Buying a used SVT-CL...

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by vivaknoxvegas, Feb 7, 2013.


  1. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    ...soon from a friend. From the fantastic info available here at TB I am able to date the amp to 1995. The back plate / grill says "Made In USA, _______ (unreadable) 1400 Ferguson Ave, St. Louis, MO".

    I know it's not one of the coveted 70s model, but my main question is... will I be getting a good one so to speak? I was happy to see MIUSA on the back honestly.

    Secondary questions... I am thinking fresh tubes straight away. They need to be biased though, correct? Is this something I need an ampeg or amp tech to do?

    What else, if anything, would you guys recommend doing to get her running at an optimal level?
  2. Jwood

    Jwood Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Richmond, Va
    I don't think you'll need to re-tube it right away unless you know it has issues. I would however get a clean bill of health from a trusted tech in your area. Oh, and then rock out!
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Yeah, re-tube won't be necessary unless something is wrong. You can if you want but let me tell you from first hand experience, it will not be cheap to re-tube that SVT.

    If you do change them, yes they will need to be biased. My SVT had some biasing lights on the back for doing it but mind was a 2005 I don't know about 1995. I personally would take it to a pro if you are unsure of anything.
  4. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Disclosures:
    FireMelon
    Yeah my SVTs are also easy to bias (just turn the screw in the back until the red light turns green) but don't know if they had that feature in 1995 either. You may want to PM Hodgy and see what he'd suggest, or JimmyM who is a great source of SVT info.
  5. stiles72

    stiles72

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Albany IL
    As long as the amp sounds good, there's nothign really you need to do. Retubing is a waste of money, and I would only do that if you have issues. As for whether it's a good one or not, you'll have to play it to find out. SVT-CL's are an industry work horse so it's a proven design, but like any brand or model of amp- you could have a great one, or you could have a lemon. Let your ears be the guide. Just be sure you run it at either a 4 ohm or 2 ohm load and set the ohm selector switch accordingly.
  6. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Yeah I mean it sounds great to me. I was just curious to know if this era of SVTs are a little better or worse build wise than the new ones.
  7. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Disclosures:
    FireMelon
    They've been building them pretty much the same way for over 40 years. I'm sure it rocks!
  8. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Location:
    Louisville KY
    I bought a used early 90's SVT-CL a few years ago. My tech replaced one bad preamp tube but said no need to replace the power tubes. He did, however, do several mods/upgrades to take care of a standby shutoff problem I was having that is common in SVT's of that era. Nice guy, didn't charge for the used tube, very little to do the mods and also replaced a faulty speaker jack for N/C that I didn't even ask him to fix.

    If you are going to buy old tube amps, befriend a good tech. :)
  9. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Is there a resource anywhere to find good amp techs geographically?
  10. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Disclosures:
    FireMelon
    Send hodgy a PM, he'll take care of you.
  11. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Yes, you'll have to find the "recommended tech ... area" thread and search it for your state.
  12. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
  13. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
  14. 4StringShooter

    4StringShooter

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Disclosures:
    GBX Member #1


    2 things :

    It IS made in china, NOT St Louis

    Test ALL ground wires going to Powertubes. ALL of mine were bad in a BRAND NEW SVT.

    I sold mine. I think they're SEVERLY over rated junk.
  15. redhed

    redhed TUBE LOVER! Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Mine is new, bought July 2012 and it is AWESOME. Sounds fantastic and works flawlessly! I have never been happier with an amp.
  16. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    Orange County, California
    Disclosures:
    FireMelon
    To avoid giving the wrong answer you should read the OP's query before you answer. ;)
  17. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    St. Louis

    Wrong. It was made in STL.
  18. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Wrong about more than just the St. Louis remark.
  19. freedomryder

    freedomryder

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle area
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I play rented SVT's of all eras, old, new, everything in between, and I own one of the first SVT's ever made. There is no bad era for the heads. As long as they're in good working condition, the tonal difference between any of them will be very small, and mostly based on what tubes are in them. Some prefer the CL and 2 Pro heads, some prefer the VR and vintage heads, but they all sound like SVT's to me.

    But don't get sucked up into the tube vortex. When a problem with tubes arises, more often than not, it's only one that's bad and the rest will be fine. You might want to change three power tubes at a time if you have one that's bad just to keep the matching straight for that side of the amp, but there's no reason on earth you should ever have to do a full retube unless you're playing in a doom band with everything on 11 for a year straight. I've had many tubes last 10 years or longer.

Share This Page