Monday, March 22, 2010

West 115 H "Grande" Guitar/ Bass head and Cabinet in Grand Rapids MI - could be cheap?

These WEST branded Amplifiers show up every once in a while and usually only in Michigan.  Dave West was an amp builder out of Flint Michigan who made amps for guys like Dick Wagner (lead guitar with Lou Reed & Alice Cooper) and Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad back in the mid 60's and early 70's.

This seller seems to know little about this piggyback setup.  Dave West was a hi-fi aficianado who used Dynaco parts so the amps have very hi-grade specs.  I think these amps may use KT66 or KT88 tubes.  If that is a West cabinet then it is likely to have at least one JBL D130F or D140F speaker since Dave West was a JBL distributor in Michigan at the time. He later used the EV SRO speakers but this looks like an earlier model to me.   West still makes and modifies tube amps and has always had a good rep in the biz.

I doubt the seller will know much about this gear (he doesn't even seem to know that the bottom is just a speaker cab) but you can google West Amps and Dave West to find out more after you call the listing.

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Tube amps - $1 (Jenison)

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Date: 2010-03-18, 2:37PM EDT

Reply to: sale-cdggp-1650058684@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
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Two tube amps. Top one tested fine, bottom one unable to test. Make an offer on either one or both. 616-309-7020
 
Location: Jenison

10 comments:

  1. I had an agree upon deal with this guy. He buys "estates" probably stiff from people who get locked out of their apartments after not paying rent, but anyway I talked to Dave West about it and he cautioned me about the amount of work that might "need" to be done but it ended up not making any different because a guy offered him an $1100 trailer load of merchandise and he took that over cash. Dave West was a great guy. I would love to find a cheaper West so I could afford to get it Blueprinted (made better than new). The cabinet was from a PA with maybe two 15s and a horn (you can see the outline of the horn). The West plac and the 115H is maybe from a different cabinet he said. Thanks for posting this. I will be on the lookout for one of these.

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  2. Oh and he was running the head without having it hooked up to any load so I was a little weary anyway. He had some other low baller offers. Another one gets away but there are PLENTY of fish (amps) in the sea.

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  3. I bought it for $300. Sounds amazing!!!

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  4. I had contacted Dave West prior to buying it. He said he couldn't tell me much from the picture aside from that the West and 115 H plates shouldn't be on there. I'm pretty sure it's a West cab. The seller said it had a JBL in it. I'm pretty sure there is one speaker in the cab. It's LOUD. I'm going to talk to Dave about what improvements can be made to the head. The pots need to be cleaned and the power cord should be replaced for sure. The power tubes are old sylvanias 6L6 and the 12ax's are RCA. It was originally agreed that I would pay $200 for the head and cab. However, because I needed to sleep, it provided time for someone to offer higher ($400). Luckily the other offer was from Chicago and it would have been a pain for the owner to ship it. So I payed $300. You would figure they'd just drive over to Grand Rapids.

    Cool blog.

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  5. I live about 3 hours south of Chicago and the only problem with that is he agreed to ship it to me. I was going to pay and he said, "Wait until I take it home and put it on a scale so we can figure out how much it will weigh to make sure we can ship it." Not a very honest seller. I have no problem with you Nick. Did you pop off the front to see what speaker is in there?

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  6. Sorry about the circumstances of that sale. I certainly know what it's like to be on the other end. Looks like he promised it to several people.
    Dave figured that the 115 H plate came off the cab indicating that it had a 1x15 speaker and a horn. I didn't pop off the front as I wasn't quite sure how it was constructed. I'll let you know when I go back to pick it up (didn't fit in my civic). Dave seemed to think it might have been used in the past for some specific purpose, like steel guitar. He warned me against playing through it as I might blow the horn out. He also said the tubes were not 6L6s as I initially thought. The thing was pretty dirty and the pots had some major crackle. The cord on the thing is pretty much covered in electrical tape. I'm a broke grad student so I don't know how much work I can have Dave do on it. I like the idea of keeping it as original as possible and I'm not sure what certain mods might do for resale if I choose to some day. Then again, if West is doing alterations, logic would say I'm golden. Speaking with a guy from Elderly Instruments, he said it could be worth anywhere from $800 to $1,200 depending on the condition. The fillmores can go for more. Being in Michigan, a lot of folks are familiar with these things and they are not seen as all that valuable to some music store owners that have been around for a while (Then again, neither was my Hamer Mirage when I sold it 12 years ago :P).
    On one end of the spectrum, West said he purchased one of his oldies for $50 years ago. On the other extreme, he heard of one selling for $10,000 to some guy in Japan on ebay. Who knows. It's a solid amp and sounds great. Again, I'm sorry that seller was so problematic. For the record, there was no way that dude was going to take it home to weigh it. Would have been easier to take the scale to the amp at his pawn shop. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he actually did have an industrial scale at home.

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  7. i have an old grande i found at a pawn shop... can anyone tell me anything about this amp?

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  8. You can call Dave West

    West Laboratories
    4583 Comanche Drive
    Okemos, MI 48864

    1-517-351-8761

    Dave@WestLabs.COM

    Dave@ValveJr.COM

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  9. Awesome! I've got a 1974 Grande R (reverb) that I bought from a guy on CL a couple yrs ago. It came with a vintage fender cab (2 SPKR) converted to 4 vintage greenbacks! It is nothing short of AWESOME! I also have a 1967 Marshall 100 sl that is all original and to be honest, I use the West amp more. I paid $1200 for the head and cab which I thought at the time was a good deal. I'll NEVER SELL IT!!! Don't want to say how much I paid for the Marshall and its cab! (although it is worth lots more now) :-) I'm in vintage amp heaven!

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  10. I live in BC. I too have a Grande that Dave completely refurbish for me. The problem was the West cabinet that I got with it had EV SRO 15L" speakers, the old cone shape basket. FTWK this cabinet was made for a Grande R. I run a Peavey 100w Trans Tube amp through it. The Grande I have is nothing but a pure power head. After Dave left partnership with Bill Marshall of Marshall Music he made some cabinets known as Maxon?
    I'll have to recheck the name. They came with SRO 15B' Spider Baskets. Most the cabinets that was made by Bill & Dave was pretty generic looking in style. They did use both at the same time, SRO and Jensen as Gibson speaker cabinets were Jensen speakers in the 50's.
    Their was a lot of variations to them. The effort was in the head not the cabinet.

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