So what do all these amp and pedal repairmen study in school?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by soma89, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. soma89

    soma89 Member

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    Some ppl on these forums and in person that work on amps talk about the insides of these electronics like its common knowledge.
    I'd say i know a little about how these things work but i could never design my own schematic, build an amp for somebody, or repair a vintage mixing board.

    What did they study? Did they just read a lot of books? Did they study to be electricians but then decide that theyd rather repair amps?
    I guess, i want to learn more about this kinda stuff but dont know where to begin...what topic to even begin searching...
     
  2. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    The best guy around here was an EE, and is very well-versed in electronics manufacturing.

    He does not believe in, or propagate, any sort of "amp voodoo."

    Strictly a cause and effect guy.
     
  3. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    My amp guy is an electrical engineer by trade. After his degree he spent years working as an EE and then decided to merge his knowledge of EE and his love of guitars/amps together and has been running a successful amp tech business for about a decade.
     
  4. Otto Tune

    Otto Tune Member

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    A lot of the best techs I worked with got their training in the military.
     
  5. dmsean

    dmsean Member

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    I got my training in the army then working in the electronics field for 20 years.
     
  6. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    Tube circuits haven't been part of any school curriculum since the late sixties/early seventies, but everything else that you will learn in the process of getting an EE degree is definitely applicable.
     
  7. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    Rocket science mostly...
     
  8. twoheadedboy

    twoheadedboy Member

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    Most of the ones I know did some kind of electrical program at a community college. However, if you want to work on old tube amps, you need to do a lot of self-study, because nobody uses tubes anymore, and because characteristics considered to be desirable in tube guitar amps (e.g., distortion, compression, power sag), are technically problems that you're supposed to try to avoid.
     
  9. shane88

    shane88 Member

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    surely many local colleges offer electronics courses

    the old joke about the touring muso taking his Mk1 boogie into a small town tv/radio repair place

    the guy looked at it & said - do you know this thing is designed to distort?
     
  10. nsureit

    nsureit Supporting Member

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    They study how to take this...

    [​IMG]

    And make it into this!

    [​IMG]
     
  11. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    While they somewhat overlap, there are different skill sets when it comes to things electrical/electronic.

    Back in the 70's, I attended a technical school, 2 year associate degree program in electronics technology which taught you electronic theory, the math behind it, and practical lab related to electronics mainly from a maintenance perspective. So we electronics technicians were trained to know how to maintain anything from a flashlight to a TV transmitter or take something designed by an electrical engineer and make it work in practical application. I started my career making control circuits work properly in nuclear power generation systems at Westinghouse and ended up in telecommunications maintenance. So a good technical school needed to prepare you for just about any scenario.

    Electricians are typically trained in power systems and their application but not so much in actual electronic circuitry.

    Electrical engineers are typically trained from an electrical/electronics design perspective. They make something work on paper, then I'm supposed to make it work in practical application or repair it when it fails and figure out why it failed.
     
  12. Roark

    Roark Member

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    Same as vaugh , I went to a 2 year tech school with associate degree equivalency. Mine was mainly digital electronics with a phase in analog ( tubes ).

    It helped that my dad was a radio tech at a major airline.

    Not working in the field at this point, times change and I now work as a software analyst.
     
  13. mmolteratx

    mmolteratx Member

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    Most amp techs I know have very little or no formal education, and aren't terribly good at anything past troubleshooting, and a surprising number I've had to clean up after can't even do that. These are the types that perpetuate all sorts of stupid myths.

    Technicians for real companies/organizations typically have an associates degree in something at least tangentially related to electronics, and tend to also have a good deal of experience if they're any good. Undergraduate interns also fill these positions when available. These guys tend to be excellent at troubleshooting quickly and can typically think on their feet like few others I know. Some have decent design skills, most don't.

    If you're interested in learning about circuits, there really isn't much formal training outside of a four year degree, IME. Though the four year degree these days is geared towards microelectronics (IC design), controls, power, etc. and doesn't really venture much into discrete circuit design past op amp blocks. Community colleges don't really cover circuit design, from what I've seen.

    If all you care about is amps/pedals, there are a number of great forums, such as DIY Stompboxes, Free Stompboxes, Music Electronics Forum, etc. It can be difficult to wade through the info to find what you're looking for, but they're great resources.
     
  14. Hwoltage

    Hwoltage Member

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    Aiken? That guy is a friggin GOD. I PMed with him a bit years ago. SUPER nice guy and very generous with his time.

    As far as his EE... I guess when you design cockpit display systems for major aircraft manufacturers amps are easy peasy.

    To the OP, I suggest starting with some fuzz box kits (nice and safe) just to get your soldering lined out, basic equations down, get your work area figured out... things like that. Then when you feel your ready and actually understand how to stay safe, there's no better way to learn that getting a platform, some tube info, and getting your hands dirty- the platform, and your choice of information is what people around here can help you with, getting the actual time into the craft that's all you. With electronics, experience counts. Good luck!
     
  15. Hwoltage

    Hwoltage Member

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    Yup. The local sillyscope legend is an old school military radar guy. Never seen him in action but I guess his audio range scope skills are incredible.

    Which reminds me, the Navy NEETS electronics manuals are a great resource.

    http://jacquesricher.com/NEETS/
     
  16. fusionbear

    fusionbear exquirentibus veritatem Gold Supporting Member

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    I got my BSEE in 1986' and worked with the early MRI and CT designs. No tubes except X-Ray tubes. But I had sufficient training to learn Audio Tube circuits. I started working on tube amps in 1979' but have only really understood them well just in the last 5 years...
     

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