Reasonable Rate For Recap and Retube On An Ampeg V4

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by kdogg, Apr 28, 2009.


  1. kdogg

    kdogg

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hey all, just wanted to pick your brains on the cost of a recap and complete retube of a 73 ampeg v4. I picked her up recently on craigs list for $250, and she needed a little tlc. The first place I took the amp is to a local vintage tube amplification repair shop.

    They quoted me $300 for the recap, including parts and some incidendtal repairs, resoldering a few joints, cleaning the jacks and pots, etc.

    They quoted me $400 for the retube, if I wanted to go NOS vintage tubes or $275 if I went with new tubes. I should mention that the previous owner had replaced all the tubes with the cheapest he could get, including Ruby 6L6's for the power section, instead of the original 7027a's, and various electroharmonix, GT, and other chinese brands, in the preamp and driver sections. I realize that the 6L6's can be used as replacements, but I thought they had to be 6L6GC's.

    I just want to make sure I'm not dumping a bit to much cash into this unit right off the bat, but at the same time, I know the head will be killer when she's finished.

    Your thoughts...

    Thanks Guys!
     
  2. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    boston, ma
    That's a bit of an over charge IMO. My tech quoted me 150-200 to do a complete cap job on my V4. Fliptops sells the cap kit for a V4 for $65, so even if its another $35 for parts for the "incidental repairs", you're looking at $200 for labor. On top of that, the $65 fliptops is charging for the caps probably isn't what your tech is paying for them. Doesn't smell right to me.

    Yes, the 6L6s should be 6L6GCs. You can get a quad of JJ 7027s from tubedepot for $76, Sovteks for $80, or JJ 6L6GCs for $60. Fliptops has a complete tube set including preamp tubes for $185.


    Links:
    http://www.fliptops.net/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=25_76&products_id=474

    http://www.fliptops.net/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=24_64&products_id=361

    http://www.tubedepot.com/6l6.html
     
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    If you had actual 6L6 tubes in that amp they would have lasted about thirty seconds!

    Paul
     
  4. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    boston, ma
    And further more, as the amp is fixed bias, all they're doing when they retube it is sticking them in the hole. There's nothing to adjust unless they're also planning on adding a bias pot.
     
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  6. Paulitics

    Paulitics

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Does the amp work right now?

    If so i would really considering just doing these things yourself. I'm not sure if its something you would be interested in doing but replacing the filter caps and tubes and rebiasing would take you less then an hour.

    There are a few things you have to learn, the most important being how to work safely on a tube amp(discharge those filter caps!) But all of this information is availble on the interenet and a simple google search will bring up tutorials. A good place to check out is www.ampegv4.com. People on the forum there can tell you exactly what caps/tubes you need to buy. Maybe from there you can calculate how much the parts would cost and then decide how much they are charging for labor and if that seems worth it. It partly depends on the quality of the replacement parts they plan to use.

    I suspect reading up on these things and buying a cheap DMM and soldering iron will not only be cheaper but more rewarding. Teach a man to fish...
     
  7. Paulitics

    Paulitics

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Actually as Coreyfyfe pointed out there is no bias adjustment pot on this amp so all so you just have to stick the tubes in. You can of course check the bias to make sure its not out of range but more then likely it will just work.
     
  8. kdogg

    kdogg

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yeah, the amplifier was working when I got it, just very low output volume. The volume pot had to be cranked to around the 2 o'clock position before you could get enough volume sitting in front of the speaker just playing alone. Certainly not a usable volume level. The first thing I did was throw a new set of tubes in her, but that didn't solve the problem.

    As I've never even picked up a soldering iron, I would be lost trying to perform even the most rudimentary parts replacements inside a living breathing tube amp, although I'd love to learn at some point. There's also me fear that I would, in the process, cause more trouble than I was trying to fix.
     
  9. rbonner

    rbonner

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    There's definately something broke on the amp, they generally are louder than that.. HA.

