1966 Gibson GA-20 RVT “Minuteman



This amp has been in stock for around 2 years and I finally got it out to our tech to get it sounding “right”. I thought about posting it as it came in – an okay sounding amp that could benefit from some tweaking. I’m glad I decided to wait to get it benched so I can offer it as an excellent sounding amp with a fairly crisp clean tone and an excellent breakup at low volume that should appeal to blues players. Everybody loves vintage Fenders and during this era the comparable model would have been a blackface Deluxe Reverb. I honestly don’t know why Fenders are so expensive compared to Gibsons. Both are very solidly constructed with comparable transformers and other components and point-to-point soldering. Fender smartly stuck with generally the same models from year to year while Gibson tended to turn out different models every few years. Most of these were good designs but the market never got familiar enough with any of them before a new line was released. The GA-20RVT is a low wattage amp, perhaps 8-12 watts but, regardless, not the 20 that the model suggests, with reverb (RV) and Tremolo (T). Most American amps, and British for that matter, weren’t using Fender’s 6L6 or 6V6 power tubes and this model uses a pair of 6BQ5S power tubes 5 preamp tubes (3 12AU7 and 2 6EU7). It’s 2-channel amp with Volume, Treb, Bass on Ch-1; Loudness, Treb, Bass, Reverb, Tremolo Depth, and Tremolo Speed on Ch-2. Effects are footswitchable via a 2-button footswitch (included) with a long cord attached to the amp. All components are original; trannies dated 1966, CTS 12″ speaker dated ’66, original 2-prong power cord. Cosmetically the panels and covering are in good shape and the worst flaws are some rust on the centers of the knobs and on the handle, plus one of the back panels is missing. If you’re looking for a quality tone in a hand-wired USA amp, for around 1/3 the cost of a Fender, this might just be the ticket. In fact this amp scored an overall “10” on Harmony-Central (link). Everything was just tweaked and the amp works perfectly. A good value at $499. Includes schematic and original footswitch.



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