The Truth About Vintage Amps with Skip Simmons

By Fretboard Journal

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Description

Twice a month, amp repair expert Skip Simmons and the Fretboard Journal's Jason Verlinde field your questions about vintage amp repair, restoration and collecting. Submit questions for Skip via fretboardjournal@gmail.com

Episode Date
Ep. 14: "I'll Do the Jokes"
01:52:05

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons fields your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Want to support the show? We now have Truth About Vintage Amps t-shirts available for pre-order.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Grez Guitars, Martin, Gibson and Carter Vintage.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848.

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

2:18 We have Truth About Vintage T-shirts (support the show)
5:33 This week’s sponsors: Grez Guitars, Gibson, Martin and Carter Vintage
6:29 The Epiphone version of a Gibson Falcon
9:00 More cooking tips with Skip
12:12 Skip can’t find his schematic
12:30 Thrifty Leo
14:12 More music tips: Bix Beiderbecke, Ned Boynton
18:00 Skip’s looking for someone to recone field coil speakers
19:35 Skip talks about his Champ mods, once more
24:45 The final Baffler  
28:06 Correction re: Guitar Center’s return policy
29:28 A listener with an interesting way to use an electric amp with an acoustic guitar
33:27 The Grateful Dead’s Wall of Sound
37:12 Skip’s test guitar and cheap British amp recommendations
43:00 Skip’s test cabinet 
45:15 A 1968 Fender Pro Reverb with a delayed vibrato
47:32 What’s a tone stack?
51:15 Pinpointing the buzz on a Silverface Fender Princeton
54:35 Class A, Class A/B and single-ended power tube arrangements  
59:17 Tips on looking at vintage Gibson amps
1:02:48 A listener fixes his own Gibson Discoverer Tremolo
1:08:00 The triode mode used on high-powered amps
1:14:01 A brief chat about Dumble
1:18:44 A mid-60s Epiphone Galaxy that’s won’t turn off
1:20:23 Salvaging parts from a heavily modified Blackface Fender Bassman
1:24:30 Discussing changes on an early 1969 Fender Twin Reverb
1:29:50 Making homebrew amps sound less civil  
1:33:11 Making a late ’50s Sylvania powered speaker amp work better as a guitar amp
1:42:12 Modding PA heads to work for guitars 

Jun 28, 2019
Ep. 13: "Throw a Love Light Party!"
01:34:19

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons fields your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Mono Cases and Grez Guitars.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848.

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

3:27 Skip's roll call of A/B box pre-orders
5:11 We discuss episode 12's Baffler, the 3 Channel Psychedelic Control Center
9:10 This episode's Baffler
11:44 An unlikely backup amp suggestion
14:30 This episode's sponsors: Grez Guitars and Mono Cases and TAVA t-shirts
17:00 Little Charlie's recipe for Spanish rice (yes, our first recipe)
18:22 More parenting tips
19:11 A preview of our next amp schematic 101
22:34 More Champ mod talk: One difference between Blackface and Silverface Fender Champs, the Hammond 290AX transformer
27:38 Gain stage basics: What makes an amp distort? 
32:14 Bringing a Blackface Fender Tremolux with a solid state rectifier back to stock
37:21 A '60s Kay "Vanguard" 704
43:54 An amp motherlode in Lodi, California
45:35 A Princeton Reverb with a pilot light that is too bright
48:43 A Gibson GA-20 RVT found in a trash bin
54:28 Channel jumping and a vintage Airline Model 62-9013A
1:01:48 The pop you hear turning off your amp
1:07:03 A speaker dilemma on a 1962 Brownface Deluxe
1:09:28 Converting a PA head to a tube mic pre-amp
1:14:20 Turning an old tube radio into a guitar amp
1:18:18 Norwegian blues and Helge Tallqvist
1:19:11 This week's recommended music
1:20:49 High-powered tube amps and the Hiwatt 400 bass amp
1:25:32 Using a light bulb limiter instead of a variac
1:27:34 Speaker replacement on a Gibson GA-40
1:31:50 A tribute guitar repairman Glen Quan, inventor of the Badass bridge 

 
Jun 12, 2019
Ep. 12: "Painting the Fence"
01:39:14

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons fields your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Mono Cases and Grez Guitars.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848.

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

2:05 Skip works on a barn-find 1960 Fender Tweed Bassman

6:10 Parenting tips – get a riding lawn mower

7:50 Jason confesses to Skip that he got a Stew-Mac Champ kit; DIY amp tips

12:33 Skip’s music picks

16:05 Building a tube stereo amp (Dynaco Stereo 70, for music playback) versus a guitar amp

19:39 A synth repairman gets a contact high thanks to LSD residue

20:33 Disgusting things found in old amplifiers

21:16 Last week’s Baffler (a noisy Princeton Reverb, listen to episode 11) responses and answer

27:37 This week’s Baffler (view the image on our new Instagram page): What is the thing used for?

