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INSTRUCTION:
REMOVE THE SESSIONETTE CHASSIS

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HOW TO SEND YOUR SESSIONETTE CHASSIS

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SOME USED SESSIONETTES BEST AVOIDED

The early MkI models have an ILP 'black block' power amp module (HY200 or HY248) and should be avoided.

They can be identified by a black grille cloth with a white 'squared' check on it. Also, the MkII MosFet Powered' badge will not be seen at the lower right hand corner of the speaker grille.

We can RetroTone upgrade them, but WE CANNOT REPAIR THE POWER MODULE if a fault develops inside the module at a later dadte. A new different type of module would need to be fitted.

Sessionette MkI

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HOW TO DATE YOUR AMP

Please look inside the chassis.  The date of manufacture will be on a label 

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FAQ...

Eric Clapton used SESSION transistor amps to record his 'August' album and subsequently toured using them

See Lee Dickson's interview here

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Looking for a 1980s Sessionette? Please check HERE

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Replacement SESSION badge/logos are available for your cabinet refit

Buy SESSION Badge:

Price 4.75

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FADING SIGNAL PROBLEMS

This is usually caused by the FX LOOP 'Return Jack' which diverts the preamp signal via your effects units when employed

To quickly establish if this is the case, simply insert a guitar cable into the FX Send and FX Return. If this cures the problem, then take the amplifier to a qualified repairer for further investigation

This is not unique to Session amplifiers

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CUSTOMER QUOTE:

"Musos out there, if you see a Sessionette amp for sale then do your self one hell of a favour, go buy it. I bought one a year ago and have had the Retro2 upgrade installed courtesy of Stewart Ward himself and he turned what was already a bloody good amp into an unbelievable amp, even by todays standards" - Mark Cockerill

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Sessionette:75, 90 or Rockette:30
These popular 1980s combos are STILL very much
supported and serviced by us! - 2021

The Original British
Grab-'n'-Go Guitar Amps!

RetroTone Upgrade for all Sessionette guitar amps

Sessionette:75, 90 or Rockette:30 can be upgraded to sound just like a top tube amp!
Just have it serviced and 'RetroToned™'

Your Sessionette will come back to you sporting a tone that competes easily with any of the big name classic 1960s valve amps. Some customers have even commented... 'A RetroToned Sessionette is like a Deluxe Reverb on steroids!' 

Loud enough for bigger gigs, fat classic American tone, channel switching, Celestion speaker, smaller than a Fender Blues Junior and weighing in at only 16kg

RetroTone offers a credible alternative to the outright 'rock' amps and expensive 'repro-vintage' amps around in a modern portable & reliable format. Ideal for those many players, like me, who do not play wailing rock solos and, therefore, have little choice these days

SESSION is the home of 'Old-School American Tone' using reliable valveless technology

Sessionette was the first commercial channel switching amp with independent channels.

Created by: Stewart Ward - Designing since 1967

What does it cost? Click here

 

ALL 1981-1988 SESSIONETTES & ROCKETTES
ARE UPGRADABLE TO 'RETROTONE' LEVEL

Earlier pre 'MkII Mosfet' Sessionette models will need a new power amp module @ £59.00 (Not Rockette models)

Fatter reverb tone and overall noise reduction mods now included in the RetroTone upgrade price

Sorry, we are not able to upgrade ANY 1997 onward amps at the moment. NOT for the Duette series or the valve Session 15:30 amps either

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HERE'S WHAT TO DO...

Please send in your Sessionettes for upgrade as soon as you like... we have extra techies working on them now!

There is NO NEED to book them in with us! DO NOT send any payments, we will contact you with the costs when it's been completed! Turn-around is approx four weeks from receipt - longer if a bank holiday or staff holiday closure is imminent

NON UK RESIDENTS: State clearly on the OUTSIDE that the item is being 'RETURNED FOR REPAIR/SERVICE' to help avoid UK Customs charges!

