Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Gretsch GA 410...The Tone of Melamine!

Melamine Listeni/ˈmɛləmn/ is an organic base and a trimer of cyanamide, with a 1,3,5-triazine skeleton. Like cyanamide, it contains 67% nitrogen by mass and, if mixed with resins, has fire retardant properties due to its release of nitrogen gas when burned or charred, and has several other industrial uses. Melamine is also a metabolite of cyromazine, a pesticide. It is formed in the body of mammals that have ingested cyromazine.[2] It has been reported that cyromazine can also be converted to melamine in plants.[3][4]
Melamine combines with cyanuric acid and related compounds to form melamine cyanurate and related crystal structures, which have been implicated as contaminants or biomarkers in Chinese protein adulterations.

Mmmm, Melamine

Everyone loves Melamine right?  Obviously, since it is used so regularly in all the new furniture bought, broken, and trashed.  Why pay high rates for actual craftsmanship?  Let's just get it as cheap as we can get it.  Then chuck it once it's no longer of use to us.  Anyway, I'll get off the Melamine Soap Box and get to the positive side of this small wonder below.

Back In The Day

The GA 410 was a very popular type of Solid State combo amp if you were just starting out in the late 70's and 80's.  They were offered in Catalogs like Sears, Montgomery Wards, and JC Penny.  They were cheap and made sound.  The low 5-ish watt volumes pleased parents and older sisters.  Young Joey could go back to his room and twang away with little bleed to other parts of the house.


If you had a GA 410 it probably had a short lifespan.  The Melamine parts were literally hot glued together.  If you lived in a humid atmosphere the material would swell and eventually deteriorate. I had one in Florida in the 80's.  Picked it up to move it one day and it fell apart leaving the only the handle in hand.  Another, was owned by the local High School.  The top would pull off snugly and left little seem. Let's just say, it became a great place to hide stuff in. 

A Good Scenario (The Tone Of Sweet Melamine)
Now, as an adult that likes to multi-track guitar tones the GA 410 has become a good little terror for that extra fizz on top of a bigger tone.  There is something to be said about tone of a cabinet that is just notch above the quality of a shoebox.  In a way it is the ultimate "trash" tone.  Another plus, is that they can be easily purchased for less than $50.  I bet they can be modified as well for other functions.    

This Just In From Ancestry.com
This GA 410 claims it is related to Uncle Fred.  That's Fred Gretsch Enterprises of Ridgeland, SC.  Interesting, I had no idea.  Is it worth more now?

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