28:45 A listener in a hurry fixes his Les Paul thanks to Skip’s tube amp advice

30:34 Preserving (sloppy) originality on a CBS-era Fender or making it better than original

35:13 A non-reverb Silverface Fender Princeton with a weak vibrato

40:48 A reissue ‘63 Fender Vibroverb that needs more clean headroom

45:42 How do amp circuits get named?

47:40 Cleaning vintage pots

49:49: An ‘80s Tusc amp with EQ

51:06 What to do with a ‘70s Silverface Champ with no maintenance history

54:14 A ‘66 Ampeg Reverberocket with an unusual distortion sound

1:01:18 A ’69 Fender Bassman with both fixed and cathode bias

1:05:20 Rebuilding an amp found in a Hammond M-3 organ and melted wax on power transformers

1:07:52 A glimpse at the Fender Musicmaster Bass amps

1:11:40 Differences between an amp schematic and layout

1:13:24 A bargain Ampeg cabinet with four Altec 417 speakers

1:15:28 Sleeper pedal steel amp recommendations

1:17:00 An ‘80s Mesa Boogie SOB amp with a red-plating 6L6BC tube

1:20:01 Alternatives to the 6C10 tube on a ’82 Fender Super Champ

1:22:40 Negative feedback: What is it? Adjusting it.

1:29:21 A 1963 Gibson Discoverer Tremolo (GA-8T) amp with too much treble

1:32:01 Skip’s brief tutorial on speaker efficiency

May 31, 2019
Ep. 11: "Waiting For the Tater Tots"
01:50:30

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons fields your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde. This is our eleventh (and possibly most philosophical) episode to date.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848.

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

4:00 The Fretboard Journal silverface Fender Champ mods (it’s awesome, btw)

13:17 Skip’s four amp switcher / mixer / pre-amp

19:48 Looking at the Fender 5F1 Champ schematic, part two

31:37 This podcast now has an Instagram page  

32:30 The problem with Skip’s Ep. 10 Baffler (on Fender tremolo circuits)

34:00 This week’s Baffler: A recently-serviced Fender Princeton Reverb with noisy pots

37:08 The smell of vintage tube amps

40:42 Gibson Falcon mods

45:00 Skip’s preferred NOS tubes

51:02 Loose tubes on a Gibson GA-6 Lancer

56:38 Thoughts on vintage Magnatones and the Magnatone pitch-shifting vibrato

1:02:36 A listener with a rare Hohner Contessa CA-300 amp asks for tips on keeping terminal strip/point-to-point wiring repair tidy

1:09:44 Why the 5E3 tweed Fender Deluxe is so loud, even with the volume turned down… plus the perils of replacing vintage pots

1:13:06 More Snufferstick talk and a Fender 6G15 reverb tank that hates high humidity

1:16:38 Tips on finding a good amp tech

1:26:45 A battery-powered(!) Gretsch Safari owned by a member of the Blue Man Group

1:29:15 Finding tube amp treasures through Ham radio enthusiasts

1:33:54 Sleuthing on the origin of a Venice-branded amplifier

1:36:06 A repaired 1966 Ampeg Reverberocket 2 with some quirks

1:43:18 A hissing 1967 Fender Vibrolux Reverb and a great Danny Gatton tale

Plus: Travis Wammack’s "Scratchy;" a cardiologist chimes in; Skip’s disappointing beer of choice; why you should befriend your dentist; the novels of Patrick O’Brien and much more.

This episode is sponsored by Grez Guitars and Mono Cases.

May 16, 2019
Ep. 10: "Would It Get You Out of the Army Early?"
01:40:18

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons shares stories and answers your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848. The more questions we get, the more episodes we record. 

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

:22 Skip and Jason discuss possible Truth About Vintage Amps t-shirt designs (coming soon) 


2:55 Jason and Skip discuss the Fretboard Journal (modified) Fender  Champ


4:26 How to install a quarter-inch output into a Champ with an RCA speaker connector


6:02 Recommended solder


8:00 Our first sponsor - Grez Guitars! https://www.grezguitars.com

10:26 Our new Instagram page! https://www.instagram.com/vintageampspodcast/

10:54 This week's Baffler

12:08 A walk-through of the Fender Champ 5F1 schematic (available online, print it out)

21:10 Wall power fluctuations

26:38 Recommended tube amps for acoustic guitars

33:05 Father's Day and the Tweed Deluxe 

36:05 BB King's Gibson Lab Series (solid state) amp

38:26 A yard-sale find pre-war Rickenbaker amp and a dim bulb current limiter

41:14 Stew-Mac's Snufferstick, Part One

44:00 Leaning a tube amp on its stand - good or bad? 

