I'm afraid of my amp. Help?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I'm a bass guitar guy. Not an amp guy. After many years of searching I found my holy grail. A Carvin BX500, NV610, and GK Neo 212 for smaller gigs.

    Last night (using the 212) something crapped out. First song, bass slowly (over about 30 seconds) fades and disappears. Then it slowly comes back but almost inaudibly, with a little bit of crackling sounds. I check all the plugs, turn the amp off and on, sound comes back... then dies again. I repeat, push all buttons on the amp in and out, sound returns, no problem for the rest of the night.

    Wasn't a cable.

    Don't know if it's the head or the bottom. Don't know where to start with trouble shooting as the problem is no longer there. I mean, at least not now. This happened once before about a year ago, and hasn't happened again till lat night.

    I don't feel safe.

    2 questions.

    1. Could the solid state/tube selection have anything to do with this? when pressing buttons in a panic to fix it I may have disengaged the tube preamp, but I'm not sure.

    2. What would you do?
  2. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    I'd contact Carvin and see if this is something they're familiar with, or if they have any recommendations. They may be able to help for little or no money, or worst case, you can take any suggestions they have to a local amp tech.
  3. adivin


    Jul 9, 2009
    New Orleans, LA
    Keep playing the amp at home to make it fail again. Bring s backup to the gig.
  4. Plug a dofferent head into the speaker and play for a bit - if nothing craps out then at least you isolated the fact that it is the head...then check the tubes...might be as simple as the input jack...if there is a second input onthe head..try that one...if the tubes are not easily accessible...bring it in to a pro for a look-see...if it is the speaker...might be a loose wire...if not, make sure the cones are "popping" - if it is an open back cabinet you can look for a rip in the cone...

  5. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!
    If it has send/receive jacks, insert/remove a plug a few times. Sometimes the contacts need to be re-seated. I believe AgedHorse/GenzBenz recommends this, IIRC.

  6. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    Could be as simple as cleaning the send/return jacks, but could be any number of other things.
    Don't you just hate it when the problem goes away and won't repeat itself to let you troubleshoot?
  7. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    Well that's easy enough to find out. Plug it into the other cab and see if it does it again.

    IME that sounds like a head problem, not a cab problem.
  8. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    + 1

    Had this malfunction occur on two separate heads; a Laney Pro and a GK 800RB.
  9. Very possible you had a low line voltage problem at the venue or a wiring problem at that venue? Several "magic power strips" have a voltage display on them, that is very useful in these cases.

    Agree other that with an effects return jack fretting (happens more with non-use of the jack).
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Thanks. All excellent suggestions. I'm pretty sure it's the head, although both times this happened it happened with the GK. I'm going to contact carvin first, and bring my backup head to all gigs for a while. I guess I'll start using the amp in my house also, but the kicker with this thing is that the problem only happened 2X, out of the approximate 200X I used it. Both times thankfully the gigs were laid back, but I don't want that happening at an important show. I want to feel confident that my gear will serve me as it should.

    I love this head too... gives me more versatility than any other head I ever played through. And weighs nothing.

    Does this sound like a problem that a bad tube could cause?
  11. While possible to be a tube issue, not very likely the tube itself.
    Jacks, switches and controls that need regular maintenance cleaning is more likely. Even the simple pushing and twisting once and a while goes a long way. :)
  12. cbabbman

    cbabbman Guest

    May 2, 2002
    This exact same thing happened to me last summer at a Music In The Park Gig where we had a line voltage drop... Whenever the entire band was hitting at the same time, my amp would just fade out...

    Has never happened again, but I know EXACTLY how 'unsafe' you feel because of it.. My amp was a month old Mesa Boogie M6 Carbine with a MB 4x10 Cab..
  13. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.

    That might be a good clue...

    Try striking a note while the amps working, and then just lightly tap all your buttons to see if any cause the malfunction.

    Or next time it acts up, play a note while your trying all the buttons so you can tell if one instantly restores volume.

    Or if all else fails and you wanna try something, you could clean all your buttons with Deoxit.
  14. wave rider

    wave rider

    Jan 5, 2005
    I've read on TB about Carvin using "ribbon" cables between boards with computer style plug/receptacles. Folks have been reseating them and/or spraying DeOxit into the receptacle before plugging the ribbon cable back in.

    Some have done it prophylactically even before issues arise...

  15. jlepre


    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    If you're playing an ACTIVE bass, then it could be a simple as a fading battery.
  16. +1

    In fact... I had the same thing happen to the bx500 I was using while my Ampeg was in the shop. A quick look inside and I saw a slightly disconnected ribbon connector. After a half hour reading threads here and a few minutes with a can of contact cleaner the thing was all good again. First thing I would try if I was you...
  17. Check and clean everything as suggested - and buy a backup amp and if your main amp fails again (third time?) replace it.
  18. xplorer


    Aug 7, 2008

    I had the same issue with my BX500, and it's apparently fairly common. Carvin themselves recommended cleaning and reseating the black ribbon cables in the head. Haven't had a problem since then.
  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I guess that's wut I'm gonna do. Where do I get DeOxit? Never heard of it.