While there's no doubt that Fender, Marshall, and Vox represent the holy trinity of guitar amplifier design, tone, and manufacturing, there are some major sleepers when it comes to vintage amps. Gibson, for one, put out some amazing amplifiers in their heyday. This Gibson-made Epiphone EA-10RV Deluxe marks one of the rarest and most distinguished tube combos to come out of Kalamazoo regardless of what the name on the chassis says.
As just one of 76 units shipped during its production, this EA-10RV Deluxe model was the top-of-the-line professional combo offered by Epiphone in 1961. Boasting 25 watts of cathode-biased output via a pair of 6L6 power tubes, and featuring two independent channels (one Normal and one Reverb), the Deluxe is about as "deluxe" as it gets in this era. Each channel offers Hi and Low inputs with independent volume controls and a global 2-band EQ consisting of Bass and Treble. A single Reverberation control is tied to Channel 2 only, and a unique 4-way rotary knob controls power and standby capabilities.
Pre-dating the Deluxe Reverb by three years, the EA-10RV's tube-driven spring reverb has a big, lush, and bright tone due to the original Gibbs 1122 reverb pan. The large finger-jointed pine cabinet houses a Jensen P15P Alnico speaker on a thin ply baffle, quite similar to the construction of a 50s Tweed Fender combo. The 6EU7 front end operates very similarly to a 12AX7 (it's essentially half of a 12AX7 mechanically) and sounds excellent when pushing the preamp into the power section.
The overall tone of the amp is big and bright early on in the volume control, and transforms into beautifully rich overdrive at about 1:00 on the dial. In Fender Tweed-like fashion, you can jumper the channels and blend in Normal and Reverb channel volumes to taste. We find this especially useful when mixing the reverb of the second channel - you can set the Reverb channel for a nice splashy reverb-drenched sound, and then blend in the Normal channel to even out the wet/dry mix. Disengaging the reverb via the original footswitch and pushing both volume controls when jumpered results in some seriously satisfying overdrive reminiscent of a Gibson GA-40 combined with a Fender Tweed Pro.
This is a very clean example of a super rare amp that has been properly serviced and sounding excellent. The Jensen P15P was recently reconed by Weber using a comparable P15-type cone. New old stock preamp tubes complement a newer set of JJ 6L6s, and all electrolytics and filter caps have been properly replaced along with a three prong power cord. The original grill cloth was in disrepair, so a replacement wheat grill cloth was installed while keeping the original Epiphone badge intact.
With 50s and 60s Gibson-made amplifiers climbing in both notoriety and value, we'd consider this EA-10RV Deluxe to be one of the best mid-powered 60s amps available on the market.
Condition: Excellent. Outside of the replaced grill cloth, this amplifier is in excellent condition. The original grey tolex is almost entirely free of wear with very little discoloration or fading. The chrome-plated chassis is very clean and free of any real pitting or corrosion of note, and all silkscreened lettering is very much intact. All of the knobs are original to the amp. The original Mahogany footswitch is in great shape and is wired up with a modern switch for better reliability and long-term use.
- 25 Watts output via (2) 6L6 power tubes
- (3) 6EU7 and (1) 12AU7 preamp tubes
- Original Jensen P15P 15" Alnico speaker - reconed by Weber in 2022
- Finger-jointed pine cabinet with original grey tolex
- Dimensions: 22" W x 20.5" H x 10" D
- Original Gibbs 1122 reverb pan