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What do you personally do to keep your tube amps gig ready and fit?

Jonny D

Member
Messages
1,283
Tube amps take TLC. What is your secret? Any good (or bad) habits? Any lessons learned the hard way?
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,443
Nothing. I just take two to gigs. If one breaks, i get it fixed.
 

tulk1

Member
Messages
490
I think there's some big misconceptions about tube amps needing some special loving and care. I take mine to a gig, I turn it on, I use it, I turn it off and store it in the trailer until next weekend. Keep some extra tubes, like I keep extra strings. That's it.
 

HawkeyeKane

Member
Messages
1,325
I just do a few things before gigs. A quick tube check to make sure they haven't shaken loose from any of their sockets. Make sure the fuses are secure in their holders. Double check the speakers are properly connected so no OT's get fried. Just simple preventative measures. Like tulk1 said, there are some misconceptions about the needs of tube amps. They're actually quite self-sufficient. You just gotta use a little common sense to make sure they work properly.
 

tulk1

Member
Messages
490
I just do a few things before gigs. A quick tube check to make sure they haven't shaken loose from any of their sockets. Make sure the fuses are secure in their holders. Double check the speakers are properly connected so no OT's get fried. <snip>
Oh yeah, there is that thing about connecting the speaker cab, if you're using a cab/head set up.:D Altho', I do think there is some latitude in even doing that as I've forgotten to connect the two many times in the rush to setup the PA and my own rig. But, have never had the amp on for very long before remembering the cab. :eek:
 

HawkeyeKane

Member
Messages
1,325
Oh yeah, there is that thing about connecting the speaker cab, if you're using a cab/head set up.:D Altho', I do think there is some latitude in even doing that as I've forgotten to connect the two many times in the rush to setup the PA and my own rig. But, have never had the amp on for very long before remembering the cab. :eek:
Well, even in some combos you have that liability. Especially if you have speakers that run off a 1/4" jack connection in the chassis. Last summer I got to a gig, set up my rig, turned on the power, and nothing came out of it. Checked it all over and discovered one of the soldered lead connections on the speaker had broken loose. Luckily, I caught it in time, powered it down, and was able to resolder in time for the show. Still....it was panic in my heart. I've since modified it to use a connecting jack.
 

ButchR

Komet Player
Double Platinum Member
Messages
2,009
Just keep buying new amps. Never have to service them that way. :D
 

ant_riv

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,945
I bring two to any gig. I'm careful not to toss them.

When it is cold outside, I make sure to let them cool down before moving them to the car. When bringing them inside, I make sure to let them sit awhile to warm up before turning them on.

In summer, it is the opposite, if there is air conditioning.

And I make sure the tubes are seated before turning the amp on.

40 years and never any heartache caused by a tube amp.
 

JackStraw12

Member
Messages
4,760
No droppage, bring 2 to a gig, and always make sure they do at least 50 jumping jacks a day and eat all their green vegetables at dinner. Zucchini sucks.
 

hubberjub

Member
Messages
4,598
First off, I use absolutely no caution when putting an amp into, or taking it out of my vehicle. My theory is that banging it around loosens up the tone crystals and makes the amp sound better. Then, I try to find the least reliable looking 19 year old working at the club to help carry my gear in. Finally, and this is the most important part, find the drunkest, most wobbly guy in the bar and place your amp near him. This benefits you in two ways. First, he will trip over it, again helping to further loosen the tone crystals, and second, the beer he dumps all over it will help to wash away the sins that the amp has witnessed whilst riding in the band van.
 

HawkeyeKane

Member
Messages
1,325
First off, I use absolutely no caution when putting an amp into, or taking it out of my vehicle. My theory is that banging it around loosens up the tone crystals and makes the amp sound better. Then, I try to find the least reliable looking 19 year old working at the club to help carry my gear in. Finally, and this is the most important part, find the drunkest, most wobbly guy in the bar and place your amp near him. This benefits you in two ways. First, he will trip over it, again helping to further loosen the tone crystals, and second, the beer he dumps all over it will help to wash away the sins that the amp has witnessed whilst riding in the band van.
This is quite possibly the most elegant and eloquent answer I've ever read.:spit
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,520
First off, I use absolutely no caution when putting an amp into, or taking it out of my vehicle. My theory is that banging it around loosens up the tone crystals and makes the amp sound better. Then, I try to find the least reliable looking 19 year old working at the club to help carry my gear in. Finally, and this is the most important part, find the drunkest, most wobbly guy in the bar and place your amp near him. This benefits you in two ways. First, he will trip over it, again helping to further loosen the tone crystals, and second, the beer he dumps all over it will help to wash away the sins that the amp has witnessed whilst riding in the band van.
Yeah, no joke. Drop 'em all off a loading dock and let natural selection run its course. The strong survive.
 

TubeStack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,306
I change the power tubes once a year (set the bias myself) and the preamp tubes every two years, that's about it. The latter is probably not necessary.
 

MrGibson

Member
Messages
1,139
Bring spare (matched) tubes and fuses.

Tigthen input jacks when applicable

Tigthen screws to prevent rattling

Turn all the pots their full range from time to time to prevent oxide building up (scratchy pots just sound bad and could actually alter the tone of an amp)

Old PIO caps can leak and would then have to be replaced

When applicable, have the amp re-biased after extensive tube wear or tube replacement

Regularly check the AC cable for damage. They can get a cut lying on the floor or during transportation. (Never plug in a damaged cable).

Make sure that the handlebar(s) is safely secured and not damaged. Leather and rubber straps ages and wear out over time. When it fails it could be the end of the amp (or your toes).

Replace broken corner protectors

Use an amp cover or a hard case for transportation and storage. Never carry an amp in the rain unprotected.

A good amp is an instrument (of equal importance to the instrument plugged into it) and should be treated the same way.
 




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