Epiphone "Electar" Amplifier

Epiphone "Electar" Amplifier

In the mid-1930's, Epiphone introduced one of the first lines of guitars intended to be used with electronic amplification.  They called them "Electars", and they were used by such Jazz greats as Charlie Christian.  The amplifier shown here is one of the earliest versions of the Epiphone amplifier.  Because of the tubes used, it could not have been made before 1938, and in 1939, an updated version was introduced, so I am dating this one in the 1938-39 region.

It used a robust Rola 10 inch electrodynamic speaker driven by a pair of 6V6's.  A 6SJ7 was the low-level amplifier, a type 37 was the driver, and an 80 was the rectifier.  I would estimate its power output capability at about 15 watts.  Controls were rudimentary, consisting only of a volume control and power switch.

The case is covered in a light maple veneer, and the handle is stainless steel.  While it is sturdily built, and the furniture-like finish certainly would have looked great on stage, I can imagine these amplifiers did not hold up well to the rigors of the road.  The grill cloth on this unit has been replaced.  The original was of a considerably lighter, silvery color.  The can-type filter capacitor in the center of the chassis is not original.

Epiphone "Electar" Amplifier Chassis

Electar Nameplate

Epiphone "Electar" Amplifier Rear View