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Converting a Peavey Basic 40 into a head

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mindgrinder, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. mindgrinder


    Dec 13, 2009
    Lesage, WV
    So I'm going to convert my old Peavey Basic 40 into a head.
    Some of you may be thinking, "why in the world would you want to do that"
    The answer is, to keep me occupied with a project, and keep me from blowing my
    "Head Fund" on other things (Like the blue quilted maple and walnut body and Moses lined fret-less neck that are currently in the classifieds)

    So here is what I'm starting with.

    I've had this for a while, picked it up at a pawn shop for $35
    It had a noisy jack and was missing a knob.
    I've since sold the rest of the original knobs
    on eBay for $20. So I have $15 in this thing.
    My goal is to keep the cost on this project to a minimum,
    I already have most of what I need laying around,
    so this shouldn't cost very much to finish.

    This is my goal (this was created using GIMP)
  2. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Sounds like a fun project.

    It took me forever to make my Buster Bass head case (natural finish with dark stain) but it came out cool.
  3. mindgrinder


    Dec 13, 2009
    Lesage, WV
    So, I started by removing all of the hardware and stripping the old tolex, trying to damage the tolex as little as possible, I'm not going to reuse it but may use parts of it as a template for cutting the new covering.


    I marked my cut lines with a sharpie.


    Cut the sides and back with a circular saw
    and cut the baffle with a hand saw.




    I also cut the bottom off of the cabinet,
    to re-use as the bottom of the head cabinet.
    I applied wood glue to the cut edges and joined them together
    with a few sheet rock screws until the glue dries.



    Any larger gaps left from not cutting straight were filled with wood glue
    and sawdust.




    As of this moment I'm waiting for the glue to dry and it will be ready for a little
    clean up and recovering.

  4. mindgrinder


    Dec 13, 2009
    Lesage, WV

    Yeah I think it will be fun, should keep me busy for awhile.
  5. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Love it. Are you going to turn the 1x12 (or whatever it is) into an extension cabinet?
  6. I did a simular thing years ago with a ~1980 Peavey Black Widow 412 cabinet. It was HUGE and HEAVY. Like maybe the size of a normal 412 with another 212 on top of it. ... and thick particleboard. It was just too big and heavy to load in a vehicle or haul up stairs. So I sliced it into two 212 cabs with black painted plywood covering the wound. It worked out pretty well.

    I currently have a reverse project. A 1954 Magnatone Melodier combo that someone in the '70s sawed off the lower speaker cab part... but they stopped after sawing! They never finished the head cab. It is just a floppy hacked wood thang. I am planning to make a combo cab like the original was.
  7. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    I think it was Bgavin on here that did it with a Peavey Minx .. came out excellent!
  8. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    That will be a rare bird indeed :)

    Other bass players are going to look and say, where the heck did he get that!!!

    By the way, I pulled my Basic once from the combo and ran it through a 410 cabinet. It was loud for only 40 watts.

    Good luck!
  9. mindgrinder


    Dec 13, 2009
    Lesage, WV

    No, I'm going to try it with this,


    It's a TL806 I built a few years ago, loaded with an old EVM 12L.
  10. mindgrinder


    Dec 13, 2009
    Lesage, WV
    I decided to go ahead and try to get it covered today. The glue with the sawdust seems to be drying quickly. I'll be covering it in new Peavey tolex, I had a roll of this already in the garage.

    I used the old tolex as a template to cut the new.



    Not the most professional tolex job, but it will work for what it is.:D
    I reinstalled the original handle, feet and corners.
    Still need to tighten the hardware after the contact cement fully dries.
    Also need to clean up some cement, I got a little sloppy.


    I need to order the white piping and knobs.
    I'll get some more pics up later this week, when I start installing the jack and power cord socket on the amp.
  11. deathsdj


    Sep 18, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    This is really cool man. I love old peavey gear.


  12. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    Wow... very nice... bump bump bump!!!:bassist:
  13. mindgrinder


    Dec 13, 2009
    Lesage, WV
    Well I finally got around to working on this some more.
    Got the output jack installed.


    Got the amp mounted back in the housing. I already had four black knobs,
    so I ordered two more, and six white knobs. I decided the black looked better.


    Hooked it up to the EV loaded cabinet just to see how it would sound.
    Sounded like crap.
    I then tried it through my weird little Ampeg "mini fridge" SVT806HE
    that has eight 6.5" speakers, and thought it sounded pretty good.
    only problem is this is a 4 ohm cab.
    Does anyone know if the basic 40 can handle extended use with a 4 ohm load?
    Next thing to do is make the grille for the front.
  14. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    Cool, fun project. I do this about once a month or more, it's kinda my business model. I don't usually do it with bass gear, since guitar speakers are far more forgiving of the box they go in. Plus, a used combo amp sometimes costs less than the speaker (s) it has in it would cost, even more so with 2x10/2x12 combos.
    One thing I see that could have worked out a bit better with the tolex would have been to use a rolling pin or veneer roller while you were stretching it on, but it still looks good, nice job. As far as the piping goes, why order it? Got any white speaker wire? Got a fabric store or an upholstery shop nearby? You literally need about, what 30 inches? You might find that much for way less in a cash and carry brick and mortar local business. Have you confirmed that the amp wants to see 8 ohms? I would imagine that since it originally did not have a speaker output, that it had a 4 ohm speaker already. Most of the amps I have done this to have had a 4 ohm speaker (or two 8 ohm), albeit they're always guitar amps. Looking good tho, I'll be watching for the final pics!
  15. mindgrinder


    Dec 13, 2009
    Lesage, WV
    Yeah, the tolex came out a little lumpy. The biggest culprit in that is probably lack of surface prep.
    I did practically no sanding, just threw the tolex on it the way it was after removing the old tolex.
    Didn't want to spend too much time on the particle board housing. If it turns out that I really like the sound, I'll probably build a new housing out of plywood, someday.
  16. mindgrinder


    Dec 13, 2009
    Lesage, WV
    Update: I blew my "Head fund" on a Peavey G-Bass, so I hope I like the sound of this, I may be using it for awhile.
  17. jehhorton


    Nov 29, 2013
    Mansfield, TX
  18. shaginwagin


    Apr 2, 2012
    Haha! That came out really cool! Hope you find something to pair it with! You could sell that stuff! I know I'd buy something like that just for fun!

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