Meridan, Mississippi 1973

Download the twenty-four page 1973 Peavey Electronic Sound Equipment catalog:

DOWNLOAD: Peavey_1973_catalog

Products covered in this catalog include: Peavey Musician amplifier head; Peavey Bass amplifier head; Peavey F-800G and F-800B ‘festival’ high-power amplifier heads; VTA-400 tube amplifier head (with 4x 6550 power tubes); Peavey Vintage model 110 watt combo amp; Peavey Deuce 2×12 combo amp; Peavey Standard amplifier head; Peavey PA120, Standard PA, and PA 400 boxtop-style public-address mixer/amplifiers; Peavey PA-6A and PA-9 console-style PA mixer/amps; and a full range of speaker cabinets include the Peavey 115, 212, 215S, 215, 610, 412, 215H, 11bS, 612H, 118FH, and 412S cabinets.

Oh that logo. So much has been said about that logo.  Here it is, already firmly in place in 1973.    It’s jagged, angular lines, amateurish lack of balance, and simple hi-con style seem to make it the granddaddy of all 1980s hair-metal graphic identities, and by extension, the graphic aesthetic of an entire youth subculture of the 1980s.  Could this be?  Or is it just a coincidence?  Peavey did try a re-design in the 1990s, but came back to the ‘classic’ in short order.

Has there ever been a more disliked logo in the very image-conscious world of popular music?  Does Peavey (the company or the man) realize this?  And do (they/he) give a fuck?  Maybe that’s the answer itself. Considering that Peavey Electronics began as the basement-industry of a high school kid, a self-taught kid who by age 24 would have his own factory in Mississippi, and less than ten years later the owner of one of the largest audio manufacturers in America, at a time when so much of the American electronics industry had fled this country for Asian manufacture:  I think it’s safe to assume that yes this is a confident, proud man who flies this awful logo as if to say:  this is me.  and yeah i can get away with it.  My amps are still gonna sell.  Semiotically it exists somewhere at the intersection of the Freak Flag/Pirate Flag/Confederate Flag/American Flag.  Complicated anyhow.  Oh let’s add Texas flag to that as well.  ( I know that Peavey is not based in Texas but how many people have you seen with Mississippi tattoos if you catch my drift).

Indeed.  What is power.  Is it an expression of man’s will to independence, his resiliency, his ability to triumph in the face of a difficult environment?  Or is it simply his desire to dominate other men?  It’s fascinating to note that in this lengthy catalog there are no guitar amplifers with less than 110 watts of power output.  There are no amplifers with less than two twelve-inch speakers (or four ten-inch speakers).  These are big amps.  Only big amps.  Peavey would eventually become (along with Crate) the standard-issue ‘small practice amp’ for kids and beginners in the 1980s, but there initial thrust was limited to these big, loud stage amps.

Above, the Peavey ‘Festival’ stacks of 1973.  Tube-powered VTA400 at left, followed by the 4oo watt solid-state guitar and bass versions.   I’ve owned and used several Peavey amps, but I have never plugged into a Festival.  I will say this, based on my limited experience with Peavey amps:  the solid-state circa 1985 Bandit 65 that I briefly used in high school was the the best-sounding solid state guitar amp that I have ever used.  The distortion character was incredibly tube-like; really uncanny (my other amp at the time was an all-tube Fender Champ 12, so I did have some limited frame of reference).  I later had one of those 2×12 dual-6L6/solid-state preamp combos from the 1970s; it sounded great in the room, probably due to the open-backed cabinet, but always fell short when close-mic’d.

Lately I’ve been noticing that folks are trying to get in the area of $400 for these old Peavey stacks; this is much more money that they were ten years ago, so I suppose the ‘vintage’ tag is getting attached to them finally.  I’m not sure if anyone’s buying them; I don’t see as many bands live in clubs as I used to; if you’re a young band who has chosen to rock an old Peavey solid-state stack over a (vintage or modern) tube amp, drop us a line and let us know why.  There’s nothing inherently better or worse about solid-state or tube amps; it’s purely a preference, a matter of aesthetics; the balance of favor has been with tubes for the past twenty years but that could certainly change someday.



