Vintage DeArmond R5T and R15T Amplifiers
Harry DeArmond is credited with bringing the first attachable guitar pickup to market back in mid 1930s. He went on to design a variety of products including different types of pickups, effects units and amplifiers. Harry’s products were manufactured Rowe Industries in Toledo, OH until the brand was sold to Fender in the 1990s. Two of the more desirable products that they made were the DeArmond R5T and R15T amplifiers.
This 1960 DeArmond R5T may be my favorite amplifier I’ve ever had. It’s a single ended class A circuit that makes a about 5 watts through a 10″ Jensen speaker. It used a 12AX7 for the preamp and a single 6V6GT power tube. The amplifier and speaker were both built into a fingerjointed Pine cabinet. While this amp is similar to the Fender Champ circuit, it had a little more clean head room thanks to that 10″ speaker. These amps are perfect for recording or even to mic at a gig. It even came with a footswitch to toggle the tremolo on and off.
The R15T was the big brother to the R5 and more closely resembles a tweed era Fender Deluxe amplifier. It featured a push/pull class A/B circuit powered by two 12AX7 preamp tubes, two 6V6GT power tubes and a 12″ speaker. Like the R5, the R15 was also built into a fingerjointed Pine cabinet just a like a good combo amp should. Both the R5 and R15 are very versatile amps that have a great mix of clean headroom and great tube saturation. They’re also very dynamic so it’s easy to toggle back and forth between the two tones- just find the gain sweet spot the use your guitar’s volume knob.