Questions when buying an old amp online

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by duality, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. duality

    duality Member

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    looking at a 60's tube amp on Reverb
    Seller says it is all original, it appears to be all original from the photos

    I've never bought an amp online, so before I do something stupid, and end up having to put a bunch of money into fixing an amp I bought online...

    What sort of questions should I be asking before I buy this old amp?
     
  2. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    Pics of the guts would be #1, imo. And then post those pics here. I don't know jack about amps myself, so I can't help you there, but that's what I'd do. Check out amp forums and try those as well?
     
    Figaro likes this.
  3. easyed

    easyed Silver Supporting Member

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    Transformer codes are your friend. They will inform you as to the manufacturer and the date of manufacturer. If the date of manufacturer is later than the date of the amp, it's probably not original and the value diminishes. If you can learn why the transformer was replaced - and you trust the answer, you can make a better evaluation of the amp.
     
  4. Rumble5

    Rumble5 Member

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    I'd expect all the important info to be explicitly stated in the ad- originality and function of the transformers, caps, speakers, etc. Condition of the cab, tolex, grill cloth, etc. Of course accompanying pictures to verify. Then, as was suggested, post gut shots here.

    I was always careful about checking the seller's feedback. Anything less than stellar and I would pass on any big ticket item. I'd also use a credit card for extra protection in case anything went awry.

    Do those things and you should be fine. I've purchased dozens of used and vintage amps online (eBay but never Reverb), and I've never had a serious issue that couldn't be worked out.

    A 1950's Gibson amp showed up DOA one time, and I returned it for a full refund. A BF Bassman was badly misrepresented with a reproduction cab and cosmetics. The seller asked me to keep it and refunded a couple hundred bucks. I then sold it (properly represented) and did a little better than break even.

    Those were the only issues in 30+ online purchases. Just do your due diligence.
     
    The_Bell likes this.
  5. fiveightandten

    fiveightandten Member

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    The only questions worth asking are the ones that would give you recourse to return the amp if it arrived in an unexpected state.

    Just get enough high res photos of the wiring, transformers, and speakers that you can see what you’re buying.

    If you aren’t schooled on what you’re buying, get schooled.
     
  6. 70 Mach 1

    70 Mach 1 Supporting Member

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    Call and hear a voice
    Ask questions.
    if it sounds like hes pitching like A used car salesman or stumbling or searching for answers or you hear variances in his voice it could mean something is not right.

    Could also mean he doesn't know. So youll have to weight it out.
     
    strike3 likes this.
  7. fiveightandten

    fiveightandten Member

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    For every person who thinks having a conversation is a normal thing, there’s a seller who either can’t be bothered to spend 5 minutes talking, thinks everyone who asks questions is a tire kicker, or thinks someone is going to find them and burn their house down with any amount of personal information like a phone number.

    There have been threads on here that were very enlightening. There are a good amount of TGP members who are vehemently opposed to interacting with any potential buyer, or even answering questions outside of what they’ve provided in the description. These are your sellers.
     
    QRSS likes this.
  8. duality

    duality Member

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    that is really funny
     
  9. Badstrat

    Badstrat Silver Supporting Member

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    I’ve bought and sold a few amps on eBay. When buying I’ll at least want some answers to at least a few questions to try and gauge the sellers honesty.
     
  10. zenas

    zenas Member

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    Depends some what on what you're paying. If it's top dollar collector price, (which seems to be the only prices online) then you want to get what you pay for. Changed transformer drop those prices and checking codes there helps. Although it's just a matter of of few screws to swap endbells, the codes are on the endbells.
    Take an amp that's worth a few bucks like a blackface Princeton Reverb, that's also known to smoke the PT and that stuff gets pretty tempting.
    After that you get into things like coupling caps and that kinda depends on the amp. On a blackface the blue ones seldom go bad and you want those. Get into an older Fender with the yellow Astrons, that do go bad those are often changed or will need to be. Go older and every cap in the amp probably needs to be changed or has been.
    Really the main reason most techs like old original amps is because they don't have to weed through someone else's mess, when the service it.
    And there's the rub. If you want to use a vintage amp as an amplifier, that sounds good and not worry about shocks and smoke.
    It won't be 100% original.
     
  11. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    Does it reek of cigarette smoke?
     
  12. Rumble5

    Rumble5 Member

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    Well, I never had to ask strangers on the internet how to buy an amp.... :dunno
     

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