Groove Tubes Trio preamp

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Groove Tubes Trio preamp

Postby jenkins » Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:00 pm

Any opinions on the Groove tubes trio good or bad?

THis is the preamp that jerry replaced his twins with in the 90's. Overall Jerry's tone was still great into the 90's. Until last year I always thought he used the fender twins preamp until 95.

A twin looks cool but I dont see the purpose of spendign 2 grand on a combo amp when all I want to use from it is the preamp. MY two options would be to either chop the vintage amp up and make it a head like jerry had, or carry around this huge heavy amp in which im not even using the speakers or the power amp.

SO ive been sleaning towards the groove tubes trio. It has 3 channels, the clean is based on the 60's fender silverface twin.

all review on harmony central are good. It seems like a great preamp.
And I can buy it for 1300 brand new and it has a warranty.
To me it sounds like a better option than a vintage twin.
What do you guys think?
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Postby jenkins » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:43 am

Does anyone know exactly when jerry switched form his fender twin preamp to his groove tube trio?

pics from 91 show that he was still using the fender. I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly when he started using the TRIO.
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Postby strumminsix » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:55 am

Hey! Don't know when Jerry switched late 91 maybe?

Keep in mind the Trio doesn't have reverb - you'll need a unit.

When you say "better" what do you mean?

You'll need:
Trio $1300
Cab $500
Reverb $300
Poweramp $500
Interconnects $200

You could do a 68 Dual Showman and buy a cab for about half that price.
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Postby tigerstrat » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:59 am

early '93... right around the time his tone started to seriously suffer, imho. Not necessarily blaming the Trio- Brawer said that that awful icepick/acoustic tone was caused by buffering in his FX... I dunno- not an era I pay much attention to, at all, but I do know that his '93 JGB sound was way nicer than his GD sound.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Postby waldo041 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:17 am

tigerstrat wrote:early '93... right around the time his tone started to seriously suffer, imho. Not necessarily blaming the Trio- Brawer said that that awful icepick/acoustic tone was caused by buffering in his FX... I dunno- not an era I pay much attention to, at all, but I do know that his '93 JGB sound was way nicer than his GD sound.


Hey TS, good info! i was wondering if he was playing bolt for some of those 93 JGB shows? if he did, then i believe most of that "acoustic tone jerry" would be blamed on not neccesarily the trios, but going direct to the board with no speakers on stage. i have heard that his JGB shows with monitors(Mc2300/ 3 or 4 - 12" speakers on stage) were better sounding then basically his same rig going direct. if this were true, i am afraid that G.Brawer cannot take the blame for that eery tone.

peace,
waldo
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Postby jenkins » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:29 am

Good points strumminsix.
It is such a tough choice, if it wasn't I woudl have bought somethign already. Ive been thinking about this for months and can't decide between going vintage or with the trio.

to use a dual showman or a twin reverb the way I want to I will need to buy a cab and a power amp anyway. So that $1000 is getting spent on a cab and power amp whether i buy the trio or not.
On top of that I will have to get the vintage amp modifified for a preamp out jack, whixh will cost 1 or 200$ possibly more.

vintge amps are not cheap either. Right now there is a '73 dual showman head on ebay. Buy it now price is $1200. 9 days left to go and the bids are up to 700.
If I bought this for 1200 and had it customized I would be paying more than the trio.

I saw mint cond. Twin on ebay sell for $2500 last week.

SO really the reverb is the only extra cost i am looking at.

Was Garcia even using the twin's reverb? I thought he was using a lexicon rack reverb unit until the early '90's when he switched over to the tube works real tube reverb.

When you pre-amp a twin do you get the reverb from the twin?

Tigerstrat- eary'93 is when the GD stopped using speakers on the stage, correct? this is probaly the major reason his tone suffered. He was't using his JBL-120's anymore. He was going direct into the soundboard with no mic'd speakers.
IMO it was this that effected his sound. ALthough it was probably his health more than anything. When you read Phil's book it sounds to me like it was Garcia's health more than anythign that effectd his playing and his tone.
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Postby strumminsix » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:34 am

That prices is wayyy too high for DSR. Trust me.

If you can wait a custom amp is another option.

Got mine from Ben Fargen and could not be happier.

For my needs it is better than vintage or current.

I've got vintage Fenders and have had a host of modern amps.
This blows them all away cuz it was built just for my needs.
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Postby tigerstrat » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:01 pm

The preamp jack is an incredibly simple mod, should be easily less than an hour's going rate ($75 or so?)for a pro tech.

Very easily done if you can solder. For safety, DRAIN THE CAPS. Now, you simply clip the wire going to the vibrato pedal RCA jack, replace the RCA with a 1/4" jack, and solder a lead from the "Tip" terminal to the correct point in the circuit. Voila.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Postby jenkins » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:02 pm

Thats funny strummin. In the past few weeks Ive really been leaning towards having a custom Fargen made for myself.

It really does seem like the best option. I mean a brand new, point to point amp should sound the best. Since my tone now is pretty damn good I am not in a rush. I hope to get a dank preamp and be done with it for a while.
What kind of Fargen do u have? Is it completly custom or is a customized version of one of his amps? I want something similar to the dual classic head only I want an added preamp out that sends the reverb with the pre. I also want something so I can turn the power section off or on while I run the preamp out. As far as I can tell there is no amp on the market that does what I am looking for.

