Andrew P Watson

Web Developer

Custom “Peavey Renown” 160watt Guitar Amp/ Half Stack

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 19:53

I was looking around at some of my old gear in my basement the other night, trying to figure out what I have and what I could probably stand to replace. I came across a really, really powerful Peavey Renown combo amp that I never use because it has blown speakers and suddenly found myself reasoning this way:


In a perfect world:

  • The Peavey Renown is such a great, powerful, classic amp and I would LOVE to be able to use it. I always considered this the ultimate jam-space amp and was very welcome in my guitar gear.

But there is an issue:

  • It’s going to cost me more than 300 bucks to get decent, powerful enough replacement speakers. At that cost, I may as well bite the bullet and get a new amp.

Hmmm… Now, what do I have lying around?

  • There is a 4×12 Peavey speaker cab that I don’t use much
  • A new shiny skill saw with various other power tools that I’m itching to use
  • A few pints and a Viking instinct

Ah, a plan was coming together:

  • Take apart the Peavey combo, dismantling the entire thing
  • Cut the Combo shell in half, leaving enough room for the power amp to be re-attached with original spring reverb coil
  • Attach all hardware, making it look as natural as possible (logo, corner pads, base pads, etc)
  • Use the new “slightly modified” Renown as a head for my 4×12 cab, thus giving me a new custom 160 watt half-stack

The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that this could be an incredible guitar rig when done. The Peavey Renown combo amp series are well known for being powerful and loud, and produce a great classic rock sound. If I was to use it primarily as a head unit to power a separate 4×12 cab (the amp has 2ohm or 4ohm outs) I’d image it would be powerful enough to play any sized gig up to a large hall with pretty good results.

I realize that I didn’t really need to do any modifications at all to the combo amp. I could just sit it on top of the 4×12 speaker cab and use it that way. Thing is, I’m not going to replace the speakers in combo anytime in the future so carrying it around seemed a bit silly. Besides, the Renown is like 80lbs and removing the no-longer used extra material would be welcome. Also, let’s not forget the obvious, if I could modify the cabinet to look good as a standard amp head, it would be hilarious. I was getting excited.

The project was quickly under way!

I got the amp apart smoothly, but had to bail on the progress for the night. It was late and the noise of the saw, combined with the beers, made it a good idea to bench the project until the next evening.

The next day the work quickly continued. I got out of work, raced home, did the usually “Hi, how was your day” greetings at the door and darted downstairs to my basement workshop (stopping at the beer fridge to pick up where I left off the night before) and got back at it.

It took me about a total of two hours to do and I’m pretty thrilled with the results. I was only able to plug in for minute, but the sound was thick, loud, and the tone was awesome.

To think I was going to ditch the Peavey Combo all together. Now I have rocking half stack to add to my gear collection! Not to mention, it’s a good conversation starter when someone says “Hey, I’ve never seen one of those Peavey heads…”

Reavey Renown turned into head

Peavey Renown half-stack



hi mate i did exactly the same to my renown amp ,its a great amp and looks cool i did away with the peavy logo and put a chrome mesh on the front and some large chrome screws all around the front ha it looks like a boutiqe valve amp atrracting many a comment,cheers

Hi, I had one of these amps back in the 80s. I played in a Metal and Hard Rock band. I still remember how to dial in the sweet spot. It is The best sounding non tube amp I have ever heard both high gain and clean. I never had to use any pedals. I just played my Gibson SG straight into the Renown and it never let me down. I regret selling it. I Always wanted to make it into a custom head like this. I am looking into buying a good used one and they are still going for about what they cost brand new!! You did a great job and it looks awesome. I know it kicks arse !!!!

Wowwww!!!! Hahaaaaaa!!!!!!! I can’t believe this amp is this desirable! I have this same amp! Solo Series. I bought it new back in…… probably ’87? I did the same thing converting in to a head. Did that sometime around ’93 I guess. I took mine real shallow though. Just deep enough to enclose the transistor. Used it with an old Ampeg cab. Think it was a 410. Could’ve been a bass cab. A friend of mine used it for a long time. It gets crazy loud. I use to love blending a clean channel with a dirty channel via the dual channels. Still have the foot switch too! I just pulled the old Renown out cause I’m curious how it might sound with this Carvin neo 210 bass cab I have. Its a 4 ohm cab rated at 600watts and I’m not sure if I can use it without blowing up anything. I want to try it with my SG. And I’d also like to see how my P bass sounds through it. Of course I want to experiment with some pedals as well.

I have a Line 6 spyder II 75W combo, Marshall VS 100 head and a Marshall MG 4X12 speaker cab. that has been somewhat modified. The Spyder amp is a little more versatile than the Marshall and I like the sound of the Spyder best. I was about to sell the Spyder but was looking at the cabinet and thought wy not cut down the combo cab and put in a jack at a convenient spot and hook the speaker wires to it. I think the reason I was thinking of getting rid of it was having to get down on my knees to twiddle th knobs. I’m getting on in years. After seeing your Peavey set up I am inspired.

Gary Lee Conner from Screaming Trees used one of these on the early records. He got it to sound like an old 60's amp with that saturation.

Nice looking good job I had a renoun about 10 yrs ago and just found one on craigs list planning on getting it. They are an awesome amp... jamin @ home at half volume would knock pictures off the wall kid u not. U got one u know. I just baught an 83 back stage and have re fell in love with old peavey. I lusted after a marshall and sold my renoun to buy a marshall still have the marshal but the definately have there own tone so guess im gonna buy a renoun again and keep both nice convert take care
andrew's picture

<p>You know, it&#39;s funny... I gig a lot and I&#39;ve never used this on stage. I play a Fender Deville, and it&#39;s littleraly too loud for most venues. I think I&#39;ll bring this one of these times and see how it does. I love the tone.</p>

Love it! I pulled my Peavey Bandit of the same era apart and build a separate "head" enclosure for it - gigged with it for a while with a closed 2-12 cab I also build with some Eminence speakers in it - it rocked! Got tired of lugging the 2-12 and put the amp back in the combo enclosure and replaced the speaker with an Eminence Private Jack - completely transformed the combo - everyone wants to know how I get my great tone and they are always floored to see it's an old Peavey Bandit! Not sure why Peavey got such a bad rep for so many years - Any product from them I have used has been stellar.


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