NAD - Gibson Duo Medalist

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by Go Nigel Go, Feb 7, 2021.

  1. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2020
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    I may have mentioned elsewhere that I am a sucker for Tremelo Amps, and when I found this I knew I was a goner.

    So I wish I could start with "Look what I found for 50 bucks at a yard sale", but no. I was browsing through craigslist, which is always dangerous and found this cool amp. The seller knew what they had, and while the starting price was a tad on the high side for the condition (some road scuffs and minor cosmetic damage, but well maintained and fully functional), a little research showed it wasn't unreasonable either. I had to do a fair bit of research because I had never heard of these, but the more I found the more interested I became.

    I don't know exactly what year it is, the seller said 1965 (which would make it the oldest one I have ever found), but more likely it would be around 1967-69. I can't find a breakdown of the actual production run anywhere. The Duo Medalist and Super Medalist are rated at around 30 watts, with a 12 inch Jensen Special Design speaker (2 of them in the Super Medalist) and were some of the last tube amps produced by Gibson until recently. In the 70's they apparently went all solid state for several decades. The tube set uses 6EU7 pre-amp tubes on both channels and a pair of 7591 output stage tubes.

    After a month of wavering, researching, and trying to convince myself I didn't need another amp, I finally made an appointment to go and try it out. I tossed my SG and a patch cable into the car and drove up to give it a test drive. I plugged straight in when I got there and was immediately greeted with the Blues Lead tone of my dreams before I touched a single knob. I knew right then and there that I did indeed need another amp and I was going to buy it.

    I would best describe the sound as the result of a Fender Deluxe Reverb having a love child with a Vox AC-30. Not really halfway between, so much as a blend of many of the qualities characteristic of both amps, but not really either one. Definitely has it's own personality.

    Gibson Duo Medalist 1.jpg

    I saw a lot of people on line complaining that these have "too much treble" and contain some sort of mystical "Tone Sucking circuit" that simply must be removed to sound right. Well that is all total B.S. Yeah it has a lot of treble presence, maybe more than some people care for, but it is well within the range of the tones a lot of great players have used over the years on many great recordings using other amps as well. Most Vox players would probably not find it unusual at all. I will say that it is impossible to dial in the "boomy hollow sound" I can get on most of my amps by turning the treble way back, but then I have never actually wanted that sound either so it's not really a great loss to my mind.

    Also I have noticed that I can actually USE the tone knob on my guitar with this amp. Almost the whole range can be used before things start to sound muddy in the bottom quarter. Most amps I just dime the tone knobs on my Gibsons and leave them there. With this amp, especially in the first half (from 10 down to around 5) there is a lot of tasty tone variation that still has some nice definition and a bit of sparkle.

    Gain is "moderate" getting just to the other side of a nice edge of breakup tone, but nothing I would really call distorted. It should take pedals extremely well, and I look forward to being able to unbox all of my gear in the new studio/rehearsal space we are planning to build this year so I can really open it up. She's definitely not a bedroom amp, so I can't really play her in the house when the wife is home. Not to mention it scares the cats something awful even at 1/4 volume.

    Gibson Duo Medalist 2.jpg

    These may be among the last affordable vintage tube amps from a "big name company" out there. Pristine ones are nudging over a grand, but there are still a lot like this one in the four to five hundred dollar range that still play and sound great.

    Gibson Duo Medalist 3.jpg

    Here are a couple of Youtube demos that finally convinced me to give this amp a shot.

    Bettyboo and Clifdawg like this.
  2. Bettyboo

    Bettyboo Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2015
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    Interesting and cool amp. I've never seen one of those before.
    Go Nigel Go likes this.
  3. Westernrider

    Westernrider Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2014
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    Mid South

    Gibson made some nice solid state and tube amps. Now that They bought Mesa Boogie, I'm hoping that maybe a couple of the older 60's amps might be resurrected.

    If you would like to expand your world, take a minute and do a search for:

    Gibson amplifier catalogs
    Standell Amps
    Baldwin Amps.
    Kustom Amps
    Bettyboo likes this.

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