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Clapton's amps through the years

sikoniko

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Aug 28, 2012
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Ritchie Fliegler explains Eric Clapton's Tweed Twin:

RF: ...Clapton’s amp was modified, like that means better than the way it was. That thing was a mess. The transformer set is like from a 1978 Super Twin, with two CTS speakers out of a 100 watt Bassman – a '73-74 type of thing. That was it. That’s Clapton’s amp. Clapton loves that amp. It’s one of those things that you’ll hear, “Hey, Clapton’s amp was modified." I guarantee you that if someone came to me and said, “Hey man, I want you to modify my amp,” and I say, “Great, I’ll put in this 1978 Super Twin transformer set and two speakers from this 100 watt silverface Bassman,” that’s not what they’re talking about. They want the full snake oil treatment. So when he wanted a spare for it because he absolutely loved the sound of that amp, we made him another one exactly like it. We found a used Super Twin and we took the transformer set out of it. We bought a 100-watt Bassman for $50 from someone who was about to throw it in the garbage. We cleaned the caps up and threw it in there and he said, “Yeah, that’s it – that’s great!”and we would all kind of laugh and send it on its merry way.

TQR: I was told by somebody that particular amplifier was a mid '50s Twin which had two rectifier tubes and two 6L6’s, and the two rectifier tubes were taken out of the socketry wiring and four 6L6’s were put in.

RF: That certainly sounds legit. I’ll buy that, but I don’t remember.

I'm confused. Which amps are you referring to? Are these the ones he currently tours with? I was under the impression he toured with stock EC Twins. Please correct me if I am wrong.
 

houndog31

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Aug 23, 2004
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550
I'm confused. Which amps are you referring to? Are these the ones he currently tours with? I was under the impression he toured with stock EC Twins. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Na this is his prized Tweed Twin that he used in the studio for a few decades. The touring rig he uses the stock first gen reissues.

But it does raise the question on what specs the reissues were based on. Here's some info about THE amp in question and the first Custom Shop models built for EC. Lot 93 are the reissues, lot 92 the prized modded Twin. Great detail here:

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19226/lot/93/

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19226/lot/92/
 

jrock1

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Jul 3, 2004
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438
Yes, the link on his modded 57 low power twin in the post above is the info I recollected...thanks for finding and posting.
 

soulbrojcs

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Apr 14, 2009
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And of course the Champ on Layla! So much controversy whether it was a tweed or silverface...
When I was playing with Delaney Bramlet, I was recording in his studio with him one day (an old chicken coop on his ranch) and there was an old black face Champ we were using, and he claimed it was the actual one Clapton had used on the Layla sessions. I've since learned to take the things he told me back then with a cautious approach. ;-)
 

jrock1

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Messages
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I believe the champ Clapton used on Layla is the same one he used on the Eric Clapton solo album done just before Layla. It was a tweed champ modded with a 6L6 power tube and I think a different transformer. He liked it so much he had one done for George Harrison and Delaney I believe. When he first was modding it they were blowing up but they figured out how to mod it without blowing it and that's what he used on the EC solo album from 1970. I've read that he and George also used them modded like this as pre amps on the big fender showmans with the Delaney and Bonnie tours. So, my understanding he used one of these modded ones on Layla...I also read somewhere that he used tweed princetons on Layla too. I know my 57 strat through my '60 tweed Princeton gets pretty close for some of the Layla tones.
 

oldflame

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Jan 11, 2004
Messages
1,142
Ritchie Fliegler explains Eric Clapton's Tweed Twin:

RF: ...Clapton’s amp was modified, like that means better than the way it was. That thing was a mess. The transformer set is like from a 1978 Super Twin, with two CTS speakers out of a 100 watt Bassman – a '73-74 type of thing. That was it. That’s Clapton’s amp. Clapton loves that amp. It’s one of those things that you’ll hear, “Hey, Clapton’s amp was modified." I guarantee you that if someone came to me and said, “Hey man, I want you to modify my amp,” and I say, “Great, I’ll put in this 1978 Super Twin transformer set and two speakers from this 100 watt silverface Bassman,” that’s not what they’re talking about. They want the full snake oil treatment. So when he wanted a spare for it because he absolutely loved the sound of that amp, we made him another one exactly like it. We found a used Super Twin and we took the transformer set out of it. We bought a 100-watt Bassman for $50 from someone who was about to throw it in the garbage. We cleaned the caps up and threw it in there and he said, “Yeah, that’s it – that’s great!”and we would all kind of laugh and send it on its merry way.

