Ampeg SVT straightback / flatback restoration

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by peterpalmieri, Aug 25, 2016.


  1. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Hey guys I posted some of this in the V4b thread but don't want to clog it up so I want to move the discussion to it's own thread.

    Back in the spring I re-did an 810e, removed the tolex and finished it in duratex, cleaned all the hardware and replaced the grill cloth. I recently came across a flatback SVT on craigslist, didn't hear back from the seller initially but after a week he offered to drive it to my office and for a discounted price. The downside is meeting in the office parking lot doesn't give me much of an opportunity to inspect and test it. I took the risk and brought it home last night.

    IMG_8191.JPG IMG_8193.JPG IMG_8194.JPG image (2)34545.jpeg image1233.jpeg image (2)54y6htr.jpeg
    Thus far it seems that there are two replacement speakers and 6 CTS speakers but that is just from inspecting two speakers and visual cues. Hopefully over the next few days I be able to take the cabinet apart and make a full list of what can be cleaned up and what needs replacing.

    So the question really becomes what am I going to do?

    1. Strip the tolex and refinish in duratex, replace the grill, add recessed edge mounted handles, recessed casters and rails. Bringing it up to modern standard in terms of portability (similar to a berg NV cab or mesa).
    2. Or could refinish in duratex, replace the grill cloth and use a handtruck, leaving it a bit more original.
    3. I could look to do a more vintage restoration, replace the tolex and grill cloth and get a couple of NOS CTS speakers.
    4. I can leave it exactly as it is and use it.

    It seems to make sense to put the replacement speakers in the same horizontal pair in the lowest chamber, replace the input jack plate and grill cloth. I have more then half a bucket of duratex so that seems to be a no brainer. While I am happily surprised that this cabinet has CTS speakers I don't think that really makes it worth anything that would preclude me modifying it. Hopefully when it's done I will prefer it to the 810e and call it a day.

    First thing tonight I have to put the one speaker I took out back in and put an amp on top and see that all the speakers are functioning and there are no issues. Should be a fun little project.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
    Grumry, spaz21387 and beans-on-toast like this.
  2. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
  3. eottjake

    eottjake

    Jan 30, 2009
    Vandalia, Ohio
    Watching! Should be a fun process
     
    Seth Miller and peterpalmieri like this.
  4. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    I should also mention my unique transportation and storage. My current 810 lives in my 1920's garage which is detached and in the backyard. I have to roll over 40' of lawn to get to my driveway. I do own a pickup truck with a sprayed in bed liner. The cabinet is easy to tilt and slide into the bed, once it is laying on it's back the rails don't do anything to protect it because of the ridges in the bed; only as it hinges on the tailgate. The idea of a handle on the bottom would give me something to pull the cab out onto the tailgate when removing it. A recessed jack plate will also be important because of how I load it. Because of my bed cover the cabinet will not slide in on it's side and needs to be on it's back.

    The truck is less then a year old, my last two vehicles lasted me 10+ years and both hit 200k miles so designing it to load in right makes sense.
     
  5. Bill Staudt

    Bill Staudt Guest

    Jun 18, 2002
    Nice score! I think you’re on the right track with your restoration ideas. If it were me, I would restore the original dolly, and forgo the handle and caster upgrade.

    BTW; That's a 1971 cab
     
  6. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    I would love to but the dolly really is useless when it comes to stairs or even a crack in the sidewalk.
     
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  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Best to modify the cabinet to suit your needs, especially since it was inexpensive.

    One thing to look for is how strong the glue joints are. Some cabs have loose joints as a result of being bounced around. This can cause rattles. The fix is to infuse glue into the seams.

    Often the finger joints need some repair on the outside. Edges take a lot of abuse. You'll see when you've removed the vinyl. Some details in the Portaflex wiki:

    SB-12 Cabinet Restoration - part 1 | TalkBass.com. Wood prep is covered here:

    SB-12 Cabinet Restoration - part 2 | TalkBass.com
     
  8. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Cool, thanks for that. I've found that the duratex covered up quite a few imperfections, I will be careful to go over structural issues in detail though. It is hard for me to go to nuts perfecting a cabinet to showroom quality when it sits in the garage and dragged in a pickup truck, bounced up and down steps and into a dark bar. That doesn't mean I won't be thoughtful just realistic. If I was doing a B15 for my studio I would think differently. Certainly those front edges are tough and I feel I fell short on that with the other 810e I did, won't make that mistake again. Surely going to make that roundover templete this time. I've also been restoring a 1969 Bertram for the last 6 years so I actually have epoxy putty in the house already.
     
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  9. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Wow, that's some boat. I participated in building a fiberglass speed boat in shop class. No engine work involved. But it was a lot of work. I can only imagine what would go into a Bertram.
     
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  10. My two cents: option #3. You've got a flatback, restore it - otherwise you might as well have any old 810 cabinet.

    I'm jealous. I want one. Haven't had a shot at one in my area.
     
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  11. Personally I'd duratex it, that stuff is just plain durable from what I've been told. If you're okay with doing the prep work least. Given your situation it seems that durability is important
     
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  12. abracadunphy

    abracadunphy

    May 22, 2015
    Great project!
     
  13. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Can someone direct me to the correct driver to remove the speakers. A tiny flat head will take forever.
     
  14. I had one of those drivers years ago, forgot what it was called and forget where I got, sorry not much help. OK they're called Clutch head screws, check out Fliptops, they might have one. Nope, just checked, they call them Weird head screwdrivers and they're out of stock, email them and see if they have a source for them. I just googled them and they seem to be available all over the place.

    Weird Head Screwdriver - Product Details
     
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  15. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Fliptops sells them in the correct size. So do some tractor stores.
     
  16. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Thanks Bob and Beans. I added them to the parts list. Probably place an order with flip tops tomorrow.
     
  17. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    peterpalmieri likes this.
  18. I don't think you said what you will power that with,
    but the early speakers won't take as much power as the later ones.
    Just a heads up.
     
  19. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    I think flip tops has bits in stock, I will check tomorrow. Want to pull of the input Jack and see what the hole looks like if I can put the kids to sleep.
     
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  20. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Such a cool project! Keep us updated.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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