Restoring Fender Harvard without losing value...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Rekoil, May 10, 2016.

  1. Rekoil

    Rekoil Member

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    So here’s the story. I work for a church and was on the way to our community house (a sort of after school program for students who live in tough neighborhoods.) Driving, I saw what looked like an amp on the side of the road. I pulled over because it looked like an old school fender amp… and just sitting there (in what I like to call a “ghetto garage sale”, where you put unwanted stuff on the curb and people can pick it up) was an old used Fender Harvard amp. It has all original components, and hasn’t been touched. It fired up and then I smelled a bit of burning, so I quickly turned it off. It’s definitely dirty though…


    Here’s why I’m coming to you guys…I am a complete noob to Vintage gear and am looking to getting this amp restored. I am going to take this to an expert, who knows there stuff but I still wanted to know some stuff.


    Here are a few questions I had:

    1. In order to retain the value for resale (If I decide to sell it), is the general consensus keep as many of the original parts as possible?
    2. Are there any specific parts that I should absolutely not repair/replace? Is anything that I should absolutely replace?
    3. It’s a bit dirty, what is the best way to clean the grill and the cabinet without damaging anything? How do I clean the metal on the control panel without damaging the writing?
    4. Is there any best practices I should look for or questions to ask while i'm looking for someone to repair it?
    5. If needed, where do I buy parts (resistors, caps, etc.) that will retain original sound and quality? Or be a good modern equivalent?
    6. As far as tubes go, do I buy NOS tubes for the amp? Are Kits worth getting? Or should I look to buy each tube separately? Am I looking for “vintage” tubes, or are modern tubes acceptable?


    Thank you so much for your help guys, I look forward to being part of this community.
     
    Dashface and StevenO like this.
  2. Steppin' Wolfe

    Steppin' Wolfe Member

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    Welcome. I say take it to someone who knows vintage Fenders and let them do the job for you. Let them buy the parts. The electrolytics need to be replaced. The power cord needs to be upgraded to a grounded cord. Everything else is on an 'as needed basis'. The cleaning is best done with the amp taken apart...chassis out, speaker out... IF a tech is any good o n the electronics and has vintage Fender knowledge, they will know how to clean the amp.
     
    zenas likes this.
  3. Steppin' Wolfe

    Steppin' Wolfe Member

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    And.....if you let us know where you are, someone may know a tech in your part of the world.
     
  4. VJF

    VJF Member

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    Please post pics showing inside and outside...welcome and great first post!
     
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  5. zenas

    zenas Member

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    Don't use this amp for learning amp repair. Don't plug it in again until it's been gone over by someone like Steppin Wolfe. In fact I'd recommend just shipping it to him.
    You take a vintage tweed to most "techs" and they'll wreck it for you.

    Hopefully that smell wasn't the power transformer burning up. That's a real possibility and you don't want to do that.

    If you're hell bent on DIY put this in the closet and forget about it for a few years. Learn what you're doing first. That doesn't happen overnight after reading one tube amp book.
     
  6. keithb7

    keithb7 Supporting Member

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    I have vintage Fender amps that I have repaired and serviced myself. I am currently working on a 1959 Tweed Twin I just acquired. I know a thing or two about these old girls. You need to find someone where you live who can look after it properly. PM me I can help you out so you don't get fleeced by someone.
     
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Which version (2 6V6s or 1 6V6 output tubes)?

    Cleaning the amp is something you'll probably want to do yourself. Most of these cabs were sealed with lacquer, so cleaning them with soap and water isn't a bad idea. "Restoring" the chrome plated chassis and the name plate isn't usually recommended, leave it as is. Vacuuming out the inside is fine. Your amp tech will take care of cleaning up the inside of the chassis, and replacing whatever caps are necessary-he should leave all the caps in the signal path if he can (blue Astrons in that amp I think). New cord of course. Test the tubes and only replace if necessary. Speaker (should be a Jensen) might need reconing or replacement.

    Pics of the outside, inside, inside the chassis, speaker would help a lot with more specific advice. And do tell use the basic area where you live so we can recommend an amp tech who won't rip you off or do bad work...
     
  8. e???

    e??? Member

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  9. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Willies is in pretty nice shape, but that pricing seem aspirational at best.
     
    Dave Orban and pressure like this.
  10. Rekoil

    Rekoil Member

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    Hey All thanks for the advice, I Live in Lancaster, CA which is North LA county.

    Got some pics Below...


    Had a tech look at them...

    I did have a question about some caps.

    First thing is...

    I need to replace 4 Astron Caps...

    I need a quantity of (3) 16uf 450v Axial Caps that are polarized

    and i need a quatity of (1) 25uf 25v Axial Cap that is polarized

    I know this is an opinion thing, but in your opinion what caps best preserve the sound? do newer caps sound the same?

    Ive heard to get jupiter reds, sozos, mallory 150s...

    Any suggestions w/links where to buy?



    Here she is:
    [​IMG]

    Heres her all opened up:

    [​IMG]

    I didn't realize the pictures were so fuzzy, I can get better ones later this week.
     
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  11. Last

    Last Member

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    Wow! Someone put this just out on the side of the road?

    Dayum. Angry girlfriend me thinks. Couldn't imagine anyone with any tiny bit of knowledge doing that on purpose any other way.

    Crazy. Lucky you though!
     
  12. straightblues

    straightblues Member

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    You are going to love the tone of that amp once it is running good. I have several Harvard clones and it is my favorite amp. Enjoy it.
     
  13. Laurence

    Laurence Silver Supporting Member

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    Don't worry about the value or collectability at this point, either get it working for your own enjoyment or flip it. That appears to be a 6G10, it's great but not a gold mine....
     
  14. zenas

    zenas Member

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    Hopefully you won't need to change the yellow Astron coupling caps. It's possible they're leaky but don't just assume they are.
    If that tech told you those need to go just by looking at them. I'd find another tech.


    The electrolytics do need to be changed those are the paper wrapped red ones in this amp. I'd use F&T 16 uf 475 volt and Spragues for the 25-25s. Some guys pull the toliet paper covers off the old ones and put them on the new ones.
     
    QRSS likes this.
  15. keithb7

    keithb7 Supporting Member

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    Tubesandmore.com

    Buy everything there. New handle too.Great selection, service and prices. Heck I don't even work there. I'm in Canada and have placed dozens of orders with them for amp parts.

    Great find. It appears to be all original and never serviced.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  16. StevenO

    StevenO Member

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    That's a fantastic amp. These have been used on thousands of sessions over the years. Steve Cropper used these on the old Stax recordings (Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, etc.) and Keith Richards has a modded one that he uses for recording as well.

    You've got a great amp on your hands. Get it fixed by someone reputable and you're good to go. It deserves that much.

    :)
     
  17. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    You don't need to do anything cosmetic with that, it's already pretty clean. Get the right tech and it'll scream!
     
  18. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    Sig worthy quote, Bob!
     
  19. Claytone

    Claytone Member

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    Recoil, you have a cool amp there. If you want to make a road trip to the Los Angeles area I would suggest bringing it to Bob Dixon at Amphole in Burbank CA (818-845-9898). Bob is a well regarded amp tech who knows how to bring tweed Fender amps (and every other kind, for that matter) back to top operating condition. He's done it for the Stones, Mike Campbell and a lot of other pros, and he can do it for you. He can also recommend people for cabinet restoration or whatever else you need to make that Harvard whole again.
     
  20. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

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    The person that put it on the curb probably could have used the $. Pretty dumb move!
     

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