Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Humming V-4B worth fixing?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tombowlus, Oct 12, 2005.


  1. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I stopped by a local store to drop off some gear that I was selling on consignment, and when we were making room for my rack o'gear in the used section, I noticed the owner moving a familiar shape out of the way. Sure enough, it's a V-4B (with the baseball bat style switches). It has recently been retubed with JJ 7027 A's (I couldn't see the other tubes, but supposedly they're all new), and I eagerly asked to plug it in and try it out.

    Unfortunately, when we finally did plug it in, it hummed very loudly (regardless of volume setting). I could also hear the notes (which were very distorted, even at low volumes). The store owner thinks that it has bad capacitors (but this is being sold on consignment), and suggested that I either ask the seller to have it repaired, or offer a lower price and fix it myself. Cosmetically, it ain't too great. It's also missing the rear "screen."

    Any thoughts/ideas on whether or not this amp would be worth fixing? If so, any thoughts on what it is worth in its current condition? How about in a fully repaired condition?

    Thanks, Tom.
     
  2. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz

    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio

    Is that at Al's? What ya sellin Tom? PM me.
     
  3. To replace the filter caps would cost $30 to $50 in parts (those big multi-sections ain't cheap) depending on where you buy them...hint--- www.tubesandmore.com

    I'd say it'd take a decent tech two to four hours to replace them, depending on whther he got exact replacements from Antique or whther he had to mount a couple of them slightly differently (I changed the way two of mine mounted). The job is a moderate PITA but not extremely difficult.
     
  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Thanks NB! That is just the advice that I was looking for. Any idea what is a good price for a V-4B in poor cosmetic condition, but good working condition (and with new tubes)?

    Thank you, Tom.
     
  5. The price depends on age--it sounds like this the early 70's Magnavox-era with the metal toggle switches for power/standby, rather than the late 70's version which has plastic rocker switches. The early version should be worth more.

    The cosmetic condition: is the metal aluminum faceplate in good shape? The grill cloth isn't a big deal, it can be replaced for a few bucks, the tolex is a little more work but it can be replaced for a few bucks as well. But if my memory serves me right, replacement metal faceplates from Fliptops go for around $80 (I think they had the V4B version). Metal corners should be factored in as well.

    If the metal faceplate is in good shape, and the Tolex is liveable (it's possible to glue back torn pieces and buff out some scuffs), I'd say around $350 with the humming filter caps. Though some of them seem to fetch far more than that on Ebay...If the faceplate is so-so, maybe $300, though again these vintage amp prices are getting unreasonably high (at least they seem unreasonable to me).

    Restored to good condition, they seem to be fetching $450 or so, maybe more (I haven't followed closely in the last couple of months.)
     
  6. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Hey alright! Someone else joining the ampeg "botomless money pit" club!
     
  7. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Dude, I'm the poster child for that club, man! :D
     
  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Again, sir, I thank you!

    Tom.
     
  9. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    Way back when.. we used to sing a little song with the tune of Popeye The sailor man

    I am an Ampeg man
    I live in a garbage can
    Its all I can afford I own Ampegs by the horde
    I am an Ampeg Man
     
  10. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Wanna buy a $2000 SVT that still doesn't work? lol
     
  11. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member


    Best of Luck,
    Wesley R.
     
  12. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Ouch!
     
  13. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Humming isn't a guarantee that the filter caps are bad..... although its a pretty good guess for a unit of that age.

    But, I have tube type units much older than that with their original caps still, and they are good. There are a number of other possible causes for hum.

    I'd say it was worth fixing, but then I have an advantage... I look at my technician every morning in the mirror as I shave ..... (and he's ugly, too, maybe I should stop shaving).

    So my repair bills may be a *little lower* than yours..... you can temper my suggestions on account of that.
     
  14. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    First thing I'd do is check the tubes. Normally when a tube totally dies, a ton of volume goes with it, but still, a manufacturing flaw could induce hum and distortion without shooting down your output.
     
  15. When one of the tubes in my SVT died there was some pretty nasty hum, altho there wasnt any noticable loss in volume (may be due to the fact the others seemed to be compensating a bit and burning themselves out)

    but i spose that hum changed volume with the volume, and wasnt constant
     
  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    LOL!!! Thanks, Jerrold! I think I will take a chance on this amp, if I can get the seller to come down just a little bit on price.

    Take care, Tom.
     
  17. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    My V-4B is getting "fixed" right now because of hum as well. You could easily spend in repairs what you pay for the amp especially if you have to replace certain parts. Unfortunately you really cant tell what it needs until its on the bench. Fixing an amp like the V-4B should be easy as long as you have a good tech to take it to. I can tell you where not to take it... :rolleyes: I wouldnt pay more than $300 for it.
     
  18. 8mmOD

    8mmOD

    Mar 20, 2005
    USA
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    I hate to offer any advice that would stop someone from spending money - but there are a lot of vintage v4b's available for sale out in the world. much like SVTs, prices are starting to creep up, but i still see them on craigslist and the LA recycler every so often listed in "great condition" for +/- $400. Since I am not a tech, I personally would not buy a busted amp unless i knew for sure EXACTLY what was wrong & how much to fix it. i would definately want to know that info before I negotiated a price.

    I have had an eye out for a vintage v4b for almost a year. I dont "need" one, so I am not in a hurry. but whenever i have a chance, i scan the classifieds looking for the right one to pop up. so my advice to you is if that amp is dirt cheap and easy to fix then go for it, otherwise there will always be another one around the bend.
     
  19. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Good advice, guys. I appreciate it. My thoughts are to offer $250 as is (and keep in mind, it has all new tubes). What do y'all think of that?

    Thanks, Tom.
     
  20. 8mmOD

    8mmOD

    Mar 20, 2005
    USA
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    c'mon people, i tried to talk him out of spending the money... someone talk him back into it... thats what he wants!!! :D BTW, it seems to me that you have the money to spend, why not just spend a few hundred more on a v4b thats in better shape? you may spend that much on repairs anyway... unless you are looking for a project.