The Redmere Soloist In Use
Input from the people that owned, gigged, recorded with or made and maintained them.
After so many people took the time and trouble to get in touch (thank you to everybody), it seemed worth setting up a user page as well as one for the technical stuff.
If you have any pictures, stories or sound files that you wouldn't mind sharing, please get in touch via the 'Contact Us' page. Nothing will get used without permission and you're welcome to send in edits or delete items later on.
Text in red italics has been added by me
CRD is me
8th December 2012, From Gary Dobbins
I had a recording studio and small instrument store in Boston in the late 70's (Crosstown Studio and The Boston Musician in Beacon Street). I bought the first three Redmere's that were sold in the US. I sold the first two and still have the last. ....We had a problem with the second one and had a repair person rebuild the unit putting in sockets for the chips to allow easy replacement and they strengthened all the rails to the circuit boards. I have lost the front grill but liked the sound better when it was off anyway. The repair person (they had a shop somewhere and I think the person had some nice Moogs at the time (that he played). He created the schematics for the unit as he fixed it. I don't know if that's where yours came from. I don't remember his name. We created a tape of the Redmere sounds for a Music convention in Boston in 79. A guy named Jack Morgan played and discussed the different sounds. Don't know where he is now. The amp still works (I just had some repairs recently (new caps etc.) The first channel was modeled after the Twin Tweed Fender (with the diagonal speakers) and I believe they used Steve Howe's. The second channel was modeled after Claptons Marshall (I believe from the Combo from the Blues Breakers era) and the third channel was modeled after the Vox AC30 (one of Brian Mays'). These bad boys were around 150 - 200 watts. The road case was always unstable because of the weight of the speakers in front. The metal was not high grade as most of it is pitted and tarnished from age The amps listed for ($)2,600. I bought each one for ($)1300 each. We also bought an Orange OMEC, the first and only completely digital (programming and circuitry of map) Orange. We could not sell it and my partner has lost it. It did not sound as good as the 16 Oranges that I bought and sold during that time period.
12th December 2012, From Gary Dobbins
......We did a very definitive tape that was to try and sell more of the Redmere's but the amp was ahead of it's time and I was somewhat sad. I also had a number of other hand made guitars that never sold (I ended up selling them for a loss). I created the Retail Instrument store and the Recording Studio as from a player's point of view but never found an audience in Boston or at least just a few that seemed to get it. By the way, I was just busting out some loud volume rock on the Redmere. I just got it back and have been testing it out. I need a couple of SADs; 512 and 1024 as the flanger and chorus are not working. I also need a 4013 to complete the job. I found a repair tech that replaced all the dried caps and the basic amp(s) sound like new. He did a great job. I'll have him finish the rest soon.
30th January 2016, From MJK
Catch up with MJ's work and music at
.....I eventually bought the second Redmere Soloist that came through Gary's store, The Boston Musician. It had two caps swapped in the Chorus section, and the high end was cut off until my friend Grady Moates discovered the mistake and corrected it (we had a complete set of drawings). I used to play in Jack Morgan's band and I used the Redmere onstage with Jack circa 1982.
The cool thing about the footswitch is that you could actually press two of the switches together and they would both activate and combine sounds. I used to set mine up with Position 1 as a clean Chorus, Position 2 as my main high gain sound and Position 3 as a clean Flange. That way I could add Chorus or Flange to the high gain sound by simply stepping on the centre/left or centre/right switches. So I could get five sounds instead of just three. That was particularly useful for solos, as the addition of the second sound would also increase the overall volume. In addition, there is a DI output right off the speaker line, and I used that for gigs and it sounded surprisingly good. I'm very glad to see that the Redmere hasn't been forgotton. It was quite a piece of engineering and some of my best early guitar sounds on recordings are a result of that amplifier.
.....btw, I not only used the Redmere live, I've also used TWO different Soloist rigs in studio sessions. the first rig I used in the studio was probably the first one sold in the store. The second one sold in the store is the one I ended up with (I'll detail that story below) - that I am positive about. It's my belief that Jack Morgan was the first US artist to record with a Redmere in the USA, and that our band "Britain" was the first US band to record with one in the USA.
