Selmer Thunderbird - I'm intrigued

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by MrWookiee, Oct 9, 2021.

  1. MrWookiee

    MrWookiee Synchromatic

    873
    Jun 17, 2020
    SoCal, USA
    A post from @j.s.c about his amp's great legs had me curious about the amp since one of my proline horns is a Selmer. I was blown away by the amp after watching a review but couldn't afford one even if I wanted/needed it. I mean, pushbutton presets on a vintage tube amp??? Mind blown!

    That being said, I wonder if any amp builders have done anything similar just for giggles, or if a couple of kits could be combined like building blocks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
    loudnlousy and ZackyDog like this.
  2. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    71
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I've never seen a Selmer amp in the US. I grew up 30 miles from the Selmer factory in Elkhart IN, but they just made excellent horns. Saw a bunch of Selmer amps while stationed in England, but here in the colonies they're as rare as hen's teeth.
     
    MrWookiee likes this.
  3. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    Great sounding amp. It's been reported Jimmy Page as well as The Beatles used one in the studio (not sure it could have been a Zodiac 30 model).
    After watching the posted demo I heard sounds close to some tones on mid period Beatles albums, early solo McCartney albums as well as some Zeppelin tones.
    I'd like to own one but they just cost too much these days.
    There was a studio here in Baltimore that closed down a few years ago had one for sale but I didn't have that kind of cash to throw around...:D.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
    MrWookiee and ZackyDog like this.
  4. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    One of our G-T members have one, IIRC... Oh, I don't remember who is it ! :oops:
    Or maybe it is the Zodiac 30 model - identical in look.

    A+!
     
  5. trefilboy

    trefilboy Electromatic

    Wow a Selmer Thunderbird - the amp I had in the mid-late 60's. Loved the amp, especially the tone pre-sets. My set up was a 62 Strat through a Watkins Copycat and an early Vox Tonebender Fuzz Box. We also had a Vox AC30 in the band that I sometimes used but I preferred the Selmer.
     
    j.s.c, MrWookiee and Gretschtim1 like this.
  6. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
    new6659, Gretschtim1 and MrWookiee like this.
  7. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Firenze, Italy
    I’ve had a Selmer Vanguard for a couple of years. 1967, 15w, amazing original Goodmans speaker, Brimar tubes. All original except for the back panel (that btw was reissued extremely well).
    Great sounding amp, with good reverb (although the small tank and the construction made it sound more like a sort of “boost” instead of a real reverb. Astronomy Domine in a box. :)
    To be honest, I sold it because it wasn’t too “road friendly”. The cabinet was really thin, the tube sockets were too close to the back of the amp and the load in - load out off the van always caused problems to the tube placement, so you would need to remove the back panel and check them any two gigs… Other than that it was common to hear some rattling here and there (once was the reverb box that lost a screw, the other was the speaker that unscrewed a bit from the panel… small things to fix but a great PITA every time I went out for a gig). It would probably be a dream studio amp, but I’m not a studio player and I never see the point of having amps that you couldn’t take with you on the road.
    Tone-wise, it was a spectacular amp. I liked it more than any Vox I’ve ever had. Everything else, it was not for me (I found it a good home to a collector’s friend ;)).
    Here’s a pic: 7B703E82-DE8C-4100-80E8-6137F9826EB8.jpeg
     
    MrWookiee likes this.
  8. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    55
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    I remember one of these being offered to me in the early eigthies for very little money. I passed. Shame on me.
     
  9. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    france
    What Can I sAY....?

    I may have a problem with them... they tend to "x" themselves out of control.

