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Digital Subscriptions > The Guitar Magazine > Jul-18 > SIGNATURE SOUNDS

SIGNATURE SOUNDS

Though not as famous as the guitar that bore his name, in the 1950s Les Paul also lent his name to a line of Gibson amps that made a complete signature ‘guitar outfit’. Huw Price gets two-toned with the GA-40…

VINTAGE BENCH TEST

The Gibson badge is long gone, but the outline has been drawn in black marker
The control panel and has suffered corrosion, and a screw has been added at each end of the control cutout to hold the amp more securely

In total, Gibson produced no fewer than five Les Paul GA-40 amplifier variants. The looks and electronics varied from model to model, yet none produced anything like the 40 watts the name implies. All besides the last version were equipped with two 6V6 power valves, cathode-biased to drive about 15 watts through an Alnico Jensen P12. This GA-40 featured is the second version, which Gibson produced in 1956 and 1957. The redwood cabinet was increased in size and while Gibson retained the two-tone look, the ‘buff alo grained’ Tolex was combined with a smooth, patterned Tolex that looks like a blown-up photo of someone’s rug. The original P12Q speaker in our example is intact and its ‘late 1955’ date stamp suggests this amp is most likely a 1956 example.

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