WE DO NOT PROVIDE QUOTATIONS FOR UPGRADE & REPAIRS

Approximate likely costs are shown at the end of this page

Please follow the 'How To Send Your Sessionette' instructions in the left hand column... Thanks!

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Video of Dean Barnes using an early 1950s
Fender Broadcaster through the RetroTone amp!

Thanks guys!

Dean Barnes sadly passed away on 3rd May 2017 aged 45. He was a dear friend and will be greatly missed.

Upgrade for the ever popular SESSIONETTE:75 MkI & MKII combos made between 1981 and 1988. The Sessionette was intended as an 'old school' sound right from its conception. But now, with vastly improved knowledge of solid state (SS) design techniques, the original designer, Stewart Ward, brings you the very latest in 'old school sound' coupled with the best of SS design and reliability

Here's a live audio clip of Stewart playing through his RetroTone amp featured in the video above. No pedals... just his 1963 Telecaster (with original pickups) direct to amp. Recorded live by Simon Probyn at The Station Hotel, Andover: Live RetroTone Blues Solo

  • RetroTone™ delivers much bigger overall tone quality from this tiny amp. More bass, sparkle and sheer balls... all with legendary Sessionette portability and loudness.

  • Brings increased range and new dimensional opportunities to your playing with: Mush free, whole neck soloing... not just the upper notes! Cut through the mix down at 6th string open E too

  • Chord work can be used to much greater effect with '1950s like' tonal properties. RetroTone™ banishes the 'low end' flab of some expensive 'lust after' amps

  • 1950s tone with extra gain! More than enough distortion gain for any blues or country player when required

  • 'Monitor Level' control is converted to a 'Presence' control - fitted as part of the upgrade

  • No 'toob amp' problems, or bills, or tone degradation from age and 'heat baked' components! Definately NO CAPACITOR REPLACEMENTS ('swap outs') required.

  • Only 16kg (35lbs) - They're ideal for 'jammers' and pro musicians! The perfect 'muscle' to power your favourite pedals.

  • RetroTone™ Upgrade developed by Stewart Ward (The Sessionman), creator of Session amps and pioneer of 'serious' solid state amps since in 1979. 100% British designed & built.


Here's what we do:

Firstly, we usually like to do this upgrade as part of a service. We must remove the main PCB in order to carry it out. After the general service has been completed, here’s what we'll do:

Channel A (Distortion) - Boost treble pre distortion. This expands the tone range and ‘pinch’ harmonics are increased by this too!

Channel B (Clean) - Added April 2012! - Boost bass in the clean preamp and 'control' the brightness, without losing 'timbre'

Replace All (front panel) Pots - Due to their age now, we are finding that the original factory fitted 20mm diameter OMEG pots are mostly in a pretty rough condition. This also allows us the opportunity of upgrading their quality to 16mm diameter ALPHA pots. ALL POTS HAVE TO BE REPLACED (8 @ £4.00/each)

Noise Reduction! - New HISS reduction mods for the DISTORTION & CLEAN channels. This is a significant improvement and makes the amp less likely to squeal at high gain/volume settings as well. No extra charge!

Add Presence Control - Added April 2012! - We convert the MONITOR LEVEL control on the amp's back panel into a PRESENCE control. It can be used to remove treble overtones of both Channel A & B which can culminate in a much smoother pleasing sound. It operates at different frequencies to the TREBLE control, so the two can be use to create far more interesting tones

The PRESENCE is situated post Channel A & B and reverb, but pre FX Loop. The amp can now be swung between a bright or warm overall tonality as required. The MONITOR output is left intact and preset to maximum level

Reverb - Modify the reverb circuitry to bring deeper 'lush' tones.

Power Amp - Fit RetroTone™ circuitry. The same circuitry used in the power amp of our BluesBaby 22 & 45 amps. This is a very important part of the modification process and is explained below:

RetroTone™ allows the amp's output signal to 'excite' the speaker's cone(s) into creating & adding mechanically produced harmonicly rich overtones. These are not generated in the signal delivered to the speaker’s terminals by the amplifier. It also warms up its tone, just lke a tube amp does.

