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I thought 800RB's didn't die!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by K-Funk, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    Hooked my '88 800RB up to my 6x10 last night, and it didn't work. The power came on, the lights were on, the speakers moved a little when it powered up. But when I started playing, there was no sound. I checked the fuse; it was fine. Volume knobs were up. I noticed that the little residual "hiss" from the amp (the normal "airy" sound that exists with all amps) increased through the speakers as I moved the 300W volume control, but I still couldn't get bass sounds. The bass was passive, the cables are good, and the cab is almost new and works well. I was plugged into the correct output jack on the back.

    Any ideas? Thanks!
  2. Yossarian


    Jun 24, 2004
    I had that happen to my 800RB once. It was some kind of power supply issue (I don't know much about technical stuff) but I got it fixed without too much trouble. Where did you last play yours? Maybe there was a power surge, or something? Mine was in use and very smoky and dramatic when it happened.

    Also, I had a bi-amp issue where, if the bi-amp button was pushed in, that exact situation would happen - no sound, but still the airy hiss from moving the woofer control. Is your bi-amp switch in? I think it should still work with just one cab, but who knows, maybe it's the same issue.
  3. If they don't die why do I have one in pieces in my workshop??? You know, I'll have to get round to refurbishing that little beast!

  4. peterbright


    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou
    Everything dies eventually...some sooner than others.
  5. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    Mine died several times. The last time I took it in I was told the repair guys has seen a rash of them coming in. I ended jup getting an Eden with its own set of problems

  6. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    mine died repeatedly for years before i gave up on them , no wait , the final death was being dropped onto concrete by a well wisher... AtozEmoSmall.
  7. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Mine (years ago) died once when I hooked up with a slight impedance mismatch. Poof! Cheap fix, luckily.

    Lots of 800RB's were in the shops in the 80's and 90's because of putting less than an 8 ohm load on the one side of the power section.
  8. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    news flash!

    I plugged it back in today, and it still didn't work. So, after trying everything, I hit the top of the amp out of sheer frustration. Guess what? Now I've got sound! So, in an experiment I hit it hard again. Sound gone!! Hit it again, and the sound came back, but with a lot of HF buzz/noise, and some dirty crackles when I played hard.

    I conclude that something is loose, but what could it be?
  9. Could be anything. I'd recommend you take it to a tech and get them to trace the exact source of the problem and repair.
  10. K-Funk


    Sep 24, 2007
    Auburn Hills, MI
    Sorry for the double-post, but after messing around some, I found out that it's the input jack. Figures. Well, at least it's a simple fix; it could have been much worse!

    So I guess 800RB's don't die after all... Even after owning virtually the entire Ampeg Pro series, an SVT Classic, and my current Mesa 400+, the 800RB is still my favorite tone by far. Hands down. I wish their bigger amps sounded the same, or else I'd be a total GK guy in a heartbeat.
  11. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Only 20 years and the darn input jack came loose....damn GK's.:D

    The 800rb is one of a very few amps I like to call "the standard by which all others are measured."
  12. One of the only times I had an 800RB problem was when a speaker jack had vibrated loose. An amp tech friend of mine fortunately found the problem before getting too involved in the diagnostic process!
    Amen to that Brother!
    The 100w side is very sensitive to loads under 8ohms. That's why they stopped installing two output jacks there!

    This is one of my favorite posts from 2005:

