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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Neil Young's MagnaTone

Neil Young's Ol' Black & The MagnaTone

UPDATE: Based on comments, the MagnaTone is not an amp, but a speaker cabinet.

We can attest from an up close Neil Young concert experience that the sound off the stage would knock you off rail if the crowd wasn't pressing against you. The thing literally generates that much air pressure -- in addition to a sonic pummeling.

Neil Young's MagnaTone

Just how does Neil Young achieve his unique sound that has been described as like "a jet plane in a thunderstorm"?


If you're into how Neil Young gets his sound, check these links:

  • Neil Young Interview on Guitar Equipment - Guitar Player Magazine, 3/1992

  • Interview with Neil Young - Guitar Magazine (France), 4/1992

  • Neil Young's Amps & Whizzer - Interview with Neil's Guitar Tech Larry Cragg in Guitar Player Magazine, 3/1992

  • Larry Cragg Interview - Jimmy McDonough's "Shakey" Biography excerpt

  • Larry Cragg: The Welder - Interview in ToneQuest Report Magazine

  • magnatone-amp.jpg
    Giant MagnaTone dwarfs Larry Cragg, Guitar Tech
    New York City - Dec. 16, 2008
    Photo by Paul D.


    At 7/17/2012 11:27:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

    LOL it looks like the system behind the screen in ab an IMAX theatre except Neil puts his in a box to go!

    At 7/18/2012 07:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's not actually a magnatone amp - it's just speakers inside a magnatone casing! Neil does have a magnatone amp, but that's not it...

    At 7/18/2012 07:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Neil has been using his magnatone amp since the 70s, but he's only had that big cabinet since 2008 or so.

    It's just a bunch of really powerful speakers in a magnatone casing, not an amp. The magnatone amp is the short and long one, not much bigger than the Fender amps.

    At 7/18/2012 09:02:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

    Thanks for correction. Updated post.

    At 7/18/2012 11:14:00 AM, Blogger Old Black said...

    Yep - that is NOT a Maggie - that is someone's concoction of a cabinet to hold a lot of speakers - probably to Neil's personal PA that mixes the signals from his various amps. Lately, he has not toured with the Baldwin Exterminator (a big-ass solid state amp that takes the split signal from the Deluxe. He uses Magnatone 280's (he used to use a beat up old one but he has one in much better condition now). The 280 is not a loud amp and needs to be miked for him to hear it on stage (I know from personal experience, because I have a Deluxe and a 280 hooked up like Neil's). Neither the Deluxe nor the 280 do much for amplifying the low-mids - especially when the Deluxe is set with the volume knobs set near 12). He's also been using a Mesa amp head of late, too, which may take the signal and send it to the faux Magnatone cabinet.

    At 7/18/2012 02:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    As much as I love Neil Young's music when it's cranked up: standing just in front of the man in a concert with his tour band in 2009 playing the electric version of "Pocahontas", these Magnatone speakers did terrible things to my ears...


    At 7/29/2014 12:23:00 PM, Anonymous MineTheWell said...

    When he was using this cab, the signal was fed from the tweed deluxe ... and it was amped up by a 300 watt tube Mesa Boogie bass head to drive the cab.

    At 2/07/2017 02:48:00 AM, Blogger Pat said...

    Wrong. It is in fact a 1000 watt amp manufactured by Magnatone in 1967 to promote their new Brute series amps and pa's. It was displayed at trade shows and state fairs across the country and advertised as the "Monster" or in some cases, "Tiny Tim." The amp is powered and the cabinet contains the solid state amp components. When originally displayed, a preamp replicating the production model sat a top the cabinet and featured all the same controls including reverb and vibrato. Here is a link to a photo of the Magnatone Monster in a 1967 issue of Hit Parader.


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