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I build Desktop Mini Handwired 5-Watt Tube Amplifier Heads, perfect for home playing and recording. I offer 3 different models based on the Single ended, cathode biased 6V6 power tube, yielding vintage tone, natural compression and excellent tactile response. 


1. Desktop Mini “Champ” Tube Amplifier (Based on the 1957 Fender Tweed 5F1)


2. Desktop Mini “Skylark” Tube Amplifier (Based on the 1960 Gibson GA5)


3.  Desktop Mini “Princeton” Tube Amplifier (Based on the 1957 Fender Tweed 5F2A)


This Listing is for the:


 Desktop Mini “Skylark” 5W Tube Amplifier (Based on the 1960 Gibson GA5)


The 1960 Gibson GA5 Skylark, while similar to the Fender Champ has its own unique voice. The creamy, harmonically loaded overdrive comes on quickly, and the dynamic response is lively and touch-sensitive. There is  more gain on tap which makes it more aggressive and slightly louder. One might say it’s meaner, nastier, and a “wilder ride” than a Champ. Turned up all the way, it sounds like the amp is going to explode!


If  the 5F1 Champ were the Beatles, the GA5 Skylark would be The Rolling Stones, lol.  “I know… it’s only rock ‘n’ roll but I like it.”


Features a Mini 3-Way NFB (Negative Feedback) Switch with 3 different gain options - UP for Stock Setting, DOWN for less (Mild) NFB, and MIDDLE for no (Wild!)  NFB. 


Built in a 5” X 7” Black Crinkle Finish Hammond Enclosure with the Trannys ‘n Tubes exposed For that Studio and High End Audiophile Vibe, this meticulously built, point-to-point (no circuit board) hand wired amp is modeled after the Gibson GA5 Skylark from 1960.


SPECS:

5 Watts of Vacuum Tube Power - you might be surprised how LOUD it is!

JJ 6V6 GT Power Tube

JJ ECC83/12AX7 Preamp Tube

Black Crinkle Finish Enclosure

“Gibson Green” Top Mounted Jewel Lamp

Vintage Style “Art Deco” Volume Knob

Weber Power Transformer 

AES Output Transformer

SS Rectifier

IEC Outlet and 6 ft Cable

8 ohm Speaker Output

Best Quality Carling Switches and Switchcraft Jacks


I love the sound of vintage tweed amplifiers from the 50s! The simple original circuits cultivated from early Tube Manufacturer Handbooks by visionary’s like Leo Fender usually featured one single power tube and one preamp tube.  These “Single Ended” Amplifiers yield a wonderful tactile response with sweet natural, organic compression that makes playing guitar through one a very satisfying experience and a lot of fun. At low volumes they have a full, warm and clear sound but when pushed they overdrive with rich harmonic content. 



By the way , here are some nice things Guys have said about my Amps...


Great communicator, very fast delivery. Killer little amp. Impressed with the Princeton version, little tweak like variable negative feedback, give it more tonal versatility. Just plugged this Skylark version, the 3 negative feedback toggle really opens this one up for textures. Great compliment to the Princeton version. Excellent value for full tube single ended 5w guitar amp that rocks. (David in Cape Coral, FL)


Killer little amp. Love the features, like able to dial in the negative feedback to taste, voicing switch. Dead quiet too and loves pedals. Who could ask for more in a 5w.  Fun is plugging into Fryette power station, and run into Marshall  4x12 and adding touch of verb. Nice amp! (David in Cape Coral, FL)


Hi James. I received the amp today and played through it enough to know that it's just what I was looking for. I have it going through a closed back ported cabinet with a 10" Eminence Deltalite speaker and love the mellow sound and excellent tactile response. I haven't tried much volume yet, but volume isn't what I'm looking for (my band days are over). Thanks for making a nice amp in a great compact package. (Mike in Mesa, AZ)


Wow! The amp arrived, and dang! You have given me a tool that turns a good guitar track into a work of art! I love hi-fi -- but I seek "hyper-fidelity" for my recording work. This amp does that. Gold star for you, bro! Have a groovy day! Merci beaucoup! (Gil in Salt Lake, UT)


This thing sounds awesome. really cool tones at low volumes (Garrett in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA)


Wow, this Champ sounds absolutely AMAZING! The tone is so classic and I'm just blown away by the quality. I will definitely buy from this builder again.(Jay in Jefferson Hills, PA)


Fantastic amplifier that is well-built, beautiful, and has perfect tone. I personally don’t need anything more than this amp and a boost pedal to get everything from shimmering cleans to melting distortion. The quality of its build and parts means it will last my lifetime and the lifetime of others. The circuit is so simple that it can be easily repaired—perhaps even by an numb-nut like me. James is a pleasure to deal with. Pretty much a perfect transaction. (Doug in Castle Rock, CO)


Killer little amp. Robust in build and tone. Everything you need plus a few things you want. Super fast, secure shipping. Thoughtful, informative communication. Great seller! (Joel in Beaverton, OR)


Okay, I am a skeptic. When I read all the reviews, I wondered, how could it be? Dozens, upon dozens, of five star, stellar reviews? Then I bought one. Now I get it, one hundred percent! Decades as a player, that is the best money I have ever spent! Highly recommend. I suspect there may be another in my future! (Paul in Dallas, NC) 


Wow, just wow. First, the buying experience was exceptional. The seller is responsive and accommodating. The package was shipped promptly and arrived well secured. The sound…literally put a stupid grin on my face. Warm and full with the volume knob around noon, but turn it to ‘11’ and the thing gets angry in a hurry. The neck PAF sounds like Blue Sky Allman Brothers and the bridge sounds like Aerosmith. Couldn’t recommend more highly! (Christopher in Coopersburg, PA)


Excellent seller! Shipped same day! Arrived super quick! The amp itself is remarkable; very transparent / touch dynamic, rich harmonic overtones, feels sturdy to the touch. Lots of great tones with a flip of the switch from mild, to stock to wild and the negative feedback switch helps color each of those settings as well. Goes from pristine/shimmery cleans to absolute raucous overdriven tones. Sounds phenomenal through a 12" Cannabis Rex. (Pedram in San Dimas, CA)


As you'll see with the rest of the feedback for Second Chance Amps, this is the best amplifier I've ever played. *Plus* the builder was willing to answer all my questions in detail, so I got some education for free. I could not be happier with this transaction! (Pat in St Cloud, MN)


This amp is absolutely incredible sounding, the cleans, the breakup, everything about it is wonderful, and exactly what I was hoping it would be. I'm getting to know your radio knob, and the description you gave was really useful, I think that feature is gonna be incredibly useful as a studio tool for filing in just the right clean tone, or just the right amount of saturation, and I'm loving playing with it trying to find my sweet spot. The voicing options are phenomenal, I love having a single input, and the switch to move between the three voicings, super convenient, and extremely well done. You did some really phenomenal things with this circuit, I absolutely love it. (Buk in Broken Arrow, OK)


Hi James - I think I'm outside the review window now, but I just had to write you to let you know I love the Gibson GA-5 amp!  It's the perfect size for me to practice with and use for recording in my apartment (at least during the daytime even at 12'o'clock the thing rocks loud with light playing). The craftsmanship of your projects and the little extras you throw into the circuit just make for the perfect and affordable tube amp for people like me. Also, your rapid shipping and great packing were also lovely and I will 100% shop with you again and have been recommending you to people when we chat gear.  (Claire in Fayette City, PA)


This little amp is fantastic! Great clean and a lovely drive, and it’s a looker as well. Well done on a really nice build. I look forward to checking out your mods in more detail. Thanks a ton and keep up the good work! (Evan in San Bruno, CA)


Great little amp. Hits the volume sweet spot for home use. Nice cleans to bluesy cleans using gain switch and mo knob. It works extremely well for me as a pedal platform with a refined base clean to start and the ability to give your overdrive pedals a raw and juicy boost with singular or combined use of the gain switch and/or “mo” knob. Love the business model of just the good stuff small amps that are very reasonably priced. This is a plug and play keeper. (Lyle in El Dorado Hills, CA)


Love this little amp! Sounds great. Records great. I get lost in the music while playing. Isn’t that what it’s all about. Quick shipping. Very receptive to my questions before purchasing. Great experience! (Ryan in Swiftwater, PA)


The Desktop Mini Champ sounds fantastic and it has a solid well built look and feel. The seller was easy to work with, and he shipped the amp the same day, so it was in my hands within 3 days. (Winston in Encino, CA)


Shipping was lightning fast, the amp was packed very securely. The amp (Octal Princeton 5F2A/5C2 hybrid) sounds amazing, very low noise floor, especially for a single-ended amp. I have another amp that has a 5F2A circuit with no negative feedback, and this amp, with the voice switch in the up position and the “Mo” dialed up, nails that sound. This mini Octal Princeton is much more versatile, though, and will do a smooth clean tone in a way the other amp just can’t. I love this little amp. (Ray in Atlanta, GA)


LOVE this thing! Can go from clean and chimey, to buttery smooth, to full on crunch. And at reasonable volume! Great communication and super fast shipping to boot. Thanks James! (Leon in Bordentown, NJ)


I got the amp today and I’ve gotta tell you, I’m really impressed with it. I haven’t had a chance to crank it, but at about half volume, the cleans are exactly what I wanted. Takes pedals well, runs quiet, everything. Super fast shipping and I'm really pleased with this amp. Really nice clean tones and more headroom than I expected for a 5f1 circuit and it can still get nasty with the gain switch engaged. (Joel in Milwaukie, OR)


This amp sounds fantastic—no pedals, nothing, just straight in with my guitar. Warm tones and break up if you want it…(Chris in Katy, TX)


Amp arrived today. I plugged it in and it sounds great. It’s big and full. I’ve owned a 70s Vibro Champ, and a THD Univalve, both of which I liked quite a bit, but the Skylark feels like more amp than either of those. Stays punchy even as you hit the saturation point, doesn’t get flabby like my old Vibro Champ. The negative feedback switch is cool too, lots of different voicings in there. Nice work with this thing! (Andrew in Portland, OR)


This little skylark amp rips! Great transaction, great build quality! If you want the feel of an old amp with dependable, quality components go for it! Sounds amazing with telecaster. at 1:00. P90s, at noon, thru a 1x12, needs a slight amount of low end cut and 6k boost. This is as expected for class A one knob amp. So impressed. (Corey in Fitchburg, MA


Excellent, amazing amp. I bought this as a living room amp, and it’s awesome for that, but loud enough for most other applications. Not noisy. Great pedal platform. With a Dr Z, Fender Vibroverb, Silvertone, I have lots of options, but this one made me play for hours. Love the NFB knob and 3 way capacitor switch. Most bang for the buck amp I have in my arsenal. His small business model means more amp/$. Paired with a Jensen C10q, sounds amazing. (Steve in Colorado Springs)


Great amplifier, great seller. Fantastic Octal Tube Amplifier at a great price. Fast shipping. A+ service. (Glen in Islip Terrace, NY)


Absolutely wonderful sounding amp. The thought and layout and attention to details of everything is truly something special. Super fast shipping and response. Super nice person. I am planning my next purchase now. (Ben in Latrobe, PA)


This lil amp has a classic tone and can have a variety of different sounds (Miles in Pasadena, CA)


Really nice and vibey little amp. On clean tones it feels like the guitar strings are coming right through the speaker. Driven, it gets right into late Beatles territory. Definitely worth the asking price. (Phillip in Albany, CA)


James makes great little amps. The overdrive/distortion on these are very nice and all tube tone. James is easy to work with and responsive. Speedy shipping and secure packaging. Give these little monsters a try! (Andrew in Elmhurst, IL)


Amp arrived unscathed by USPS and is everything I had hoped for! gave it a quick test drive with my TV Jones-equipped Gretsch and it does indeed sound great with Filtertrons. I really appreciate the voicing options and the adjustable negative feedback too. Best of all it passed the “wife test” and was pronounced not too loud. (Bill in Bakersfield, CA)


This thing sounds amazing! The different voicings are distinct. Thanks again! (Frank in Portland, OR)


Wow. Super-fast shipping. Travel-safe packaging. And TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE. Omigosh. Such a simple amp, but I'm in love after just a few minutes. There's something so darn honest about such a simple design. Mr. Knox, thank you so much. Great seller. Buy with confidence. Rock on! (Joe in Glendale, CA)


Great communication with seller before and after purchase. Shipped out the next day. Would definitely use again! Amp is a great compact 5W amp and definitely gets loud. Favorite volume setting for humbuckers is 10-11 o'clock at edge of break up. For single coils I push it a little higher close to noon. Used a handful of drive pedals so far and it takes them very well. Simple, no-fuss amp which easy to dial in. (John n Denver, CO)


I really love the amp! I’ve purchased a few builds like yours and yours by far captured the tone accurately. I own a 55 deluxe and 52 pro. Your build is the one I’m recording with going direct to a boss waza tube amp expander. Sounds fantastic! Thanks for the quality build! (Johnny in Putnam Valley, NY)


This amp was a serious bargain. Couldn’t be happier. (Lee in Bradenton, FL)


Great little amp!!! I would absolutely recommend Second Chance Amps. Quickly shipped and very well packed! I may pick up a Champ or Princeton down the road. (Steve in Prosper, TX)


Gorgeous little amp. I couldn't be more pleased. This is exactly the sound I was looking for. I've wanted a 5F1 for several years to go with a custom 10" cab I built a while back. This is perfect. I look forward to doing business with Second Chance Amps again in the future. (Donald in Temecula, CA)


Great Communication, lightning fast shipping- extremely good design and build quality, and most importantly this amp responds magically and sounds absolutely insane! It sounds like a classic hand wired vibe machine- I might have have to get me another.  That tone ain’t a joke.  Thanks for making such killer quality stuff! (Tim in Renton, WA)


Wow. Blown away by the sound and aesthetic of this desktop Princeton 5F2. I am having so much fun with it. Amp was packed snugly and had a fast ride. Thank you! (Eric in Ben Lomand, CA)


Humbuckers, humbuckers, humbuckers! Little 5C1 amp has tone for days. Can't believe how quiet this thing is. Great transaction. Thank you! (Jason in Kaneohe, HI) 


Great 'Verber' communicater! Lightning fast shipping! But more importantly a truly remarkable 5 watt tone machine. Low noise, 3d like shimmer chime and that is just in the standard Fender setting. Takes Humbuckers and Pedals with delight! Blown away by the build quality. Total hand-wired bang for your buck. Hard to put my guitar down just to write this review. Thank you Second Chance Amps! (Sion in Woodland Hills, CA)


Sounds great, looks great! (Joshua in Columbus, OH)


Amp absolutely screams! Great studio head, impeccable build quality and just a fun piece of kit! Highly recommend! Absolute pleasure to do business with!  (Kevin in Seattle, WA)


Super fast shipping, clear communication and awesome tones from a sweet amp! Buy with confidence!!  (Jason in Buena, NJ)


100% A+! The seller answered all my questions promptly. The amp shipped very fast and was packaged properly. It couldn't have been a better transaction.....Not to mention the amp sounds great! It breaks up really well and the tone control is very usable. All around great job, I couldn't be happier. I cant wait to hear it through proper speakers and seeing what NOS tubes do for it.  Thank you for your hard work and attention to detail. (Aaron in Campton, NH)


Easiest review to write: this seller and these amps are simply the best. When you get the chance to hear something that was built by someone that really loves what they do it is immediately apparent. That is the case with James and his amps. High quality all the way around. Easy to work with, hell, great to talk to! Keep it up! (Ray in Livonia, MI)


Great little amp from the perspective of a hobbyist. I don't have a vintage 1957 Champ 5F1 to compare it to but it sounds great to my ears. I've only tried it with a Fender Jazzmaster so far (clean and with pedals) and it sounds great. Seems like it has plenty of volume for home / recording use or possibly mic-ed for live. (Kristian in Kirkland , WA)


Another quality build of classic rock tone amp. Best with P90 and some distortions. Really rocking and rolling. Great! (John in Dobbs Ferry, NY)


Damn awesome! I plugged into a 60’s Cordovox CL10 Leslie cabinet and played for hours … nails Audrey Freed’s tonality Will definitely purchase another in future! (Henrik in Alexandria, VA)


James is building such great little amp kits! This Desktop Champ sounds incredible and packs the perfect amount of punch for enjoying at home and for recording with. A great seller, super-fast shipment (even during the holiday season), and super communicative! (Tom in Seattle, WA)


Well built, looks good, fast shipping and most importantly - SOUNDS GREAT! (Brian in Cleveland, OH)


Easily the best purchase I’ve made on reverb. Great communication. Ridiculously fast shipping. Way cool amp. Like, beyond cool. (Stacy in Grantham, NH)


Perfect everything transaction!!! Superior customer service, super fast shipping, excellent packing, and an extremely well built super cool and wow, what a great sounding amp! I especially like the 3-way mini toggle in the down position and Mo Betta knob around 11 (almost noon). Looking forward to trying different speaker cabs and doing some recording. (James in Torrance, CA)


Thanks James. Great little Champ, well built, well packaged and thank you for the phone support. (J.D. in Junction City, CA)


Amazing little desktop tube amplifier! Powerful sound, nice warm sound, all the way up to gritty & loud. James built this with lots of detail and care. He responds quickly to questions and shipped it in 2 days. Thanks James! (Bruce in Woodland Park, CO)


Great communication. Super fast shipping. Awesome amp!!! (Eric in Arnold, MD)


Amazing amp, packaged incredibly well and shipped quickly. Thanks! The EQ/Voicing toggle and negative feedback control really make this a versatile amp. I expected the Strat and Tele to sound good, but I was truly blown away when I plugged in the Les Paul and flipped the voicing switch to the humbucker side. I could not put the guitar down. Takes pedals quite well. You will not be disappointed if you buy one of these amps. (Bruce in Boulder, CO)


Another great Little Amp! I liked the first one so much, I bought another one to give to a musician friend ! (John in Los Osos, CA)


I got to spend a couple of hours playing through the amp last night.  Everything is working as advertised and it makes some wonderful guitar noises.  I love this Amp - thanks James! (Charles in Bartlesville, OK)


Got it... sounds great - This Champ is a champ! (Greg in Avon, CT)


Very friendly and prompt response to messages before and after the sale, James has been very helpful and patient with my many questions! Shipping was fast and the item was well packed. I'm extremely happy with this purchase and would not hesitate to do business with him again. Thanks again James! Very highly recommended seller A+++++ (Chuck in Cornelia, GA)


The amp looks gorgeous! I won’t be able to crank it until the house is empty. I was impressed trying out the mini toggle and radio knob. I love that it offers flexibility to vary the character of the amp. I’m very happy I ended up buying your amp. Nice work my friend.  (Stephan in Elk Grove Villiage, IL) 


I received the Desktop Champ in record time, put in some tubes and am VERY pleased.  Great job on that little beast!  Stoked I made the decision to purchase from you! (John in Los Osos, CA)


