The Truth About Vintage Amps, Ep. 23

Our 23rd episode of the Truth About Vintage Amps podcast is arguably the most memorable, all thanks to special guest John Vanderslice. John is a prolific singer-songwriter, musician, record producer and engineer, as well as the guy behind the Bay Area’s Tiny Telephone recording studios. He also happens to use a lot of equipment that has passed through Skip’s workbench. This unfiltered chat covers a lot of ground: recording vintage amps, choosing which guitars to bring to the studio, food on the road, the perils of the music industry and so much more. Seriously, just listen…

After talking with John, Skip and Jason once again field your questions about all things guitar amplification. From tube amp basics to biasing and obscure accordion amps, this episode has a bit of everything.

As always, if you’d like to be a part of a future show, submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: podcast@fretboardjournal.com or leave us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848.

Order a PDF download of Steve Melkisethian’s tweed Princeton amp project here

Episode 23 in a nutshell:

1:05 “Naming calls” and PG&E

2:33 A/B box updates

3:00 The TAVA “book club” launches: Order the Angela Instruments’ tweed Princeton article and schematic (PDF, use at your own risk)

9:18 John Vanderslice (singer-songwriter, musician, Tiny Telephone Recording!) joins us: Living room shows, eating on the road, Gibson Falcons, mics for recording amps, Stromberg-Carlson pre-amps, surviving the music industry

1:01:40 Brian, the speaker re-coner at Weber Speakers: https://www.tedweber.com/recone-services/

1:03:03 Erick Coleman’s amp tech recommendation: Paul Schmittauer (email us)

1:04:08 Great Goo: Pepper Plant hot sauce (Amazon link: https://amzn.to/33orYLq)

1:05:40 Epiphone Pacemaker amps

1:07:23 Misspelled “Colombia” Fender amps

1:08:52 How multiple inputs work on amps

1:11:57 Using the second input on a Fender as a line-out

1:14:14 Amp builder Bob Gjika (Gjika Amplification), the mojo behind single-ended amps

1:20:09 A noisy Peavey Delta Blues 115

1:24:44 Solder in Italy (Soldergate revisited)

1:26:17 Breaking-in new tubes; upgrading parts in a Champ kit

1:32:00 What’s on Skip’s bench

1:33:01 Sano accordion tube and Audio Guild amps (see our Instagram for photos)

1:38:07 Skip on biasing

1:43:00 St. George amp heads, built by Ray Massie

1:46:50 The lifespan of tweed Fender caps

1:49:17 The “Fountain of Sound” Ampeg JS-35

1:53:02 Music recommendation: Pat Martino’s El Hombre; the Guild Double Twin combo guitar amp

1:55:43 Music recommendation, part two: The Nat Turner Rebellion’s cover of “Going in Circles”

1:56:43 Parenting tips: Classic Walt Disney movies

1:58:15 Slowing the tremolo rate in a blackface Fender

2:00:58 6973 power tubes in Supro amp

2:02:28 Replacements for a 6c10 tube found in an ’80s Fender Super Champ

2:06:38 Working on a Montgomery Ward 55 JDR 8436

2:10:49 Tube naming 101

2:13:16 Our forthcoming one year anniversary, a brief state of affairs

Like TAVA? Share it with your friends and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We also have a TAVA Instagram page you should follow. Look for some fun surprises as we approach our one year anniversary in December of 2019.

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

Photo above: The guts of listener Mark Whiteley’s vintage Sano amplifier. Follow Mark at @papawooly.