The Truth About Vintage Amps, Ep. 21

Note: The Fretboard Journal is in the midst of our first-ever Subscription Drive. We hope you’ll join us. (Notice the Skip Simmons-modified Champ in our Frisell video, too.) 

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons fields your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: podcast@fretboardjournal.com or, better yet,  leave us a voicemail at 509-557-0848. Include a photo of your amp if you can so we can post it on our Instagram page.

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

8:00 Cloning vintage knobs (video link, h/t John from Australia!)

9:34 This week’s sponsors: Grez Guitars, Roberto-Venn

11:01 An open call for our first live caller

13:39 Bartell guitar history (site link)

14:49 Skip’s schedule

16:49 More Solder-gate

17:15 Single-ended, parallel twin power tube amps

21:18 WD-40 to the rescue, again

23:28 Unwanted noise from an Echoplex

32:02 Lower B-plus voltage on a Blackface Fender

37:38 Tweed Princeton with a choke vs a resistor

44:18 Speaker cable vs guitar cable (and a sad bird tale)

53:46 Skip’s soup tips

56:43 The story behind the TAVA intro music

57:44 Sal Trentino and a Standel 80L15 schematic

1:05:22 Asking boutique makers for their schematics

1:10:37 Dr. Z’s new Jetta amp and the story behind the 7591 power tube

1:15:25 Figuring out what’s original in a 1953 Fender Tweed Deluxe (5B3)

1:18:14 How noticeable are bad caps?

1:26:06 A solid state Peavey Firebass 700 that won’t stop power cycling

1:29:00 An AmpRX BrownBox for a Brownface Deluxe

1:31:57 Skip’s picks: Treme; Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace; Harlan County, USA; The House That Trane Built; the Recordium on YouTube; “Wherever You Go” by Skip Mahoney

1:37:00 Cheap Amazon variacs

1:39:41 Mystery tubes in a 1960 Lafayette tape deck

1:44:16 Putting the 5U4GB back into a 1969 Fender Princeton

1:51:29 Cooling off an amp that runs hot

PS: The reason Jason is preoccupied during this episode: https://www.myballard.com/2019/10/07/2-alarm-fire-on-market-st/

Special thanks to the presenting sponsors of the Fretboard Journal: Gibson, Martin and Carter Vintage Guitars.

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and don’t forget to share it with friends.

Butchered 1965 Fender Princeton Reverb photo above sent in via listener Steve Frost.