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Walter Woods repair

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Mark Carlsen, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. I thought I would throw this out there....
    My mainstay[Sp] amp of 23 years finally "S... the bed" if you will`I have called Walter's machine twice,only to be put off for another week or two. Long story short....
    Does any one know of a repairman/women that has tackled one of his amps or someone who could because of their vast experience and excellent reputation. I would appreciate any help as I know this amp owes me nothing and I owe it a decent repair .This has long been my favorite piece of gear and it isn't quite the same, if ya know what I mean....THANKS
  2. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Mark. I hate to tell ya, but.... many of Walter's parts are specially made to his specs. Even if a repairman could fix
    it, he would still have to find the same ultra high quality
    parts. I think its unusual for Walter not to answer repair
    messages quickly. Try him again. Good luck.
  3. Mike Carr

    Mike Carr

    Feb 5, 2002
    Hong Kong
    Just keep calling him. Sometimes he goes into a mode where all he does is works, that's when he's got the machine on that says something like, "I'll get back to you after such and such a date"
    He fixed my 25 year old amp last year, got it back to me pretty quickly and said "now you are good for another 25!"
  4. Quick update:
    No luck in 4+ weeks ,3 trys.He was supposed to be back today.The damn line has been busy all day.I will be patient and persistant,but come on Walter -be a man and pick up the phone !!! If any you Calif. boys know how to get thru,let me know.
  5. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I can't imagine any audio parts being made to spec in such small quantities, with the possible exception of transformers, which you can have custom wound in relatively small quantities.

    From everything I've read, Woods amps use fairly conventional circuit topologies. The one oddity I ran across was a switching power supply that proved troublesome.

    From what I can tell, the reputation of the Woods amps was built on the fact that he made a flat, hi-fi amp for musical instruments when everyone else made highly non-linear amps designed for BG and guitar. Now there are many more choices, like EA and AI.
  6. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I spoke with him this afternoon. He seems quite busy but he is doing fine. Today was the first day back on the phone for him for awhile. I'd try again later this week.
  7. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I have bass player friends who can't understand why anyone
    would still buy a Fender P bass, when you can buy other
    basses that are technologically more advanced, play better,
    and sound more complex. My answer is.... because it sounds
    like music to the human ear. So.... If Woods amps were not
    sonically pleasing, I don't think many people would buy them
    just for the weight factor. People pay big bucks and wait for
    months for an amp because these amps sound marvelous.
    After having played Woods, Euphonic audio, and now owning
    a Focus, I can say that if I had the bucks....Woods. It just
    has something no other amp has.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You are exactly right about the Fender Precision. It's not the easiest bass to play in a world full of high-tech basses, but it darn sure is the most musical bass out there!

    As for Walter Woods amps, I know some people who swear by them, and that's fine, but not being able to get anyone on the phone for a month when you need a repair is death for a working pro. That's why I stick to more common brands like SWR and Ampeg. And Fender.
  9. I see no reason why any quality tech should'nt be able to repair one. As pointed out above, it's unlikely there are any parts in there that cannot be sourced, and it may not even need parts. Bad solder joints, tracking, bad input socket, bad output socket, there are many possibilities.
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    My 1984 model WW is crackling everytime I adjust the volume knob. I would like to find a local that could fix this. If it's that difficult to get in touch with someone at WW then that's not a good sign.
  11. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I don't think you got my point. Woods amps are no doubt good, but they have a lot more competition these days from other amps made with a similar philosophy.

    "Sounds good" is one of those unquantifiable things, in many ways. Obviously a P-Bass sounds nothing like a UB, but it's a sound we like, even if it's very artificial.
  12. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    That's most likely either a dirty potentiometer, or a leaky capacitor that's allowing DC to go where it shouldn't. A straightforward repair for an experienced tech.

  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Walter hand winds all all the electromagnetics. He also scrapes the part numbers off of many of the standard components.

    I sure hope in his will he releases documentation of his designs so the amps can be maintained after he passes on!
  14. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I guess that's why he's too busy to answer the phone.
  15. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001

    As I understand it, he is semi-retired and likes to go fishing a lot.

    This is the first that I've heard someone having trouble getting a hold of him, so maybe you were unlucky and trying to reach him when he had his hands full with something else -- family matter, bad flu, fishing, etc.

    Also, with the reputation of the WW amp, having to rent or borrow something when your WW fails every twenty or thirty years doesn't sound like much of liability to me.
  16. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Things I use to make music always break. I developed a living wage dealing with just that fact. I never compromise today's tone for tomorrow's potential problems. Walter's buisiness model may be inconvienent to some but it has produced an undeniable result. Everything sucks in some fashion. My job is to decide what I can live with and what I can't. Pick your poison and deal with the consequences.
  17. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I recently posted this story elsewhere on TB, but:
    I had a problem with my Woods five years ago during which it would die on every single gig and need to be turned off and back on to fix it. I sent it to Walter twice, he fixed it twice, and it kept breaking. I finally got one of his "call me in six months messages," and I said "screw this." I gave the amp to the electrical engineer who lived below me and who worked on research-grade amplifiers (used in tectonic plate studies or something) for a living; he noticed that there was no schematic and that all of the part numbers were scratched off, so he had me call Walter and leave a message asking for that information. Much to my surprise, Walter picked up the phone as I was leaving the message and said, rather breathlessly, that I should send the amp to him right away and that he would fix it "for good" and that I shouldn't do something rash like show it to a professional electrical engineer. So I sent it back a third time, he "fixed it for good" by putting in the components that actually ARE the best out there (as opposed to the ones it came with originally, apparently), the amp weighs three pounds more than it did, and it's never broken again.
    So Mark, maybe you could get service from him by threatening to go elsewhere or by requesting a schematic? It unintentionally worked for me.

    PS Every time I think Walter's amps have probably been eclipsed by the latest new technological breakthrough, I go and try whatever the new thing is...so far, there's never even been anything that comes close to the Woods in my ears. (except for the Eden WT400, which isn't in the same class but which really works well with my bass).
  18. Well as I posted earlier,"It's not quite the same", but I am getting by.
    I have taken in to account that he is busy/family matters/etc, but a simple call back I don't think would kill him.I'm certainly not asking for anything for nothing here,rather would be willing to take it to someone HE recommends that could fix it,if's he's so darn busy.He can call me collect if he wants,his line now is busy all day long...
  19. He does fold up a copy of the schematic and it is placed inside the amp.I am willing to wait to have Walter look at my amp,but getting a hold of him is like trying to see the Pope!!
  20. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Well, that's cool. There ain't one in mine (1998 "Electracoustic" lo-power).
    I wonder if it would suffice for you to just send the amp to him without contacting him? You know, enclose the $50 he asks for and a note saying "Please fix this as soon as you get a chance"?
    My thing is that I had like two gigs a day during the month when he was fixing mine the last time (you Boston cats might be familiar with the "Odyssey" dinner cruise boat--may it be encrusted with barnacles and get stuck on a reef! *shudder*), so I went out and bought the Eden. The Eden quickly supplanted the Woods except for situations when portability was of the essence, and now that I don't take subways to gigs anymore the Woods is just sitting in the corner.

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