46:30 A noisy Fender silverface Princeton

49:26 Boutique amps 

51:54 Recommended new components 

55:22 Snufferstick, Part Two

59:40 Capturing that Champ distortion with a louder amp (and a shoutout to Tim Foster)

1:03:26 Manitoba's Johnson Sound System amplifiers

1:06:30 Replacing old can power capacitors cleanly

1:15:15 Recommended bigger speakers / impedance for a Fender Champ

1:18:38 Converting an old Hammond AO-39 organ reverb amp to a guitar amp

1:27:15 A 1957 Fender 5F4 Super amp with an original selenium bias rectifier 

1:35:13 Skip's record picks of the week

1:38:22 Best position for the three-way ground switch on a Fender

1:40:00 Skip has to return a weed eater 


Want to advertise your brand on the TAVA podcast? Drop us a line at jason@fretboardjournal.com

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes and don’t forget to share it with friends.

Apr 30, 2019
Ep. 9 - "Up on Its Feet"
01:31:10

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons shares stories and answers your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848. The more questions we get, the more episodes we record. 

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

-Skip takes care of a baby goat
-Who was Ray Massie (the answer to this week's baffler)
-A Clavioline needs TLC
-Identifying a tube when you have no schematic
-The affect a speaker size has on even the smallest amps
-The Garnet Herzog mod
-The different tremolo circuit between a Blackface Deluxe Reverb and a Blackface Princeton Reverb 
-Tube amp touring advice (including the often-asked, 'Which way do I lie my amp down in the van' question)
-Baffle board construction
-RAW switches
-Radio noise in a Fender reverb unit
-Removing tube covers 
-A funky Gregory Mark XX
-Skip offers a music recommendation

and much more…

Want to advertise your brand on the TAVA podcast? Drop us a line at jason@fretboardjournal.com.

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes and don’t forget to share it with friends.

Apr 19, 2019
Ep. 8 - "Alcohol and what?"
01:46:31

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons shares stories and answers your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848. The more questions we get, the more episodes we record. 

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

-Skip replies to a critic of his WD-40 hack
-Jason's Gibson EH-150 amp needs help 
-An answer to last week's Champ baffler
-Speaker re-coning recommendations 
-A buggy reissue Gibson GA-20 prototype
-Recommendations for a baritone guitar player 
-Protecting an amp from the elements in damp Southeast Texas
-Running a Traynor head on only one power tube
-Can you break an amp through loud playing/boost/effects? 
-Making a reissue Blackface Deluxe Reverb sound vintage
-How to buy pre-amp tubes online
-Alternative chasis materials
-Fitting bigger speakers in a Champ cab
-Capturing the sound of Billy Childish (again)
-A '60s Gibson Skylark with numerous issues

and much more…

Want to advertise your brand on the TAVA podcast? Drop us a line at jason@fretboardjournal.com.

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes and don’t forget to share it with friends.

 

Apr 08, 2019
Ep. 7: "In French or English"
01:36:19

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons shares stories and answers your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848. The more questions we get, the more episodes we record. 

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

-Dick Dale and the Fender Showman amp
-The differences between Fender Tweed, Brownface, Blackface and Silverface amps
-Noise floor: What’s acceptable, what indicates an amp problem
-Broken tube pins
-Using amps in stereo (safely)
-Toroidal power transformers
-The "bright cap mod" on a Fender Deluxe Reverb
-Skip’s mods to the Silverface Champ circuit
-Building your own kit amp
-Achieving the sound of Billy Childish without a Selmer Triumph Reverb
-Replacement bass amp speakers

and much more…

Want to advertise your brand on the TAVA podcast? Drop us a line at jason@fretboardjournal.com.

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes and don’t forget to share it with friends.

 

Mar 26, 2019
Ep. 6: "A Rustic Kegger Out in the Woods"
01:39:42

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons shares stories and fields your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848. The more questions we get, the more episodes we record. 

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

-Modding a Silverface Fender Champ
-Speaker wiring harnesses
-Keeping seldom-used guitar amps in usable shape
-Groundbreaking amplifiers throughout history
-The standby switch (again!)
-Craigslist shopping tips
-Replacement fuses
-A 1948 Gibson BR6 with an unusual chasis mount
-The explosive proliferation of pedals
-Wet/dry rigs and recommendations for an A/B box
-Tips on buying NOS vacuum tubes
-Discovering a Coastwise Electronics Model 310 amplifier
-Replacement tubes for a hand-wired Vox AC30
-Buying a transformer for a 5E3 Tweed Deluxe amp kit

and much more…

Want to advertise your brand on the TAVA podcast? Drop us a line at jason@fretboardjournal.com.

