Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Music Man 112 RD One Hundred Amp
I think maybe I'll make this "Amp Week" here at The Ones That Got Away. So I'll start off with a favorite. It's my opinion that Music Man amps just might be the most underrated vintage buy out there. They've got all the right bloodlines, they sound fantastic, they hold up well, and they are priced right. Well, I think they're priced wrong...I think they should be selling for a lot more than they are. I have owned a few Music Man amps over the years and I've owned a few old Fenders as well, so I have a good point of reference for that sound. I'll take the Music Man at less than half the price.
The first Music Man I owned was a 410 Sixty-Five. Basically it was a Super Reverb knockoff. That thing really sang. I don't know why, but I've always liked 10" speakers teamed up with my usual Telecaster for a nice rhythm guitar sound. A few years ago I was sitting around, not having been in a band for a few years, and decided I didn't really need an amp. I have never really stopped home recording, but decided to just give it a go with a Line 6 Pod 2.0 for all my recorded electric guitars. It worked out fine, though a bit generic and my decision to own zero amps and take up less space was working out. Then a friend from an old band gave me a call and said he was getting married. He wanted to get all the former bandmates together to play at the reception. Sounded like a lot of fun, but...oh shit...I've got no amp.
I had a little time, so I started watching Craig's List and poring over eBay, looking for something that would fit my paltry $250 budget. I came across a Music Man 112 RD One Hundred that had a replacement Jensen Neo speaker. I don't know if the non-original speaker made people shy away, but somehow no one ever really bid against me and I got this for less than my budget. I was a little concerned about shipping across the country with a heavy amp, but I got lucky and no issues. I broke it out of the box and set up in the living room. Checked the tubes to make sure they hadn't come loose. Pulled out the original footswitch. Plugged 'er in.
Ssssshhhiinnnggg. Beautiful! That classic clean Fender sound was immediate and amazing.
Music Man amps from this era are pretty easy to figure out by the model name. The 112 RD One Hundred has one 12 inch speaker, reverb and distortion, and one hundred watts of power. Pretty loud and powerful for a 1-12" set-up. This little baby can keep up with just about anything. I am no expert on amps...no one is going to confuse me with Gerald Weber...but from what I understand, Music Man amps were really the first successful semi-hybrid type amps. They have a solid state preamp section and a tube power amp section. So, the guys who started Music Man, whom you may have heard of before...Leo Fender, Forest White, and Tom Walker, all historic Fender folks...really got it right. They originally called the company Tri-Sonics, but later changed the name to Music Man. The reverb was excellent, the switching between channels worked well and the distortion was fine, but I really prefer to just find a good sound and kick in a Tubescreamer for some overdriven distortion.
The reason I got rid of this amp was kind of the reverse of how I got it. After I got it, I played it a little here and there, but mostly it sat with my gear, not getting played and taking up space. I realized that I had really never used it for recording since I tend to record late at night when the kids have gone to bed, and waking them with a hundred watts of guitar ain't gonna work. So it went on Craig's list for $350 and sold fairly quickly. I think savvy players have started to come around about old Music Man amps and are keeping their eyes peeled for bargains. I know every time I see one for sale locally I want to hop in the car and go pick it up. If you like that nice old Fender sound, be sure to give a Music Man a chance. You might be surprised.