The Truth About Vintage Amps, Ep. 123

Today, we celebrate the millionth download of our podcast with one of our favorite conversations to date: Longtime TAVA contributor Larry Chung joins Skip and Jason to talk about the zen and art of early tube amp restoration and so much more.

We also tackle a bunch of questions from our listeners about PAs, field coil speakers, guitar amp finds, and other surprises. Want to be a part of our show? Just email us a question or voice memo to podcast@fretboardjournal.com.

Our sponsors are Emerald City Guitars, Amplified Parts, and Grez Guitars.

Some of the topics discussed this week:

1:43 Thanks to you all, our Truth About Vintage Amps just hit a million downloads!

2:21 Our millionth download giveaway: Voltic Electronic Devices DTF fuzz (Instagram). Enter by November 1, 2023!

4:17 Special guest Larry Chung: Getting electrocuted on his first amp repair; Skip’s OG appearance on Fretboard Journal Podcast #224 (link); a love for ’30s and ’40s PAs and amplifiers; the intrinsic joy of working on amplifiers; ‘How to Repair Small Appliances’ by Jack Darr; 6N6/6B5 tubes

29:43 Radio’s Master and the hidden value of old catalogs

33:12 Why was the dark art of speaker reconing never documented?

35:20 Larry’s unique approach to components when it comes to antique amplifiers; not rushing amp restorations

40:54 A not-so-stock blonde Tremolux; a White amplifier found at the dump; Soursound transformers (link)

48:08 The tone circuit in Gibson EH-150s with the high/low settings, collecting amps as a reference library

51:03 The sound of a field coil speaker vs. a standard speaker with the same amp

53:17 Do field coil speakers need maintenance beyond the actual speaker? the upper response of field coil speakers

57:58 Field coil into ground amplifiers

59:07 A Skip-serviced Masco Audiosphere 10 for sale in Amsterdam

1:00:15 How to dry out an amp that’s been soaked by a storm; Kenny Vaughan’s “Mysterium” (YouTube)

1:04:23 A Precision Electronics PE-25 PA head that sounds terrible

1:15:04 What is this Marshall 100-watt head?

1:19:17 Do I need to replace all the resistors on my 1940s Masco MA-25; SF’s Kilowatt Bar (link)

1:24:45 Baking butternut squash as per the ‘Joy of Cooking’

1:25:54 The magic of vintage pots, Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series; the Bros. Landreth ‘Let It Lie’

1:32:31 Adam Levy’s ‘Spry’ (link)

1:35:28 Troubleshooting a Masco MA-25/ME-27 with a loud hiss

1:44:13 Larry’s book recommendation: Norman Maclean’s ‘Young Men and Fire’ (Amazon link)

Recorded October 9, 2023.

Hosted by amp tech Skip Simmons and co-hosted/produced by Jason Verlinde of the Fretboard Journal.

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Above pic: Larry Chung’s late 1930s Lafayette Model 103A from Skip’s shed. 6N6 triodyne power tubes and the bias cell grid bias preamp.