    $300 sounds like a fair price for a recap job.

    The tube job is out of line. Especially if there isnt a bias needing adjusted. I would just go new, Go to a reputable tube supplier and buy tubes, or negotiate with the tech for a better price.

    BOB
     
  10. kdogg

    kdogg

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Keep in mind, the $400 quote was for NOS vintage tubes. Right now, at various tube stores on line, NOS GE 7027a's are running between $45-$60 a piece. This amplifier takes 4, and now you get into the various preamp and driver tubes. I don't think he's trying to rip me off, as he's a very reputable person. I'm just not sure I'd see/hear that much difference between new and new old stock to justify the added cost.
     
  11. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Location:
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    Disclosures:
    John K Custom Basses
    i've recapped all of my V4's and SVT's myself and i can tell you that it isn't all that easy if your'e going to do it right. i use CP 525V multicaps (made on the original Mallory equipment@ $35.00 ea.) and one Sprague Atom 40uf/500V (about $7.00). since they're the FP mount, the old ones are a bit tricky to remove cleanly. once installed, i 'form' them with a variac. you should replace all the bias caps too and check all of the resistors and coupling caps as well. power that is as low as your amp has sounds like an output tranny problem to me. one of mine needed one since it had about 1/3 of its normal output. NOS 7027A's are expensive, but in my opinion they are worth it since they'll sound better and last ALOT longer than JJ or Sovtek 7027's. if you trust your tech and he;s familiar with old Ampegs, it doesn't soind like he's being all that unreasonable. the V4 forum often states that it costs about $250-300 to recap a V4. after the retube, you can change a bias resistor to get the tubes to run at their optimal output.

    2 cents................
     
  12. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Dangerous advice. Recapping a high voltage tube amp is not something for a neophyte to do. It can in fact get you killed. What ever it costs to have a professional do the work is far less than your life is worth!

    Paul
     
  13. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    boston, ma
    Judging by your opinion, it sounds like my tech was going to cut me a deal then haha. He's done all my other repairs/tune ups (and he's my future-brother-in-law's brother) so I know the quality of his work, but I didn't think I was getting any kind of a deal on the estimate. Anywho, I would trust JohnK when it comes to anything ampeg.
     
  14. Beyer160

    Beyer160

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Location:
    NC
    I'm all about doing it yourself, but Paul has brought up an important point- tube amps, Ampegs in particular, are extremely dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. The margin for error is slim, and the cost of failure can be very, very high. I won't tell the OP not to work on his amp, but I am telling him to be extremely careful if he does- you need to make sure you know exactly what you're doing, and what every part is and what it does, every step of the way. Anything less is a recipe for disaster. "Oops" on a tube amp usually involves flames or serious injury. If you're the least bit doubtful about your ability to do this perfectly the first time, it's well worth paying a tech.

    That said, if you're willing to do the homework it's pretty rewarding to be able to work on your own gear.
     
  15. rbonner

    rbonner

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    I agree; I killed myself working on equipment once. Things have never been the same since. :eek: Wanna Beer? BOB
     
  16. Paulitics

    Paulitics

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    This is of course very good advice and should not be taken lightly. Yes tube amps even when unpluged can still hold charge, enough to be very dangerous in fact. My point is that the proper procedure to work safely is really pretty straight forward and directions with pictures and even video can be found all over the internet. I just hate to see people get scarred off from something that could be very rewarding just because its dangerous if you don't take certain simple precautions. Many things in life are dangerous, driving on the freeway for instance. In that case other people are in control of machines with enough mass and momentum to kill you. At least with a tube amp you are in complete control.


    After saying all of this and reading your response to my question I would say you should take the amp to a tech. The volume issue indicated that there is something wrong with the amp. Toubleshooting is likely to be extremely difficult and frustrating for a begginer. The prices you listed are probably fair especially if he is going to make a currently poorly functioning amp work correctly.
     

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