Buying a Vintage SVT

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bron-Y-AurStomp, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. Bron-Y-AurStomp

    Bron-Y-AurStomp Lazy

    Nov 30, 2003
    Plainfield, IL
    Well I've been looking for an amp head for a while, and I think I might've found one. Or two. See, I've been looking for a vintage SVT for a while. But I've also been looking for a Mesa 400+ used for a while. I ruled out the Eden a while ago, just not my sound (Sorry Munji). So I decided that I'd just end up buying whichever I saw first that was in my price range ($900). Well, I found a vintage SVT for $800, and now its decision time. Since I regularly see the 400+ go for about $800, would it be worth it to buy the SVT instead? I've attached some pictures of it. It seems to be pretty beat up, but I think it still works fine, although I'm going to be buying it from somebody out of state, so I'm not to sure, hence some of my apprehension. So yea, just let me know what you think, or something, anything really.
  2. IMO there is no comparison between a vintage svt and a 400+. That being said a vintage svt (especially one that has been around the block like that one) could have some issues and should be thoroughly checked over by a qualified tech. I think that I saw that one on Ebay awhile back. I hope that you go for the svt and good luck!
  3. I would recommend the SVT (of course). That being said, "it works fine" can mean a lot of different things. You might receive it to discover that, yes, it works, but it's not fully functional or not working properly. Most early '70s SVTs (like that one) have been neglected or ill-maintained. Ideally, you would have it gone thru by someone experienced with vintage SVTs if that would be someone other than you. Since it works, the transformers should be good and most (probably all) of the tubes. I personally would budget around $400 for a possible overhaul. The good news is that at that point you won't have to do it again for about another 25 years. Same thing holds true for the Boogie.
  4. drd07


    Jan 19, 2003
    I'm going through a similar situation. I recently picked up a vintage SVT for around $870. However, I have already spent 400 bucks to get it into gigging condition. I am still having problems with it, only due to incompetent techs that I went to:( The tone is great though! Find a good tech and you will be ok. Just remember you might have to spend a couple hundred more dollars in repairs...
  5. until.tomorrow

    until.tomorrow Guest

    May 5, 2003
    US - Milwaukee
    I went to our local music store the other day and to my surprise found a Mesa 400+ for around $750!! Lucky for me my financial standing held me back from purchasing it! I’ve never seen a vintage SVT for sale around where I live (maybe I’m looking in the wrong spots). Only thing close was a V-4B which I regret again not picking up (again to blame the financial standing…college hurts the habit of impulse gear buying)

    Hope that vintage SVT works out!!!
  6. If you are buying the amp from a place in Columbus Ohio. I think it's a very good deal. I was gonna get myself when I first say it. But, I now own the Ampeg SVT 4 Pro.
  7. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I'll be in the market for a vintage SVT in the future, IMO they're the Holy Grail. The one in your pic looks a little battered, but who knows? I've also been watching ebay and they come up quite often, ones that are in good shape go for $1200.00 to $1500.00, and I'm sure that you can find a bargain on one in better shape if you're patient. Before you buy, find out if there's a competent tube amp repair shop in your area. If not, King Of Amps or Psycho Bass Guy could probably recommend some reputable shops you can ship it to if restoration/maintenance is needed. As stated earlier, you'll most likely have to spend some additional cash for a "tune up". Most importantly, don't swoop on the first one you see! Be patient and be selective. ;)

    Good Luck, A.P.
  8. jdombrow

    jdombrow Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Here's another recommendation for finding a good tech. Go to "" and post a message in the "Tubes DIY" and "Tweaks/DIY" forums looking for someone in your area who can do the work. This is a forum for audio enthusiasts, and there are many competent people on there who could provide service for you.
  9. Bron-Y-AurStomp

    Bron-Y-AurStomp Lazy

    Nov 30, 2003
    Plainfield, IL
    Thanks for the help, guys. I decided against buying it, because I'd probably end up spending more on it to fix it up than I'd like to. The more and more I hear bassists use this amp, the more I feel the need to have it. Its almost like a disease, but I think I like the prescription. Ok, cheesey analogy, but you know what I mean.

    If I ever do get one, I do plan on geting it at least tuned up. Are there any tips on what to look for in a vintage SVT? eBay always seems a bit over priced to me. Is there some sort of way to know if I'd be spending too much? Also, are there any good pawn shops/classisfied ads in the Chicago (or even general Illinois) area where I'd be most likely to find one? Basically, I'm eager to hear any tips on buying a vintage SVT, I just gotta have it, I'm going crazy..

    Well, enough for now, and thanks for all the input.