What's a fair price for an older SVT head?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Matthew West, Oct 20, 2000.

  1. I've decided that I need a tube head. My hope is to find a pre-SLM SVT in good condition. Of course, I don't want something that looks like it's been through hell and back, but I'm more concerned with the shape it's in mechanically. All things considered, what would be a fair price to expect to pay? Considering it's been kept in good condition and the tubes are in decent shape, how much extra should I expect to pay to have a good tech go over it and give it a new cap job, etc. PsychoBassGuy?
  2. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Pre (83)SLM SVT's can range from $450.00-$1,000, depending on condition(electrically and appeareance).

    I personally wouldn't pay over $800 for one in good shape, meaning new caps and tubes installed. I paid $450 for mine with some scuff marks and one small tear in it. It needed a cap job and new tubes which cost me around $300. $750 total. Most that I have seen with new caps and tubes go for around $700-$800. You may get lucky and find one at a garage sale for $50. I've heard of that happening too. Check musician classified ads, eBay, and others to get general ideas on prices. Good Luck!! You won't be disappointed once you get one.

    Also if you do get one, here are a few other things you may want to have done.

    -Replace power cord with new 3 wire SJO cord and three prong plug. Be sure to tie ground to both amp and preamp chasis.

    -Have trannies(transformers) coated to protect from rusting further.

    -Have all pots checked and cleaned.

  3. timv

    timv Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Chandler, AZ
    I paid $600 for mine and it had new power tubes installed. It worked good but I replaced the preamp tubes and did a cap job myself. Probably put another $150 in it for that. I cleaned the pots and retensioned the preamp tube sockets also. Doug, coat the transformers w/ what? I was curious about that myself.
  4. Don't overlook old V-4B's. They are all over places like ebay and usually go for $200-300. I picked up mine for $50(!) and then sunk about $350 into bringing it back to life (new capacitors, tubes, pots cleaned, new power cord, etc.). It DOES look like its been to hell and back but under the hood it looks practically new--except for the rust on the transformers--Doug what DID you coat them with?

    BTW, I've been looking in to getting a case for mine--how do you guys transport your amps?
  5. Why pre SLM? I had one "back in the day" and can tell you my new SVTCL is a much better amp. Onboard biasing to begin with. Less junk inside, gain control, only thing missing is Tung-Sol tubes! Prices vary on the old stuff. As noted earlier, you may have to put some money in, before she puts out!
  6. How does a V-4B compare to an SVT in terms of volume? Until I have the means to transport a 810 cabinet, I'm using Ampeg Classic 115 and 210 cabinets. Also, do the V-4B's ususally come equipped with 7027 tubes? If so, what would be the cost to convert to 6550's or KT-88's, and will doing so help to increase headroom and prevent overdrive at lower volumes?

    Thanks for the help.
  7. The SVT is louder, its a 300 watt head and the V-4B is a 100 watt head. I had mine converted to 6550 tubes but I couldn't tell you what that particular job cost me. I had a substantial amount of work done and didn't have the work itemized. I believe the original tubes were 7027's but don't quote me on that.

    If you are looking for lots of clean headroom, the SVT may be a better choice. I like an overdriven tone and my V-4B starts to overdrive with the volume knob in the 11 or 12 o'clock position. Of course my tech knows my preference so he might have tweaked it to perform this way.

    I'm not a tech so I can't give you technical answers, only my observations. Psycho Bass Guy would be able to give you a more thorough comparison.
  8. I've used my 70's V4-B since I bought it used in 1988 with no problems, I replaced the 7027A's with NOS GE 7027A's back in '92, I recorded its sound before and after the tube change, and could not tell a difference. I used it gigging every Friday and Saturday night for about 2 years straight in high school (88-90), plus 2 practices a week. I did not run through the PA, but I was using a Pyle 18" in a 4' tall Distex swoop cabinet so I was easily felt and heard in all the small backwoods bars we played in. Mine also achieves maximum clean loudness around 10 or 11 o'clock like stated above, after that, distortion sets in, good distortion too. I love it. Mine is an earlier Magnavox one. There's one on ebay right now that is pre-Magnavox.