    GK-Thunderfunk Testimonial
    I've owned a GK 800RB since 1987 and have used and abused it for many years without a problem. Hurricane Katrina swamped the rehearsal house where my amp gear was stored with 24 feet of salt water, mud, and no telling what else, for over eight hours. It was over four weeks before I could even get to the site to try and recover anything that might be left. I found the amp coated inside and out with dried mud and corrosion. My new Goliath III and my EV 1x15 cab was the same with covering coming off and, of course, all speaker cones trashed.
    I contacted GK & SWR to see if they could offer any help as this was a very costly disaster for me in many ways. I also emailed Dave Funk as I had read so many great reviews of TF amps and felt certain that the 800RB was totaled. Dave was the first to respond and offered a special deal on a TFB550 which I gladly accepted.(thanks Dave).
    GK was next and offered endorser pricing as well as checking out my old amp. SWR basically said “sorry charlie" which really disappointed me as I have been a faithful Fender player, and a dealer at one time.
    I took my GK amp, removed the top & bottom covers and flushed it out with a garden hose, removing as much mud and gunk as possible. Then I placed it on top of my home air conditioner compressor unit with warm air blowing into it to dry.
    Sent it to GK. They called the following week and said "Guess what! Your amp works!" All it needed was one pot, a fuse holder and a good cleaning. Got it back last week and works as good as ever!!
    So now I have two great bass amps.
    I just wanted to share my experience with you guys as to GK's reliability and customer service as well as Dave Funk's character and expertise as an amp builder. Thanks to both!!
  13. Good to hear the "good" news!!! Glad U aint up for big bucks for a fix!
  14. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    I bought a used 800RB, that kept having problems.
    Then died on me!!!
  15. I bought a late 80's one that was left for dead for $25 on ebay a couple years ago. One $45 capacitor replacement job and presto! It's good for another 20 years of booty kickin' :bassist: I'd sure love to find another "left for dead" 800RB down the road just to have in the arsenal. Definitely one of the greatest heads ever to be made in my humble estimation. Don't give up on yours, K-Funk. I concur with you that they should make the same model with at least double the power and the original preamp. A 1600RB perhaps? A 600 watt low section and 200 watts for the highs (hell, even without the "Hi" section would be nice). Kinda neat to me, as ludicrous as that sounds in this day and age.
  16. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I've played on many old 800 RBs that had been used hard on gigs. Some of them owned by rental companies. Never a problem and the guys who owned them never had problems either. I used a 400 RB for 10 years playing live gigs a lot and only had to fix some dirty effects loop jacks once. I did that myself. I certainly got my money's worth from it. I sold it to a working bass player 4 years ago. He's still using it with no problems and plays out twice a week. GK really does make good stuff.
  17. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I was gonna mention the dirty FX return but you beat me to it. This is a frequent cause of intermittent/crackling sounds on the old RBs. When the FX return jack gets oxidized it can cause signal interruption. Get some good contact cleaner (like Caig De-Oxit) and spray it into the jacks. Push a 1/4" plug in several times to loosen up gunk, see if that makes a difference.
  18. HooBass


    May 27, 2003
    My first 800RB died on me, and I experienced major customer service problems getting it rectified.

    HOWEVER, I would aways want to qualify it by noting the high volume of folks who've had great success with 800RBs, and good experiences with service.

    Mine died inexplicably right before a show in '87 (so 21 years ago). It was horrible timing. I had a week to get it repaired, called GK, found out where to take it to to get it repaired, watched through a cracked door as the "GK certified technician" literally banged the open head on his work bench to see what would happen, scratching it to heck and of course failing to fix it. They loaned me a DOG of an an amp for the gig. My phone calls to GK were met by stonewalling, and ultimately admonishing me for not buying it directly from the store where the "certified" tech worked (it was a lot less at the mom and pop place down my street, and I was in college at the time). Ultimately the mom and pop place got wind of it, and one day called me to let me know they were replacing it with a new one. The new one worked fine ever after that.

    So, very bad experience, but it's noteworthy how many people have had such impressively positive experiences. I think both are true, but if you're going on odds, sounds like the 800RB is a great bet. Just didn't work out with my first one.

  19. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    My GK800.... ( bought new ) .... is now 25 years old, never went down, and it's been heavily used.
    The secret....It's been in a road case almost from day one with a fan on the back blowing on the cooling fins.
  20. I had an 80s 800RB for around 6 years or so. Great sounding amp.

    I've had a couple of the old Seymour Duncan 300x300w amps- which is sort of the same concept as the 800RB, but both channels are usable as both dual mono or bi-amp.

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