20 thoughts on “Meridan, Mississippi 1973”

  1. Although not a big stack like the Festival, I choose to run a solid-state Peavey Bandit in conjunction with a small tube-amp onstage (for a little additional low-end/stage volume). Solid-state Peaveys like these are known for reliability and durability, and have been known to tumble down a flight of stairs and still run perfectly…which is a consideration when touring. They’re tough! And the gain staging allows you to dial in distortion at a lower volumes for smaller rooms.

  2. Just wanted to say a Big THANK YOU for posting this vintage catalog. I have been looking everywhere to find info on my Peavey PA-400 which I actually bought new around 1973. can you believe it still works great!!
    Anyway Thank You!!!!

  3. It’s easy to make fun of Peavey for their lack of boutique cred, low price, and propensity to be bought by The Uncool (fundamentalist churches are their bread and butter) but Hartley Peavey has made a hell of a lot of money and he did it honestly.

    He gave a lot of people in Meridian, Mississippi jobs, which I have mixed feelings about. Mixed feelings not because I wish Meridianites ill, but because without those jobs most would have packed up and moved, and they would probably have been better off if they had. Having grown up in a smallish backwater town, I can say that getting out was the best thing for 90% of the kids there, and those that stayed often had bad outcomes: I know several who were smart and organized enough to have done well if they had left, but they stayed until it was too late, and they wound up working dead end factory jobs their whole lives. Non-union, crappy paying factory jobs.

  4. Thanks for fine Peavey pics ! My Peaveys are: TNT 130W combo and 130W Peavey Standard Amp (with 4×12″ Goodmans from sixties). I started to play bass abt y.1972 and year 2006 I turned to 50 yrs. Almost 40 years I play Blues.. 🙂 Many years with Peavey amps and Washburn basses.

    Sorry my bad english..
    Best regards and all best
    Helsinki / Finland

  5. I play out of a 1978 Peavey Standard 260H (with master volume and channel patching). It goes into an Avitar Closed Back 2×12 w/ Celestian Vintage 30’s and I put a dirty compressor in front of it and let me tell you, my favorite amp of all time (i’ve owned 2 jcm 800’s).

    These heads are $150 at Guitar Center all day long getting one shipped after tax was still under $200 and it’s perfect for what I do, dirty low-down rock n roll. Some may snicker at the (paying $200) but man… $200 for a great head? And they cost more than $200 back in 1978.

    I play into an avitar closed back 2×12 cab w/ vintage 30’s and it’s like heaven. 85w at 8ohms is perfect. normal, effects, series, and parallel inputs give so many options, but it really shines IMHO with the parallel option, very plexi-like. I wouldn’t know its not a tube amp with my pedal in front. Very punchy.

    I’m listing the manual here:

  6. I bought a Super Festival F800B head new around 1975 or 76 which I still have. If I remember it cost $650 at the time and about the same price as the SVT head back then. I played bass in a booked band in the 70s. I was upgrading from a Sunn Concert Bass at the time which didn’t have enough power for the venues we were playing. I used the Peavey with an old square back Ampeg 810 SVT bottom which I also still have. The three big bass heads at the time were the Peavey F800B the Ampeg SVT and the Sunn Colosseum so those were my choices and I tried them all.

    I chose the Peavey head over the SVT because it had more headroom and raw power than the Ampeg or the Sunn and I didn’t want to deal with all of those SVT tubes and service issues. I also wanted a quick response more than a tube sound. My F800B never failed and still works to this day although I might be pushing my luck with the caps. The Sunn was more expensive if I remember, and had less power than the Peavey.

