Gear Repair

Holy cats.
Y’all, I’ve just had a great day.

I’ve had an Ampeg SVT Classic bass amp (all tube, weighs approximately 2,000 pounds) for 2 years now. I bought it used.
It never sounded right.
It never had the power, the head room, the big fat tone that it should have had.
I bought it because when you’re in the store I thought I was playing loud, but it was not, in fact loud. As soon as it was gig loud, I’d get 2-20 seconds of gorgeous massive bass tone, then it would poop out and sound thin and weak. Like I was playing a 75 watt solid state practice amp or something.
It was terrible.

I heard there was an SVT guru nearby. He doesn’t have a storefront, so I was trying to find his contact number. I called the number I thought was his. A guy picked up, said - sure, I’ve worked on those before, bring it by. I brought it by.
The store where I brought my giant bass amp was filled - wall to wall - with dvd players, vcrs, headphones, tvs, and all sorts of electrical/video repair things.
No amps.
I was sceptical. But this guy came very highly recommended.
I explained the problem and left my amp.
When he gave me my paperwork, he clipped his card to the receipt. His name was definitely not the name of the SVT specialist I was recommended to.

I noticed this after I had driven home.

I did more asking and searching and got the name and number of the actual SVT guru. We talked on the phone. He doesn’t work on SVTs anymore. They’re too heavy. (He is a wise guru.) But he talked me through his entire process of troubleshooting the rig and said it definitely sounded like a bad preamp tube.
I still needed a bona fide SVT tube guru. I called a friend who makes killer custom guitar amps (shout out to Amps & Cabs — SineWave Amps and Chad!)
Chad had the same line as other guru. He said “I hate working on SVTs. They’re too heavy.” Yeah.
They are.
Chad also said it sounded like a preamp problem. He even offered to check it out if I truly, absolutely, desperately needed help. If I could get it back from the VCR repair guy.

I called VCR repair guy.
I told him, hey, funny story - I thought you were someone else. I’m happy to come and take that giant, mysterious, heavy thing off your hands. He told me - “give me another day. I think it’s something in the preamp section.”
Well, hot damn.
Hope, long forgotten, was rekindled.

Yesterday I got it back. Fixed. Sounding absolutely MASSIVE. This is the best I’ve ever heard my P-bass sound. My VCR repair guy buddy did it.
I am a very happy boy.

I know nothing of how amps work. I wish I did.
But - finally, after an epic quest, my amp is working. Huzzah, I say!

It is, without a doubt, too heavy. It is stupidly heavy.
But it sounds better than any other amp I’ve played on.
Until my back gives out, I’ll be lugging it around.
Now I just need some insanely loud gigs.


Great story!! Giving me hope for a good day here myself!! Thanks @Gio!!


Make sure to bring him a VCR sometime!! :vhs:

Fantastic story! I’ve spent some time in the past year learning how to troubleshoot tube amps. I’ve been working on a late 70s Fender Twin Reverb that was heavily modded. Since it was so modded I did not feel to bad about “wrecking a vintage amp” - many lessons learned along the way but I have improved the tone. However, I do not have a place where I can crank it and it weighs about 80 pounds so I don’t wish to move it… :laughing:


I completely sympathize with you!
It’s hard to be a single person with an amp that needs 2 people to move!


Put that on your dating profile.

‘Looking for someone to share long walks to the bar carrying a tube amp.’


“Do you like carrying tube amps, and getting caught in the rain”


congrats on your repair victory! VHS dude FTW!

however, a circuit is a circuit, br0h. if you can identify and understand what a circuit should be doing, you can fix it. sometimes it’s as easy as taking the cover off and finding the burn spot. my dad tried teaching me this stuff at the age of 10. didn’t understand and didn’t have the brain for it at the time. fast forward 30 years and i’m working on installing electronics in kayaks as a hobby and working on my boat. only now is it starting to make sense.


can you put some casters on it for tip and roll?


Hm, now you mention it… I stepped out of the house for a sec around that time yesterday and thought I heard a heavenly rumble. Might just have been a plane though… :man_shrugging:



Yes - I was feeling this same thing.
Also, if the repair person is of the type that is willing to get dirty, sus a problem, test it, and take the time, it’ll work. That was my other take away. This guy was great.

I think I could maybe get away with this, but only if it was first solidly packed and padded into a flight case. I would be too worried about the rattle/jingle/jangle of rolling it around if it wasn’t somehow protected first.

That was me. I made a sacrifice of cheap beer, denim, and a King Diamond T-shirt and the Great Lord Cliff Burton did rumble forth a sign of his approval.
My amp is blessed.


Also - to anyone who has a gear repair question / story / problem - this thread is open for just that sort of thing.
I know we have it in very specific places elsewhere, but consider this a catch-all if your topic isn’t covered elsewhere.

Stories always welcome.
I love stories.