CHAMP ELECTRONICS -" THE VALVE AMP HOSPITAL"

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND

 

SERVICING OF A WILSIC 50 Watt GUITAR AMPLIFIER

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit of an unusual one, this..............

"Recently, I have had my best friend Mervin over from Australia for a whole month (September, 2006). Like myself, he too is crazy about tube electronics and music. (I think he might even be worse!). Every time Mervin comes over here, which about once a year, he always tries to "snap up a bargain or two" in the form of a valve amplifier to take back to Australia as: (a) part of his collection, and (b) as a possible contribution towards his pension at a later date!

During the previous three years he has managed to take back two Sound City 50 watt amps, plus a Sound City 120 (God only knows how he managed to get that on the plane. I bet the X-Ray machine went crazy!). This year he took back with him a 50 watt tube amp called Wilsic! Neither of us had ever seen or heard of one of these things before. It is covered in an orange vinyl, and is about the size, weight, and shape of a Selmer Treble ‘n’ Bass 50 head Mk1. It was manufactured by Wilsic Electronics, Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK. It's a nice piece of kit though, and very sturdily constructed throughout.

After first spotting/wining yet another Sound City 50 on EBay, and as it was close to home in Nottingham, we simply popped around to pick it up. On doing so, we found that the gentleman selling the amp (Paul) actually knew me. I had repaired a Marshall recently for him. He also explained that he had bought the Sound City from a guy who lives very close to me, and that this guy also had other items for sale, which included another non-working valve amplifier. After paying Paul for the Sound City and acquiring this guy’s phone number, we headed back home. Next came the phone call to this guy to see if he had still got the non-working tube amplifier, and yes….he had!

As you can imagine Mervin and I promptly set off to the other side of the estate to check this amp out. On doing so, it turns out that I knew this guy slightly too, as we both had an interest in modified cars and I had chatted to him before on this issue. Small world, eh! Anyway, we looked at the tube amp and I removed the back panel to check things out. I was greeted with 2 x EL34’s, 1 x GZ34 and three ECC83’s. After a lot of "ummming and arrring", I asked Merv if he thought he could manage to take this back to Australia on the plane. We then basically "put the ball" in the sellers hands as to what he would take for it? After his statement of "give me thirty quid and it’s yours", both Mervin and I, in a nonchalant manor, clinched the deal and Mervin paid him the said £30. After returning to the car with the amp, we both agreed that this was a good bargain!

OK, with the newly acquired amp having the name "Wilsic", Merv and I ended up calling it "Well Sick"! but, in reality it actually wasn’t that sick at all.  Replacing just the missing power and HT fuses saw it burst into life perfectly OK! We actually ended up changing two of the main electrolytic capacitors as they had started to "swell up". Otherwise, she was great and previously untouched! The output stage is in ultra-linear too.

With the name Wilsic, it is probably no wonder that they didn’t become very popular, but in reality, this is a nice amplifier and will probably net Merv some good funds at that time in the future when he decides to sell it, over there in Oz. Valve (tube) amplifiers over here in the UK are doing "good bizz" nowadays, but in Australia they are doing even better!

A nice deal all round. 

Cheers for looking, John."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS UNUSUAL AMP, SUPPLIED BY NEIL:

Hi John,

Just seen your write up on the Wilsic 50 watt guitar amplifier in the miscellaneous guitar amp section (the orange one your friend Mervin took back to Australia). Tell him he's got what later became the Miles Platting V.50. The following info I found on the web may help?

This is the information I got from JHS about three years ago, when I asked them about the Miles Platting products.

"Miles Platting was a range of guitar amplifiers manufactured for John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd. (JHS) by Wilsic Electronics of Doncaster. They were introduced in 1972 and discontinued in 1977, when the owner of Wilsic died prematurely and the company decided not to continue in business. At the time JHS were unable to find a suitable alternative maker. These products were sold throughout Europe, and they were exhibited on the JHS booth at the Frankfurt Musik Messe for a number of years in the 1970's."

The brand-name came from a railway station in the suburbs of Manchester, UK. John Skewes was passing through the station on a train one day and thought the name had a ring to it and thought it would make a suitable brand-name for a product. The cabinets were made by Wilsic. They had a small workshop for these as well as for the electronic chassis."

Brochure attached. (See below)

So why do I think this is what Mervin has? Because I bought one myself a few weeks back and I recognise the name Wilsic on the rear of the unit.

My amp was sold to a lead guitarist who played in a group with the guy I bought the amp off (Win Leadbetter - Win's Son has a studio in Manchester) - don't know the name of the group though?). The guitarist bought it new along with the Laney cab from a retail shop in Birmingham in the early 70’s. Later a friend needed something loud so Win sold the amp and cab to him. His name is Alan John "Al" Atkins, ex lead singer of Judas Priest, though he left the group just before they broke into the big time. Al formed a group called Lion and toured with this amp for several years, then went solo. Al bought new stuff later and the Miles amp was left in his garage for a while. Win got to hear it was not needed so he bought it back off Al.  5 years later Win moved house and didn't have much space so he put it on EBay, Item number: 190169314814 I got it for £100 with a Laney 4x12 (G12H) cab Celestions dated Dec 70. 

If you've got this far well done! (It was going to be a short note!)

Cheers, Neil.

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