why do people do this?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by brad347, Mar 3, 2006.


  1. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    bought a cool old blackface Fender Deluxe (non-reverb model) today for $800. Pretty good price I thought.

    Plugged it in to test it out... sounded great. Got home and opened it up just to see what was inside... NOT good....

    Someone did a "cap job" (and I use that term loosely) on this thing... TERRIBLE. They took two huge capacitors and used some sort of black goo to stick them to the left (from the back) side of the chassis... then they ran some flimsy wire from the caps to the board... probably like a 28 gauge. The cap can was disconnected and the ends of the wires cut, twisted together, and sealed with heat shrink tubing. They also put a couple of diodes across the socket of the rectifier tube.

    Someone has also crammed the wrong fuse type in there. :eek:


    why do people do this to such a great amp?

    I was gonna try and sell it to a friend or on ebay for profit but I can't sell it like this in good conscience. Looks like I have a project on my hands...

    The only part I dread is scraping out the black goo!
     
  2. phsyconoodler

    phsyconoodler Member

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    I have done many repairs on amps that have gone through the 'amp butchers' house.I did a champ recently where the guy put in a bunch of radial caps inplace of the original axial caps and they were all the wrong values.The guy's soldering was impecable but the amp sounded like a bass amp.A '56 champs no less! After I debutchered it,it was back to it's tonefull self.
    I don't think pulling out those caps and de-gooping it would be too much trouble and with a Deluxe,I think it's worth the effort.
    Amp butcher's are everywhere.It's actually easier and cheaper to do it the right way.
     
  3. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Yikes! They took a relatively easy job and made it more complicated! Guess the guy only had those can caps on hand. Unbelievable!

    What's that they say about "no free lunch"? At least it's salvagable but no quick/easy turn for you.
     
  4. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    hear hear! Just the thought of it all makes me tired tonight. I have another deluxe that was previously butchered and de-butchered... there's a hole in the back of the chassis where god-knows-what was mounted, and the Power Transformer is a replacement. Sounds great though. It was already de-butchered when I got it.

    Once I get this one back to its "former glory," I'll sell whichever one I like less!
     
  5. Bloozman

    Bloozman Member

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    I feel your pain!!:jo
     
  6. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    i know mike, that's what I thought! to make matters worse there are Sovtek "5881s" in it and a chinese rectifier(!) which are all wrong! ack!

    I'm amazed at how good it sounds as-is though!
     
  7. Beam Tetrode

    Beam Tetrode Member

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    I'm amazed it sounds:p
     
  8. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    :p for your viewing pleasure!

    [​IMG]


    What pisses me off is that this amp, even with its crappy tubes, later Oxford speaker, and shoddy repairs sounds better than my deluxe which has been my main amp for years... grrr.... see my other thread about deluxe caps...
     
  9. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    Hows the rest of it look?

    The repairs my not be so shoddy after all.
    If it sounds good, don't f**k with it.

    Perhaps there wasn't enough room for
    the caps under the pan. The black crap
    ain't so pretty.

    I've seen worse.

     
  10. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    well the tubes in it are terrible, and it has russian 5881s instead of 6V6s and a bunch of chinese tubes. The other work to the amp is generally sloppy but okay. That cap job is the worst. And if those caps wouldn't fit under the pan, he should've bought some (sprague atoms) that would.

    Also, i partially agree with the conventional "if it sounds good, leave it" wisdom, but I partially disagree with it. If one of these caps were to malfunction and explode or arc it could prove catastrophic for the amp. Same for if, say, the ground switch or something failed and arced... it's just all too close together for comfort for my tastes. I'm no amp tech but I can spot something that looks "precarious."

    Also, as a great amp guy in Dallas, TX named Craig Wallace once told me, "everything seems to sound the best right before it blows up." :p
     
  11. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    If it sounds great like that, make a note of everything before you strip it out. That way you can do the job properly with the changed component values if you want. It's the values that matter, not where they're physically located (certainly for stuff like filter caps). And bad workmanship doesn't improve tone either :).

    You may just have discovered that you like the sound of a MUCH beefier-sounding Deluxe - 5881s, SS rec (the rectifier tube is doing nothing except loading down the PT filament winding since it's bypassed with the diodes) and bigger filter caps.

    Also remember that if you fit a SS rec to a Deluxe it typically takes the B+ just above the 450V rating on the filter caps, so you then have to either find 500V caps (not difficult nowadays, but harder in the past) or stack two of them in series with voltage dividing resistors, which is what's been done there. Since you also need double the cap values (because the capacitance is halved with two in series) that probably explains why the cap job was done like that.

    At least it doesn't look like the chassis has been hacked about.
     
  12. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Very interesting John. Yeah, the chassis has been left alone.

    Now you've got me wondering if I should put it back to original spec or not...
     
  13. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    LOL, I missed the part about the recto tube still being in the socket WITH the diodes. Maybe it's a hybrid rectifier, tube recto on the positive side, silicon on the negative ;)

    I think I'd redo the items one at a time to figure out where the mojo is coming from.
     
  14. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    For someone who likes the sound of the amp, if you want it changed
    have at it. Or pay someone to do it. If you are up for the project
    enjoy. Let us know how it turns out.

    So are you in Dallas?

     
  15. Big Dan

    Big Dan Member

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    Tell you what, if the rest of the amp (cab, tolex, chassis not drilled, etc) is nice and clean, you still did real good for $800. Fixing the caps, diodes, and a set of new tubes is not that big of a deal really.

    As the others said, just make a note of all the components you pull out and where they were connected. That way, if when you're done, it sounds worse, you can go back and figure out what values to re-use.

    Sounds like a fun project.

    Dan
     
  16. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    AmpNerd: I lived in Dallas (denton actually) for 5 years while I was in school. I'm in northern NJ/NYC now.

    Dan: I agree! Thanks!
     

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