Funky old guitar amps

In the midst of a big gear purge I came across this thing pretty cheap at a second hand shop here in Tokyo this evening and after plugging into it I had to take it home.

A 1973 Ace Tone Mini Ace. Ace Tone was founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi, who would later go on to found Roland and Boss.

It’s a funky transistor amp with a really interesting sounding spring reverb and tremolo circuit. The reverb doesn’t get cavernous but it does this really cool feedback swell when it’s cranked that almost sounds like it’s going to explode but then it washes out.

It does a nice “spaghetti western” sound, and definitely seems like the thing Jack White might dig.

The only thing is that despite being small and light, it gets loud! I can only put it on 2-3 in my place.


One more photo for scale. This thing is so awesome. I’ve never owned an amp that does feedback like this. It’s incredible. It’s not shrill feedback, it’s more like when a delay pedal starts threatening to run wild on you.

I might try running this in stereo with my VibroChamp tomorrow, and I need to try throwing a fuzz on top of it as well.


Nice find.
Once a year I allow myself a whole day to ferret about in Ochanomizu. My most insane discovery was a similarly sized combo with a rotary speaker.

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Ochanomizu is great. I’ve been working in Otemachi for the past 12 years or so, and used to go to Ochanomizu all the time on my lunch breaks. You can do a lot of damage to the wallet there.

A buddy of mine told me about a place that is filled with old bizarre little Japanse amps, I think it was in Higashi Shinjuku (I need to double check).
I found this one at Hard Off in Kichijoji.

In this video Lee Renaldo discusses getting all sorts of little small wattage amps, and this amp really reminds me of something he’d be into. I’ve never had an amp that gets such cool musical sounding feedback before. The cool thing is that it’s only when you put the reverb up all the way, so you don’t have to deal with feedback all the time if you don’t want it. I guess it probably has to do with the way the tank is fixed to the cabinet.

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This is mine, for the last 30 years, somehow it stayed with me :slight_smile:

I love the tremolo, no reverb here.

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Awesome! I added an “s” to “amp” in the title in hopes that other people will show some off!

Did you buy yours in Japan? Are you still in Japan?

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Nope :slight_smile:
Class mate gave it to me, far away from Japan, more near Tel Aviv.
I really like this amp

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Sadly everything I want is usually to big or heavy to bring back to Sydney. But at least the record prices there are a fraction of what they are here. I always have room for a few LPs and 12”s

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Yeah, my buddy from Ireland is here once a year for the Disc Union sales. He’s a record dealer so he ships back a big box each trip. You can’t beat Japan for records or music gear.

I really enjoyed this video. I love the fuzz tone from that first amp!

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Oh man, my local shop got in another gem.

Late 50s-early 60s Kay. It basically breaks up immediately and does an amazing fuzz tone. It had an old RCA tube and an old GE tube in it. I was so tempted to bring it home, but somehow walked away from it. :crying_cat_face:

EDIT: I couldn’t get it out of my head and went back and bought it. I couldn’t talk them down, BUT I did find out that they sent it to a specialist that went over it completely and made sure it was in great running order. It’s dead silent, no hum. It turns out it’s actually a pretty rare amp, it uses some pretty weird tubes (50c3 and 35w4), which was a bit of a concern, BUT the ones in it are brand new unused original NOS RCA and GE tubes, and it came with another spare pair. You can’t beat that.

People on this board would probably be more into these though: