END OF THE LINE - SELMER SOLID STATE AMPLIFIERS IN THE LATE 1960's AND
Solid-state technology appears to have been
introduced into the Selmer range around the second half of 1965 with the
introduction of the Taurus 60watt combo amp (later known as the Saturn 60
Reverb), which looked similar to the Zodiac
and Thunderbird of the same era. This was soon joined by the small 5watt Mercury
combo for a year or so. Following the disappearance of these first attempts in
solid state technology around 1969-70, three simple 15 and 30 combo models were
produced for a few years from 1973 onwards.
A short-lived professional-level solid state amplifier heads
were introduced at the Frankfurt Trade Fair in Spring 1973, but these were
superseded a year or so later by a less-sophisticated and hence
lower-price range of slimline solid state amps and cabinets which remained in
production for several years.
By 1979, it would seem that all production
had been finally changed to solid state. An Equipment List found in the back of
"Beat" Magazine from August 1979 lists only solid state 100 and 200Watt bass
heads and speaker cabinets, together with a 60watt 1 x 12" Combo amp. Details of
that final solid state range have still to be identified.
Problems with reliability on the earlier models, together with the inevitable performance comparisons with
Selmer's own valve amps, and those of their many competitors during the 1970s, led to the Selmer solid-state gear not being very successful. Perhaps this is why very few Selmer
"Trannies" are around to-day.
Selmer Advertisement from May 1974 featuring the
Compact 15SS Combo
MERCURY 5 COMBO AMPLIFIER
(1968 to 1969) The replacement for the valve powered Little Giant, with 5 watts output through an 8" speaker. Two inputs were available, each with a
separate volume control, but with a common tone control. A tremolo equipped variant was also available for a further 4 guineas. This little practice amp seems to have
only been produced between 1968 and 1969 during the Black/Silver Period.
SELMER TAURUS 60 COMBO
(1965 to 1968)
Selmer's introduction into Solid State amps with 60 watt power output, through 2 x 12" speakers. Two channels with two inputs per channel. Both tremolo and reverberation controlled individually on each channel. The amp was equipped with a chrome swivel-back stand, fitted with castors. Introduced
into the Selmer range in
September 1965 as the blue/black Taurus 60 (initially without swivel-back stand), it
changed its appearance, and its name to Saturn 60, in September 1968 during the black/silver
period. The Saturn had disappeared by 1970.
COMPACT 15SS COMBO AMPLIFIER (1973 to mid-1970's) A simple solid state 15 watt amp, fitted with an
elliptical speaker. Single volume and tone control, plus two input sockets.
Initially introduced in mid-1973 with blue control panel. Later versions
still in production during the mid-1970s, although with revised electronics.
SELMER COMPACT 30SS COMBO
AMPLIFIER (1973 to 1974) A short-lived solid state 30 watt amp using a similar
concept to the valve-drive Compact 30SV. Two 12" speakers with volume,
bass and treble controls controlling the single twin-input channel.
Introduced around 1972 and soon discarded for the new Super Reverb 30/30SS
combo brought out in c1974.
30SS COMBO AMPLIFIER (A.K.A.SELMER SUPER REVERB 30) (1974 to
mid-1970's) A 30 watt output amp replacing the above Compact 30SS,
equipped with two 12" speakers. Two non-switchable channels, with simple volume, bass and treble controls. Reverb fitted to second channel.
Produced from c1974 onwards, and initially described in the catalogue as the
"Super Reverb 30"..
AMPLIFIER HEADS, SPEAKERS, & PA EQUIPMENT
Selmer Solid State Advertisement from April 1973.
L&B 100 "LEAD AND BASS" (1973-75) This head unit was presumably intended to
eventually take over from the old valve driven Treble and Bass SV model, but
in fact the SV range continued to run in parallel with the new transistor
amps until the mid 1970s. Probably best to let the 1973 catalogue entry speak for itself - "A new solid state amplifier developed with working groups road managers in mind. May be switched from lead to bass on either channel. With a lead cabinet can be
used for the whole range necessary for lead or rhythm guitar, and with a bass cabinet provides all the depth and tone required. Illuminated front panel. Two inputs for each channel, including... independent treble, bass, middle, presence, volume, reverb. Rear socket for external echo". Two types of speaker cabinet were available for use with this amp.
The Lead 100 Cabinet was fitted with 4 x 12" speakers. (Perhaps a touch of the Marshalls here!). The Bass
100 cabinet was
equipped with a single 18" unit, and was fibre glass lined internally. The catalogue states that this cabinet had been developed from the Goliath cabinet, which it
presumably was intended to replaced.
SELMER PA 100
(1973-75) A solid-state alternative to the valve driven SV unit also appeared in
1973. Certainly, for a year or so, the two alternatives seem to have been produced in parallel. Interestingly, in 1974, the solid state version was much more expensive at £188 than the valve SV model at a bargain £109.50! 100 watts output, with six channels each equipped with volume, treble and bass controls. A single reverb depth control was fitted, acting on all channels, as was a master volume.
Two Selmer PA 60H speaker cabinets were recommended for use with the PA100
amplifier. Each cabinet contained three 12" speakers plus a horn unit.
SL 100 SLAVE AMPLIFIER (1973-75) Slave amps were very much in
fashion in the 1970's for boosting the outputs from PA amplifiers and even
guitar amp heads. This was the first occasion that Selmer produced such a
unit. It was equipped with two input channels with two input sockets, a
volume slider and rotary bass and treble controls for each
Selmer "Slimline" Solid State advert from
SELMER LEAD 100(Autumn 1974 - Mid/Late 1970s) Selmer introduced a second range of solid
state amps in Autumn 1974, and came up with slim looking amps which
presumably were intended to offer a much cheaper alternative to the above
1973 range. This range provided separate amplifier heads for Lead and Bass. Twin channel with individual rotary controls per
channel for volume, bass, treble, and reverb.
SELMER BASS 100(Autumn 1974 - Mid/Late 1970s) Rather strangely, this bass amp was equipped in
exactly the same manner as the Lead amp, with reverb on both of the two
SELMER PA100 MIXER(Autumn
1974 - Mid/Late 1970s) A dramatic change in style and capability from previous
Selmer PA amps, this new 100 watt amplifier was combined with a 10 channel
mixer, with volume sliders for each channel! Reverb was ialso included i
SELMER POWER 100 SLAVE
AMPLIFIER(Autumn 1974 - Mid/Late 1970s) A simpler unit than the
previous fully controllable twin channel slave, with now just one input with
a single rotary control for input level.
(Mid/Late 1970's onwards) A later model to the above unit, this could well be the last PA 100 model produced before Selmer's
September 1973 Selmer advertisement for their new
range of solid state amplification. At the bottom of the script is a paragraph
stating that this gear was used in the "new Rock & Roll musical - GREASE", which
opened at the New London Theatre on 26th June 1973.