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Amp tech/modder in South(ish)

Postby matt keen » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:20 pm

Have decided that I am prob going to get the Fender Excelsior when it arrives
This is partly cos its only £229 (with a 15inch speaker) and as a all tube apparently basic design I feel that it might be very modable
Why mod it? Well the flat out sound is very buzz saw ish amongst other things but I like the basic edge of distortion sound and love the tremelo

Anyway, have come accross Steve's Aps in Surrey who look like the sort of guy I should talk to
He is HERE

Any body used him or have any other suggestions?
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Re: Amp tech/modder in South(ish)

Postby Jack Ruston » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:54 pm

Well firstly I would definitely try the Fender as and when you can. See what it actually sounds like.

Here's the thing with mods: There are certain mods to classic designs which are routinely performed and have a fairly predictable result. Players might take their JCM800 to a particular guy to have a gain increase mod, and there may be extensive examples of that mod aleady in circulation that can be heard beforehand. However, saying that you love the basic sound of the distortion but it's a bit buzz-sawish is nebulous at best. A tech can try a few things, modify the circuit and see what it does in that particular circuit. But it'll be an experiment, and if you don't like it, you'll be stuck with an amp that...

1. Has cost you £229 quid
2. May turn out to be tricky to mod due to the build or the nature of the circuit...It's not like the old days of point to point.
3. Add the cost of the mods which could end up being another £229 quid once you've changed all the valves and tried various labour intensive tweaks, tried a better speaker etc.
4. Is now totally worthless because nobody buys stuff that has been modded unless it's a well documented and desirable mod.

So my advice is that it's madness. If you try the amp and you like it, buy it, and play around with some nicer tubes. You may well make some positive changes. if you don't like it, save your cash and get something that works for you out of the box.

Over the years I've made various modifications to bits of gear for all manner of reasons. Generally speaking you rarely end up miles away from what you started with.

I have used Steve. He's a very nice guy, an English teacher who repairs amps etc in his downtime. I'd recommend him for basic service and repairs.

The best amp guy I've come across is Roger Kenyon over in West Drayton.

Jack Ruston
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Re: Amp tech/modder in South(ish)

Postby matt keen » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:02 pm

Thanks Jack

I am aware of what you say about the potential waste of money and wont be going that route
Mods are likely to be of the better valve type plus some enquiries about the type of distortion the amp seems to be making
May consider a Peavey Delta
The problem is that I would ideally want a 59 Bassman (not a RI) and a Valco but am several grand short on the budget front

Thanks for the info about your West Drayton man
matt keen
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