Repair Restoration modification
Effective August 1, 2018 my hourly rate will be $75
As somebody who handbuilds tube amps in a vintage style, I am versed in vintage tube circuitry and in troubleshooting it. It's amazing that in an amplifier with hundreds of solder connections and components, just one bad connection or failing part can cause the amp to malfunction. From crackles, to hums, to blown fuses or even smoke, i can troubleshoot and repair the problem and get your amp sounding it's best. If desired I can also perform an array of modifications to your amplifier that can improve or tweak it's performance.
To look at any amp I charge a 75$ bench fee which covers the first hour of the repair. Often a simple problem can be fixed in this time. If the problem is more complicated, I will contact you with an estimate for the parts and labor for the repair. I have many parts in house, but often I will need to order special parts for your amplifier. Your final cost will include my time at 75/hr plus the cost of parts and shipping for those parts. And then there's WA state sales tax. I typically turn things around in 7-14 days. Sometimes ordering parts will lengthen the repair time.
My shop is in fantastic Tacoma, WA. If you're local contact me at (206) 790-8072 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a drop off time. I usually come to Seattle at least once a week so I can coordinate with you to arrange a meeting place where I can pick up and drop off your amp.
This late 60's Ampeg B18N was a pleasure to work on. These amps run nearly 600 volts and feature some obsolete capacitors. Years of heat and high voltage wear out the old cardboard covered capacitors. You can see some burnt spots on the board where resistors burnt due to shorted filter caps. I created an unobtrusive replacement filter with a network of modern radial capacitors and resistors that can handle the 600V this power supply produces. It mounts into the mounting hole for the clamp for the old capacitor. I rebuilt the bias supply and made it adjustable. The customer purchased some excellent NOS 7027A and this amp runs stable and sounds fantastic now.
When this 1954 Tweed Deluxe came in, it had not been working for several years. It had endured some funky repair work in the past and was no longer wired correctly. Capacitors had failed. The owner requested I rebuild the amp. It was unique opportunity to work on a vintage piece without the pressure of destroying the vintage value. With it's old iron and speaker, this amp sounds excellent now!
Before. The amp did not pass signal. It "Hummed like a banshee" The non original grounding work created several hum producing ground loops.
At the owner's request i installed modern Film tone capacitors, period correct carbon composition resistors and cloth wire, redid the grounding scheme and eliminated ground hum, added shielded cable on the input connections, replaced a non functioning potentiometer, and installed a non invasive (and easily removable) bass cut mod and switchable negative feedback mod.
Vintage Fender amps are the bread and butter of what I do. I build amps from scratch in the Fender style, and I repair them. I have restored and 'Blackfaced' many 70's era Silverface Fender amps. It make a big difference to rewire the bias from a bias balance to a bias adjust. WIth modern wall voltages being higher, many Silverface amps come in biased extremely cool. Converting the control to an adjust allows a matched set of power tubes to operate at their optimum point.
Sometimes an amp is so broken it's not repairable. Or, maybe it could just be a lot cooler. I've built completely new amps into old chassis and cabinets with great results. This Elk custom 45 was Japanese made relic from the 60s. It had not worked in years, and all the transformers were shot. I gutted it and built a Princeton reverb inspired amp out of it that has the power supply and the output transformer of a Deluxe. Surprisingly, this amp is very clean but has all the chime and sparkle you'd expect from a 60's era Princeton. I tweaked the Tremolo a bit to make it slower and extra swampy. I love the Princeton's Bias vary tremolo compared to the optoisolator tremolo of the AB763 circuit.
This is a totally reworked Blues Junior. These are great little amps, but it always seemed like something was missing... I built a new solid pine cabinet. I installed new transformers and now the amp runs on 2 6L6 @ 35 Watts. I removed all the ribbon cables to the tube sockets so proper lead dress could be done with cloth wire. I replaced and upgraded the filter caps. I tweaked the Tone stack values to the standard treble mid bass stack of the Blackface era amps. This added the deep bass that the amp had been missing. It's a different amp.
When this came in the table did not spin and the amp did not work. Tubes and capacitors had failed. I rebuilt and retubed the amplifier and cleaned 60 years of gunk out of the motor. Now it sounds great!