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WRGKMC last won the day on April 16 2018

WRGKMC had the most liked content!


  • Birthday 11/01/1957


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    Electronic Tech, Musician, Luthier, Audio Engineer, Video Producer

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  1. There are several different versions of Marshall amps. If you're looking for a Plexi Tone, 80's Marshall, or New metal you need a different box for each of those tones. You typically need to compensate for whatever tone your amp produces too. Some pedals "might" be able to make a Fender amp sound like a Marshall if it has enough high end midrange to change the amps voicing. An amp (and speaker) with a wider Fidelity tone may need more compensation then another. Besides having several actual Marshall amps I have at least a dozen different single, multi effects and rack effects units with marshal tones. I can say some do a better job then others. When you play through an actual Marshal amp its not just the tone that's important, its the string sensitivity and attack that makes a huge difference. You may be able to get close to the tone using only a pedal, but it doesn't compare to the real thing. I typically use two amps, recording and performing and I'll use a marshal pedal to get the non Marshall amp to match closer the real thing. I can typically get a Governor to match the drive and tone of the actual Marshal drive channel quite well. Tone wise I may not bother as much. I often want the second amp to widen and expand the range of the Marshall instead of cloning it identically. Besides getting all the notes on the guitar to match may not be possible. There are too many differences not only in the frequency curve of the amp but the speaker too. You may get an open chord to sound identical, but as soon as you move up the neck some tones will drop or boost in loudness due to these frequency response curves. I will say I doubt any audience will know or care about the differences, but they typically aren't musicians with a set of advanced ears and finger tips either. The rule of thumb is, if it sounds good its good enough. It may be hard getting a pedal to match the real deal if you have no A/B comparison to work with. Some pedals have too much range and never really nail the tones to begin with. If I were to recommend pedals, I'd give thumbs up to the actual Marshall pedals. They manufacture the amps and who would know better. The Governor is great for the 80's tone. The Blues Breaker is excellent for getting a Plexi or OR/20C tone. I haven't owned a Jack Hammer but they supposedly nail the New Metal and grunge tones. The vintage Black box version of the Governor is supposed to be very good too. There are many other pedals which nail the tones, and you simply have to buy them to try them and hope its a good choice. Another option I've used is a bit different. Joyo and a few others make units designed to act as a voiced preamp. You put these boxes at the very end of your effects chain and tweak them as though you're tweaking a Marshall head. You leave the amp after this box set for maximum clean fidelity and use the box for dialing in drive tones instead of the head itself. Then you'd use your other pedals as if you were driving a Marshall head. I have several of these Pedals and I'm able to nail a Vox, Fender or Boogie amp as needed. I simply dial up the clean tone first then dial is a small amount of drive, always 50% or less drive. I'm able to get a really nice clean tone which sounds like the speaker is being driven hard. I'll use my other pedals to gain full saturation in steps as they are turned on. Here's an example of that box. $39 new is well worth the cost. Amazon.com: JOYO JF-16 British Sound Guitar Effect Pedal Amp Simulator - Bypass, DC 9V and Battery Supported : Musical Instruments I can say this pedal can be used before others like reverb and echo or even placed as a normal drive pedal but I recommend you use it at the end of the chain. Then switch it on and off so there is no bump in volume, only tone and whatever gain you want as a backdrop to your other pedals. Get one of these then use a Governor before and you'll have two of the most favored Marshall tones nailed. Amazon.com: JOYO JF-16 British Sound Guitar Effect Pedal Amp Simulator - Bypass, DC 9V and Battery Supported : Musical Instruments
  2. Ever try and kill the volume of two independent volume controls at the end of a song? It can be like a one legged paper hanger in a kicking contest as you fiddle your volume down and feel like a fool as your instrument overshoots the song ending which should cut to dead silent. Having the ability to cut the volume using a single knob is a reason why many prefer Fender guitars. Of course what they never get to experience is all the subtle tones as you blend the two pickups at different levels. One way around it is to use one of the tone pots as a master volume but having two pots in series can suck some serious tone on an instrument which tone is typically dark enough to begin with. Rickenbacker uses this method. They wire the volumes to work independently then use a master volume. I suppose this helps control their Rick-O-Sound, stereo pickup wiring for running two amps. You could adjust each amp separately using either pickup volume then adjust the overall with the master volume. I can say, wiring them