What are the benefits? Well, you hear it all the time in a tube amp... or to be more accurate, an amplifier with an output transformer. The effects on the tone would still be heard if transistors were driving the output transformer! So, it’s not the output valves that bring this 'tone-effect', it's a unique partnership between the transformer and speaker.

For example... with most valve amps, you often hear a huge increase in output when you play open low E on your guitar. This is due to the speaker’s natural cone resonance at around 80Hz. And with nearly all old design transistor amps, this speaker effect is heavilly suppressed by the low output impedance of the power amp. Making it sound cold and 'middle-y’... lacking sparkle or ‘chime’. RetroTone™ nutralises those old 'transistor' issues

With the addition of RetroTone™, many more harmonics are naturally created by the speaker's cone, allowing a unique edge to the tone when in overdrive. RetroTone™ mimics exactly what happens naturally in an amplifier equipped with an output transformer, allowing enriched harmonics in the amp’s tone!

Want Even More Bass? - It is worth remembering that Sessionettes have very small speaker cabinets. This is great for lighter weight and convenient portability, but there is a trade off... less bass output! This can make pre-upgraded Sessionettes sound a little ‘clanky’ at times, so the upgrade will greatly improve the bass performance. However, the Sessionette cannot ever sound like an amp built into a bigger speaker cabinet! If you’d like your Sessionette to sound like a bigger amp, then simply connect it to an extension speaker cabinet of 8 ohms impedance only

Click here for the: RetroTone™ User Guide

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Turn-around is approx four weeks from receipt - longer if a bank holiday or staff holiday closure is imminent.

The above is just an estimate, so you may want to arrange a backup amplifier if you are a gigging musician - sorry

WE ARE UNABLE TO PROVIDE A QUOTATION! The chassis is needed to do the required work before we can provide a costing

Prices: Amplifiers in good condition

The price for the RetroTone™ Upgrade, Service & ALPHA Pot Set is £157.00

The cost of any other replacement parts and return carriage of £10.00 is extra

It's best to do the whole job at the same time whilst we have the circuit boards removed for servicing

For insurance purposes, Sessionettes are accepted by Award-Session for upgrading and/or servicing strictly on the basis that their value is limited to £80 plus the cost of any work carried out.

We do not accept any liability for items sent to us by our customers which are lost or damaged in transit to us

Amplifiers in poor condition - Sadly, because some Sessionettes sent to us are in very poor condition (DIY modifications and badly executed prior servicing), we may ask an additional fee to cover our extra costs in such cases. We will advise you, before proceeding, what this cost might be

We do not offer a DIY kit of the RetroTone™ Upgrade... it can only be done by us in our workshop. This is to help pay for the hundreds of hours over five years in development time to create RetroTone™. Sorry

Please click here for info on how to send us your Sessionette

Dean Barnes &
The RetroTone Amp

Below...

The above clip is of a pre RetroToned Sessionette... it has a middly/flat tone compared to the sparkle & warmth gained from the RetroTone upgrade


Recently RetroToned

We don't get that many 'whole' amps to upgrade... usually just the chassis.

Sessionette 210

1984 Sessionette 112
Owner: Clifton Bass

Sessionette 210

1987 Sessionette 210
Owner: Chris Hobbs

Sessionette 112

1985 Sessionette 112
Owner: Dean Barnes

Sessionette 112

1984 Sessionette 112
Owner: Dean Barnes

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Message from a customer...

I have bad news and good news!

On Tuesday at band practice our lead guitarist's Marshall Valvestate broke down (that's supposed to be the bad news but we know better).

The upshot of this is, that after a year or more of trying to turn him onto the Sessionette Retrotone, he took one of mine home. He has just rang and I've never heard him so excited. He said "I now know what I've been missing!"

So he's now after one for you to upgrade, and we will let you know when he's found one.

If in the meantime you have one to sell please let me know and I'll pass on the good news.

Dave Westbrook, Winchester

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