Great seller, communicative, kind, talented builder, and quick shipper. Thanks: A++ The Princeton is amazing, I love it!!! (Steve in Narberth, PA)


Fantastic 5F1, superb build. A lot of tonal versatility with the NFB and Voicing controls. Clean to Mean! Thanks James! (Todd in Laguna Niguel, CA)


It’s fantastic, James! What makes it shine against my 5C1 is the radio knob. I’m able to match the 5C1 using the bass-cut switch and radio knob, of course, but can also vary the tonal difference significantly enough to create a little 5-watt A/B amp pairing that works like my Marshall JTM-45/SLP-100 clone A/B pair! Dark and fuzzy countered with a comparable bright and edgy tone (using the same basic circuit architecture). I love it! (James in Brooklyn, NY)


James’s Champ Clone with Improved controls far exceeded my expectations. Very high quality amp builder. Good communicator. Highly recommended. (John in Dobbs Ferry, NY)


Beautifully built and lovely sounding little amp. I’m impressed with the low noise for a single-ended amp. Don’t hesitate to purchase from this seller. (Gordon in Norfolk, VA)


Awesome amp, excellent craftsmanship, very versatile with tube options, couldn’t be any happier with the tones I’m getting! (Martin in Fort Meyers, FL)


James, I’ve put the amp in the cab, added tubes, plugged in the alnico speaker and…this is the best sounding amp I currently own! I’m amazed and how good it is all the way around; performance, appearance, sound…it’s the cats ass fer sure! I love it! I had a hunch it would be good and boy howdy am i impressed! Thank you soooo much (Preston in Clarksdale, MS)


Great sounding amplifier that is really well constructed. The amp is very quiet; there is absolutely no hum. It also includes inventive features to enhance the tone and gain. I've owned a few Champ amps and clones and this is easily the best sounding one. (Erik in Wall, NJ)


Excellent champ, sounds great, very well built, and the added features are nice. Great communication as well. Couldn’t be happier with this purchase! (Greg in Norfolk, VA)


What a fantastic Amp! I could not be more satisfied. Really enjoyed communicating with James. Will be playing this Amp for a long time!  (Steve in Torrance, CA)


5 Stars! Very prompt and helpful. (Adam in Houston, TX)


It was only Yesterday that I finally got some tubes & was able to 'fire it up'... it sounds GREAT! The NFB control & Cap switch really give a lot of sonic options. I am most pleased with this amp! (Paul in Portland, OR)


Just letting you know your baby arrived safe and sound here in Pittsburgh. You did a wonderful job with the packing. I'm no expert, but everything looks neat and tidy in the chassis--nice job! (Bryan in Pittsburg, PA)


Excellent pack and all arrived safe and sound. Awesome practice amp and stone simple, which is great for exploring the guitar. But beyond that fun, you put together a beautiful build and it just is top notch quality in appearance and function. Very happy to give it a good and respecting home. It's a delight to have in the open room with the clean and professional appearance. awesome  (Tyler in Houston, TX)


Great Seller! Well build Amp, packed well and shipped FAST! (Frank in South Dennis, MA)


Great experience with the purchase of this 5e3 tweed deluxe amp! I sent a message to James AFTER I made the purchase and asked him to give me a call. James called me within an hour and gave me some good info on the 5e3. James was a pleasure to talk to.  On top of that, the work inside the Amp he did was Excellent!!! (Robert in Danville, CA)


Great Amp - Loving it! (Ray in San Diego)


The amp sounds so good.  The Negative Feedback knob is cool! Thx again (Adam in Houston, TX)



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ConditionBrand New (New)
Brand New items are sold by an authorized dealer or original builder and include all original packaging.Learn more
Brand
Model
  • GA-5 Skylark
Finish
  • Black
Categories
Year
  • 2024
Made In
  • United States

Second Chance Amps

Phoenix, AZ, United States
Sales:401
Joined Reverb:2015

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