independently does make for a slightly brighter tone. You sacrifice some bendability however. When you adjust one of the two down it quickly disappears in the blend after you go down two notches or so. I have one Tele build where I used a treble bleed cap on the bridge pot and none on the rhythm. The rhythm gets darker as it attenuates and the bridge brightens. It gives me an expanded range of tone when both are turned down a bit. Which wiring scheme is better? That's something you simply have to try and decide for yourself. I do recommend using a volume pedal if you go independently. By the way I believe its the tone caps which are wired differently in LP's not the volume. There may have been an exception some place, but the wiring in a 50's vs Modern LP was strictly a difference in how the volume tapered with the tone caps connected to the center volume vs the output. https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegearpage.net%2Fboard%2Findex.php%3Fthreads%2Fwhy-50s-wiring-on-les-paul.1617639%2F&psig=AOvVaw04oY7EyT-5hCUFf4QAhrVv&ust=1631098157374000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAgQjRxqFwoTCLCDqaTY7PICFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD If course this doesn't stop one from rewiring the pots, but I'm not sure the taper is all that good for independent wiring. The last time I tried this on my DOT it didn't work so hot. With the normal combined wiring the taper is ideal for working the pot between 7~10 for blending the two. Independently, the second pot disappeared completely within that range and dialing back using distortion often required 3/4 of a turn down on a single pup. As others said, you simply need to try it and use it awhile that way. Personally I think the normal combined wiring is genius for tone and control. Like I said, I do have several instruments with the volume independently wired but these were exceptions based mostly on tonal considerations. Since I mostly record now I'm not worried about blinding stage lights and fiddling to find the knobs. I can use whatever wiring that provides the tones I want. You want something really complex. Wire a strat with three independent volumes. Cool blends but its an ass for live work.
  3. With the type and size of the signal feeding most inverter tubes, balance isn't an issue. The tube is there to invert the wave so you have a separate Positive and Negating moving waves which drive a push pull power amp. If the inverter was pushed to saturation then the resultant squared wave might have an issue with size, but Inverters typically work within their clean range (even though they might be passing a squared wave from the preamp) The signals feeding them are attenuated by resistors so the wave will be within the tubes optimal operating range. IF the two sides are uneven, that's where your power tube biasing typically comes into play. You can easily attenuate whichever side is higher feeding the power tubes with a resistor or balance the power tubes to get an even output. I would say this however. The brand/quality of and inverter tube can be an issue depending on the type of amp you have. Example, My 50 year old Music Man 65 head is an early Hybrid that uses a SS preamp, Tube inverter and power tubes. Those heads are noted for literally catching on fire when the Inverter tube shorts. I've never had an issue because I keep new tubes in it. On the other hand my Blackface Bassman uses a 12AT7 tube. I've tried maybe a dozen different 12AX7 tubes plus all the other 12XXX style tubes over the years and none of them change the sound quality, Preamp tubes, definitely make a difference, but the inverter, nothing you can detect by simply listening. I write it off due to the fact the tube isn't being pushed that hard. Its operating within a clean range and all it does is invert half the wave. If the tube was running closer to saturation, then maybe it would reveal some kind of effect on tone. The quality of the tube may effect the sound quality however. Just not in the way the others do. I tried out a JAN tube on my Bassman and experienced issues. It creates a weird harmonic effect similar to ring modulation or uneven symmetry. I was surprised because the tube had high ratings compared to all the other 12AT7 tubes. It may have simply been a dud or the issues didn't show up when run as a preamp. I swapped it for an Electro Harmonics and the icepick harmonic disappeared. I had a Marshall Plexi, Sound City, Ampeg and others too. The inverter had no effect on those either. In fact, as an electronic tech, I used to do all kinds of amps. The most I ever got from an inverter was Noise. Because the tube was often different then the preamp and had little or no affect on tone, most musicians skipped replacing them. The tubes were left to run 2 to 3 times longer and only got replaced when they became noisy. Of course as a tech you knew it to check it when an amp came in for such noise, which was more often then you'd think. Best thing to do is simply replace all tubes as a full set and you'll never have those issues. Quality tubes from a trusted vendor doesn't hurt either. Most used tubes look like new same was a light bulb would when you polish it up so beware of people trying to get rid of their spent tubes. There are no vintage audio tubes any more. There are loads of counterfeiters selling junk though. They even counterfeit the boxed to make them look like NOS.