.....our band was recording in the basement studio (called Crosstown Studio), and Jack had asked us if he could be our producer. We agreed. We had heard a lot of his own material recently recorded in the same studio, and also stuff he had previously recorded (including if i am not mistaken, that Redmere demo reel)
.....Jack was managed by Tom and Randall Barbera, who were also the managers of 'Til Tuesday (#). Jack and I recorded at Longview Farm (#) together on many occasions (both in the 16 track and 24 track studios). That's where I met Jesse Henderson (#) the recording engineer (who subsequently engineered some of my first solo sessions later on) . I used the Redmere at Longview on the session work I did with Jack.
#Lot of very good 'Til Tuesday clips on You Tube
#Longview Farm Studios, North Brookfield, Massachusetts
#See Jesse's engineering credits at including sessions for Arlo Guthrie, Cat Stevens and Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Now for the history, starting at the beginning....
We were a working road band playing covers, and we ready to cross over into recording and performing our own music. We'd written several songs
and went to Crosstown Studio to record them along with a name change to Britain. Gary introduced us to the Redmere and we fired it up.
Immediately, we fell in love with the sound. We used it on the first three tunes we recorded, along with an Orange combo that was also in the store. The Redmere was incredible because we were able to use it's channel switching and onboard effects to good use while recording. Not
only did it sound excellent, the recorded sounds were astonishing. Being able to press the footswitch and change sounds also eliminated the
need for complex overdubbing and punch-ins. Crosstown was an 8-track studio, so the Redmere was extremely useful in saving tracks, bouncing,
etc. Our first tune had a heavy grind sound on the verses and chorus, and then a softer cleaner sound in the bridge. We used the Redmere with
the Fender channel + Chorus effect for the clean sound, and the VOX channel for the grind sound, and did the whole song in one take, one
track for that guitar. brilliant!
.....I haven't seen or heard from Gary since 1979. He is without a doubt, one of the most brilliant men I have ever known. To say that he also is generous and kindhearted would be a monumental understatement. He supported our entire band, including making sure we had food and a place to live during our recording session work.
.....the Redmere was light-years ahead of it's time, and that kind of channel switching WITH effects was unheard of! it would be a long time before
that kind of guitar sound control would become commonplace.
.....I do not have copies of any of those nine songs we eventually recorded in Crosstown, but I used The Redmere on other sessions done with Gary's Studio partner David Dachinger (#) (ddmusic.com). Dave probably has copies of tunes I played on by songwriter Carl Bova (#). btw, Gary Dobbins himself cut a ripping guitar solo on one of Carl's songs with the Redmere. There is a three part harmony introduction to one of Carl's songs that I did with the Redmere and it sounds ahead of it's time. Gary wrote and recorded an album with Crystal Dowd (#) and he used the Redmere for all the guitar work.
(#)David's website is at and recording credits at
(#)Very interesting interview with Carl at
(#)Crystal went on to become a visual effects producer on major film productions including Titanic and The Day After Tomorrow and was a post-production coordinator on Terminator 2: Judgement Day
The Britain band had broken up by now. There are surviving recordings of Britain, done in a big studio, engineered by Dave Dachinger (I have them), but we used all Orange amps on those sessions.
One day I walked into Pampalone's Music in Boston, and I was stunned to see a Redmere Soloist sitting there along with the other amps. I asked Ray (the boss) what the story was. He told me that someone brought it in and (as far as I can remember) traded it in for something else. I asked Ray if I could play it, and as soon as I heard it, I knew it was unit #2 because when I tapped the Chorus button, the high end cut off - which I explained in my original message. So I knew it was the one that this local guy Michael had bought back in 79. If memory serves, the price of the amp in 1979 was US$2,700.
Ray knew nothing about the amp. he said he had zero customer interest in it because no one knew anything about it and, because it was solid
state, players shied away from it. So I asked Ray if he'd like to do a trade, and I offered him my Orange combo. He agreed. He told me later that the very next day, a British guy came in and bought the Orange on the spot. Ray was very happy because he was able to sell the Orange right away and get his money out of it - something that would be difficult to do with the Redmere. So, I took it home with me.
