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Newbie questions about tube amps.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jiant., Jan 24, 2005.

  1. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    I'm really into the look of the Ampeg tube heads: v4b(I think that's what it's called) the vintage SVTs, that kind of thing. I've only had playing experience with a vintage fender bassman(silver face) and I think the sound is pretty good. My question is this: how hard is it to maintain one of these amps? I know virtually nothing about them, and there is no one at any music store around here that I would trust as a tech. So should I stick to ss amps since I'm pretty much on my own with upkeep, or is it really not that hard to figure out? Thanks and God Bless. -Brad
  2. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    If you've never done work on electronics, you could easily kill yourself dead trying. I would bet there's competent techs around your area, but I'd also bet they don't work at a music store. Check old-school TV service companies, stereo repair, etc. Ask them if they work on tube amps (& how often).
  3. nicks77


    Jan 19, 2005
    It's not that big of a deal. Ask around at a music shop for a recommended tech or go see a couple local bands and ask them who they take their stuff to.

    You really shouldn't have any problems once you are up and running. Depending on how hard and often you run your amp you will only have to re-tube her every year or two... some people play for years on a set of tubes.

    You may be out $100 to go get it serviced, but after that you should be fine - all the while you will get great tone for a long time.
  4. It's not even THAT big a deal. If the amp works and you don't do anything to hurt it, you'll get decades of worry free use out of it. If you get a decent set of output tubes, there is no reason they would need replacing after even ten years. The supposed fragility and high maintanence of tube amps is BS.
  5. Yup, and they aren't any more likely to break down than solid state amps and generally easier to fix when they do.
  6. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    Ok, with all that said, since I don't really have the chance to try any around here(I'll travel to play them when I start getting really serious about buying one.) which Ampeg tube amp would you guys recommend?
  7. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    How's your back and your bank account?

    If you like lifting 80 - 90 lb amps and can afford it, a vintage SVT will do nothing but appreciate in value. I briefly owned a '72 and in a moment of insanity sold it... I don't really miss it because I have a lousy back and the fan was pretty loud at wife-friendly volume.

    My fear was the possible multi-hundred dollar price tag to replace the power tubes (I did spend nearly $75 on new preamp tubes). But as PBG says, a good set of tubes will last for lots of years...

    A V4B doesn't have a fan and is lighter and puts out about 1/3 the power. Also cool, but not nearly as legendary...

    Then there are the smaller tube amps...the B25B and the fliptops... I'd stick to a V4B or an SVT.

    Of course, once you get an Ampeg tube head you'll just "HAVE" to have an 8x10 or two to match :D
  8. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    Haha, I like the idea of "needing" some 8x10s. How much does an SVT run used? My back is fine, I'm turning 18 in 3 months, so I won't feel the effects for awhile ;). Plus I already have someone help me with my HLF, mainly because it's bulky, so if an extra set of hands was needed for the SVT that wouldn't be a big problem.
  9. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I bought my tube head empty...

    5x 12AX7 (2x JAN, 2x EHX, 1x JJ)
    1x 12AT7 (EHX)
    8x KT88 (Sovtek)

    All tubes were bought because my research tagged them for "best". They cost me $200 for the power tubes and $45 for all 6 preamp tubes.

    I don't plan on needing a change in a LONG while :bassist:

    as far as needing an 8x10.... an SVT will sit nicely on your 4x10
  10. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    If you like the sound of your bassman, Ampegs will get you a COMPLETELY different sound. Some people say it's "richer" or more "organic" while others say it's "muddier."

    Try out what you like best. Don't forget about the old Fender 300PS that pops up on ebay from time to time (and doesn't go for anymore than a vintage SVT anyways).
  11. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    Thanks for all the imput guys! I'm starting to look at SVTs more and more, and I would like to know, how much cash should I be looking at dishing out for one of these things? Thanks again. -Brad
  12. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    While you are looking around, you might want to try a SVT 3 Pro. It has a tube pre amp and I really like the sound. I also have an old Fender Bassman 100 and both are great heads. I went with the 3 Pro because of the light weight. It depends on several things though, what type of volume are you going to need etc... ?

    It's best, if you can, to try out several models.

    Good Luck
  13. would love to hear about the flitesound sonic cord classic combo. 100 watts and 28 lbs head. 2 KT88s and the usuall pre tubes.
  14. Well just to add my 2 cents worth, i had the SVT3 PRO not bad, bit underpowered at times, got the SVTCL had loads of power but wasnt the holy grail that i expected. Good amp but not worth the dollars ( or pounds in my case )

    Sold it and got Ashdown ABM500 EVO 11 now you are talking, better sound, loads of power, more choice of sounds, quite honestly it blew the SVT away in every way.

    Im so happy with it my name is changing soon to Bassampegashdownman !!

    Please check them out with some decent Abm cabs i still use my Ampeg cabs and spend an hour playing with it and then decide.
  15. Droog


    Aug 14, 2003
    Someone has to mention it; Mesa 400+

    I know you are interested in all the Ampeg stuff and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you are getting into tube amps you owe it to your self to check into one of these guys too. Certainly play one if you get a chance.

    And the whole maintance issue, if have half a brain and take care of your stuff it should not be a problem, worst case scenario you will have to send it to a tech. Probobly cost a couple hundred bucks, but a couple hundred bucks every 5 or 10 years is not that big of a deal IMO.
  16. Groovehunter


    Dec 3, 2004
    exactly Droog. I just had my 400+ retubed with EH and it sounds f'ing amazing!!!!!!!!! £200 every few years isn't a lot to ensure your amp is running properly and give it a good service.

    What an amp!!! :bassist:
  17. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Ampeg made this amp just for you.

    You can bag them in good shape for around $275-$350.

    It may be the simplest and cheapest solution to your quest. ;)
  18. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    Yeah, I've been looking at those as well. I love the look of those amps, but I would prefer one of those vintage SVTs. If I got anything else it would probably be rackmountable so that I could keep it with my other gear and not have to haul multiple things around. Thanks and God bless!
  19. R Briere

    R Briere Bass-ically Yours Supporting Member

    What HE said..........he's right on the money. :)