  4. Power amps are dependent on the load for wattage ratings. Typically the lowest allowable impedance will give you the maximum wattage. Simply bridging an amp does not mean you'll get 1600 watts to work with and all you're doing is converting a stereo head into mono so it doesn't actually get much louder (unless the paralleled speaker load drops to the minimum the head can match. I suggest you check the manuals. You have to know all your component ratings and check the Math before you know what can work best. You can find on line calculators if you need to mix and match different loads. Most critical the rule of thumb working with PA heads that have variable impedance is to never go below their minimal impedance rating "Especially" if you're going to pump allot of bass. You can run the impedance higher and its unlikely you'll overheat it, but running too low you should only run a matched load and use quality cables at 25' max which should be good enough to span a 50' stage. I don't recommend using 50 ~100" cables on modern power heads, especially if you're hurting for volume to begin with. (It is why they use a snake with passive systems. The power amps remain on stage and its the low impedance mic cables that run long distance to the mixer with minimal loss). The technical reason is due to the way the amps are designed. SS amps have lower current higher voltage. Long speaker cables consume a huge amounts of power the longer they get and turn power into heat instead of sound. Powered speakers can be much louder at lower wattages because the head is mounted in the cab and may use only 1' of wire to connect to the speaker. As far as fixing your powered speakers. It may be fairly easy if its only a matter of having set for long periods. If its speaker cone rubbing due to heat an moisture you can often massage it back to full operation. you can carefully move the cone in and out and see if you can detect ant rubbing. I've had countess occasions where the speaker screws loosen up and the basket gets improperly torqued. I've even had to reverse warp the basket using washers to shim it up to prevent the cone rubbing. you can also try running the speaker alone from another head too. Just be sure to disconnect the internal amp first. If the speakers blown cone manipulation has no effect. you can also tell by the sound if you have a trained ear. Cone rubbing increases with volume. A shorted coil can have both a deformed voice coil that rubs and partial operation that loads the amp down into distortion. If the issue is the amp head and there is no apparent reason other then having set for long periods, the first thing you should check is Pots, jacks, and Switches. If you work the pots rigorously and the distortion diminishes, its simply a case of moisture that's corroded the contacts. Powered speakers likely use line level attenuators which rate at maybe 1 to 10K ohms and can be cleaned with potentiometer cleaner. Be use to use "Only" pot cleaner. If you don't have some buy it. All audio gear needs it eventually and its typically the leading cause of noise having left gear in storage. Costs around $10 a can. Never use Standard electrical cleaner. It's designed for high voltage switches to remove carbon and contains nearly 100% denatured alcohol. It will leave the pot completely dry making much worse and also decrease the lifespan of a pot. The stuff used for pots has mild cleaners and water resistant lubricants made of silicone or mineral oil. This prevents arching in the pots and is safe on the kinds of plastics modern components use. For the jacks I suggest you spray the plug then work it in and out of the jacks a few times. "Do Not Flood an Open Jack by Spraying into the open hole" This is the worse thing you can do. Most jacks are PC mount now. When you douse the jack you create an oil stain on the board which winds up collecting dust like a magnet which eventually shorts the board out. Switches, simply work them till they work properly. Most new style switches are designed to work until failure where they get replaced only. If you attempt to clean them you strip the grease off the rocker inside. This can make a switch freeze up, snap off the plastic inside or simply fail prematurely. I've taken many apart and repaired them but most aren't designed to be repaired and the small parts/springs inside are easily lost. Best option, simply change them when they fail. Lastly, make sure you use good cables. Don't trust anything you may have used before, especially your signal cables. If you use high impedance cables for connections (Guitar style phone cables) these often get used as speaker cables in a pinch or by accident. These cables are designed to pass maybe 1V maximum. Speaker signals are hundreds of times stronger and will literally fry the cable from the inside out. Once they overheat the copper separates from the insulation. This allows oxygen and moisture into the cable and the copper strands in the cable tarnish/oxidize. This makes a signal cable super noisy. Not only microphonic and crackly but it can also quit intermittently. It can be tough to troubleshoot too. By the way contact cleaner can get sucked up into the cable wire cause the same issues. It turns the copper brown and causes the same kinds of failure as oxidation. If the connections and pots are clean and the noise is still there, feed the amp into a different speaker to see if its a problem with the head. If it is the head, you'll likely need to contact the manufacture for a replacement. Dot trust you're local tech to try and repair it. Most self powered speakers use Class D amplifiers which are not only highly complex to repair and troubleshoot. Manufactures do not provide schematics or parts any more. Most simply swap the entire unit which is cheaper then paying a tech to repair it. If its the speaker you may be able to find a close replacement. Best recommendations for DIY is to try Parts Express. They have both speakers and amps for cabs. Maybe you could get what you need there if the manufacturers cost is too high. Parts Express: Speakers, Amplifiers, Audio Parts and Solutions (parts-express.com)
  5. I love that orange burst color. Does it have an actual wavy maple top? If so maple it should resonate pretty good through that F hole. The mini humbucker is a good touch too. I have three Tele's. One is semi hollow and has a pair of mini HB's which is my favorite for recording. The other two are standard Tele builds. I plan on putting a full sized HB in one of them to get a Keith Richards tone. I'm simply waiting till one needs a strings change. I Have and Epi DOT HB which Is a lower output 57 style alnico II pickup. Its likely to get clean tones like the staggered pole fender pickups do. I had the leftovers when I put 59 style Alnico 5's in my DOT. They were the ideal pickups for changing it from a Clean/Jazz tone to Rock. The 59 in a tele is likely too hot to match a bridge single. I suspect Richards has a hotter HB which created a balance issues. He tried to combat the problem using a hot wound pedal steel pickup in the bridge. There's a big question on wiring too. The best I was able to derive, he uses Esquire wiring with a blend pot which is pretty wild. He uses the second tone pot as a HB blend instead of a variable tone and the switch turns on different caps. New Tele's simply run the pickups in parallel with the switch centered. It relies on the output and pickup height to get a balance. I already put higher output pups in my Tele's so a cooler HP will likely give me a balance. Hopefully I can keep it that simple. I hate making poor mod choices. Its better when you choose the right stuff the first time. Sorry to drone on here. If I only had two guitars to choose from it would be a Tele and a Les Paul. The pair cover just about anything you need tone wise. Anyway, good luck with that one.
