Amp Services

VINTAGE SERVICE & RESTORATION

Example picJust like a classic car, a vintage amp should only be worked on by a tech with the necessary specialist knowledge and experience. I've seen too many old amps damaged and devalued, sometimes irreversibly, by general electronics servicemen and amp 'techs' who don't understand or care about vintage amps.

I have over 15 years experience of servicing, repairing, modifying and restoring old tube amps, and have worked on many rare and valuable amps. As a vintage amp owner myself, I understand the issues involved in doing work to these amps, and can advise on the necessity of any such work and how it should be done to best preserve the originality and value.

I specialise in 50's - 70's Fender and Marshall amps - I have owned around 20, including many of the classics, and have worked on scores more. I also have experience of many other makes, including Vox, Park, Dumble, Watkins/Wem, Selmer, Musicman, Carlsbro, National/Valco/Supro/Gretsch and Silvertone.

My expert knowledge and understanding of these amps means I know exactly how to set them up so they work and sound their best. I've spent hundreds of hours tweaking, honing and fine tuning vintage amps and also know which modern components sound best in these amps and preserve the original tone.

I have done everything from servicing and minor repairs to full restorations - cosmetic and electronic - and have brought back to life many amplifiers that hadn't worked for decades.

Wherever possible I use vintage correct parts - either new old stock or modern equivalents. I never do unnecessary work to vintage amps, and all work is discussed with and approved by the owner before being done. All work is reversible and all original parts are returned to the owner.

Example picAs well as black/silverface Fenders and 70's Marshalls, here's just some of the vintage amps I've worked on recently :

1955 Gretsch 6161 - repair & replacement cabinet
1956 Gretsch Electromatic - repair
1959 Gibson GA8 Gibsonette - service
1959 Gibson GA20T - service
1956 Fender 5E3 Deluxe - service & repair
1957 Fender 4x10 tweed Bassman - major restoration
1959 Fender 4x10 tweed Bassman - service & repair
1959 Fender Champ - service, speaker recone
1959 Fender Tremolux - repair
1960 Fender 3x10 tweed Bandmaster - service & repair
1962 Fender Pro - new output transformer and speaker baffle
1962 Fender Deluxe - service
1962 Fender Princeton - service
1963 Vox AC30 - repair
Example pic 1964 Vox AC30 - service
1965 Vox AC30 - service & repair
1966 Marshall JTM45 - service, repair & set up
1966 Marshall JTM50 - service
1967 Marshall 18w - service
1968 Marshall 50w - repair
1969 Marshall 20w - service
Supro 6424 - repair
Supro 1605 Reverb - service, restoration & modification
Silvertone 1485 - service
1964 Selmer Zodiac Twin Fifty - service & repair
1969 Selmer Treble and Bass - service & modification
1971 Orange 100w - repair
1973 Hiwatt DR103 - repair

Note: the vintage amps pictured here are ones I've owned. I never take or use photos of customers amps without permission.

 

VINTAGE MODIFICATIONS

I have a wide range of proven mods for vintage amps - safety conversions, master volumes, adjustable bias etc. All mods are reversible and never involve drilling of the chassis or faceplates.

Mods for BF/SF amps - as well as the usual SF to BF conversion, there's reverb on both channels, tweed/plexi gain and tone from the Normal channel, fixed/cathode bias switching, and switchable vibrato circuit bypass for a gain boost - plus lots more tricks that will really bring these amps to life.

Mods for plexi and 70's Marshalls - lots more stuff like metal panel to plexi conversions, master volumes that don't mess up the tone, and cascading gain stages that have gain plus tone, clarity and articulation.

 

REISSUE UPGRADES

Many reissue amps have low grade transformers (including most handwired ones), and you will hear a dramatic improvement by replacing them with Hammond or Mercury Magnetics units. You can usually improve these amps by changing the valves and speakers for better quality choices, but to really hear the benefit you need to change the transformers.

I can also replace the PCBs with turret or eyelet boards as appropriate, and upgrade the components - pots, resistors, capacitors, etc. - to your specification and budget.

With these mods your amp will sound better than many boutique amps costing £2000 or more.

Vox AC15H1TV and AC30H2

Example picThe owner of these two amps wanted them upgraded and modified to get closer to the sound of the Vox amps he played in the 1960's.

The vintage inspired circuit in both amps is the same, with an EF86 channel, a top boost channel, a common Cut control and some useful extra features. The basic circuit was retained, but with a number of mods and component upgrades to give a more vintage range of sounds on both channels.

On the PCB turret board the signal capacitors were replaced with vintage value Sozo's and the resistors with carbon composition. On the EF86 channel the 2 position Brilliance and Bass Shift switches were reworked for more usable tones. On the AC30 the pots were replaced with CTS.

On both amps the output transformer and choke were replaced with Mercury Magnetics units. The original speakers were replaced with UK Celestion Alnico Blues, and the valves with a NOS EF86 and Harma Retro ECC83's and EL84's.

Example pic

 

 

 

 

Fender 1959 Bassman Reissue

The owner of this amp asked for a chassis rebuild to 5F6-A specs. He wanted to retain the original transformers, have the pots and tube sockets replaced, and an eyelet board with new components installed. Two small changes from the vintage circuit were the addition of an internal HT fuse and a bias pot. He stripped out the chassis then sent the amp in with some small parts he'd already purchased.

Example pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECOVERING

I offer an expert recovering service for fender cabinets, in tweed or any tolex/grill cloth combination. Charges start from £150, and depend on the cabinet and materials - once I receive the cabinet I will give a fixed price.

 

CABINET REPAIRS & REPLACEMENT CABINETS

Example picI can repair vintage cabinets and make replacement birch plywood back panels and speaker baffles. Replacement amplifier and speaker cabinets of either solid pine or birch ply can be made to order.

Note all cabinets are handmade and cannot duplicate exactly CNC made birch ply cabinets.

Cabinets start from £300 for a 1x12 combo.

 

 

 

CHARGES

Labour charges are £30 for the first hour, then £25/hour thereafter. The minimum bench charge is £20. All work carries a 3 month parts and labour guarantee.