Representing the top of the Magnatone range at the time, this ’61 Custom 280 has a superb sound all of its own.
These amps are noted for their unique vibrato and warm break up: famously used by Buddy Holly, Ry Cooder and Robert Cray amongst others. At the time they were made they outstripped pretty much everything on the market; two main 12″ drivers and two 5″ tweeters, fantastic tone, clarity and power, with great controls and a marvellous (totally cutting edge at the time) true stereo vibrato.
All features work well – the pitch-shift vibrato is what Magnatones are known for and it’s easy to understand why: it makes for a unique and evocative sound – once heard, never forgotten. A great opportunity to acquire a stunning example of these evocative amps.
The bass and treble tone controls are very interactive and can really shape the mids – can take some getting used to.
A great trick is to jumper the channels together and engage the vibrato: by mixing the channel levels and adjusting the tone controls you get a great phasing effect that can be almost like an autowah/filter: sonically very pleasing and quite addictive.
Buddy Holly, Neil Young, Dave Gilmour, Lonnie Mack, Ry Cooder, Robert Cray… and not to mention Leo Fender found plenty of inspiration here as well.
It’s been fully restored and looks as good as it sounds. In any condition these amps are rare and increasingly sought after. One like this will not be here long.
Click on the photos to zoom in and see more shots, and get in touch if you need more information.
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