  6. Thanks. Good to be back. That's pretty good singlewide. The only way you can improve on it is to do an entire sanding and refinish. Even then it has a nasty habit of highlighting flaws. It wont improve the tone of course. You already took care of that so simply enjoy playing it.
  7. That's a single ended amp running a single power tube. Changing its bias level by changing the fixed resistance is the only thing that's going to change the amount of drive. You can try different brands of tubes but I doubt it will have much effect on an amp that simple. Given its age Its also a very dangerous method of changing the sound you want. The caps in that amp are likely original and have values that have drifted far out of specs and also seeing its still got metal can type army surplus tubes from the 40's (The Military used metal tubes instead of glass so they didn't damaged in combat so easily) If you go and monkey with its specs you may wind up smoking the thing. Besides its far cheaper to simply buy another amp then to pay someone with enough engineering knowledge to do the work correctly and safely. Beyond that, if you want more drive and punch try an Electro Harmonix tube instead of a JJ. They are much higher quality and have fuller frequency response with less noise. It will likely get louder too which gives you more headroom. Anything beyond that I'd focus on either a different amp speaker which has a huge impact on tone and drive, or you can change the guitar pickups (or both) to achieve the changes you want. Pickups mostly affect the amps front end and change how much dig and drive you get from the strings. Frequency response and preamp drive are affected too. Just remember the Hotter the pickups, the narrower the frequency respose. You may get more drive but you also loose top and bottom end. Speaker changes since that amp was original built are like night and day. Not only are they far more efficiency, (more sound for less watts) the types of materials used are going to give you the best tone vs drive, vs loudness. I wouldn't be surprised if the original speaker has an efficiency of a Hi Fi speaker in the 70/80dB range. A new speaker can have an SPL of 90 ~ 110dB and not only give you better tone but make the amp 2~4X louder. Of course knowing which speaker (or pickups) that might give you what you need is not going to be an easy decision. I've been an electronic tech and musician for over 50 years and I cant tell you what might be best for you. If I had the amp in hand using your guitar I could "instinctually" find better accessory choices based on my experience but there is nothing to say my choices would be anything you'd prefer. This is why we are all mostly left to using the trial and error method of getting what you want. In short you roll the dice, spend the money and hope you don't get burned too badly if you make a poor choice. The best you can do is educate yourself as much as possible like you're doing here before buying something. This should at least help you avoid making complete failures by not diligently investigating what you buy/ Believe me, I could have retired on all the money I've spent on stuff I failed to study thoroughly. Then again you don't learn those lessons without someone looking out for your best interest that has the wisdom to help you choose. When it comes to tubes, they quit designing new tubes 60 years ago. The guys like myself who were trained in tube technology are a dying breed now. Few even mess with them any more because there is so little profit in it. You cant earn a living at it. Companies that make amps simply recycle classic designs. Since the tube choices for audio are limited so are the amp designs. Fact is, there isn't much difference between tubes. On top of that you can only wire a tube so many ways to get decent tone while remaining within a safe range of tolerance. The more you push them to be unique the more likely you wind up having catastrophic failure. If you can afford huge repairs or do those repairs yourself then maybe you can risk running them out of specs to obtain some small measure of difference. In your case I'd recommend the K.I.S.S. method. You have a simple amp, Keep all mods simple and reversible. Try some a different speakers so you at least have some idea of what might sound best, then save the original speaker in case you sell the amp. take it to a music store and try different guitars through it then note the pickup type. Most amps have an ideal match. The pickups, the amp circuitry and the speaker all complement each other. It only takes one of those things to be out of specs and the tone goes to crap.