TQR: I was told by somebody that particular amplifier was a mid '50s Twin which had two rectifier tubes and two 6L6’s, and the two rectifier tubes were taken out of the socketry wiring and four 6L6’s were put in.

RF: That certainly sounds legit. I’ll buy that, but I don’t remember.


I'm pretty sure I saw that amp in Den Cornell's shop (Bungalow). Lee Dixon brought one in. This is when Denis and Dixon were was throwing ideas on the table for the Custom 80. The amp Dixon brought in looked like a Tweed Twin from the front. But as I recall, the control panel was silver-faced. Pretty sure it had Tone Tubby's in too.

Also in Den's shop around the same time was the 45w Plexi in the varnished box that later sold at auction for $26.000. Den said it must have been sitting around for years. All the pots were stuck. Other than that Den said it was ok. I was lucky enough to have a go on that thing when it was finished. Heaps of mojo! I played while Den cranked it up. Honestly...just the best sounding Marshall ever.
 

pablomago

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I saw Eric about 13 years ago and he used Vibroverbs, except for one song when they stuck a Tweed Twin on top of the cabs. Then they went back to the VV's. He sounded much better then I expected him to.
 

lpnv59

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When he did the Roger Waters tour he started using Marshalls again. JCM 800's IIRC and then he got the Soldano heads.
 

F-Hole

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He recorded a lot with the stripped cab block logo JTM45 bass model......the Bonhams sale amp. I saw inside and it was pretty well stock. A couple of numbers away from one of mine.
 

oldflame

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He recorded a lot with the stripped cab block logo JTM45 bass model......the Bonhams sale amp. I saw inside and it was pretty well stock. A couple of numbers away from one of mine.

That's the one I saw at Den Cornell's shop. Didn't know it was a bass though.
 

oldflame

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Wired to Bass spec.......

That I don't know. But Den said all he did was take the pots out, gave them a good soak and then checked the amp over so I assume it was if that's the case. It was all aok. Sounded pretty awesome.
 

TM1

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In those days, a Basss model vs. a Lead model only had two component differences and those are in the Tone stack.
Willie Perkins, who was the tour manager for the Allman Bros. from June 1970 until 1976, told me this past Monday night that the amps that Eric & Duane used on Layla were silver face Champ's.
 

F-Hole

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In those days, a Basss model vs. a Lead model only had two component differences and those are in the Tone stack.

Agreed, but that makes quite a considerable difference.

The main difference comes from the early Drake OT, with the ohm tap on the transformer itself. These OT's have different harmonic qualities to the RS and later Drakes, which you really hear when it feeds back.
 

WBailey

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From a Tom Dowd interview ;

Clapton and Allman were set up in the studio facing each other, looking one another in the eyes and playing live through small Fender amps--a Princeton and a Deluxe. “These guys weren’t wearing earphones,” Dowd recalls. “They were just playing softly through those little Fenders. If they talked while they were recording, you would have heard it over the amplifier. It’s funny, too because when I did Cream, Eric was playing through double stacks of Marshalls and it literally hurt to be in the room with those guys. When Eric showed up for Layla, he had a Champ under one arm and a Princeton under the other and that was it. He and Duane used those amps, switching back and forth.” :hmm
 

Redhod

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66SuperTremMKIV

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Eddie%20Miller%20Leo%20Fenderlo.jpg
Awesome pics!

And its funny much like the other Stones amp thread in that no matter what iron they were

sportin' back in the day, eventually they all end up playin' tweed.

Kina' like vegetarians.

Eventually...they all eat chicken.


As far as amps go I've been around the block a few times............ Love Plexi's and my mint '63 Copper Top AC-30, but plugging into any of my old Tweeds feels like I'm home. No pedals required. Leo got it so right, and his (Mexican) girls wired them up beautifully.
 
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TM1

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I do believe the Eric used an AC-30 for a short time before he got the JTM45 1/2 stack(the one that was left in Greece). then he used the BB combo..
 
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