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Over the years, I’d heard a lot of really great things about the 6G3 Brown Deluxe. I’m a big ZZ Top fan (especially the early years), and after learning that Billy Gibbons had used them in the pre-Eliminator days, my interest was piqued. Later on, I read an interview with Joe Bonamassa, who considers the 6G3 a “desert island” amp. Ok, so now I gotta have one. But the vintage ones I found were spendy and almost always messed with. So I decided why not just build one using the best bits available?
Down Brownie™ is a faithful tribute to the revered 6G3 Brown Deluxe that really does live up to it’s reputation as a “mini-Marshall”. This is not assembled from a “kit”. Down Brownie™ has about 275 parts, consisting of 100 discrete part numbers sourced from over a dozen different vendors. We cut no corners; only the best components were used. Furthermore, it comes standard with some really cool features that take it well beyond a one-trick pony, without altering the original “brown sound” or DNA these gems are known for. Oh, and it has the most seductive bias-vary tremolo you’ve ever heard.
Down Brownie™ has two very distinctive channels; British and Brown. Let’s start with the the Brown channel. This is the pure unadulterated 6G3 tone right here, boys. Although originally labeled the “Bright” channel, there’s really nothing bright about it. It starts to get real crunchy at anything above 3-4 on the volume. Turn it up to 7 or 8, and let’s just say the Reverend would approve…
On to the British channel. Originally labeled “Normal”, it was sort of flat sounding to my ears. So, after some tweaking and several consultations with Fender mod guru Rob Robinette, this channel was re-voiced to a Marshall JMP50 1987 type circuit. The V1 cathode was split, and Marshall capacitor and resistor values were used where appropriate. This channel is tighter with slightly less gain than the Brown channel (think AC/DC, Kossoff, here). Pull the British channel volume knob, and you’ve just jumpered with the Brown channel for some very cool blending possibilities. Pull the tone knob on the British channel and you switch in a warmer bright cap which gives you a softer tone when the volume is set at 7 or lower (nice for Strats or Teles when playing clean).
Down Brownie™ Features:
- British channel is JMP50/1987 voiced with pull-to-jumper and pull-to-lift bright cap features
- Brown channel is pure, unadulterated 6G3 goodness
- Rich Mod II PPIMV using a PEC 500K dual audio potentiometer and shielded wire (sounds fantastic!)
- Switchable tube/solid state rectifier
- Switchable negative feedback; choose between 6G3/5E3/JTM45 NFB resistor values
- Adjustable bias pot on underside of chassis
- Fender style single button footswitch for tremolo
- 4/8/16 ohm selector switch; speaker swaps no problem
Down Brownie™ Components & Specifications*:
- Weber Vintage Alnico 12A125-S 8 ohm, 30 watt speaker (a P12Q-inspired Alnico, but with tighter bottom-end and later breakup)
- Custom wound vintage spec Heyboer power transformer w/M6 grain oriented iron
- Custom wound vintage spec Heyboer output transformer w/M6 grain oriented iron (4/8/16 ohm taps)
- Heavy Duty 16AWG 8′ power cord
- SoZo NextGen Blue Molded Vintage and Yellow Mustard Vintage capacitors
- Sprague, F&T electrolytic capacitors
- Carbon composition resistors
- Belton sockets, Carling switches, Switchcraft jacks
- CTS, Bourns and PEC potentiometers
- Custom-made lightweight aluminum chassis
- Custom-made vintage correct cabinet to our specs using selected lightweight #2 pine & 1/4″ finger joints just like Leo made ’em. They’re even stained inside for that vintage “cedar” look (dust bunnies not included)
- Old-school hand wired construction with our custom-made G10FR ‘glass eyelet boards and correct gauge pushback wire
- 20 watts, (2) matched 6V6GTs; (1) GZ34; (3) 12AX7
- Weighs just 30 pounds; grab ‘n go!
*Components and Specifications are subject to change without notice due to availability, or to improve reliability, function, design or otherwise.