways (and will require considerable force to do even that), so the dovetails will support the weight of the amp without pulling apart. This guarantees strong, buzz free cabinets with better tone, even 40 years down the road.

Plywood cabinets are fingerjointed and made from premium grade void free Baltic birch, purchased from a specialist timber supplier where it is stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

On all cabinets the panels and speaker baffles are birch plywood. The superior structural strength of birch ply virtually eliminates the annoying buzzes and resonances that often result from using cheaper materials for the back panels and baffle.

 

Chassis

Apart from the tweed amps, all chassis are custom made in the UK on state of the art CNC machinery. All are 1.5mm (16 gauge) steel and either1.5mm or 2mm aluminium with spot welded corners for strength. Steel chassis are galvanised for long term corrosion resistance

Tweed style chassis are 1.5mm steel, nickel and triple chrome plated, and screenprinted with chemical and abrasion resistant ink.

 

Circuit boards

All my amps feature eyelet or turret board construction, with terminal strips used for off board connections.

 

Transformers

Gartone Amps are the only UK amplifier manufacturer to use Mercury Magnetics transformers, and have been a Mercury UK dealer since 2003.

Example picBased in California, Mercury have been making transformers for guitar amps since 1954, and over that time they have built a deserved reputation for making the best transformers available. They are used by top boutique amp companies and builders worldwide, all of whom know you can't build great sounding amps using built to a cost mass produced transformers.

All Mercury transformers use high grade steel and quality materials, and are handwound without compromise for the best possible tone and reliability. Their vintage reproductions are reverse engineered from original examples in the best sounding vintage amps they could find.

And because the Mercury engineers are also players, they understand the quirks and 'inefficiences' of vintage transformers that contribute to their tone. Using a mix of modern and traditional production methods, Mercury incorporate these quirks into their reproductions to give authentic vintage tone with improved build quality and reliablity.

I also use Hammond power transformers. These are made in Canada and the build quality and reliabilty is as good as the Mercury units. I occasionally use selected US made Mojotone/Heyboer output transformers where they are the best choice for a particular application.

 

Speakers

Over the years I've spent dozen's of hours testing speakers and Celestion are my choice for ceramic and alnico options in all amps. They are simply unrivalled for reliability and sound quality, especially the alnicos.

 

Valves

Each amp is equipped with the best of each valve type from current production, chosen to suit the amp and the customer's requirements. All valves are Russian made and the main brands are Harma and Tung Sol reissue. There are also upgrade options to new old stock for some valve types (subject to availability).

 

Capacitors

Electrolytics are Sprague Atom or F&T. Tone and coupling caps are Mallory, with silver mica for the small values. Jupiter and Sozo are available as upgrades.

 

Resistors

For vintage based amps carbon composition are used in the signal path, with metal film the choice in modern high gain circuits. Power resistors are metal oxide, with wirewound types used for ratings of 5 watts and higher.

 

Pots

CTS pots with metal shafts are standard, and Alpha for any values not available from CTS. Premium quality options are available from PEC.

 

Jacks

All jacks in my amps are switchcraft, including the RCA phono types used for reverb connections.

 

Switches

These are Carling or equivalent high quality choices.

 

Tube Sockets

These are high quality Belton, as good as most new old stock.

 

Reverb Tanks

These are all Accutronics.