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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
tell us,
specialty
favorite amps
toughest job
nicest amp you've ever worked on
location
turn around time
website
(a couple of pics would be nice)

don't tell us rates, or solicit.

as you were!
 

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6,215 Posts
I'm currently training myself to start doing this as a hobby business. I've done a few jobs for friends. Would like to put my electronics education to use.

Toughest job was chasing bad solder joints all over the pcb in a Crate Vintage Club 50.

Favorite amps to work on are old fenders.

Nicest amp I ever worked on was my 1975 Super Reverb
 

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Hmmmmm...... I fix my own guitar amps (because I'm too cheap to pay someone) but generally not for others and certainly not for a living.

I have fixed amps and other electronics for a living - but they were solid state SR type amps and not tube MI amps. I have also, more recently, repaired modular equipment by replacing power amps and adjusting everything around it. Believe me, you do not want to mess with a $8000, 1 watt microwave poweramp (with bandwidth flat at 18GHz) without the best, most appropriate repair equipment. That is very specialized work.
 

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I used to do amp and pedal repair but between working full time and having a young family, I had to quit. There are not many people that do it around Regina. I specialized in vintage amps and amp mods.

One of my favorite mods was adding a Resonance pot to a Blackheart BH100. The amp was well constructed with a thick PCB that had thick traces on it. It sounded so ballsy and chuggy after the mod.

I ended up working on a lot of Marshalls as they seem popular around here. One fellow brought in a 1973 Marshall JMP Super Bass 100W as well as a 1975 Marshall JMP Master Model MKII 50W.

Another guy I did work for liked to import gear from the UK. I did a 100 W Orange head from the mid 70's I believe, a small crocodile Selmer with a winking eye tube, a Matamp reverb and a Watkins Copicat (tape echo) for him as well as various pedals.

Another fellow brought in an Epiphone EA28RVT. One of the best clean amps I ever heard. I got the old reverb pedal going for him as some one ripped it completely from the circuit and I couldn't find here the shield wire was attached. Took a good half hour of moving the shield wire from ground point to ground point until I found a quite one.

I repaired a little solid state practice amp for a fellow. I told him labor would cost more than buying the amp new again. He said he had sentimental value for that amp. As he bought some of my gear and I repaired a bunch of his amps, I did the repair for him for $40. The power chip blew and the traces had all peeled away. I mounted a new chip and used 26 gauge wire from each pin to the next pin on the board to remake the connection. It was small, tedious work but I felt proud of my abilities afterwards. (Had to use tiny wire and a magnifier to get it done).

Worst thing I worked on was an Ampeg SVT Classic. Over 600V on the B+ and 3 circuit boards mounted close together. The sound would do something weird that I had a hard time tracking down due to the tight tolerances and amount of parts in the amp. I refused to work on one of these again after that. I took that B+ through my pinky finger. A'int to fun.

This is just some of the cool stuff right of the top of my head. There was a lot of other cool stuff that I am forgetting, like an ancient Gibson BR-6 from the early 50's.

Here are a couple pics: (just from the web as I never took pictures of the actual units I worked on)










 

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Fixing amps for a living-Ha ha ha, good one! It's strictly for entertainment here and sometimes I get more than I bargained for, especially, as dcole mentioned, when SVT's come through the door. I've done more than my share and don't even bother trying to get them on the bench. They get disassembled on the floor and the soldering iron goes to them. The older ones are easier to work on and you find after a few that they have certain weaknesses to look out for, such as cracked solder joints on the newer ones. Great amps though.
 

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Self motivated and self educated amp hack right here. I started maybe 8 or so years ago. Read, read and read some more is what I do. Always researching. I have a mind that cannot sit idle. Boring activities like TV and movies I can't handle. I started out building a few clone pedals. Then got into amps. I have been acquiring tools, experience and parts ever since. Today I have all I need including a CRT O-scope. ESR meter. Signal generator. Light bulb limiter. DMM of course too. Solder station, all the hand tools etc. By the time you get through an entire spool of solder you are getting pretty comfortable around tube amps. I offer my repair services to local musicians. Usually just tube amps, pre-1976. Preferably Fender, due to the fact I love Fender amps. I have my own personal collection of Fender vintage amps. I have repaired and maintained them all myself. When you get into double digits with your vintage amp inventory count, you are either rich or stupid. LOL. I'm not rich so I have to figure this stuff out for myself.