How much did you pay for your custom Fargen?
Thanks a lot for your opinion. After reading the reviews on harmony central and your thoughts on it it just seems like the best option by far.
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Postby waldo041 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:20 pm

tigerstrat wrote:The preamp jack is an incredibly simple mod, should be easily less than an hour's going rate ($75 or so?)for a pro tech.

Very easily done if you can solder. For safety, DRAIN THE CAPS. Now, you simply clip the wire going to the vibrato pedal RCA jack, replace the RCA with a 1/4" jack, and solder a lead from the "Tip" terminal to the correct point in the circuit. Voila.


no need to clip the vibrato pedal jack if you make your own hole!

dozin's preamp out tap point is correct on his site, but he has the fender diagram wrong and actual pic of the mod is on a master volume silverface FTR. the diagram shows using the front Vibrato input jack for the preamp out. that is totally wrong! also it makes no sense to clip the vibrato pedal input jack. you would have to drill the whole larger for a 1/4" jack anyway. why not just drill a new hole? either way will ruin any vintage value. this way you can still have the pedal function if wanted. as far as losing the master volume, it is in the power section and will be lost once the power tubes are pulled.

once i get my amp up and running i will be doing the 2nd front street preamp out tap to find the difference between the two. the second drops 2 - 220k resistors and uses a switchcraft 13 make contact jack. i imagine with the inline resistance dropped it probably will just be a hotter output signal.

peace,
waldo

peace,
waldo
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Postby strumminsix » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:58 pm

Hey bro! Hit me up off-line via email and I'll help ya out any way I can!
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Postby BayAreaBB » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:12 pm

I have a Resurrection Bolt (with CB2) going into a Trio, powered by a MC2300, into a 2x12 w/ JBL e120s. The slight acoustic quality that I hear in my rig I think is partly due to the CB2. I don't encounter the icepick/acoustic tones that were highly evident after the debut of the Bolt in August 93 (which I personally hear through March 94). Just my experience w/ my rig.
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Postby tigerstrat » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:58 pm

waldo041 wrote:
tigerstrat wrote:The preamp jack is an incredibly simple mod, should be easily less than an hour's going rate ($75 or so?)for a pro tech.

Very easily done if you can solder. For safety, DRAIN THE CAPS. Now, you simply clip the wire going to the vibrato pedal RCA jack, replace the RCA with a 1/4" jack, and solder a lead from the "Tip" terminal to the correct point in the circuit. Voila.


no need to clip the vibrato pedal jack if you make your own hole!

dozin's preamp out tap point is correct on his site, but he has the fender diagram wrong and actual pic of the mod is on a master volume silverface FTR. the diagram shows using the front Vibrato input jack for the preamp out. that is totally wrong! also it makes no sense to clip the vibrato pedal input jack. you would have to drill the whole larger for a 1/4" jack anyway. why not just drill a new hole? either way will ruin any vintage value. this way you can still have the pedal function if wanted. as far as losing the master volume, it is in the power section and will be lost once the power tubes are pulled.

once i get my amp up and running i will be doing the 2nd front street preamp out tap to find the difference between the two. the second drops 2 - 220k resistors and uses a switchcraft 13 make contact jack. i imagine with the inline resistance dropped it probably will just be a hotter output signal.


I didn't have to do any drilling on my back panel to replace the jack... at least I don't remember any. This was on my 1968 Showman Reverb (Dual Showman Reverb) head. And I never use the "vibrato" so I don't miss the pedal. I'll post pics when I get a chance ...and remember.

I didn't include pulling the power tubes as a step, because you can easily put them back in and use the amp as normal.

What is "2nd front street preamp out tap" ?
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Postby waldo041 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:47 pm

tigerstrat wrote:I didn't have to do any drilling on my back panel to replace the jack... at least I don't remember any. This was on my 1968 Showman Reverb (Dual Showman Reverb) head. And I never use the "vibrato" so I don't miss the pedal. I'll post pics when I get a chance ...and remember.


if it was an RCA jack, you probably had too. unless they made bigger rca jacks back then.

while the info is there and the majority of it is absolutely 100% correct. Dozin's preamping a twin does have a confusing diagram and utilizes the wrong amp to demonstrate. that is all i was trying to get across.

tigerstrat wrote:What is "2nd front street preamp out tap" ?


check your email!

peace,
waldo
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Postby playingdead » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:43 am

I have always believed the "acoustic" tone came about when they went to the ear monitors; Phil said those monitors helped them hear each other better but it also increased their hearing loss and high frequencies are the first to go. I suspect Jerry just took the speaker simulator out of the loop and found he could hear himself better that way. His tone got much brighter at the end.

I really don't think you can "blame" the Trio for the change in sound; the "Clean" channel is essentially a PTP duplicate of a blackface Fender Twin. I have very little doubt that he could have dialed in any tone he wanted with it, or he wouldn't have started using it.

I'm going to do an experiment at our gig in Vermont this weekend; I just picked up a preowned Trio and a new 250 watt solid state power amp. I'll run the Tiger into the Trio into my 2X12 Hard Truckers cabinet with my JBL E-120s for the first set, and then go to my regular Twin head for the second set. We'll record off the board and, hopefully, I'll be able to post some results. I'll use the Holy Grail reverb on both to take that out of the equation.

If it sounds exactly the same, my Trio will be available for $825 ... LOL
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