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes and don’t forget to share it with friends.

Mar 11, 2019
Ep. 5: "You're a Maintenance Man"
01:08:45

Submit your guitar amp questions to amp repair guru Skip Simmons here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848. The more questions we get, the more episodes we record. 

Twice a month, guitar amp repairman and former drawbridge operator Skip Simmons fields your questions on tube amp buying, repair and maintenance. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal's Jason Verlinde. 

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

-Spring Reverb, 101: How does it work, how to fix it
-Grounding tips 
-Skip's recommended multimeters and soldering irons
-Using vintage US-made amps overseas 
-Making a 1968 Fender Super Reverb a little less loud 
-Breaking in a new speaker
-Gigging with a '58 Fender Vibrolux
-Octal tubes
-Skip's thoughts on DIY amp kits

and much more... 

Want to advertise your brand on the TAVA podcast? Drop us a line at jason@fretboardjournal.com.

http://www.skipsimmonsamps.com

https://www.fretboardjournal.com

Feb 20, 2019
Ep. 4: "Smoked Paprika"
01:12:36

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip Simmons here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com or by leaving us a voicemail at 509-557-0848. The more questions we get, the more episodes we record. 

Twice a month, guitar amp guru and former drawbridge operator Skip Simmons fields your questions on tube amp buying, repair and maintenance. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal's Jason Verlinde. 

Topics discussed on this episode:

-Different aftermarket speaker options for a Fender Champ
-The dangers of working on vintage amplifiers
-What to look for when shopping for a vintage guitar amp
-A perplexing 2000-era Gibson amplifier
-Output transformers in a Silverton 1481
-Carbon comp resistors versus metal film
-The value of an DIY amp kit
-Using a Knight (or Bogen) vocal PA head as a guitar amp

And much more.

Want to advertise your brand on the TAVA podcast? Drop us a line at jason@fretboardjournal.com.

http://www.skipsimmonsamps.com

https://www.fretboardjournal.com

Feb 08, 2019
Ep. 3: "Make Me Some Bread"
01:24:56

Submit your questions for vintage amp repair expert Skip Simmons here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com

Twice a month, guitar amp guru and former drawbridge operator Skip Simmons fields your questions on tube amp buying, repair and maintenance. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal's Jason Verlinde. 

Topics discussed on this episode:

-The death of guitar shows
-The Truth About Vintage Amps rant on Skip's website
-Why you may not need a three-prong plug on your amp
-The "death cap" and the magic behind certain capacitors
-Non-MASCO P/A heads as guitar amps
-Inheriting and maintaining a '65 Super Reverb
-Amp biasing
-Learning how to read a schematic 

and much more. 

http://www.skipsimmonsamps.com

https://www.fretboardjournal.com

 

Jan 22, 2019
Ep. 2: "Don't buy that thing"
01:39:55

The Fretboard Journal magazine presents The Truth About Vintage Amps with Skip Simmons. 

Submit your questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com 

Every month, guitar amp guru and former drawbridge operator Skip Simmons shares stories and fields your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Topics discussed on this episode:
-The long-term storage of tube amps
-The magic behind Standel amps
-Calculating the exact wattage of an amp
-Good goos (and how to fix a torn speaker)
-Paul Rivera-era Fenders
-The Kalamazoo Model 2
-The modern tube marketplace
-Simple tube amp maintenance anyone can do
-The limits of safely mismatching speakers to a stated amp load 

and much more…

http://www.skipsimmonsamps.com

https://www.fretboardjournal.com

 
Jan 08, 2019
Ep. 1: "People Did Stuff"
01:18:46

The Fretboard Journal magazine presents The Truth About Vintage Amps with Skip Simmons!

Submit your questions to Skip here: fretboardjournal@gmail.com 

Every month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons shares stories and fields your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde.

Topics discussed on this episode:
-Repairing amps on a drawbridge
-60hz/50hz hum
-Troubleshooting amps
-Yellowjacket YJR/solid-state rectifiers in a tube amp
-Recommended new vacuum tubes for amps
-The magic behind Alexander Dumble
-Skip’s influences (Les Paul, Jack Darr, Steve Melkisethian/ Angela Instruments, Earl Yarrow)

and much more…

http://www.skipsimmonsamps.com

https://www.fretboardjournal.com

Dec 01, 2018
Introduction
56

Once a month, amp repair guru Skip Simmons and Fretboard Journal publisher Jason Verlinde will field your questions about vintage guitar amps. Whether you're looking for your next purchase or just want to get your old tweed Fender Deluxe working again, this show is for you. 

To submit a question, just email us at fretboardjournal@gmail.com. 

Our first episode debuts in early December 2018. 

Nov 12, 2018