Trickiest or hardest project: At the time, while you are learning, every new troubleshooting exercise is hard. They get easier as you gain experience. You learn from every problem. Looking back over the past jobs I will say the one that I poured the most research and time into, was my 5E3 build. It was my first amp build. I was not content putting it together without understanding what each and every part's purpose was. I have gradually taken on more difficult work as I became more confident in my skills. My most recent repair was almost a full tear down and rebuild of a 1976 Twin Reverb. It was heavily modded and sounded terrible. I pulled out a large pile of parts and replaced everything to new specs again. I rebuilt the amp to a 1970 non-master Twin Reverb version. It sounds wonderful and the owner is very happy. It was a little nerve racking at times as I second guessed my abilities at times.

Coolest amp I ever worked on? Oh, man there have been some doozies. How about an all original, dead, 1959 High Power Tweed Twin that I repaired? That's a pretty cool amp that I brought back from the dead. Other amp work I have done, my personal and customer amps include:

1959 Deluxe 5E3
1959 High Power Twin 5F8-A
1962 Blonde Twin Restoration 6G8-A
1963 Brown Vibrolux 6G11
1964 Tuxedo 6G2 Princeton
1965 Super Reverb AB763
1966 Princeton non-reverb
1966 Bandmaster AB763
1966 Deluxe Reverb AB763
1968 Vibro Champ
1969 Super Reverb
1970 Twin Reverb AA0280
1971 Vibrolux Reverb
1973 Twin Reverb
1973 Bronco
1974 Princeton Reverb
1976 Twin Reverb
1977 Twin Reverb
Clone 5E3 Deluxe
Clone Tweed Champ 5F1
Clone 6G2 Head
Clone 5F4 Super
Clone 5F2A Princeton
1994 Vibro-King
2000 Deluxe Reverb

Listed are just the Fenders and clones of. I have worked on various other amp brands however tend to restrict what I will work on, other than Fender. I would say my specialty is pre-1976 Fender tube amps. Work has varied from complete builds, to cap servicing, tube swapping to scratching my head wondering where to go next during troubleshooting.
Naming my fave's above, that's all I can think of right now. As you can see, I like Vintage Fenders. I'm very happy over here doing this as a hobby. Been in a heck if a run over past 8 years. I gotta get a Tweed Bassman on my bench somehow!

Turn around time? Varies. I work M-F and keep a house and a band in check also. Amps are hobbies. I have been told I do high quality work. I'll attribute that to taking my time and doing this right as if every amp I work on is mine.

Pics? Sure. I take pics of every amp that I have ever worked on. I like to peruse through them from time to time and enjoy the memories.

1963 Vibrolux:


Sadly, a 1965 Super Reverb. I did not do this to the caps!


1966 Princeton. Insanely clean and original


1976 Twin I rebuilt:


1959 Twin on my bench:
 

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I am an amp tech and make part of my income from it. I've been doing amp repair for over 20 years now.
I didn't start out there however. I started in high tech and avionics after completing two diplomas from college. One in electronics, the other in instrumentation.

Some of the more unique amps I've had the privilege of working on are: Tweed Bassman, Tweed twins (both 80watt and 40watt), Blond '59 AC30, Black Flag Plexi,
and last but not least as '62/'63 JTM45 (KT66's and GZ34 rectifier)....ultra rare. There are others but they don't come to mind right now. :)
 

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After graduating high school in the mid 70's I went to college and took electronics. Solid state was the rage but there was still a ton of tube stuff around so we were taught both. I ended up servicing Xerox copiers for several years which did little to advance my electronics experience but sure did bolster my confidence in diagnosing problems in a methodical manner and fixing REALLY scary mechanical stuff.
I love working on my own gear and occasionally do repairs for others but realized quickly that accepting payment implies that the work comes with a warranty so I do it only for personal enjoyment.
And I must say that advice from very helpful and knowledgeable members of this forum have made me look good in the past!
 

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Self motivated and self educated amp hack right here. I started maybe 8 or so years ago. Read, read and read some more is what I do. Always researching. I have a mind that cannot sit idle. Boring activities like TV and movies I can't handle. I started out building a few clone pedals. Then got into amps. I have been acquiring tools, experience and parts ever since. Today I have all I need including a CRT O-scope. ESR meter. Signal generator. Light bulb limiter. DMM of course too. Solder station, all the hand tools etc. By the time you get through an entire spool of solder you are getting pretty comfortable around tube amps. I offer my repair services to local musicians. Usually just tube amps, pre-1976. Preferably Fender, due to the fact I love Fender amps. I have my own personal collection of Fender vintage amps. I have repaired and maintained them all myself. When you get into double digits with your vintage amp inventory count, you are either rich or stupid. LOL. I'm not rich so I have to figure this stuff out for myself.

