Amp mods

Here at Essex Amp Repairs, we specialise in bespoke amplifier modifications. With our expertise, we can help you get that bit extra from your amp.

Some of the mods we can offer are:

Variable power control

Tone stack optimisation

Effects loop

Line out

Gain structure changes

If you have an idea about how you might want to mod your amp, get in touch with the specialists here at Essex Amp Repairs. We will be able to help you get that elusive sound out of your head and into the air.

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Gallery update!

Checkout our latest gallery updates. Lots for the Marshall enthusiasts in this update. Enjoy!

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Cabling – Equipment failure by stealth……

We often find that the humble cable is the most overlooked item in many peoples inventory. While guitars, amplifiers, mixers, etc are usually well cared for, cables generally get a pretty rough ride.

Damaged cables create a lot of problems, ranging from bad signal through to complete rig failure.

In the event of a problem, check your cables before deciding that the problem lies elsewhere. It’s not uncommon for an amp or another critical piece of equipment to be sidelined during a gig, only to find later that a simple lead failure was the cause.

Here are some simple suggestions to help you avoid cable induced problems:

1/ Take care to store your cables correctly. Always wrap them so that they lie in their natural coil state. Screwing them up, or wrapping them around other objects will cause the conductors inside the cable to fail prematurely.

2/ Avoid pulling on the cables – it is too easy to yank on a snagged cable in the rush to pack up after a gig. If a cable is snagged, release it from the grip of its captor before wrapping it up. Many cable core breaks or connector failures are caused by over zealous tugging on snagged cables.

3/ Always use the correct cable for the job. Do not use a signal lead as a speaker cable, or vice versa. Using a signal lead as a speaker cable will ensure that at best you will sound bad, and at worst you will damage your amp.

4/ Check your cables regularly (it’s a good idea to keep a cable tester in your kit for this purpose) and clean the connectors with good quality contact cleaner on a periodic basis. Do not use WD40 for this job.

5/ Keep some spare cables and leads in your kit for emergencies. If you carry only just enough cables, you know what will happen one day….

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When is a valve not a valve? When it’s a tube…..

Recent conversations with our customers have demonstrated that some confusion exists about what differentiates a “valve” from a “tube”. The Essex Amp Repairs team will now attempt to shed light on things… The terms “valve” and “tube” have their origins in the earliest days of electronics. When the use of thermionic triode devices began to gather favour, two types of terminology became commonly used. In Great Britain, the description of the function of the thermionic triode was analogous to a valve controlling the flow of liquid. And so, in the UK, the term “thermionic valve”, later shortened to “valve” became commonplace. In the United States, the device was described more in terms of its physical construction. As the electronic components within the device are contained in an evacuated envelope or “tube”, the term “vacuum tube” (later shortened to “tube”) became commonplace. From this, it can be seen that valves and tubes are the same thing. The terms of reference can be used interchangeably. A good example of two great nations being separated by a common language.

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What’s the best amp in the world?

“What’s the best amp in the world?” That’s a question we often get asked here at Essex Amp Repairs. There is of course no real answer to that question. With many different types of amps available to cater for all tastes, power and musical style requirements, there simply isn’t a single amp that can be truly called “the best”.

At the end of the day, the best amp is the one which meets your needs most closely. So if somebody asks you “What’s the best amp in the world?” and you can’t answer with “my one”, maybe you have yet to find the right amp.

Just a thought…..

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Fuse Confusion

We are often asked which fuses should be used for various amplifier types.

It is important to fit the correct fuse to your amp. Fitting the wrong current rating or type of fuse will put the amp at risk of damage.

There are two important things to note when selecting fuses for your amp. The first thing is the current rating. This will be indicated on the amp rear panel by a number followed by the letters “A” or “mA”. As an example, if your amp uses a two amp fuse, you will see “2A” on the rear panel.

The second thing to note is the speed type for the fuse. If the fuse legend on the rear panel indicates “T” or “Slo Blo” next to the current rating, you must fit a “time delay” or “Slo Blo” fuse. This type of fuse carries a “T” mark next to the current rating number on its end cap. E.g “T2A” or “T250mA”.

If no speed type is shown on the rear panel legend, you should assume that a “standard” fuse must be fitted. This type of fuse carries no speed type mark next to the current rating number on its end cap. There are also Fast Blow fuses which are indicated by an “F” before the current rating.

Always carry spare fuses of the correct type with you at all times. Occasionally fuses fail simply as a result of ageing. If this happens, the amp will work fine once the failed fuse has been replaced. If a replacement fuse blows straight away, or after a short time of amplifier operation, there is a fault. In such circumstances you should get the amp checked and repaired as quickly as possible.

Do not be tempted to fit a fuse of a higher rating than that indicated on the amp’s rear panel. If you do that, the amp will not be adequately protected and there will be a risk of serious damage, or even fire.

We can supply fuses or fuse kits for all amps. Every amp repaired or serviced by Essex Amp Repairs, will be provided with a spare set of fuses free of charge.

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Great Strat mod

Today has been great. Nice weather and some great jobs to do, including a nice Strat set up which involved fitting a really neat versatility mod. Fancy a Strat that can also emulate a Tele? No problem, we can do that for you….

Our special mod increases the versatility of the ubiquitous Strat. We can give you two extra pickup combinations, increased tone control range, with Tele emulation.

Call Essex Amp Repairs & Guitar Services on 01376 502160, email info@essexamprepairs.co.uk, or contact via Facebook or Twitter for more details!

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Taming the beast

With the trend for using lower power amplifiers for guitar these days, we are often asked about ways of taming big valve (tube) amps.

At Essex Amp Repairs, we offer a number of options for those wishing to reduce the output power of large valve (tube) amps.

Using a typical 100W amp as an example, here are some popular power reduction:

Fit a triode mode switch – This leaves all four output valves (tubes) in place, and reduces the power to around 50W. The user can select between 100W & 50W output at the flick of a switch.

Reconfigure the amp to 50W specification – This modification removes two output valves (tubes) and replaces the output transformer to convert the amp to true 50W specification. Adding the triode mode switch allows the user to switch between 50W & 25W power outputs.

Fit a variable power control – This modification adds a rotary control allowing output power adjustment from around 10W to the full 100W.

These are just some examples of what can be done, and of course, the modifiactions can be applied to most types of valve (tube) amps that use push-pull output stages.

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Don’t damp your amp!

Damp storage is one of the biggest enemies an amp can face. Keeping amps in garages, sheds, vans etc really is bad news for the internal components. Reliability suffers greatly as component leads, valve bases, pots and jack sockets corrode. Corrosion makes repair difficult too.

So for reliability, and to keep service and repair costs down, always store your amp indoors.

 

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Tailor your amp to get the sounds you’ve been dreaming of

Essex Amp Repairs doesn’t just fix failed equipment!

We also offer modifications, giving you the chance to get more of what you want from your amp. The Essex Amp Repairs team can tailor most amps to your needs.

Call us on 01376 502160, email: info@essexamprepairs.co.uk, or contact via Facebook or Twitter for more information.

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