  8. Based on the holes and their spacing, I'd suspect that guitar had a had a Bigsby vibrato system and floating bridge installed. The 4 holes closest to the tail, likely held a Tele style Bigsby. The other holes likely mounted some kind of bridge. At first I thought the hole routed would accommodate a Mustang type bridge that "moves" with the strings when the Bigsby is used but there must have been more to it. The original bridge is low profile so some kind of roller bridge that required routing to get it low enough to mount was needed. I've seen Kahler vibrato's that used shallow routes but this one seems unique. It may have been a bridge rigged up to work and they butchered things to make it fit. As far as getting the holes filled in. What I'd do is fill the route in with epoxy putty. It does a wonderful job in cases like this and its better then wood putty because it doesnt shrink. You can sand it smooth too. Simply tape off the area around the bridge so you don't mess the remaining finish up. You can find it in most hardware stores. You mix it up like clay and then fill in that hole under the bridge. You should get back some bass tones with a flush solid surface. You can use the putty on the screw holes too. Normally I'd simply use tooth picks dipped in CA then trim them off flush with the surface after they dry. You can use felt tipped markers to color of the trimmed end to match the surface better, then use a drop of CA and a tooth pick to seal the end of it. If the looks still bothers you find some ornate stickers like stars and stick them over the filled holes. It should be enough to satisfy any curious minds. The only other option is to refinish the top after matching the plug color. That a tough job to simply fix some screw holes and unless the instrument has great value I'd advise against it. Personally I've done excellent work with the putty alone. Its easy to fill un holes using a putty knife and since you can buy the stuff in a Yellowish color you can easily darken it with a brown marker quickly applied and wiped off till you get the plug colors right. Wiping it with alcohol will remove the marker if you need to start over. Once its right, a drop of CA or lacquer will seal it up.
  9. Hey guys, I have the 50W version of this amp. Bought it as a portable right which fits easily in the back of my Mustang GT. The amp does have a line out but beware. It cuts the sound to the power amp and speaker when you plug into it. Also it only captures the preamp, not the valve tone of the power amp. Its not that the preamp tone is bad, it simply doesn't have the same drive as a driven tube it uses for its tone. What did with mine is to rewire the jack so it only taps the tone from the preamp leaving the power amp running. The 1/4" jack is switched so I bridged the two pins on the jack with a switch so I can run the amp with the power amp on or off. The other issue with allot of line outs on amps, most are wired between the preamp and power amp. because of this they are often full frequency and lack the drive and coloration the power amp and frequency curve a speaker provides. Some manufacturers realize a direct "Speaker Emulated" line out is an option many owners want. If done right it can not only isolate the amp from stage/'studio noise but can add the coloration and time delay a speaker cab produces. The best example of this I've used is the one in my Marshall Valvetronix head. The cap emulation is top quality. Other then the unwanted bleed a mic cab produce the difference between micking the 1960 cab and direct tone is so good I quit using a mic on its cab for recording. For most other amps that have a line out with no cab emulation, there are two easy solutions. For older tube amps you can build an amp emulated DI box for the cost of a few caps and resistors. I added one to my old Bassman and music man heads decades ago and they still work fine. You can even build them into a box you can place between the speaker out and cabinet. I used one live for 10 years when I played bass using my old V4 Ampeg setup. This is the circuit. I added a 500K pot to attenuate the signal down if needed. These components can be placed in a small metal box and you simply connect it to an external speaker jack for recording. These specs are good for an amp up to 50W. If you use a 100W amp I'd use a higher value resistor then the 470K. The caps in this circuit add the cabinet coloration and get rid of the ice pick tones you normally get straight from an amp without a speaker For guitar amps, the speaker itself has the effect of compressing, delaying and rolling off frequencies. This is why most sound men prefer to mic the cabs. A typical speaker and say a SM57 mic have a distinct roll off below 200Hz and above 5K Trying to create a frequency curve that matches that ideal result using the line out and an EQ is extremely difficult and even then the spatial aspect if a cab and the delay of the speaker piston pushing compressed air is non existent. Luckily you can buy a small digital speaker emulator box to do that job for next to peanuts now. I bought one of these new for $29 and it worked so good I bought a second for stereo applications. The box is far better then the antique EQ solutions I used to use recording. It works similar to a virtual amp plugin in a recording program that uses speaker IT cab impulses except the impulses are hard wired into the box and you use a selector switch to choose the speaker type from a small 10" open back cab tone all the way to a full stack of 12" The Vox, Rolland and Blackface and even the Marshall cabs produce excellent tone for live or recording purposes. You can simply Velcro it into the back of a combo amp and leave it plugged into the line out to bake it easy for setups. You can find dozens of others if needed. Some are way over priced so beware. Anything over $75 for these kinds of boxes is likely a ripoff. Tomsline - Shaper (Cabinet Simulator) | SV Devices | Reverb