    The Peavey sounded great with a Jazz Bass and an Ampeg 810. I wasn’t crazy about the 18 inch Peavey cabs they had for the F800B as I felt they sounded muddy, and I think that’s what gave this amp the bad rep I sometimes hear, but used with an Ampeg 810 it was an amazing rig that would work in pretty much any venue. The 810 really made all the difference with the F800B. At that time I don’t think Peavey offered an 810 cab for bass. I think the stacked cabs shown in the pic above for the F800B when it came out are the ones I tried and each had 1 18 inch speaker in a folded horn. In my opinion the Ampeg 810 cab was better than what Peavey and Sunn had and part of why an SVT sounds so good and works so well.

    As far as the F800G goes I don’t think they were that great for guitar. And I never heard the tube version vta400. But for bass the Super Festival F800B head was pretty amazing with an 810.

    My amps are the Peavey Super Festival F800B with the Ampeg 810. I also have a 70s Ampeg V4 with matching half stack 412. Peavey VT classic 212 combo. I have two Fender Jazz Basses a standard Telecaster and a Harmony Rocket.

  7. I have 1973 Century 120 bass amp, TNT 150 c0mb0, Basic 60 combo and 215 bass cabinett and they all work today and sound great, distortion when I want, loudness when needed. Great stuff. Had even at eighties centurion IV bass amp, that was good too.

  8. Hello, any info about old peavey 412F quitar cab? Speakers have large magnets and there is label peavey electrovoice made in usa. 121638G, 12-3709, 137 7642. It is said to be 4ohm cab. How about total power rating. Cab has two separeated 2×12 sections. Overall cab is huge! F =festival series. I have rockmaster preamp and mosvalve 500 poweramp. Any ideas can cab take bridged mosvalve 380w 4ohm without worries?

    Any info is welcome.


  9. About the F800B bass head, this peavey has more room than any I used , plugged into crate 115 cab, homemade 115 cab and acoustic 118 double horned for earthquakes ( RCF speaker 400W 4 ohms instead of Cerwin Vega ). My band voted for it compared to Ampeg BT25 and Hiwatt DR504, the sound fills the studio like never before this amp is AMAZING thank god I found it with acoustic cab for nuts , it weighs 46 lbs but it’s worth carrying it 🙂 I wish to test it with an old Ampeg fridge someday. Tested with Harley Benton 410 also it’s almost terrific !

  10. I just picked up a peavey 12 10 with horn speaker cabinet enclosure. that’s all I could find for info on the tag in the back of the Cabinet. I think its from the Early to mid 1980’s It is the long thin rectangle style cabinet with metal strips on each side of the removable fabric speaker cover. If some one knows could you let me know ? here is my e mail thanks !

  11. i play through a older peavey classic 2×12 tweed covered amp that uses 2 6l6 tubes-still love the tones you can get out of this thing-although i havent been able to find much info on it the serial num is 3s1943-

    1. I know you posted this a while ago, but I am doing research on a used peavey classic 2×12 serial # 3S-3618. I can’t find much at all about the amp.

  12. I just purchased a tsl100 jcm2000 triple super lead Marshall tube amp.siting under this amp head is a pristine 800b 1973 festival speaker cab that has the meridian Mississippi plate.with the serial number 2051 33. The measurements of this cab is47 3qrt by 24 inches. My telephone number is (REMOVED) I have been playiclng through this setup for the past year. I would like someone to call me and let me know if I should baby this setup.both pieces came out of a small town called Brookings Oregon USA. They are both in excellent condition thank you guys.oh by way they crank and sound killer.

  13. A buddy gave me an 80s Classic Series Duel 2-12 ( aka the Twin killer) 120 watts of raw tube power. I put 7025s in the pre-slots and JJ 6L6s in the power section. Came loaded with a couple of 12″ black widows. The perfect amp for my Ibanez 8-string guitar. Walks all over some big name high-price amps. Fender-type ‘cleans’ for miles, and take ‘effect-pedals’ well. People at jams are always surprised at how good this amp sounds, compared to their fancy ’boutique’ jobbies. Weighs a ton. I put on some wheels, and bought a cart to move it around.

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