I joined Jack's band shortly thereafter, and used it exclusively in all rehearsals, studio sessions and live shows, until Jack disbanded his group. I have no copies of any recordings or photos from that era, unfortunately. Ironically, Jack and I also recorded in Fleetwood Studio, where I would spend most of the 80's and 90's doing session work, and also where I kept the Redmere up until I sold it.
By now I had been doing sessions at Fleetwood as a freelance engineer and producer. I kept the Redmere at the studio and every time a guitar player needed an amp, or just something different, i suggested the Redmere. It blew everyone away as soon as they heard it (for reference, this studio and I were named in SPIN magazine, October 1985 in this article: . I can't tell you how many times the amp was used in sessions, but it was my go-to amp, especially when I was producing and/or playing on a session.
Eventually, I got tired of it, believe it or not, and I wanted to go back to the Orange sound. Truth-be-told, I regretted getting rid of that old black combo. It was the best amp I ever heard. But the Redmere was the second-best. I did find a brand-new Orange 80 watt head, new in the box, unopened from 1979 (believe it or not). My partner bought it on the spot. The photo shows the Orange head with a Hiwatt cabinet, being mic'd with a U-67 tube preamp mic, exactly how we did it in that studio: amp cranked to the max, mic off the floor about 1 foot, back by about 10 feet. That is exactly how I mic'd the Redmere too. The Redmere was the easiest amp to record, bar none. You basically tweaked the sound like you wanted it while playing your guitar standing in front of it, and then stuck a mic in front of it. Typically, the sound coming into the console would be uncanny, very much like what you heard in the room.
I did a few sessions where some guitar part needed to be replayed or some part dubbed quickly, or even some idea that came up while setting up a mix and there wasn't much time to set up a mic to record. So I would bring the Redmere into the control room and use the DI output and plug it directly into the console line input and record that way. The results were always surprisingly good when recorded like that.
I forget exactly when I sold the Redmere, but I think it was 1990. I sold the amp to a man named Paul Wheeler, a graphic artist in a big Boston ad firm. Paul did the original Cellular One logo when the company first launched. I needed him to do a logo for my "mjk" project, and I offered him some cash and the amp to do it. He accepted. Photo "Mat021.jpg" shows this logo on a floor tile, used for in-store advertising for an EP that I ended up not releasing (long story).
The last I heard from Paul Wheeler, he still had the amp. In the late 80's, I recorded Paul's band, (I was the producer) and he used the Redmere at my suggestion. that's how he fell in love with it. I'm still in contact with the band's keyboard player, and I will ask him for some audio files with Paul playing the Redmere.
Chris, I have one more technical detail that I'd like to mention, because your readers might find this interesting.
Often there would an audible "thump" when changing amp channels (not foot switch channels). sometimes this would present problems when
recording if you were using the foot switch to change channels. It could be dealt with when playing live, and it wasn't a big deal really. However, I had a discussion about this thumping issue with my long-time friend Grady Moates, a prominent broadcast engineer in the Boston area: We had a full set of drawings, and Grady asked me if he could take a look at them. Within a few minutes, Grady realized that part of their approach to achieving a particular amp sound was to change the damping of the power amp section (I've never heard anyone else talk about this aspect before);
Keep in mind that the Redmere is a modeling amp, and it makes total sense that damping factors being different for each amp being modeled,
have to be taken into consideration when trying to replicate signal processing faithfully. The approach was good, but the execution left a bit to be desired. Grady devised a simple circuit modification that would significantly reduce the audible thump sound, but retain the damping function intact, as designed. His solution worked wonders! The amp hardly made a peep when changing amp channels! It took him less than an hour to find the problem and fix it. Grady is another amazing person that i've been fortunate to know.
That about wraps it up I think!
6th February 2016, From CRD
Had a wander down to Chesterton Mill in the rain this morning. It's one of the early sites of PA:CE's office and workshop. Locally known (by me anyway) as French's Mill, the site has been redeveloped into a small commercial estate since those days.
The later premises in Royston and Littleport have both been demolished.
6th February 2016, From Derek Coghill
I've just acquired one of these; it's been in a friend's workshop for years along with another couple of combos. The serial number is 50041 and it's been in Edinburgh since the late 1980s at least. No footswitch though. It's an intriguing thing; it works - after a fashion - but the switches (I assume that they're supposed to work with just a touch, going by the noises I was getting?) don't all work.