    50w Thunderbird MkI*
    5w Little Giant (great name for a small box)
    50W Treble & Bass Rev MkIII (~bassman + reverb)

    *I have to confess these push buttons aren't just a gadget. They're crazy good (perhaps even more useful on this beefer thunderbird compare to the zodiac). They could turn a very nice clean amp "à la fender bassman" on treble spectum to a marshallish beast even at low volumes on ultrabass preset. To me Josh was wrong in one of his comments about those two type of tone stack, the buttons on channel one (with buttons) are bypassing the pots, without bleeding losses, thus it gives some of the direct punch I fell when I play an early fender champ with one and only vol pot, you know... Btw, the two channels are fully independent and mixing the two give really nice results. Tremolo is probably the best ever of the '60, reverb is just hammond like :cool:. One major drawback, it's a hot textured amp ... in other words, it's not a great pedal platform amp, some are ok but some disto or fuzz may turned to FiZz out of this box. I would say, not the amp for pedals lovers (last word for those you could be interested buying one of those, things can be worst than that with precious celestion G12 speakers which are gems to us, but tend to blow out if you add a fuzz to the maximum volume of the amp... Goodmans are less precious but stiffer toys).

    Last word : They loved the great gretsch sound !
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
  10. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    france
    Back in the day selmer company was one of the largest dealer of instruments in london downtown. Founded in france (horns, gypsy guitars), some of theirs moved to london and created the british company (that will also make electrical stuffs on their own over 3 decades 50-70). Can't say more about this "swing london age", I don't remember, not because of LSD but because I wasn't being born.

    114-116, charing cross road
    where you could have found the Beano Les Paul Burst waiting for Eric... Of course, they're is also some traces of a certain Jimmy P. haunting this place days and nights.

    Of course, some Beatles bugs and Jimmy Hendrix came to that place many times. Regarding Selmer's amp, they were at the cavern and hamburg times, then with newer models with The Beatles in studios.

    Also Steve Howe's ES175 is coming from there... many others. 99% chance Hank Marvin's love for strats started here as probably 95% of the fiesta reds... came from there as a custom color order for selmer shop.

    >195x shop front...
    cxrd.jpg

    >196x shop front...
    [​IMG]
    >Today we're living in hell territory ! No mercy ! 2021-10-11 13.22.04 www.google.com 08179c877b4b.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
    wabash slim, new6659 and MrWookiee like this.
  11. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Firenze, Italy
    Btw, I wouldn't mind if somebody has a spare Zodiac that doesn't use to send me. I pay shipping. :D
     
    MrWookiee likes this.
  12. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    france
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
    MrWookiee likes this.
  13. MrWookiee

    MrWookiee Synchromatic

    873
    Jun 17, 2020
    SoCal, USA
    +1
     
    stiv likes this.
  14. Londoner

    Londoner Gretschie

    246
    Dec 18, 2020
    UK
    Not forgetting Paul Kossoff who actually worked there at one time!
     
    j.s.c likes this.
  15. Londoner

    Londoner Gretschie

    246
    Dec 18, 2020
    UK
    Who's this with a Selmer 'Treble and Bass 50'? IMG_8682.jpg
     
    j.s.c and new6659 like this.
  16. Mark 6120

    Mark 6120 Electromatic

    68
    Nov 5, 2020
    DFW
    If it is going to be fast food, a Chipotle isn't so bad. Would be better if it was a Nando's. My daughters want to go to London just for Nando's...
     
  17. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    france
    Is it you ??
     
  18. Londoner

    Londoner Gretschie

    246
    Dec 18, 2020
    UK
    I wish!
    The band is Cream, they were quite big at the time!
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2021 at 11:40 AM
    new6659 and MrWookiee like this.
  19. afire

    afire Country Gent

    I've always lusted after the Thunderbird and Zodiac. A few times I think I was seriously considering going for one, but couldn't quite bring myself to spend that kind of money importing an amp that was essentially an unknown quantity to me.
     
  20. MrWookiee

    MrWookiee Synchromatic

    873
    Jun 17, 2020
    SoCal, USA
    That's why I'm wondering why someone like @TV the Wired Turtle or @hcsterg hasn't cloned one, or at least come up qith a modern schematic. Seems like a hobbyist could get by without pedals, depending on genre. Of course, there's the Mustang, Spark, or any number of other modeling amps out there, but this would be self-contained and all analog.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.