    If I ever have to get new tubes, I'm gonna go 6550 route, I suppose. (I'll burn that bridge when I get to it. :D)

    Overall, it's an excellent amp. Use a big efficient cabinet, and you'll be fine. Run through the PA if you need more volume. For practice, it is plenty loud. I played in a band with 3 guitarists, all with half-stacks, and I was still heard. It is a very loud 100 Watts. Granted, it's no SVT, but it is very close in sound and performance for a lot less money.

    I noticed this weekend that my tone control on my Jazz seems to act different when plugged into my V4B versus my B25B (50Watt cousin of the V4B). I'm investigating the relationship to the lack of 47K grid resistor on the input of the V4B. The tone control on my bass even when turned all the way down still lets through some bright treble string sounds, it's pretty cool, actually. It's like it hollows out the sound instead of rolling off the highs.

    There's a picture of my V4-B sitting on my new Fender 4x12 over in the amp pictures thread.


    [Edited by throbbinnut on 10-23-2000 at 09:08 AM]
  9. Anyone else have any imput as to how these to amps compare to one another? Basically, I want a good amount of power but also want to be able to control the amount of overdrive. Don't get me wrong, that down-low growl is great, but I don't want to sound like Geezer Butler. I like some dirt when I really dig in, but not all the time.

    My drummer plays pretty loud, and my guitar player has a .50 caliber mesa/boogie head through a 4x12 cabinet. I just want to make sure I can cut through and still maintain a good amount of note definition.

    I am intrigued by the V-4B, which is why I am asking all of these questions.

    Psycho - I've read all the back posts where you discuss both amps, but have not seen anything like a comparison of these two. Could you provide any enlightenment?
  10. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Hey Matt, both amps are great. I've owned the V4 in the past and now have a SVT. The V4 or V4B is a 100 watt head that comes stocked with 7027 tubes. You can replace these tubes with 6L6GC tubes or 6550's. The 6550's will give you some additional clean headroom before overdriving. 6L6GC tubes are basically the same as a 7027. The only difference is the pinout. The 7027 uses 2 more pins than the 6L6GC. But that won't matter with the V4 because they don't use those pins anyway.

    The SVT is a 300 watt tube monster! Most SVT's use 6550 tubes. Some of the older ones use 6146B's. This amp will dish out plenty of clean power and will overdrive more and more the harder you push it. The overdrive is not really a distorted sound at all. Very rich, full and meaty sounding is the best way I can describe it.

    Both amps are great, it really depends on how loud you are going to be playing. Both will dish out clean and overdriven tones depending on how hard your pushing it. For myself, the V4 was not loud enough to cut through. I went with the SVT and never looked back. With the V4 I was pushing it a little further into overdrive than I prefered. With the SVT, I was able to dial in the right amount of overdrive that I was looking for without sounding too distorted. The only way to know is to listen to these first hand. I hope my description of the two helped.
  11. Thanks Doug. That helps a lot. I think I'll hold out for the SVT like I had originally planned. I just wish I could find a V-4B to play through to make a certain decision, but I'd rather shell out now for the SVT than buy a V-4B and it not be what I need. A lot of the clubs my band plays do not have PA systems, so the amount of volume these things can produce is an issue. Otherwise, I'm sure the V-4B would be great.
  12. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Good choice!!! Go for the SVT first. You can always pick up an old V4 down the road. I've seen these things all over the place recently, in great shape, going for around $200. There accessability is greater than the SVT, so go with the SVT. Let us all know how you make out.
  13. Doug


    Apr 5, 2000
    Buffalo, N.Y.
    Hey Matt, here's one on eBay. It needs tubes and probably a cap job. See if you could get this thing for under $500 and sink some money into it. That's what I had done. Well worth it.


    Also, I havn't forgotten about you guys inquiring about the tranny coating. I had someone do it for me and I'll find out the exact product he used. I've heard of people using all sorts of stuff for this and I wanted something speciffically for this type of job. I'll post here and let you know.