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Why can't amp techs hit a due date?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by BurningSkies, Apr 4, 2014.


  1. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    This is me here sort of venting. But the rule in my experience is that techs never hit a deadline.

    Recently my much loved first generation Peavey IPR 3000 grew a high pitched 'whine' after many shows and 3 years of gigging. I spoke with Bobby here, and he confirmed what I'd expected and what an update to the IPR series corrected...a synch problem between channels. The repair is a very simple resistor substitution and the removal of one resistor. I could even do it myself if I had my work desk set up.

    I figured that I'd take it to someone to lessen the hassle. My usual awesome tech is great, but quotes 3 weeks and you're lucky if you get it back in 2 months. So, I spoke with another tech that runs a reputable shop and was very specific. I provided the exact directions with the parts spec. (again ONE resistor change and the removal of ONE). The answer came back that it was no problem, could be done in a day or two.

    I waited to bring it in a week ago last monday...where I knew I wouldn't have any gigs the following week & weekend and nothing until tonight. Nearly 2 weeks, given that I was told a day or two. I called this Monday and was told 'uh, yeah...we're about to put that on the bench and take a look. We'll give you a call this afternoon and let you know what we find.'

    Eeeeerrrg. What we find isn't an issue. No diagnostic needed. No poking around. No trial and error. I've provided the info, the directions for the fix and even the spec for the SINGLE common resistor. I was told a day or two and a full week has gone by without it touched. Of course, here we are, 5 days down the road and no call, no update, no amp for tonight's gig.

    Yes, I have a backup, but why for the love of God can't anyone actually do what they've said they would.
     
  2. OneWayPunk

    OneWayPunk

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    Location:
    San Clemente, CA
    I guess my question back to you would be: Did you discuss very clearly how quickly you needed the amp back? If you didn't specify a time then the tech might have put your amp on the back burner to work on Rush repairs that someone maybe paid a premium for.

    Here is what I tell my clients, if you need the amp done by a specific day/time then clearly let me know that when you drop off the amp. I tend to work on things on a first in/first out basis. But I also do rush work and will push back repairs that the client has not asked me to rush or specified a date they need it done. Amp techs are a busy bunch, there is way more work out there then most of us can handle in the hours we have available. So either you expand into some bigger operation that had multiple techs and support staff, or you work by yourself and triage your amp repairs. The tech telling you that it would be a couple of days was probably true for him at the time, but since you probably didn't specify that you needed it back no later than 5 days from the day your dropped it off, he most likely felt that he could push this back since it was not a rush.

    So with better communication you can probably avoid this in the future.
    I will always tell a client if I cannot get to the amp by the time they need it back. I also tell them how long my wait list is at the time, and it can be long sometimes as I do not do this full time. Even though I do this, I have had several clients get very angry at me that their amp isn't done in whatever time they feel was enough. Hell I even had one a-hole threaten to beat me up and wanted me to completely put back together the amp that I had diagnosed, disassembled, pulled the bad part, and ordered and paid for the replacement part while he waited since it wasn't done in a week, which I never told him it would be. Techs get a lot of jerky clients, but we tend to try to make the majority of them happy.

    YMMV of course, but I thought I would give you an amp techs perspective on this issue.
     
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Point 1) The good ones are anyway! :D

    Point 2) Amen to that!!!! ::scowl:
     
  4. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Ashland, MO
    Sounds like you hindsight is telling you that "I should have done this myself!". :rollno:

    I don't have an answer to your question. I used to work as an amp tech and can honestly say that the diagnostic time was the biggest variable for me. The time to actually effect the repair is more easily predicted.

    This instance seems pretty ridiculous to me. Big difference between a couple of days and a couple of weeks, and it still hasn't reached the bench!? :eek:
     
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  6. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    It's a bit like showing up at the hospital ER. Short ratio of doctors to patients.

    The job in question probably got put in the "handy job to fill in 15 minutes" basket, forgotten about when a spare 15 min came up.
     
  7. Bigskybassguy

    Bigskybassguy

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    It's like being in a plane and they tell you "We're waiting for a mechanic, and it'll be just a few more minutes." Right.
     
  8. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    The lesson of the day is...If you can do it yourself, you should. All that extra hassle and chasing around ain't worth it. Don't be dependent on others.
     
  9. Steve

    Steve

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2001
    Never push the person fixing your stuff or cooking your food.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That's right, or they'll stick their finger in their butts and touch your amp or food with it.
     
  11. Linnin

    Linnin

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    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    Waynesboro, Virginia
  12. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    Here's the thing. I DID discuss the timeline. It's a small town, and they know who usually does my tech, and I was up front about the fact that I came to them because I had a short timeline. There's no diagnosis here. A simple substitution and the removal if a resistor. There's no we'll tell you what we find. I specifically told them I needed the amp back for the 4/5th of April gigs.
     
  13. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Maybe he doesn't like unchallenging menial solder jobs and didn't wish to add another client whose only work was such. Figuring instead of actively telling you to take a hike over to your regular tech, just leave you swinging so you don't come back.
     
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    Or he could have done a 15 minute job, charged me a bench hour and I would actually bring more work to him when I needed it. Hitting a mark is a good way of getting more work. Couldn't have been an easier way to get a customer... How many jobs walk in the door with all the legwork done?
     
  15. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    No accounting for his internal satisfaction value to the work performed.
     
  16. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

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    Feb 20, 2005
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    Yes yes. He's an artist, not a tech.
     
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    That's a good way to kill your business. I ASKED him if he could do the work along with providing, the info, and my timeline...and he was enthusiastic about it. "Sure! Bring it in! We can totally take care of that!"
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You've got a backup at least. I get the frustration, but at least you were covered, making this a first world problem ;)
     
  19. David Jayne

    David Jayne

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Brookfield, CT
    I'm a tech. Most techs won't simply take your word that the problem is definitely X, so you need to simply do Y. They want to first diagnose the problem themselves to be sure, to make the correct repair. If they simply do as you say but you happen to be wrong, the amp will still have a problem and might even blow up, so you can see why they are reluctant to work that way.
    But he really should have told you that.
     
  20. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    Of course, I'm willing to take that risk. Given that the symptom is a 'known' for this iteration of the amp and one of the engineers who designed the amp has confirmed what I've experienced, that its a common problem and an easy fix. This wasn't a massive failure. It was a slight high pitched whine that I lived with for several weeks until I had a reasonable window of two weeks for the update. I didn't bring it in for a diagnostic, but for a specific procedure, which was documented and outlined. The tech was even in on the email chain with the details along the way. When I brought the amp in and we went over the details including my time line, it was 'we can certainly do this, no problem' it wasn't "let me take a week to crack this open before I bother to even consider it then I'll need to do a diagnostic and I'll promise to call you...then won't even do that." And for the fact that the actual resistors in question are identified and the substitution and removal have been described as a quick and easy repair, if I were a tech I would certainly do that before any other options.

    I'm going to guess I call again this coming Monday and hear "oh yeah, we need to take a look at that" again.
     
  21. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    True, but backups are never as good as your A-string. I actually hit a couple local music stores tonight ready to spend another $400+ on a duplicate amplifier, unfortunately local stock of power amps is really awful. I have a decently large and good show coming up on the 20th and I'll be REALLY hot if its not back in my hands by then.
     

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