Gibson GA-20T Ranger Tube Amplifier (1959)

Gibson  GA-20T Ranger Tube Amplifier (1959)
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Item # 11575
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Gibson GA-20T Ranger Model Tube Amplifier (1959), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 36123, Two-tone vinyl and tweed finish.

Here's a fairly rare and beautifully preserved example of one of the most desirable 1950s/60s Gibson amps: the GA-20T Ranger. Appearing in the 1960 Gibson catalogue alongside the Lancer, the GA-20 model was available in two versions, the Crest and Ranger. The latter came with a "T" suffix, indicating its onboard tremolo effect, while the Crest was left without. Rated at a modest 16 watts, it was a midline model primarily aimed at working pro players. Although the Ranger came with a fairly hefty $189.50 price tag it was still cheaper than its direct competition the Fender 5G9 Tremolux, priced at $209.00. This model was discontinued in 1961, as part of the constant re-vamping of Gibson's amp line.

The GA-20T circuit is similar to the contemporary Fender Tremolux's immediate predecessor, the 5E9, aka "a Tweed Deluxe with tremolo". Featuring a dual-6V6 power section and a paraphase phase inverter, the amp puts out roughly 15-18 watts into a single 12" Jensen speaker. The GA-20/T features four input jacks and two channels, one 'normal' and one for tremolo, each with two inputs. Each channel has its own volume control and one shared tone control, as well as speed and depth controls for the tremolo effect.

Gibson amps from this period tend to be more Fender-like sonically than the company's earlier, darker sounding designs and many players today find them more useful as a result. This amp retains a rather 1950s look with its brown/amber two-tone livery, which must have looked just a bit dated at the time. Still these amps are beautifully made (unlike some later '60s Gibson electronic products) and retain a distinctive character, and this model is one of the real gems of the 1959-60 line.
Height is 16 in. (40.6 cm.), 20 in. (50.8 cm.) width, and 9 in. (22.9 cm.) in depth at deepest point.

Cosmetically, this amp is in exemplary condition. The seldomly seen two-tone covering is beautifully intact with only minor scuffing alongside the lower corners and edges of the cabinet. The grille cloth appears to be original and is in great shape as well with no notable tearing or fraying. Most of the plastic Gibson logo is intact, though sadly a part of the G is missing. The faceplate is nearly mirror clean with practically all the stenciled lettering intact and the amp comes with a non-original footswitch for the tremolo. The amp also includes a non-original cover that evidently took its share of hits on behalf of the amp!

Electrically, the amp is mostly original. The speaker is an exact-era correct vintage replacement, a 45th week of 1958 Jensen P12R which appears to have been reconed and sounds fantastic. Both the power and output transformers appear original to the amp and are marked GA-20 and 220-848, respectively, with the latter dating to the 48th week of 1958. All pots appear original and the only modification is the addition of a tremolo on/off jack for the footswitch. The amp has seen our typical maintenance and servicing, including replacement of all electrolytic capacitors, a grounded 3-prong power cord, all sockets, pots and jacks cleaned and power tubes biased to spec.

This is a really nicely preserved great sounding specimen of a Gibson classic from their best era of amps, with a big and bold tone with plenty of growl when pushed, not unlike its Fender competitors! Overall Excellent - Condition.