Brad Bechtel emailed us this jpg of a Magnatone Varsity Model number M-197-3-V. Notice the cool "Mother Of Toilet Seat" finish. It was manufactured at the Magna Electronics Co.,when they were in Los Angeles, Calif. It has 2 inputs, 1 volume control, no tremelo or vibrato. This amp used one 6SJ7 tube, for both pre-amp and phase inversion into a 6V6GT power tube. It has an Oxford 8" 75L-2 speaker (date code:395218). Rectifier tube is a 5Y3. We have a copy of the schematic. The schematic is very similar to the Gibson Les Paul Jr., page 517 and the Champ 5C1, page 389 of "The Tube Amp Book, 4th Edtion" by Aspen Pittman. Dimensions: 11.5 in. high, 12.5 in. wide, 6.75 in. deep. Original catalog list price was $45.00.
Brad bought it in approximately 1971-2 for $50 with the matching Magnatone Varsity lap steel from a lady named Opal Nash in Norco, California. Her son had gone into the Navy and wrote to her saying "Sell everything I have and send me the money - quick!" Brad passed on a Vespa scooter (with helmet) for $100. Oh, well. I'd rather have the amp.
Brad's Page of Steel,
Here are two more examples of the M-197-3-V. Check out the cool grill work on these. The one on the right is covered in "Mother of Toilet-seat", and the one below is covered in "Alligator". I spotted these at a shop called Real Guitars in San Francisco, CA back in May of ' 97. My friend Gary and I, went on a Magnatone Safari one day and came across about 14 different models at this one shop. I talked the proprietor into letting us photograph all of his Magnatone amps and he said "Sure". So we hauled them outside to the street for some good lighting and I snapped away.These two amps might still be For Sale. You can contact Real Guitars by voice at: (415) 552-3310. If you bought one of these from Real Guitars, please Email me and let me know more details.
Serial Numbers: Unknown
Photos: ©1998 Zack. Used by permission.
This amp, electronically, is the same M-197-3-V as the above models, Serial Number: 40060. Notice the cool "Lelani" grill cloth. The amp was made by Magna Electronics Co.,Los Angeles, Calif. It has 2 inputs, 1 volume control. This amp uses one 6SJ7 tube, for both pre-amp and phase inversion into a 6V6GT power tube. Rectifier tube is a 5Y3. An Oxford 8" 75L-2 speaker (date code: 395245). Dimensions: 11.5 in. high, 12.5 in. wide, 6.75 in. deep. Original catalog list price for the set in 1955 was $104.50.
The guitar is a Magnatone six-string, lap-steel style Hawaiian guitar, Serial number 49440.
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