Good buy? '74-79 Ampeg V-4B for <$500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dagrev, Apr 5, 2016.


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  1. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    I ran across a working '72 [Edit: ends up being later than the guy thought], Ampeg V-4B for $500, which I know can be had for some less. It all works but the switches are a little iffy. If not all the way on it can be distorted sounding. The guy had played if for the 6-7 years with no problems. Nothing has been done other than clean the switches. It does not have the Ampeg badge and the cloth is a little discolored. The case is in great shape considered it's age.

    I know if might need new tubes and possibly a cap job (don't know how you know when that's needed). From what I can tell visually everything looks really clean. Tubes aren't discolored if that would even matter.

    I'm thinking I could easily drop another $200 in getting it tuned up and given nothing has been done in the last 6-7 years that seems likely. The guy used it regularly and is just downsizing.

    So my question is, is this worth going for or cold this end up costing a lot more than would be smart?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  2. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    If you're down to drop a few hundred extra for a cap job then it's definitely worth it at that price. FWIW as best I recall a 72 shouldn't have an ampeg badge on the front. They were added to the later years.

    If the amp hasn't had a cab job it's definitely a candidate. You'll know when it starts to sound off, bad hum, distorted-ring mod type sounds behind certain notes, those kinds of things.

    The old V4s run very high voltages on the power tubes and I haven't had great luck with modern production 7027As at those voltages though plenty of others have. Getting old glass will cost you 2-3 times what you'd pay for new production tubes. They also run 6K11 compactron tubes to drive the midrange circuit. These are long out of production and will only get harder to find, but a good one should last you a long time. I have a few backups for mine that should last the life of the amp, but I also grabbed them when they were selling cheap instead of the $30-40 places seem to be charging now.
     
  3. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    Thanks for the info and insight. I know those can be a potential money pit and I want to avoid that, even if I can get if for $450. Don't know if can get it lower than that.

    It's had tubes at some point. In the pre I could read one ElectroHarmonix and J/J in the power section.

    I'll have to investigate the date. It has the two different colored lights for power and standby and has white power and standby flat rocker switches and black settings rockers (I think). It's definitely had a badge on the screen at one point. (How it would break off I can't imagine.)

    This isn't it, but looks like it.

    DSCF6475.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  4. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

    Aug 7, 2008
    The 72 had metal knobs and toggle rather than rocker switches.

    It's a very nice amp. Condition is important. Any rust on the the transformers? A little is ok. A lot and crusty isn't as good.
     
  5. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    Everything was very, very clean. No junk or gunk I could detect. While the pic is not that amp--the face looked better than this one (other than the stained grill cloth). There were not tears just a few scratches and no dents I noticed.

    Any idea about what year range this would be given it looks like the pic above? I didn't look closely and read anything but I'm guessing it's a Magnavox era amp. I'm not sure if that's a good era or not.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    74-79.
     
  7. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    Thanks for the date info Jimmy.

    Does that era change anything value-wise? I know for Fender it sure would!
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Some consider the earlier ones a little more desirable, but as far as I can see, they both go for approx the same price on the used market, maybe slightly more for an earlier one, but $500 is definitely not out of line for either.
     
  9. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    Thanks. I talk with my tech about possible costs if repairs are needed and then see what I can get him down to. I'll defiantly let him know it's not a '72.
     
  10. Bob-I

    Bob-I

    Sep 12, 2014
    I did an overhaul on a friends V4 (not a B) a few years ago, it was a simple job but pretty costly for tubes and caps. These amps built solid and will pretty much run forever maintained properly.
     
  11. BadExample

    BadExample

    Jan 21, 2016
    Injiana
    If noisy, deoxit yourself and save a few clams.
     
  12. haystack55

    haystack55 Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2011
    Houston, TX
    I had one of that generation until recently. I bought it for about that much and had a complete recap/retube done. I ended up making money on it when i sold it a couple of years later, but barely. if I'd made different tube choices it would have been greater.
     
  13. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Kentucky
    All good thoughts. I'm still not 100% sold on it. I think I'd have to be down to $400 to be willing to get into this. Ironically I found a store that has a new V-4B blemished for $670. It's not old but would have no repairs to worry about. Might have to just see what I can get the guy down to on the older one.
     
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