  10. I did business with them for several decades and never had a problem. This was Pre pandemic however. The covid situation has devastated the tech business just like all others, maybe eve more so. I'm in that business and lost my job all due to the fact so many business are shut down. Even before I was laid off all my vendors contacted me to let me know normal service would be slowed dur to reduced manpower. Tube Depot - Tubes and More - Antique Radio Supply and Parts Express are all reliable companies and have had excellent customer support in the past. Best Tube choices have nothing to do with these warehouse vendors so long as the tubes are new and they are shipped without incident. Different manufacturers have different tube quality of course and finding sets that match your gear can take allot of trial and error. Some of the comments made in this nearly 10 year old thread are quite amateurish. The one post that asks about how tubes are tested and questions why tubes are sold with different breakup levels was the funniest. Most tubes test good or bad. The quality is based on mechanical construction. The construction is engineered into the design its not tweaked to give you hot vs soft tubes. There are companies like Groove tubes which sort tubes and separate them into categories of Hot Medium and Clean but that's simply a matter of taking advantage of having a wide quality tolerance. Its not like they purposely make different tubes which are clean or hot. Most pros will simply chose tube types based on experience. You get to know how tubes sound in different amps and Gravitate towards one depending on what a customer wants. Last time I bought tubes I tested around 5 different sets of power tubes and a dozen sets of preamp tubes to find tubes that sounded best in my vintage Bassman amp. Amp circuits can vary quite a bit so the the quality of sound you get from any particular set of tubes can vary allot as well. Trusting other peoples opinions beyond a certain point is therefore quite useless unless they have the same amp as you do and all the other variables like the speakers paired with the amp and even the instruments used and musical preferences all come into play with what someone might consider best. Example, someone who uses pedals may need a solid clean amp tone compared to someone who gets their drive by saturating a preamp tube in a drive channel. "Best" tubes are therefore completely subjective but you can still learn much from others. I use preamp tubes in allot of different pieces of gear so I have collected and tried many different types of preamp tubes over my lifetime. Out of the new tube types commonly sold, JJ's are solid but unimpressive. They produce allot of midrange amp may be good in an amp that needs a midrange boost on a drive channel but they lack sparkle and jangle for clean tones. Sovtek has 4 or 5 different types. All produce lack luster results. I used Groove tubes for years in my Bassman and they are actually quite good. Quite similar to the Vintage RCA tubes U used to use. same with the power tubes. I got 20 years out of a set and they were still fine when I decided it was time to upgrade. There are a couple of different Chinese factories that make tubes but since they will brand tubes with any company logo for a price, knowing which company actually manufacturers them is difficult. Marshall, Mesa Peavey and many other amp manufacturers have their stock tubes made in China or Russia and branded with their names. On top of that you have companies like Ruby tubes which buy budget tubes from China. They test the tubes to get bias matches then brand and box them with their own labels. I tried a set based on a friends recommendations and was bitterly disappointed. Not only was the sound quality noisy but the tube elements started arching out shortly after power up. Given the fact the tubes originated in China, were shipped to another factory which handled them for testing and packaging, then they were sent to another on line vendor for sale to customers, then that product was shipped to a customer in a small box thrown around in plane and delivery truck, I wasn't surprised the elements were mechanically weak by the tine I was able to try them. Dealing with a vendor who handles tubes are the time is far better as is dealing with non branded tubes. Anyway, I could have gone with the same Groove tubes on my Fender. Its what Fender uses on all their amps since before they bought that company. I did try the JJ power tubes and again was unimpressed. I got good results using their EL34's in my Music Man amp. They were one of the only brands that could handle the higher plate voltages those amps use, but now that companies are making the 6CA7 tubes again I use the correct tube type in that amp now. I went with the ElectroHarmonix tube in that amp and was so impressed by its sound I tried the same brand in the Fender as well and got superb results. The tone is clean and unmuted, and they give you at least a 20% perceived boost in volume and tone compared to others like the Sovtek and JJ's. Even in starved voltage circuits they do extremely well. Like I said, results will depends on the type of amp you use. If I had a bright amp with fingernail on blackboard tones like My buddies Peavey amp, I'd want to try different tubes to reduce that edge before messing with the circuitry. Trying different speakers is another good option because its impact on tone and gain can be much more acute. Plus its allot easier and less risky compared to messing with things like tone stacks and tube biases.
