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V4B hooped?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MichelD, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. MichelD


    May 19, 2014
    I had a long talk with a respected amp guru here in my home town about the symptoms of my ailing 1974 Ampeg V4B amp such as massive hum, overheating and cutting out.

    He says judging from that description that a repair would cost more than the amp is worth once you count re-capping and possibly re-tubing, etc.

    So what do I do with this artifact of days gone by now?

    I hope I can get some $ out of the 2x15 B25B cab at least.
  2. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Did this "guru" physically examine your amplifier and provide an evidence-based estimate to fix it? If not, then get it to a reputable technician and get an estimate. Without knowing the actual cost to fix it, you're just guessing....
    12BitSlab, dbbltime, Waltsdog and 5 others like this.
  3. Get a second opinion.
  4. MichelD


    May 19, 2014
    I know another tech place that'll charge $60 to walk in the door.
  5. BeauZooka


    Oct 2, 2007
    Seattle USA
    After a quick look on Reverb, a vintage V4B is probably worth at least $800 these days.
    I can’t imagine that it would cost that much to fix. They are nice amps.
    Jim Carr likes this.
  6. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Get a second opinion.
    Aqualung60 likes this.
  7. It's been said more than once already but...

    ... get a second opinion.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That's pretty low. The tech will have to look it over pretty good and that takes time. This is a way of ensuring that they get paid for that time if you decide not to do a repair. But you never know...it could be something very simple and cheap as easily as something expensive. At least paying $60 for a decent tech to take a look at it gives you a better chance of repairing it cheap than you guessing. A lot of techs will apply that bench charge to the overall repair, too.
  9. Jefenator


    Aug 22, 2008
    I had to get new power tubes for my vintage V4B. That stung a bit but certainly was worth doing. (IIRC they are not common but there are sources - and alternatives.)
    I can't speak to the possibility of a cap job in your case. My current tech is lenient enough not to push for that on any vintage amp I've dragged in thus far, but thorough enough that they usually hold up after he's worked on them. :thumbsup:
  10. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    That’s pretty standard. Usually it’s a half to full hour bench fee to get a diagnosis, it gets rolled into the total if they repair the amp, they aren’t out the time if you chose not to go ahead.
    BassmanPaul, Warpeg, Spearsy and 2 others like this.
  11. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    There are some options. New sensor is now making 7027A under their tung sol brand and the 7581A they were making are supposed to also be robust enough in these amps. I only have old glass in mine, but will likely try the tung sol next. I believe @beans-on-toast has tried the 7581A in his V4 and they worked well.
    Jefenator and beans-on-toast like this.
  12. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    That's called a bench fee and pretty much how it works.
  13. Any tech who tells you the caps need changed without even a cursory physical inspection is either ignorant or just not interested in working on your amp.
    agedhorse, ak56, fdeck and 1 other person like this.
  14. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Often the initial diagnostic bench fee is refunded if the work is done. Even in the current state, the amp has value for someone wanting to take on the project. Sell it "as is".

    It isn't unusual to have a tech want to recap originals in this particular amp if it is used for gigging and needs to be reliable. These amps run VERY hot and it takes a toll on the electrolytic caps that they used back then. If they are original, 46 years in this case, they are often way out of spec. The hum can be a tube problem, of a power supply cap problem. There are other possibilities.

    Some techs don't like working on these amps, tracking down some issues can be a can of worms, so they quote a high price. The tone circuit is a real pain to disassemble, wires can break, etc. Changing caps and tubes is patching it together so that it works without a bad hum. This is good enough for many who gig. This is far from a restoration to bring everything back into spec. The last 10% to reach the goal line can involve a LOT of bench time.
    thetragichero likes this.
  15. Spearsy

    Spearsy Workin' at it ... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2004
    Western Pennsylvania
    +1 on this.
  16. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Not only is this pretty standard, it’s also fair. It’s not realistic to expect anyone to provide free labor. Would you do an hour of your job for free?
  17. Planespotter


    Oct 11, 2015
    Take it to a reputable tech. There’s no way a vintage V-4B isn’t worth recapping and retubing. I recently went through this with my Semi-vintage bass 400+ and the total damage was close to $600 including $320 in tubes. Now it’s running in tip top shape, zero regrets on my end. That’s just the reality of tube amp ownership.
  18. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    Plus a spazilliondy.

    I used to dabble in fixing tube (and a few SS) amps. One of the things I learned was guessing at the total cost of repairs over the phone, at a bar, on a gig, etc, is generally inaccurate. Take it in dump the coin for a decent estimate. While certain components are suspect (due to age and use) no one knows for certain what that amp needs until it is benched.

    Decades ago myself and two others were convinced a particular B15S needed filter caps and probably some other work. A new instrument cable fixed all apparent symptoms.

    In about 1998 I saw a guy bring in a Black Faced Super Reverb with JBL's. At the time this was a gas of an amp and still worth a nice chunk of change. This was a cool shop and owned by a bass player that was one hip dude. The owner of amp was a crabby guy and had called before bringing the amp in as he wanted an over the phone estimate. The shop owner talked him in to bringing the amp in. The owner loved that amp as it was one of his favorites for some nostalgic reason. The bench time was free and Mr. Crabby was still mad about bringing it in. There were two estimates, the one to get it functional was about $150, and bring it up to spec or better about $300. Cosmetically this beast was a 9 out of 10. Mr. Crabby about has a heart attack starts screaming and shouting etc. The shop owner offers him a credit deal of around $100 down, and payments as convenient and can pick it up when paid for.

    Mr. Crabby is till having a fit, and says he will sell it for the first $100 that comes along. I am reaching for my wallet and the store owner looks at Mr. Crabby and says get it out of my shop, you so and so, you don't deserve this amp. I had the hundred out but the whole deal went to heck and there was no semblance sanity to be found.

    Coolest repair shop guy I have ever met. Now living in some desert with a new wife, skeet shooting and building fireworks shells for competition.
    Playbyear, Gibson Victory and Spearsy like this.
  19. DiscoRiceJ

    DiscoRiceJ Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2018
    $60 to walk in the door usually means an inspection and at least cursory diagnosis of the problem, which means that they are doing a job for you. People that will take something in and just hand out the advice that "it aint worth it", aren't worth what you didn't pay them.
    LT131 likes this.
  20. andrus108


    Mar 11, 2018
    If you like the amp and want to keep it, but it's that old, then whatever you spend is worth it in the end, trust me. I bought one Ampeg B25 for ca. 650 EUR, but a visit to a tech was another 200. I don't regret spending that much at all, and now I have an amazing amp brought up to current standards to hopefully serve me another 50 years. And when it requires servicing again, I'll be happy to fork over the cash once more.

    Things degrading over time is just a matter of fact, so either you pay for a new replacement, or for upkeep of what you already have. No free lunch here..... :)
    btmpancake and Spearsy like this.

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