NAD: Gretsch Playboy (by Victoria)

ruger9

Country Gent
Nov 1, 2008
3,669
NJ
I've had this about a week now, bought it from forum member RGX7, I wanted to get to know it a bit before posting. I had played one before, several years ago, at a Gretsch Roundup, with my tele. But I can say that my Hot Rod sounds better through this amp than anything I have previously owned. Apparently, I have just never found the right amp for this guitar, all these years.

But I can honestly say, Victoria did this one right- they tweaked it to work especially with Gretsch guitars, and it shows. My only "complaint" (not really) is that they don't have reverb. Yes, I know the Executive does, but that's a different circuit (Deluxe Reverb, whereas the Playboy is a Pro Junior) and I've never gotten on with 15" speakers.

It's not super loud, but the Weber Mini-Mass does a great job of bringing the volume down a bit when cranking the amp up to get the goods. You can see I'm using minimum attenuation. And the Mini-Mass matches! LOL

With the Playboy, Mini-Mass, and RE-202, I'm finally REALLY happy with my Hot Rod's tone now... I thought maybe I just wasn't a Filtertron guy, turns out I just hadn't found the right amp yet. I still want to try one of Tavo's Blondeshells, and the Allen Hot Blond looks very inviting also.... those are both 50-watters, so I wouldn't be able to really use them until I got a better attenuator... a Fryette Power Station 2 is on the watchlist.

For those interested in the circuits, from Mark Baier of Victoria:

Pro Jr. (Playboy), Deluxe Reverb (Executive) and Super Reverb (Variety). each amp was optimized for GRETSCH guitars, not Fender. We prototyped using a Setzer 6120 and Duo Jets ('trons and Dyna sonics).

the most obvious upgrade for these Gretsch amps would be the output trans on the Playboy..use a 28W two leg or a 14 DR trans for mucho tonal upgrade over stock. The Exec and Variety are good to go, the trannys are fine.

While these Victoria made Gretsch amps do not share the same components as a Victoria branded product, they do represent the best we could've done for a behemoth like Fender. I'm very proud of the job we did and confident the history will judge these amps very favorably. At the end of the day, it wasn't substandard components or designs that plagued this project, it was poor communication and corporate lethargy which made the project frustrating.


Obligatory pic:

my Gretsch Playboy.jpg
 

AZBrahma

Synchromatic
Dec 18, 2020
787
Arizona
Great score. Interesting that Mark Baier says the tone was optimized for Gretsch guitars and not Fender - one of the great tones in my memory was playing a Strat through a Playboy. I can only imagine how good it sounds with 'trons. Enjoy!
 

TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Double Platinum Member
Jul 25, 2009
14,810
Sandy Eggo
So glad you found some love for that hotrod, Marc makes some top grade amps! :) :)
you should see what happens when you swap in "better speakers" :) Marc really likes uber clean, I needed hemp in my white Variety.
I cant remember what I put in my executive anymore. @giffenf do you still have that amp you got from me?
 

BrianW

Country Gent
Oct 21, 2014
1,489
Vancouver Island
Congrats on the Playboy! Have one and its not going anywhere. The pedal I got with it leaves something to be desired (pops when stepped on) but that too is fixable. I'm not too concerned about that as I'm after the clean tones from it anyway.

cheers
 

ruger9

Country Gent
Nov 1, 2008
3,669
NJ
So glad you found some love for that hotrod, Marc makes some top grade amps! :) :)
you should see what happens when you swap in "better speakers" :) Marc really likes uber clean, I needed hemp in my white Variety.
I cant remember what I put in my executive anymore. @giffenf do you still have that amp you got from me?

Don't think I haven't thought about it! I have a C-Rex sitting here (my favorite speaker in most amps, I run away from peaky top end). I also have a Bad Cat V30... not usually a fan of V30s, but...

Altho the circuit isn't standard blackface fare anyway, it's the Zinky-designed Pro Junior, most people call that one more "Marshall like" than "Fender like" (hey... isn't that what the 6G6B is sometimes called... "Marshall like?")... it certainly doesn't sounds like any Fender I've owned, or any EL84 amp I have owned. I am running the treble and mids kind of low (say 10:30 for each, max, with the Filtertrons), but it sounds really good there, even with the Eminence Legend 1218 (basically a Jensen copy.)
 

giffenf

Country Gent
Oct 26, 2008
1,027
Los Angeles
@giffenf do you still have that amp you got from me?
No, I don't, sadly (Ric12String is only one I know who has two Executives), I sold it and don't even remember what I bought with the proceeds, but I do remember selling it to a GDP member and delivering it to him in Corona. Anyway, the one I have now I just bought from our friend Don in Arizona, and he replaced the speaker with a JBL D130F, which is about as clean-sounding as you can get, which is what I like. It's almost too clean for my new G&L, but I have ways of dealing with that. Coincidental that I've driven home from Arizona twice with an Executive in tow, once from Don's house and once from yours when I stopped on the way back and took it off your hands.
 

LA Miles

Country Gent
Dec 6, 2012
1,809
UPSTATE NY
Don't think I haven't thought about it! I have a C-Rex sitting here (my favorite speaker in most amps, I run away from peaky top end). I also have a Bad Cat V30... not usually a fan of V30s, but...

Altho the circuit isn't standard blackface fare anyway, it's the Zinky-designed Pro Junior, most people call that one more "Marshall like" than "Fender like" (hey... isn't that what the 6G6B is sometimes called... "Marshall like?")... it certainly doesn't sounds like any Fender I've owned, or any EL84 amp I have owned. I am running the treble and mids kind of low (say 10:30 for each, max, with the Filtertrons), but it sounds really good there, even with the Eminence Legend 1218 (basically a Jensen copy.)
I put a C-Rex in my Playboy, much better in IMHO. Also, a 5751 in the preamp position. Changed out another tube too as it had helicopter thump when using tremolo - forget what I used - enjoy.
 


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