Amps


MADE TO A BUDGET - THE FUTURAMA RANGE

 



bas5.jpeg - 33Kb
Futurama Bassist Major, courtesy of Geoff Turner, Birmingham, England.


Selmer used the brandname "Futurama" on guitars in the early 1960's, and also distributed a range of Futurama amplifiers. These were Selmer's budget amplifiers at lower prices than the Truvoice range, but they were well-made, valve driven, and sounded good.

The Futurama amplifiers were introduced in the September 1963 Selmer catalogue. Four combos were initially available, two for guitar - the 15 watt Caravelle and the 6 watt Corvette, and two for bass - the 15 watt Futurama Bassist Major and the 6 watt Bassist Minor (discontinued in Autumn 1964). The two Bassist models had detachable amplifier sections; presumably an attempt to prevent vibration damage to the valves. All models utilised printed circuit boards in order to reduce the amount of hand wiring work and keep costs down. This is the main feature that differentiates them from the standard Selmer amplifier range at the time, which was of course entirely hand wired.

Two separate series of Futurama amps have been identified - those built from mid-1963 to Autumn 1964, and those from Autumn 64 up to when the Futurama Amplifier name disappeared sometime towards the end of 1965, probably when the Crocodile Period amps were phased out. Selmer's ex-Production Manager, John Weir, has helped in establishing further details of Futurama amp manufacture.



These amps that John is referring to were the second series of Futurama amps, i.e. those with front facing control panels, black sides and crocskin around the control panels. The first series were all black amps, with top mounted control panels. These had obviously not been made in the Selmer factory, but had been bought-in by Selmer from, we believe, a smaller British manufacturer at the time called Fenton Weill.

(Henry Weill was an early partner of Jim Burns in Burns-Weill Guitars. The more famous of the two, Jim Burns, was later responsible for some of the best quality solid guitars made in the UK during the 1960's. Henry Weill also later produced solid guitars, but was better known for his range of Fenton Weill guitar amplifiers and later for lighting and disco products. The "Fenton" part of the companies name was taken from the model name of one of the old Burns-Weill guitars. Apparently, Henry worked, for at least part of his amplifier production period, in the downstairs basement of his London home.)

Interestingly, one version of the new Selmer designated Corvette look almost identical to this Fenton-Weill Cadet - the Corvette is identical internally to the Cadet, and even has "FW" stamped on the circuit board. (Images of a Fenton-Weill "Packaway" bass amp head have also been linked to this page to again demonstrate the Futurama's close connections to the standard Fenton-Weill range.)

A 12" Extension Speaker Cabinet was marketed as a Selmer unit in the September 1963 catalogue, but which also looks very much as though it is of Fenton Weill manufacture.




VALVE AMPLIFIERS

TRANSISTOR AMPLIFIERS

 




Proceed to MISCELLANEOUS SELMERS AND GENERAL INFORMATION

Return to MAIN SELMER AMPLIFIER PAGE

Return to HOFNER GUITAR INDEX PAGE