.....'Helen' built quite a lot of it, by the stickers. Started on 19/01/79.
The amp came from my friend Rachel, who - with her sister (Gaye) - had a band called The Twinsets (#). She says:-
" So I'm a bit puzzled myself. When we wanted to practice in the workshop, I asked ........... if he had any old PA stuff kicking around we could use. Mysteriously stuff appeared. This was 8 or 9 years ago tho. ..... I expect we mistreated it horribly, me and Gaye used it for vocals mostly"
The other two boxes visible in the photos (sitting on the back seats) are Carlsbro Cobra 90 keyboard combos.
Brilliant! ICE from the Seventies. Thanks Derek.
(#) Twinsets stories by Nick Haines at
Search "The Twinsets" on You Tube.
9th February 2016, From Gary Dobbins
See the Redmere in the background.
This is at Raji's on Sunset Blvd. Hollywood Ca. circa 1986.
The band was The Jesters of Destiny and That's Bruce Duff and Ray Violet. See facebook for more info on the band.
Bruce with Vox Phantom Bass and Ray with Dan Armstrong Plexi .
11th February 2016, From CRD
Picked up a Soloist project today from Robin at HifiWorks in Cornwall. Robin has some interesting vintage hifi equipment for sale at
It's another one with no serial number or factory stickers, but the component date codes are from 1978, one of the speakers is dated Feb 1979 and the serial number is probably up in the thirties or forties.
I'd forgotten how incredibly big and heavy they are. The whole thing (minus front cover) weighs in at 56kg (123Ib) and the chassis on it's own is 18.6kg (41Ibs). Hats off to Derek and whoever else helped to get one into a 2CV (above).
External condition is pretty good but the inside metalwork is completely shot and it's going to need replating and a complete rebuild. Should be interesting though. No flight case front or footswitch, unfortunately.
Incidentally, does anyone know who FLOYD was on the sticker? (and no, it's not that one). Apparently there was also a number '16' written on it which seems to have fallen off somewhere.
26th April 2016: After a major strip down and rebuild, it's back together, working well and gone to a good home. There's no flight case front panel or footswitch (and you'll probably never find one). The chassis has been completely stripped and re-plated including the screening cans (which aren't fitted in the photographs), most of the electrolytics have been replaced and it has the original Celestion G12-80 speakers.
(Aug 2017. It's now living with it's new owner on the south coast of England)
20 Feb 2016
The Great Redmere Soloist
by Billy Stephens
Chapter 1: Pleased To Meat Chew
This all started when I retired from a lifetime of electronics engineering and rock and roll. I figured when I turned 65 I could finally do what I wanted for once in my life but surprisingly what I wanted was what I was doing all my life anyway. I started taking on music gear jobs for various musicians again in Southern California and Chicago by word of mouth exclusively. These guys can come up with some way out requests, custom builds and nasty repairs but they are still on the road for the most part and need to get a gear fix every now and then. I relocated to San Diego recently and opened up a little shop in the backroom of Mr. Joey's Music, pretty much a hobby, come and go as I please, go home take a nap, you know, like that.
One day Mr. Joey told me "M..." would like to meet me and brought him in to my shop. M... is a local musician and apparently a collector. He said: Ever seen a Redmere? I said, uh yeah I think I heard of those (I had no idea). He brought in this old grayed roadcase and popped it open and there was the Redmere. It was just the head but he said he had a 2-12 cabinet for it as well. I pulled the chassis out of the roadcase which was easy because all the mounting hardware was missing. I immediately noticed that the amplifier module was completely missing, it was then he handed me a cardboard box with a heatsink, board and a bunch of mangled parts. When I initially examined the board I could see that all the TO5's were removed, all the TO92's were there but some didn't have stabilizers on them. There was a heinz variety and vintage of output transistors stuck on the heatsink, WOW! there's got to be an interesting story about this one.
M... told me that he got the thing in a deal, he makes a lot of deals but this one was almost 4 years ago. He said that he played it back then and noticed that it was a bit hummy so 3 years ago he took it into Mr. Joey to get it looked at. Joey has used various repair tech's over the years, most of them working from their home shops....................................................................................................................................................
