Guitar Amplifiers

/Guitar Amplifiers
Guitar Amplifiers 2018-03-14T13:42:37+00:00

Guitar Amplifiers

It is thanks to guitar amplifiers that tube technology survived the Cold War, and they also the first products Mars produced. Our designs are very retro and we love octal tubes, like 6SL7, 6SN7 and the like.

For 2016 we are marketing three guitar amplifiers:

  1. the Mars 24 – an octal preamp and  cathode bias 6L6GC powered head for blues and harp and everything else. R11 900 ZAR

  2. Mars 5E3 – a clone of the original tweed deluxe amplifier with a Weber Alnico loudspeaker and custom made transformers. R15 900 ZAR

  3. Mars Overdrive Special – Channel switching 50 watt amplifier head with a tone that cannot be matched and absolutely no hum or buzzes. $3000 USD (R33 000.00 ZAR) (Shipping world wide included)

  4. Mars KG50R – a American styled head; 50watts with reverb. R15 900 ZAR

  5. Mars Super SE – a 10watt Single Ended 6V6GT based combo with tube rectifier, volume and tone controls. R10 000 ZAR


Mars Tweed Deluxe

The Mars 5E3 Special is a circuit exact copy of the 1957 Tweed Deluxe, except for separate cathode resistors for each of the two output tubes. The cabinet is specially selected SA Pine and covered with real tweed material.

R15 900.00 ZAR (shipping in SA included)

We have chosen the Weber 12A125A speaker for this edition, since it has the authentic Alnico tone, and the the driver is relatively light. The whole combo weighs less than 13 kg’s!

These speakers are hand made in the USA and stand out as the choice for vintage amplifiers.

  • Here is a list of the features of the Mars 5E3 Special
    • EH12AY tube in V1 position
    • Tung Sol 6V6GT power tubes.
    • Vintage 5Y3 (directly heated). If you fit a SOVTEK 5Y3 the 6V6GT’s will run at 100% dissipation (safe for cathode biased amplifiers). The secondary series resistance of the secondary in the power transformer is about 150 ohm. This is a safe value to stop arcing in the 5Y3. This amp will not destroy 5Y3’s.
    • About 380V DC over 6V6GT tube (measured from cathode to anode). 30mA per tube idle current.
    • Orange Drop 716P coupling capacitors
    • 2 watt carbon composition resistors rated at 1000V
    • Power supply filter capacitors rated at 500V for trouble free service
    • CTS pots throughout
    • Cliff high quality input jack sockets
    • Original size cabinet with finger jointed corners. Made in SA by Hayward Amplifiers.
    • Solid construction to last lifetimes. This amplifier is tough!
Mars KG50R head

Mars KG50R head

The Mars KG50R is a 50 watt head with spring reverb done in the American tradition.

Price: R15 900.00  (shipping in SA included)

Features of this head:

  • All tube amplifier using the following tubes: 4 x 12AX7/2 x 6L6GC/5AR4.
  • Fixed bias with adjustable pot inside the amplifier.
  • tube driven reverb.
  • original tweed cloth covering and pine cabinet.
  • high quality parts like CTS pots and Switchcraft connectors.
  • Hand wired with turret board for component mounting
  • made in Paarl in South Africa
  • carry in support and back up at workshop in Paarl.

The 12AX7 phase splitter is used for more gain and roar when cranked. This amplifier could be ordered with different optional extra’s (enquire about the cost of the options before deciding):

  • standard modern or original AB763 circuit with 12AT7 phase splitter.
  • short/medium/long spring reverb.
  • 6L6GC, KT66 or EL34 output tubes.
  • orange drop or mallory capacitors.
  • black covering and faceplate with silver/white grill cloth in the front.
  • strap handle for a low profile on top of the amplifier cabinet.
  • combo with 12″ loudspeaker.

Here is the prototype of the Mars Overdrive Special. 50watt fixed bias amplifier head with channel switching and the best tone you can get.


The Mars AC10 does justice to the original. If you like the chiming sound of VOX with the bite of the pentode input stage, this amp is a worthwhile addition to your collection of amplifiers.

Mars AC10

An old favorite of ours are the VOX range of amplifiers from the 1960’s. The EL84 based power amplifier with cathode bias and no negative feedback, have a sound that have become the cornerstone of the British sound.

The early VOX amplifiers, like the AC4 and AC10, also have a pentode (EF86) preamplifier tube. This was dropped from the design due to microphonic problems in the more powerful amplifiers like the AC30 and AC50. The sound of the EF86 is rather unique, and boutique amplifier builders have returned to the EF86 for it’s raucous sound when over driven. The Matchless DC30 is a prime example of this trend.

See this page for more information about the VOX AX10.

Our Mars AC10 follows the cabinet dimensions of the 1 X 12″ AC15 cabinet, using 3/4 inch thick pine. The baffle will be 1/2 inch thick plywood.

We follow the AC10 design quite closely, using in house wound Mars transformers. Notable aspects of this amplifier are the use of the ECF82 tube and the choke (L1) in the power supply.

R16 000.00 (shipping in SA included)


The ECF82 have a pentode and a medium mu triode in the same envelope. The pentode is used in the oscillator circuit, and the triode is the first preamp stage in the Normal channel.

The ECF82 is similar to the 6U8 and there are still NOS samples to be had, if you look. You can also use the Russian 6F1P if that is more accessible..


We manufactured a choke for this amplifier, that would be as close as possible to the original specifications. You can see L1 on the schematic above. It is part of the PI filter arrangement in the power supply that removes ripple from the rectified AC from the power transformer, and stores energy if there are peak demands on the power supply. This gives the AC10 more headroom and a smoother sound compared to typical PSU arrangements where a resistor is used in stead of the choke.


The output transformer are specified to match the output tubes (2 X EL84) to the loudspeaker of choice. In this case we are using the Celestion G12H 25watt 16ohm.

The transformer design is inspired by the original Woden transformer found in VOX AC10 and AC15.


Mars Super SE 10watt single ended guitar combo

R11 900.00 (South African Rands)