  11. Guitar adjustments are all interdependent on one another. You mess with one adjustment you will surely throw others out of whack. String height, intonation, relief are the three main ones. Others like string types, pickup height, fret height, nut height, fret wear, and players touch all need to be factored into the formula. In an ideal world, if you properly diagnose the thing that's gone out of adjustment, then adjust only that one item, you shouldn't need to mess with anything else. because that one tweak brings the instrument back to specs. Wear and tear rarely works that way. Neck relief changes with temp and humidity, and as the sap in the wood dries out. Frets wear down, nuts wear down, changing string types and gauges throws a monkey wrench into the whole situation. Once frets get worn flat on top you'll likely see the need to lengthen the strings to maintain proper intonation at the 12th fret. The problem you run into however is frets farther up the neck may see little wear and sound flat in comparison (or flat frets may sound sharp in comparison to crowned frets) The more wear the more sour a guitar may wind up sounding and you typically wind up going nuts trying to keep the guitar in tune for any one key. Biggest problem you have with fretted instruments, even on ones with perfect setups are their fixed frets. Unlike Violins have no frets and rely on finger positions to maintain pitch a guitar can play in tune in one key and be loaded with sour notes in another key. This is because string tension changes at different points along the string and the fixed frets cant compensate for it. String tuning was originally based on Pythagoras and was called Harmonic Tuning. The way this worked was by dividing the string nodes into octaves, 5ths, 7ths, 9ths etc. Problem with the actual strings is they are under tension and the mathematical vs actual don't work when you go past the first scale and start matching rudimentary and octave notes. You wind up having loads of string beating which is painful to the ears as the frequencies clash. Early orchestras using this tuning would need to retune every time they changed keys. Guitars use a tuning method called "Equal Temperament" which is far from perfect. What they do instead of having some notes in perfect pitch and others totally sour is to stretch the "out of tune pitches" across the entire fret board. Any of the notes played together will only be out by a tiny amount in order to make the instrument sound good as a whole. To someone with a highly trained ear it can still be quite crude to the ears but to most non professional listeners, they don't even notice the pitch flaws. Equal Temperament can play all kinds hell on guitar string harmonics. You can intonate the 12th fret OK using the saddles. With the right neck relief you can usually get the 5th and 7th fret harmonics to work pretty good with the open strings too, but the rest of the fret intervals can wind up sounding sour in comparison especially if you intonate to maximize the harmonics. Playing wise you learn to compensate for Equal Temperament deficiencies as a performer. When you play a chord that has a note that is a little flat, or sharp you change your finger pressure to make the string pitch change and put the chords in tune. Pulling on strings lengthwise and even pushing the neck forward or pulling back to change string tension become second nature as a player. Also as a note, learn to use your ears. An electronic tuner is only good for setting the open strings and 12th fret intonation. It has no Equal Temperament compensation built into it so setting optimal tone at all the other frets can be a real problem for someone with untrained ears. Ideally a pitch generator (found in various tuners for ear tuning) is ideal for setting up instruments. You can use it to minimize string beating of notes at any one fret while maximizing string tone. Far superior to matching one string to another too. Everything else simply takes time to acquire the experience needed to properly set up an instrument. I know people who have spent a lifetime playing and don't know jack from shinola when it comes to setting up an instrument. Some are excellent players too. They simply lack the hands on and/or ear training to do the work. I was playing violin at the age of 7 so my ear training was acute at a very early age. At the age of 12 when I got my first guitar, tweaking it to sound good was second nature. It simply came down to learning the various methods manufacturers invented to make those adjustments possible. I recommend this site to anyone interested in learning how to set up instruments. I would recommend buying a beater, (el cheapo) guitar for learning how to do tweak them. This way you avoid damaging or making main instrument sound bad when you screw things up. https://support.fender.com/hc/en-us/articles/212774786-How-do-I-set-up-my-Stratocaster-guitar-properly-
  12. My 480 had issues when I fist got it due to lack of maintenance. I replaced the frets, nut and bought new Kluson tuners and its been great ever since. I've had it for about 30 years and never needed to touch the dual truss rod either. The neck is perfect and other then a little fret work to level and polish the frets every so often its always retained its tuning.
