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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Enter the mighty Crate GX-15R


Another piece of cool gear I acquired recently, is a Crate GX-15R practice amp.

The convenience of a relatively low-volume, small, tubeless practice amp is something I should have capitalized on a long time before now, because it is often making the difference between me playing and not playing.

I've had an interest in picking up a small "practice" amp, and also this particular amp for a while. I did previously buy a Crate GT-65 from somebody selling theirs through Craigslist, but, well... it was busted.




I spent a bit of time looking into what the problem might be, and it could be something simple (blown output transistor(s) are suspected), but the cost of getting the amp on a tech's bench to be looked at would be as much as I paid for it - and that would still leave me not knowing whether it was indeed a simple and cheap fix or not.

I let the seller know it wasn't working, and they offered to return my money and did through Paypal, leaving the amp with me till it would become convenient for them to pick it up. That was 6 months ago, so I figure it's abandoned, and I might as well look into fixing it, myself.


Anyway, I more recently spotted a Crate GX-15R on Craigslist for the inviting price of $50 CND (~$40 USD). This is the Crate amp I would prefer to have because of its use by the Smashing Pumpkins on their album Machina (and I've read a claim on, I think, the Gear Slutz forum that somebody talked to a MCIS engineer who told them it was also slipped into mixes on that album... though, I have not heard that claim anywhere else), and also live. And, what do you know, I'm a fan of classic SP music.




BTW, the timing of my spotting this GX-15R amp on Craigslist coincided with the Billy Corgan Reverb shop opening up, where BC was selling two of his own G-15R amps - one for $200, and the other for $6,000. Regarding the prices, I don't know why. Maybe one was used on the album and the other wasn't.

So, I really wanted The $50 CND Craigslist one, and I contacted the seller right away. But, my first (maybe bad) instinct was to try to haggle on the price, so I sent a text offering $40 CND. Then, I didn't hear anything for a couple of days, and I panicked thinking I lowballed them, and that it was dumb because I really want this amp, and I haven't seen it show up on Craigslist often, and this listing was really cheap, so I sent another text basically saying 'I'll give the $50 for it, just tell me when I can pick it up'.

Seller responded, and turns out they were out of town for a couple of days - probably.

When I was picking up the amp, I made a joke about missing my chance to haggle on the price, and the seller responded, 'well, here you can have this pedal', and threw a Punch Factory Optical Compressor on top of the amp while I was holding it, ready to leave.





I must be great at jokes. I was eager to buy the amp, regardless, but, awesome.






This is the only "practice" amp I've played, but I think its sound rocks. Except maybe for the reverb. So, the GX-15 part of it rocks. And the R part of it is still nice to have.

Here are a couple of videos I made after getting the amp. It's basically just the guitar going into the amp - only slightly boosted with a BOSS compressor out front. I also usually leave a BOSS PS-5 running subtly in front of the compressor, so it could be that it was running for these recordings.

The first one I recorded with my phone next to the amp, with the amp turned down a lot - but clearly not enough, since the amp's sound keeps choking out the phone's microphone. I flip through all of my guitar's pickups while playing. The second video is demo of how the amp sounds when using its speaker-out connector to hook it up to my 4x12 Marshall cabinet, which I believe should have G12T-75 speakers in it. I recorded it with a Zoom Q2HD camera.







C~ Soundscapes

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