Is this tech yanking my chain?

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,151
I’ve had a tough time finding a good amp guy in my area. One was recommended to me, but I’m a little unsure…

My first doubt was when I asked him to add a bias pot to a Traynor Bassmaster… “Why?” he said,”that’s ridiculous. Just make sure you use the right tube type.”

The second was asking him to add a 3-prong plug to the same amp. “You don’t need that…that’s how it was made.”

The third: I brought in a brand-new amp because of a ghost note…. when I play a 10th-fret D on the high E string, I get a ghost note two octaves below. Since the D is at 600 Hz (5th harmonic of 120), I suspected the power supply.

I get a phone call today: “Sweet amp, just needs new output tubes and biasing…$140.” The output tubes are brand new and the amp is cathode-biased. What do you guys think?
 

Rumblefish

Member
Messages
2,736
I've been through this before in my 38 years of playing.Look elsewhere.This guy is not what you're looking for.He must work for the government.
 

KCWM

Member
Messages
4,737
Oh the horror stories.

Fortunately, I have a pretty good guitar guy (Jim Birch in Dallas) and another amp guy (Scott @ Vistalux amps in Hurst) that charge a decent rate and are great guys to talk to. The guitar guy doesn't have a shop, but man he knows his repair work, especially with acoustics. Seems to do work based on word of mouth.

If either of them said anything like that, i'd walk.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
19,943
It's a really good point too that you brought up.

How in the world do you assess a new amp tech? Sounds like the questions you asked and work you requested uncovered a dud. For less technically aware folk, they may not know what to ask and have used the guy.


I guess word of mouth from other musicians is probably best. I don't think it would be totally out of line to ask a tech for references of satisfied customers who had more than just "biasing" or something done. Also asking what kind of work the person has done (i.e. cap jobs, etc.).

I would expect, similar to a mechanic that you ought to be able to have replaced parts returned to you.

Maybe also start out with smaller things, like biasing...see how that works out.
 

Blue Strat

Senior Member
Messages
30,151
Move on, quickly!

Yes, assessing an amp tech is pretty difficult (except in a case like this). How could you possibly know how good a tech is without being a tech yourself?
 

Steve Dallas

Member
Messages
8,298
Agreed. Unfortunately, I don't know any techs in your area off the top of my head. But I know that guy is NOT one of them.

When I get an amp in that has a 2 prong cord, I tell the customer that I would love to work on the amp, but he MUST let me replace the cord.
 

Kappy

Member
Messages
14,033
If the tubes you brought him are new, are you going to challenge him on trying to sell you new tubes? I'd ask for the original tubes back too.
 

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,151
Thanks, everyone...that's what I thought. Fortunately he hasn't done anything yet...he left me the voice mail before starting anything, so I'll call him tomorrow.

This guy was recommended by other musicians, but they're even less tech-savvy than me. It's what I get for being lazy... I moved an hour and a half away from a guy I really do trust, so I was looking for someone nearby.

Thanks again.
 

Blue Strat

Senior Member
Messages
30,151
Try Billy Penn of Penn Amps in Red Bank. Not sure if he does repairs but he builds killer amps and would certainly do a good job for you.
 

guitardr

Member
Messages
970
Hmmm...
Extensive mods on older gear? Sounds like it's too much of a "challenge" for this "tech" (did you get him a schematic?).

Go to Eurotube's site and watch the video on biasing and maybe learn how to do it yourself.

Find another person FAST.
 

gregc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,924
I've been through this before in my 38 years of playing.Look elsewhere.This guy is not what you're looking for.He must work for the government.
Ouch! I'm a tech, and I work for the government.... and I'm better than that!
 

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,151
Thanks again, guys. The thing is, I know how to bias the Traynor, I was just looking for a pro to add the bias pot.

Mike K - I tried Billy Penn when I first moved down this way, but was never able to get in touch. Are you sure he's still around?

I know Dennis Kager is around, but because of his history, should I feel funny about asking about the ghost note on a clone of his late buddy's design?

P.S. to guitardr - yeah, I printed schematics and brought them with me.
 

Fuchsaudio

Member
Messages
7,756
I will gladly help you out, my shop is in Clifton and is by appointment (parkway Exit 155).

If you wish to use someone else: I can highly recommend Dennis Kager at Central Jersey Music in Edison, or Dave at Dave's Sound in Whippany. Sorry none are closer (although Dennis is likely an hour or so from you). Your techs responses frighten me.

He's an interesting mix of arrogance and ignorance wrapped in a riddle.

I’ve had a tough time finding a good amp guy in my area. One was recommended to me, but I’m a little unsure…

My first doubt was when I asked him to add a bias pot to a Traynor Bassmaster… “Why?” he said,”that’s ridiculous. Just make sure you use the right tube type.”

The second was asking him to add a 3-prong plug to the same amp. “You don’t need that…that’s how it was made.”

The third: I brought in a brand-new amp because of a ghost note…. when I play a 10th-fret D on the high E string, I get a ghost note two octaves below. Since the D is at 600 Hz (5th harmonic of 120), I suspected the power supply.

I get a phone call today: “Sweet amp, just needs new output tubes and biasing…$140.” The output tubes are brand new and the amp is cathode-biased. What do you guys think?
 

musicman1

Member
Messages
3,945
Yes...your tech is blowing smoke up your ass..

I will only go to Dave Hirsh at Dave's Sound Repair, Whippany NJ.

Central Jersey jerked me around for 3 months on a Roland warranty amp repair and didnt repair the amp. In the end, Dave fixed the amp properly plus made any mods I requested. Unfortunately, Dave is not a Roland authorized center so I had to pay for the repair but I didnt care as long as the amp was fixed and back on the gig that weekend.
 




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