Late 1960s Hohner Contessa CA-200 Amplifier

These are some really cool amps that are just about impossible to find!  Made for a few short years in the mid 1960s, these Hohner Contessa amps are total sleepers.See, Hohner was never famous for making guitar amps and apparently these weren’t marketed well back in the day, so they faded into relative obscurity. Not many were ever made and it’s rare for one to appear on the used market. But what also makes these amp mysterious and highly sought after is the 1960s California Bartell connection. Bartell was the company started by Paul Barth and Ted Peckels. The name Paul Barth is legendary among 1960s guitar nuts since he worked for Rickenbacker, Magnatone, and National. Anyway, the common theory is that Bartell designed all the Hohner amps and built most of them.And among all the Hohner Contessa amps, this one here is the most desirable since it’s such an excellent guitar amp. Running on a pair of EL84s, this amp produces a good amount of volume and has a wonderful long pan reverb. It actually has some clean headroom and then past 12 o’clock gets real crunchy and saturated. Either way these darn things sound wonderful and are well built using point to point wiring. Easy to fix, easy to maintain. This amp is all original, but I can’t tell if the speaker is original. It’s vintage and probably stock, but I just can’t say for sure. It’s in perfect working condition and cosmetically very clean. Here’s a link to a website with the schematic and other cool information. the meantime, here’s a cool site about Bartell!!  Check it out!And here’s one last pic.


7 thoughts on “Late 1960s Hohner Contessa CA-200 Amplifier

  1. Carly says:

    Wow! This is something I’ve been waiting to see. I have one in need of shaping up. (I have the speaker in a modern hand-wired amp….very sweet tone) Did yours have the schematic print?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have a hohner contessa CA-100 . It has a 12″ spkr with foot switch sounds great with vibrato. thanks Bill

  3. Bill Barrow says:

    I have one of these. From what I gather, they were made by Sano for Hohner, and were like the model “Guitar Amp 20”. The original 7189 power tubes seem to handle 400 volts just fine so I didn’t do the mods shown in the schematic link above. Strangely, my amp sounds best with a 12AX7 as PI, not a 12AU7 as in the schematic.

    1. drowninginguitars says:

      Great comment, thanks for sharing! I agree, this probably was a Sano made amp. Sounds really great though, better than any other Sano I’ve heard. But then again, I never heard the Sano Guitar Amp 20.

  4. James says:

    I just bought a Bartell CA-10 Studio Guitar Amplifier and it has the 4 knobs 12 inch speaker plug ins for foot switch and extension cabinet.
    It looks like it came out of the shop yesterday no wear or tear just a little crackle on the volume knob.
    Great amps real sleepers which I plan to play for a long time.

  5. Jon Reagan says:

    I own a Sano Gs-20 aka the “Guitar Amp 20” and it’s the same amp as the Contessa CA-200. I’ve down some research and Sano did in fact make the Contessa for Hohner. All I can say is if you find either one lay claim to it! It doesn’t have a ton of clean headroom but you can mic it at low volumes. I play everything but metal thru my amp and with a couple click of the footswitch or the twist of the knob here or their this thing is amazingly versatile.

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