Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by 19181911, Feb 12, 2012.
As with most things, you can't go wrong with keeping it clean, dry and serviceable.
I like to check to see if there are any loose screws , nuts etc.
I also give my tolex a cleaning and light armoral treatment every once and awhile
* Periodic tube socket tensioning
* Bias adjustment if fixed bias
I like to top off the crystal lattice once a month.
It is your responsibility to learn the do's and don'ts of a tube amp. Things like not unplugging the speaker while the amp is being played. Proper cables for speakers and instruments. Correct power requirements. Handling and insertion procedures and also procedures for removing tubes. Understanding biasing. Handling of the amp in transit. Cleanliness of the internals and externals and one BIG important factor, High Voltage inside can kill you. Either learn to discharge the caps or always take it to someone who is competent to work on it.
These things will keep your amp and you healthy and happy!
P.S.: Don't bias it with a scope!
You can never have enough tube amps so I'm going to go with......
Bias probe if amp is fixed bias.
What is the difference between a bias probe and a bias meter?
Pretty much the same. The probe is the part that goes between the tube and socket, and the meter takes the reading.
I figured, the phrase was a giveaway lol.
Thank you for your service
Here's a little tip that'll make a big difference:
Move your amp last after the gig... let it cool down before you throw it in the back of your car, van, bus, private jet, etc. Much kinder to the tubes, they don't like being jostled when they're red hot.
If you must throw your amp around right after using it, check out this word, get comfy with it, because you'll be dealing with it... microphonics.
And set the beer, somewhere else... not on top of the amp!
I put together a small portable Jewelry Box (about 10"x10") that holds some Tubes, Fuses, Jewel Lights, screws, small tools, solder and an Iron, and an extra Power Cord. It comes on every gig!
I inspect my gear (Amps, Guitars, Pedals) when I unload at home, (especially the tubes since they get jostled around), then clean the Tolex, and just make sure everything is in its place when needed. Sure, it add's about 15-20 minutes or so to each unload....but it's saved me a time or two over the years.
If you like big heavy tube amps (think Twin) don't put little caster wheels on them to roll around. Think of the pounding the tubes are taking when you wheel is across the parking lot, up a ramp from the sidewalk, and over a few thresh holds. Not a good thing. Either get a friend to help or a dolly with softly inflated pneumatic tires.
1- Yes, stock spare tubes and fuses
2- Be ready to take it to a tech every now and then if you're not very friendly with electronics
3- Again, let the tubes cool down before moving the head
4- Depending on the amp, you might want or NEED the tubes to be matched
5- Let the amp warm up AT LEAST 30 sec before turning it on (on standby position). I usually give any of the amps I have owned like 2-5 mins
6- Hot tubes are HOT, they will burn you without mercy.
7- Tubes are VERY VERY fragile, if not handled correctly, you'll be needing a new set every now and then
8- Make sure you ALWAYS have the head connected to the cab (if you're going that way) or that the combo speakers are connected, Preferably in the same impedance value. It's kinda ok to run safe mismatches (the head at 4Ω and the cab at 8Ω, etc...) BUT NEVER do it with the cab on a lower impedance than the head
9- Tube amps are LOUD... even a 5 watter can get hellish volumes if you're a bedroom player (easier to control than a 150w tho)
that's all I can think of right now... im sleepy :/
Check your amp before you go to a gig. Power up and play it for a while. Check the speaker wire to make sure it's all connected.
I don't gig much anymore but I haven't had an equipment failure in years.
I agree 100% with a bias probe being essential.
Even though I only play 50 watters I buy quads of tubes so that I allways have a drop in set on hand that wont require rebias. Seems like common sense but most people I know that have little survial kits have completely different power tubes than what are in their amp.
Play them. If you have a few of them, or a lot of them, make sure they all get played at least once every 6 months or so.