Anyway, one of the guys got a hold of it and 3 years passed without an update of even a word. Once Mr. Joey got back this bushel basket of parts they wanted to see if I could make it all better, like an idiot I said sure, no problem.
This is where M... said "and I have a schematic!". He handed me a copy of Chris's schematic and I figured, well at least I have some kind of roadmap, I hope it's the same revision. (It wasn't, that'd be too easy)
First thing was to figure out the mains side of things. The open chassis made this very easy and soon I could see the power busses clearly. The primary is single fused as you would expect but the secondary of the power transformer is double fused and this is not exactly what I consider rails fuses, those are usually on the DC side of the rectifier, anyway, there were randomly selected blown fuses with wire soldered across them in there so before I'm finished, I'll have to measure and calculate the values and put in proper fuses.
The schematic showed +-50 VDC for the amp and +-15VDC for the preamps, effects and control system. The +-15 volt rectifier/regulator was on the amplifier board and it was in pieces. I hooked my rails supply set to +-15VDC and jumpered the relatively untouched rest of the amp, it came right to life. Hooked a scope on the output, hooked a sine generator to the input and waves were happening, it works! I went through all the controls and output was as I expected, it looks like it's working pretty good. Even the touch button system was working. There may be some hum in there from old electrolytic caps but I can tend to that later, right now it's almost an amp.
I gave M... a call and told him that the front end of the amp works and I could slap in a +-15volt regulator and mount up one of those TDA chip amps or better yet an Elliot Sound Products P27 in there and he would be off to the races in short order, or … we could take a bit of time and money and resurrect that amplifier. He's a collector where the more original the better so it was decided to proceed with the resurrection anyway.
This is a very early amp and the footswitch looks to be a prototype. Billy has a schematic of the power amp and power supply at:
and a write up of the footswitch at:
21st February 2016, From CRD
Left: A link to guitar legend Hank C Burnette's "The Cat Walk" on You Tube where Hank goes into detail about his Soloist.
(If you're a rockabilly fan you can spend all day listening to hundreds of Hank's recordings on "burnette44" - brilliant)
No luck contacting Hank for permission to reproduce it, so click "Watch on youtube.com" to read the full story.
Catch up with Hank on Facebook here
21st February 2016
The Great Redmere Soloist
by Billy Stephens
Chapter 2: Repairing The Obvious
First order of business is to get +-15VDC supply working again, the actual amplifier will take a lot of vetting so I'll ignore it for now. In looking at the left hand side of the amplifier board it seems there's a lot to this supply, more than you would think so I decided to trace out the circuit and make a schematic of this area. Chris's schematic did not have the +-15VDC supply so I needed to do some reverse engineering. I soon became apparent that the +-50VDC supply was involved with this circuitry as well, this is very strange indeed.
From the other end of things the power transformer was supplying +-10VAC and when rectified that would be +-14.1VDC, that's not enough voltage to regulate at +-15VDC, what's going on here? Somehow the engineers at PA:CE have used the +-50VDC to make up the gap in voltage… I think, I'm not sure, it's all very unusual. I shot the schematic to the world brain trust, the music-electronics-forum and all I got in reply was "that can't work" or "what the heck is that" and "you're on your own with that one". Some thought my schematic was wrong but I triple checked it and that's what was in there for better or worse.
I really do not understand that circuit as bizarre as it is, Q20 & Q24 are just my best guess because they were missing, they could be backwards or wrong polarity or wrong value, who knows, and in the pictures of a Redmere in backfromthesixties.co.uk show the amplifier board with what appears to be two TO220 regulators and all that other circuitry gone. Maybe this was a problem area at PA:CE early on and my board was a very early version, maybe even a prototype. I powered the front end up at +-12VDC and it seemed to work fine just as before using +-15VDC so I guess I'll install two 12 volt regulators and dump the rest of that circuit, problem solved. Later on backfromthesixties.co.uk published more information showing that's exactly what PA:CE had done with later boards.
(We finally figured out that it's a +/-12v regulator. It was just the early drawings confusing things. See the circuit over on the schematics page)
I dutifully documented the old circuit and carefully bagged up the removed parts like an archeological dig. I use existing traces and through holes to stitch the circuit in and only had to cut one trace which could easily be repaired at some future time. I did go a little crazy and fabricate a heatsink for the regulators but it's doubtful that they actually need it except for structural rigidity.
