What amps are the most reliable?

Teleman

Silver Supporting Member
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1,864
O.K all you amp techs out there. What amps do you rarely see come up on your repair bench for repairs.
 

8len8

Silver Supporting Member
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13,571
Most amps assembled in country they are designed in. As soon amps are outsourced to another country (different than the country they are designed in) it means the camp company is trying to cut costs, and so quality (reliability) will suffer.

Sticking with a USA maker might also guarantee better customer support and lower shipping costs if repair is required by the manufacturer.
 

Guinness Lad

Member
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15,862
Matchless seems to be. There was a thread few years ago where a guy dragged a Matchless behind his car (10 miles or something). Ground all the pots off and everything. I believe all they did was replace the pots and tubes and it fired right up...now that's reliable!
 

GT100

Member
Messages
3,811
O.K all you amp techs out there. What amps do you rarely see come up on your repair bench for repairs.

CROWN POWER AMPS
I've heard stories of ones finally failing when after 30 years the transistors wore out.

As for mass produced tube guitar amps HiWatt is up there -easy to service due to thier military style layouts.
Guytrons are very reliable too.
Lots of contenders for this though...

Lloyd
 

Laced Senses

Double Platinum Member
Messages
429
I'm not an expert or full time amp tech, but I've done some restorations/repairs and seen the guts of lots amps in person.

For reliability (and tone), certain boutique handwired amps would be among my choices for current production options. Matchless, Morgan, Granger, Reeves, Carol Ann, Fuchs, and Reinhardt among others fit this description. Good customer service is also part of my considerations here.

As for vintage amps, one must be wary of modifications by previous owner (or their techs) and any prior abuse. Proper maintenance and upkeep are important of course.

Hylight-era Hiwatts (1964 - 1981) are certainly as reliable as it gets. As with any vintage amps, some of them need filter capacitors replaced if they've been stored without use for an extended period of time. Sometimes mains or standby switches and screen resistors need to be replaced after years of heavy use. Hiwatt construction and wiring was impeccable. Quality suffered a tad starting circa 1977 with the switch to the 2-input circuit and less durable screeen resistors, but those're still great amps. However, current production MusicGround Hiwatts have very spotty quality by comparison especially regarding the sloppy solder joints and so called Partridge spec'd transformers.

Matamp and Matamp-era Orange amps are excellent.

Fender amps from certain years are very good.

Early Ampeg and Sunn amps are quite sturdy.

I haven't seen many old Selmer amps in person, but they are impressive.
 

flantrax

Gold Supporting Member
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2,170
I've had great luck with all my Boogies over the years...I've probably owned 10+ with no issues and put plenty of miles on them...
 

Loki

Member
Messages
177
If you want to go for a vintage amp fender amps are great choices. And even if they would break it will be no problem to get the thing fixed due to fender using always the same parts over the years.
 

Boytbpc

Member
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1,588
not to hijack the thread, but would techs agree that turret-board style wired amps with chassis mounted pots and jacks are easier to work on than true point-to-point, PCB, et al?

Cheers,
Boytbpc
 

Nickstrtcstr

Lactose Intolerant Guitar Slinger
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4,387
Mark Series Boogies are pretty bulletproof. They have finger joined cabinets and all heavy duty components. From what I have seen the rest of their line is made the same way.
 

Telecaster62

Member
Messages
3,484
I'm not a tech but I'm a 35 year player and I've NEVER seen a Fender amp fail in those 35 years. I currently have a Pro Jr. that I bought used in 1998 and it has never had a single issue through over a hundred gigs.
 

Miles

Member
Messages
3,966
Vintage Traynors are built like a bunker.

As people have said, Hiwatt wiring is like poetry with wires.
 

jtm622

Member
Messages
9,313
Mesa amps are NORMALLY built like Sherman tanks... Maybe a dud gets out now and then, but OVER ALL - they are truly stout amps... :)
 

PeeCee

Member
Messages
804
Back in the days before eBay, it was my experience that the amp that you wanted to get rid of so you "had to" get another one was maddeningly reliable.

My first amp--a solid state Yamaha--would never die. My father would always say, "there's nothing wrong with the amp you have now."
 

rwe333

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,382
Vintage Hiwatt and Orange, recent Matchless and Victoria... Old Yamaha G-series...
 

Prairie Dawg

Member
Messages
1,931
The following is a true story.

The first amp I ever overhauled was a non master volume Fender Quad Reverb. When I started breaking it down I noticed that there were numerous cracks in the baffle and the cabinet was in the shape of a parallelogram. The chassis had about a fifteen degree axial twist to it, something like a corkscrew.

I called the owner and asked him what had happened to the amp. "Well" he says, "I bought that amp in a bar for fifty bucks a long time ago. I was playing a gig in an upstairs place and the Quad went down a flight of stairs. It still seemed to work OK so I forgot all about it. Then, I lent it to my buddy for about ten years and I don't know what he did to it but I had to get it out of his garage.".

I squared the cabinet up and pieced the baffle back together with angle irons and a lot of wood glue and some hefty clamping. I took the chassis out in the back yard and clamped it to some railroad ties back there and took a couple two by fours and clamped them on the chassis and reefed it back to normal. Then I redid the electrics-it sounded great.
 




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