Trickiest or hardest project: At the time, while you are learning, every new troubleshooting exercise is hard. They get easier as you gain experience. You learn from every problem. Looking back over the past jobs I will say the one that I poured the most research and time into, was my 5E3 build. It was my first amp build. I was not content putting it together without understanding what each and every part's purpose was. I have gradually taken on more difficult work as I became more confident in my skills. My most recent repair was almost a full tear down and rebuild of a 1976 Twin Reverb. It was heavily modded and sounded terrible. I pulled out a large pile of parts and replaced everything to new specs again. I rebuilt the amp to a 1970 non-master Twin Reverb version. It sounds wonderful and the owner is very happy. It was a little nerve racking at times as I second guessed my abilities at times.

Coolest amp I ever worked on? Oh, man there have been some doozies. How about an all original, dead, 1959 High Power Tweed Twin that I repaired? That's a pretty cool amp that I brought back from the dead. Other amp work I have done, my personal and customer amps include:

1959 Deluxe 5E3
1959 High Power Twin 5F8-A
1962 Blonde Twin Restoration 6G8-A
1963 Brown Vibrolux 6G11
1964 Tuxedo 6G2 Princeton
1965 Super Reverb AB763
1966 Princeton non-reverb
1966 Bandmaster AB763
1966 Deluxe Reverb AB763
1968 Vibro Champ
1969 Super Reverb
1970 Twin Reverb AA0280
1971 Vibrolux Reverb
1973 Twin Reverb
1973 Bronco
1974 Princeton Reverb
1976 Twin Reverb
1977 Twin Reverb
Clone 5E3 Deluxe
Clone Tweed Champ 5F1
Clone 6G2 Head
Clone 5F4 Super
Clone 5F2A Princeton
1994 Vibro-King
2000 Deluxe Reverb

Listed are just the Fenders and clones of. I have worked on various other amp brands however tend to restrict what I will work on, other than Fender. I would say my specialty is pre-1976 Fender tube amps. Work has varied from complete builds, to cap servicing, tube swapping to scratching my head wondering where to go next during troubleshooting.
Naming my fave's above, that's all I can think of right now. As you can see, I like Vintage Fenders. I'm very happy over here doing this as a hobby. Been in a heck if a run over past 8 years. I gotta get a Tweed Bassman on my bench somehow!

Turn around time? Varies. I work M-F and keep a house and a band in check also. Amps are hobbies. I have been told I do high quality work. I'll attribute that to taking my time and doing this right as if every amp I work on is mine.

Pics? Sure. I take pics of every amp that I have ever worked on. I like to peruse through them from time to time and enjoy the memories.

1963 Vibrolux:


Sadly, a 1965 Super Reverb. I did not do this to the caps!


1966 Princeton. Insanely clean and original


1976 Twin I rebuilt:


1959 Twin on my bench:
Don't forget your consulting work. My 75 Super Reverb wouldn't be working right if it wasn't for your friendly guidance.
 

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Peavey Wolfgang EVH Wolfgang Charvel Style 2
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I don't do it for a living. I'm too busy for that :)
I do a lot of work locally and have had a couple of famous amps on the bench... Gord Johnsons modified JCM 2000 which fused a screen grid resisiter and burned a hole in the pcb I could fit my thumb through. Howard Leece's Cornford Hellcat Serial#1 which needed to be retubed. Other than that I've done a lot of work on Vintage Fender Blackface amps... 65, 66, and on into the 70's, old Marshall Plexis and JCM800's, many JCM 2000's, MA's, DSL's and TSL's, Soldano, Fuchs, old Traynors, Bogner, Line 6, etc... I'll do work on SS amps but most of what I do is on Vintage Tube Amps. One of the coolest things I get to do is actually see the circuits and get good photos of them for my records. I also have over 400 vintage NOS tubes and a couple hundred current production tubes.
I would describe this as a sideline or hobby. I work on about 20 to 30 amps a year and most is troubleshooting tube problems. I do a lot of re-tubing and re-capping jobs. Own a tube tester and several hundred mostly vintage with some current production resisters.
Most of my time is consumed with gigging locally in the Calgary area in Blakkstone Hexx. I also do Repairs, mods, maintenance and set ups on all stringed instruments. Mostly for local gigging Artists. Interesting guitars I've worked on... a 59 Strat, several high end PRS, early 70's believe it was a 73 Les Paul, and an early 70's believe it was a 70 decapitated Flying V :)
I also help out local players in achieving the tone they are looking for with their gear. I've personally owned well over 20 tube amps and I've spent many hours on micing up amps top get great recorded sounds. I also do Sound Tek work :)
 
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