WATKINS / WEM AMPLIFIERS

THE WATKINS JOKER 25 WATT AMPLIFIER

 

Picture courtesy of Sabella Recording Studios, New York, USA

 

Possibly the most advanced amplifier available in the early 60s, complete with tremolo, echo, reverb and a built-in microphone stand. The Joker included a valve Copicat built into the chassis, and seems to have been intended as a self-contained guitar amp and PA system for a guitar-playing singer. 

An early 60s amp, the Joker came with two-tone red & grey coverings and a red control panel which distinguished it from other Watkins cosmetics of the era, possibly deliberately. There are un-confirmed sightings of all-black and black & grey models. It is very rare today to find working models in original condition. It seems that they may have been produced for quite a limited period, maybe 1962-63.

A sub-baffle suggests that it may have been intended to offer the Joker with different speaker configurations : 2 x 10 or even 2 x 12 would fit, but most Jokers are found with a single 12" Watkins-labelled Goodmans Axiom 301 speaker, some having in addition a small horn. A "magic-eye" valve on the control panel measures the tremolo speed. With no less than 17 valves inside there may have been reliability problems.



 


 

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