Light Up An Old Amp...

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by rogue3, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. rogue3

    rogue3 Senior Member

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    In this case,not for at least 14 years... a late 1977 Hiwatt DR103,2-input,with the round orange indicator lamp.* Hiwatt hounds know.

    Plug her in through a vintage Marshall 1982 cab. After a few squiggles with the preamp and power amp bournes pots...works flawlessly. Playin it tonight.Sorry,no photos...too busy playing.

    (not so lucky...an early 80's JCM2203...similiar rest period...dead in the water...sounds like preamp pot has shorted out)

    add: yes,i'll do a complete physical on the DR 103 caps...after i'm done soaking in this glorious tone!...not to mention the obituary on the JCM2203.in a couple weeks,lol.

    ...just sayin.
     
  2. Greg's Guitars

    Greg's Guitars Senior Member

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    I sold a few original Dr103's a few years back ...Fender on steroids is what I thought, I never had the op to really turn one up and dig in which is what these amps are made for...Tommy Bolin comes to mind as far as tones....
     
  3. rogue3

    rogue3 Senior Member

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    Hey Greg:
    I *discovered* ,lol, these amps back in the early 90's when i was doing gigs.Man, they were cheap as shiite back then...people were dumping them for the latest and greatest in this neck of the woods. Hiwatts were getting no love.I used Marshall and Fender then too...but once i hauled a Hiwatt onstage...from there onward at every opportunity(read, loud allowed :D).

    But today they ( yes,i have more than one,thanks to the good old *cheap* days,:cool:) are my first go-to for noodling at lower volumes, at home , as i like that clean spank. They sound exceptionally articulate, adding so much ear pleasing warm tube tone, and a rainbow of pleasing tube harmonics.Fanes or Celestions, they do it very well, and don't have to be played loud for gorgeous tone or nice clean sustain.

    I have a DR504 in my basement where there is lots of air room. i use it with pedals when i want more dirt, with an attenuator, so the amp is reasonably pushed.It sounds classic.

    I took a trip to a local shop yesterday,as there were a couple vintage cabs. People want silly money for Hiwatts these days.:dunno:
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  4. NotScott

    NotScott Premium Member

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    I had a 103 back in the day. They are probably the best built amplifiers ever. There is NOTHING that sounds like a cranked Hiwatt. Sadly, I succumbed to the Marshall group-think and traded my Hiwatt for a Super Lead. If you want to hear something really bad-ass, try an old Super Lead through an old Hiwatt 4x12. That gives you a lot of the girth of a Hiwatt but with the bite of the Marshall.

    Speaking of Marshalls, the tone pots will develop dead spots and cause what you describe if they sit too long. Usually just running all the knobs up and down will solve it. If not, spraying them with tuner cleaner and then working them out should do the trick.
     
  5. rabidhamster

    rabidhamster Senior Member

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    I like them best with the front end cascaded
    congrats on the score!
    Marshall should be easy to get up n running
     
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  6. rogue3

    rogue3 Senior Member

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  7. rogue3

    rogue3 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. I found my tuner cleaner (which leaves a lubricant)while i was moving recently, and will spray the pots. I will do this today.:hmm:
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
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  8. rogue3

    rogue3 Senior Member

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    so,thx...i sprayed all the pots...the amp functions nicely.

    Remove an East German (RFT) in slots one and two(they ARE nice tubes...in the right application)...leave 3 alone(bias is good)...and substitute a late sixties Mullard and Brimar 12AX7's in V1 and 2...all's well.Very Nice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
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  9. NotScott

    NotScott Premium Member

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    Glad it worked for you. Nice tube selection there. Mullards in V1 are definitely the way to go for brighter 70s Marshalls.
     
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  10. rogue3

    rogue3 Senior Member

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    Thx.your encouragement spurred me on to do a basic physical on the amp...once that was done,...she runs fine. I did the original bias...4 winged C Svets.Bias still good.
    The pot workout was needed as you indicated. All pots are now turning smoothly... Thx again notscott.

    The choice of tubes is a luxury i can indulge in, as i have a pretty thorough collection of old glass.;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
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  11. Progrocker111

    Progrocker111 Senior Member

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    Im a dedicated Hiwatt user. My 72 DR103 halfstack is my most favourite rig i ever had or played. It can be ungodly loud and brutal sounding, i crank the amp fairly often to the max. The tone is much more detailed and aggressive than any Marshall, with much better dynamics too. These are really very unforgiving amps, they will truly learn you to play and express yourself better. :acoustic:

    Here are some clips with various guitars and in various rooms, but the amp was on all of them cranked nearly to the max with both preamps volumes and master too.

    Here is 1964 SG Junior, with instant The Who tone:

    https://soundcloud.com/progrocker-2/1964-gibson-sg-junior-1972-hiwatt-dr103-halfstack

    Here is 57 Historic LP Custom reissue:

    https://soundcloud.com/progrocker-2/gibson-les-paul-custom-57-ri-part1-hiwatt
    https://soundcloud.com/progrocker-2/2007-gibson-les-paul-custom-57-ri-hiwatt-dr103

    1973 Les Paul Deluxe:

    https://soundcloud.com/progrocker-2/deluxe22
    https://soundcloud.com/progrocker-2/1973-gibson-les-paul-deluxe-hiwatt-dr103

    2014 Rusty Anderson ES335

    https://soundcloud.com/progrocker-2/2014-gibson-rusty-anderson-es335-hiwatt-dr103
     

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