I started examining the general overall assembly and found that the circuit board mounted on two studs which also held the output transistor circuitboards to the heatsink. Upon even closer examination I discovered that these studs are not ground as you would expect but are instead hot as can be at +-50VDC… well, this is a real potential hazard! Later versions of this module have the circuitboard mounted in all 4 corners and these studs have been eliminated, probably not a bad idea. All somebody needs to do is drop a screwdriver in there and POW!!! there goes your amp. Maybe that's already happened here, maybe more than once.
It's time to get a handle on this heatsink and power transistor area and that means take it completely apart and remove all the components and wires and then build it back up cleanly and correctly of course. Well, after removing the power transistors which were a combination of NTE181's, 2N3055's and 2N6254's. I think there was 2 NTE181's and one each of the others. At any rate when I tested them 2 were blown so I replaced them all with a quartet of brand new beta matched MJ15003's.
About this time I needed to start addressing the missing hardware ..(they're BA threads).. It's not that you can't get it here in the U.S. it's just you can't get that particular style, length or size your looking for, the pickings are slim. I had to contact my warehouse of everything mechanical, mcmaster.com, they have everything, I mean it seems that way sometimes.
(Wire colours are different on later models)
Things are really rolling along now but I have yet to address the 900 pound gorilla in the room, the actual amplifier and I know it's going to be a nightmare before I even take my first good hard look.
4th May 2016 from CRD. May the fourth be with you all you Star Wars fans.
A big thank you to Mark Burletson from Brighton UK who's saved this sad old Soloist from the scrap heap and donated it for medical research. It's an interesting one because it has issue two circuit boards whereas all the site drawings were from issue one. Although it looks a wreck, it's probably an easier rebuild than the one from Cornwall (see above). That one turned out to be a nightmare (worth it in the end though).
The chassis is from 1979. There's no footswitch (as usual), the speaker grill panel and both the internal pre-amp screens are missing, the internal wiring is scrap, the flight case front cover is there but has damaged catches and doesn't fit, the rear, drop-down panel is warped, one of the speaker cones has split and been glued back together (good solid job as it happens) and so the list goes on. Mark says that, when he picked it up originally, half a pint of brown liquid ran out from somewhere.
Speakers are the usual 2 x 12", 15ohm Celestion G12-80s and power output should be just over 100watts into 8ohms.
It has the usual (insert name of famous musician) history attached to it but, whoever it was, they obviously weren't too fond of it. Never mind, it'll be back with us soon.
If anybody recognises their amp from the speaker or flight case repairs please get in touch . There's another clue written on one of the flight case catches, but I've no idea what it says.
Quick update: After a very long and expensive rebuild, it's up and running with a new owner. No pictures of the end result I'm afraid, but it sounds great.
July 2017. From CRD.
LEFT: A magazine advert for the 1978 Frankfurt Show. The cabinet featured isn't the one that ended up at the show (see picture below) and the chassis still didn't have the production power amp.
RIGHT: No mention of the footswitch being an optional extra.
The MM style circular speaker covers have disappeared and been replaced by the production version black fabric grill cloth. The number of screws holding it on seems to have gone from six to ten and then back to eight
(I knew you'd be interested )
LEFT: The PA:CE stand at the Frankfurt Trade Show in 78. You can see a Soloist in a tall flight case with staggered speakers and two more configured as stand alone heads. The one at the back possibly has a different coloured front panel.
This photograph is from 'MM Musician and Redmere Amplification' magazine, Summer 1978, which includes two articles entitled 'Redmere Soloist, Tomorrows amp today' and 'The Redmere Story'. Very interesting. Copies of this come up on eBay now and again.
Aug 2017. From Max Green.
I have one I've had since about 1981 when my brother drove me across London to pick it up in a Hillman Imp. No idea how we managed to fit it in.
Serial no is 51049, chassis no. 2519 and kit no.1052.
Shame, but there are no photos of the trip home. Max also came up with this 1979 magazine ad.
In case you don't remember them, this is a Hillman Imp. Photo courtesy of
MartinHansV - Own work, Public Domain,
No, I don't know how they did it either.
More contributions always welcome.