  13. I do something similar for the past 30 years on guitars and pedals where the knobs can be hit accidentally. I use soft rubber pads which I cut to the size of the knob then melted a hole in the middle with a soldering iron. I put that on under the knob and can tweak how much friction the knob has by how far down I press the knob to the pad. Works perfectly. Your idea with rubber bands is OK for short term, I'd be worried what will happen if they are left there longer. Rubber bands are made of actual rubber and within a year or so will liquify into a sticky mess. Once that happens there's nothing stopping it from getting into the pot shaft. Alcohol based Contact cleaners wont remove that goop either. Find some thin silicone based rubber and make friction pads to put under the knobs. They will last at least 30 years before needing replacement.
  14. My buddy has a band is famous enough to have Peavey as a gear sponsor. (Mark May of the Dickie Betts Band). The amps they use are from Peavey's Pro line or gear which is way better then the junk sold to most consumers. As a Technician I've done repair work on their pro line and its like day and night compared to the budget stuff. I highly doubt changing the tubes would make much of a difference. Speakers? Possibly. Changing Speakers would create the biggest single change in amp tone. Tubes create a much smaller change in tone/drive. Many guitar pedals can easily emulate/mask that tube difference by simply changing how much gain is fed to the various stages. From what I read the amps had an analog voicing control which rewired the amp to give the amp some crude amp modeling capabilities. Nothing ground breaking there even for an amp thats 14 years old. My Ampeg V2/V4 amps had basic midrange modeling back in the 70's and was capable of sounding close to a Fender or Marshall depending on its settings. One thing about added circuitry you should always remember. Small amounts of extra components can shape tone while producing negligible levels of tone/gain suck. Adding too many components will "always" cause diminishing returns. If the basic amp design has quality to spare, tone that wont be missed if the signal is routed through additional circuitry then the benefits may outweigh the results. If on the other hand the amp block is budget quality built with mediocre or even cheap components you probably haven't got much quality overhead to begin with. By the time you run the signals through a bunch of masking circuitry the signal degradation can wind up being quite severe. There is no shortage of these kinds of amps out there. What seems like a great idea on paper may or my not translate to making it a workhorse. This goes for Tube and Solid State amps. The latest amp I bought was a Peavey Valvetronic modeling amp. Its probably made about the same time that Peavey was. The Vox uses a preamp tube as a power amp then rewires the tube to emulate several popular Class A, A/B tube amps. It then sends the signal to a SS power amp module to drive the speaker at loud volumes. Does a fairly good job mimicking some of the tones but I've used the actual amps this one tries to mimic and my ears cant be tricked into believing they are substitutes for those amps. I can get some decent results recording but live its just not there. Its not just the tone either. Much of it has to do with the amps dynamic response to the guitar strings. You can take a dozen different pedals and mimic how a saturated Marshall amp sounds but its not going to come close to giving you the full range of gray tones which exist between 100% clean and full drive. Of course if you are dynamically monotone as a performer or don't play music that exploits the ranges between black and white then these kinds of budget quality modeling amps might be your ticket. I'd advise staying away from the real deal however because an A/B comparison with the real deal will reveal the lackluster response all that extra circuitry produces. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Peavey. I own or have owned many of their amps have never been a fan. Not only because I know how they are built but because I've owned so many quality amps over the years. Lastly, Modding amps is better left to the professionals. If you have a classic amp which can be hot rodded, that's one thing. many of those amp designs have been around since the 40's and making changes are pretty straight forward. Modern amps are rarely good candidates for any kind of modding and you can usually forget the idea if it has PCB board. This particular model doesn't seen to have any schematics available. You'd be working blind making changes. You can do this with simple amps where everything is familiar. a complex amp that has a half dozen of more modeling circuits wired in, I wouldn't waste my brain power trying to mod that. It likely uses some rotary switches which already wires in most mods you might do and improving on that would require some analytical testing to be done, preferably on a computer screen using an electronics Cad program, the way this amp was originally designed. And If you're planning to do all that you can save all that hassle and expense by simply buying a more suitable amp to begin with.
  15. Looks like that amp used an unpopular flashlight bulb to illuminate the panel. Chances are that exact bulb became obsolete many decades ago as LED's took their place in most applications. There is hope however. There are still several 3, 6, 12V screw in type bulbs available. Unfortunately I couldn't find jack on that bulb type so its number cant be cross referenced. What you'll need to do is measure the voltage at the socket when the amp is turned on. My guess is, it uses the 6V AC filament voltage to light that lamp. The tube numbers should help identify the filament voltage. You can also try and find the schematic. The piolet lamp voltage should be easy to find from it. Finding an exact match will be the toughest issue. It might simply be easier to add a Fender style lamp. They are as common as dirt to find but you would need to replace the socket because the sockets are spring loaded and the bulbs gave pins that are push and turn type like tail lights on a car. If you post a picture it might be easier to determine if the replacement is easily possible.
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