For sale is this vintage 1954 National 1210 electric instrument amplifier. This particular example, serial number X35419, is in pristine cosmetic condition and even includes the original canvas cover! Nearly identical to the Gretsch 6163 Electromatic, this closely-related Valco is just as cool in many respects! It features an attractive lacquered tweed and brown buff cabinet exterior with a zebra! print cloth grill cloth and a chrome refrigerator-style handle! Just as they don’t make amps sound the way they used to, they will never have the creative faculty to make them look like they used to either. Seriously, try to look at the photos of this amp and not be captivated by its aesthetic amazement: it can’t be done! Better yet, this amp sounds absolutely fantastic. It has been serviced to perfection, and really sounds better than the majority of similar concurrent amps.
Do not mistake this 1954 for the later (c.1960) National 1210. Though both are gorgeous, at some point National decided to under-power this 1954 1210’s successor with only a single 6V6 power tube. This extremely loud amp, however, features a robust “20-25 watts of non-distorted output” according to the original catalog, created by a duet of original RCA black plate 6L6 “Coke-bottle” power tubes. In conjunction with; (2) 6SJ7 pentode preamp (1) 6SN7 GT preamp and a 6AX5 rectifier tubes, this amp actually sounds more like a very loud 30 watts.
The only significant difference between this amp, and its impossibly rare Gretsch 6163 Electromatic counterpart is that this amp does not feature tremolo. Some would argue that it makes the amp circuitry less complicated, and potentially more powerful. Irregardless, (yep, I said it) this amp sounds magnificent. Better than my ’57 Tweed Pro (with a very similar schematic design approach), this amp is perhaps more full range with uncanny headroom and power. It really is special to hear such an old amp with such a powerful output, as it produces an instantly recognizable tone only heard on the best records from the early-50s era.
Serial Number: X35419
Transformer Codes: 166319, Z3322
Speaker Code: 220030 (Jensen P15P)
This amp features; the original National linen weave (tweed) covering, the original faux “zebra striped” grill cloth, the original chrome handle, the original 15″ Jensen Alnico 5 concert speaker, the original cover, original transformers and tubes. Several capacitors have been replaced, but included are all the original caps, as well as, a new rectifier and preamp tube.
With a sonic resemblance more like that of a VOX than a Valco, this loud amp is incredibly well-balanced with sweet harmonic overdrive rivaling the best AC-30s. Perhaps it’s the combination of power/pre-amp tube choice with the 15″ speaker, or maybe this amp just has magical mojo, but either way, I have never heard any similar model sound this great. Perfect with a single-coil, this amp produces rich headroom with enough gain to impress your ears.
Sale Price: Sold