October 11 2003 amp clinic
|This clinic was held October 11th 2003.
This was the fourth clinic that was not held at a music store. As the clinics at my house,
I kept it small. This time there were four people and six or seven amps. One of the folks
brought a Univalve, and one more of the folks there also had a Univalve at home. A nice
long period of time was spent demonstrating how cool the Univalve was as a preamp ...
taking a black face Tremolux and front ending it with the Univalve for an ultimate high
This is Robert and his Blonde Bassman. This amp was
pretty cool. The amp put out 49 watts on the bench, and
had some nice tubes in it. I did not like the match on the
phase inverter which was a Mesa 12AX7, so a new one was
installed. V3 was a microphonic Ei, so this was also
replaced. It sounded pretty nice when it came in, and
everybody thought it sounded even nicer when it left. I love
these amps, so tossing in a few free tubes to make it that
much nicer is always fun. Robert also has a Univalve, so I
bet he tried that with this amp after he got home.
Click on the pictures for a larger image. .... KILLER
Some additional info from Robert on the guitars and amp ....
There's a story about these guitars: I wanted to build a P-90 based Tele and after the first coat of the "butterscotch
blonde" my wife remarked, "Hey, you want a hot dog with that?" And so this Tele became "Mean Mr. Mustard." Well, if
you know the Beatles song you know "Mr. Mustard" had a sister, "Pam," so I had to build the Strat, "Polythene Pam." I
call this pair of guitars "the sibs." Both play great and I think they sound terrific.
Mustard has that Fender 4-way switch that puts the neck and bridge p'ups in series. The p'ups are RWRP so both =
hum canceling; since the bridge p'up is also P-90 voiced the output in series is absolutely huge.
Pam has some interesting wiring: the 1st tone pot is a Yamaha spring-loaded push/pull that throws the bridge and
neck pickups into series. Additionally the 2nd tone pot is a "balance" pot that lets you dial between the neck and
bridge p'up. When in series mode positions 2 & 4 activate all three pickups. All internal wiring (including the p'up
leads) is a Japanese large crystal OFC product I've used for years and, yes, it makes an audible difference!
I feel at a loss here. The fellow on the top is Roby, and the fellow below him ...
well, I forgot his name. That is sort of a shame, as it is his Tremoulx in the picture
to the left, and it was his Univalve that was used for all the cool UV demos ... I
didn't even have to bring mine into service! He also brought a lot of cool tubes,
Mullards, Telefunkens, Tung Sol, Raytheon, and more. We slapped his tubes in
and out of many amps, and everybody love hearing the differences. He is also
the "sponsor" of Roby (pronounded Robby ... his parents liked different spelling it
seems), and supports Roby and his equipment with his studio.
Roby brought in a Deluxe Reverb .... with very bad 6L6B (Sovtek 5881's),
installed, and the bias set so improperly, that even these 6L6's had the paint
baked. There was a 12AX7 in the phase inverter, and he wanted more
headroom. A 12AX7MPI from my stock was installed. Some folks know my
feelings on Deluxe Reverbs, and I just could not let this one go without tossing the
trashed 6L6's and installing a set of my new 6V6's as the amp needed. The bias
was then set properly.
Then the fun started, as different first gain stage preamp tubes were thrown in
and out of the amp as we all listened. Roby's sponsor (they were his tubes this
time). I personally loved the long smooth plate Tungsram, but Roby loved a
Mullard. The Mullard was tested on my VTV tester, and was a nice one. The
Mullard stayed in the amp in V2. Roby has a pretty great sponser ... free
Mullards for your players!
I have to admit, Roby is a pretty good player, and he also brought an extensive
pedalboard which was done really nicely.
He impressed me enough with his attitude, that I will also be happy to give him
some support in the future.
Click on the pictures
for a larger image.
This is Richard. He brought in his Dr. Z MAZ 2x10 Invasion.
There is never much to do on these amps. Richard was given a set of preamp tubes
for his amp to play with in the first gain stage. It was cool that he was able to see so
many different examples of how other amps reacted to simple tube changes of what
are considered "the same tubes" ... a 12AX7.
His Invasion was immaculate. On the scope, this "38 watt" amp was putting out 44
watts. Most of these can hit 50, so I told him that down the road, throw in a new set
of #6 tubes in there. It still sounded super.
I gave Richard a new 12AT7 for a reverb driver, as the original was a bit noisy, and a
12AX7C and 7025 for V1, which will nicely compliment his original ECC83. Now he
has 12AX7C for warm, blues, 60s rock, etc. The 7025 for brighter work or darker
rooms, and the stock ECC83S for harder stuff. Richard also brought a very nice
guitar ... in fact, I should have taken pictures of all the folks guitars ... they were all
Click on the pictures for a larger image.
We all spent a lot of time "goofing off" and experimenting around. The exercise with the Univalve was a lot of fun
The entire group ended up outside in my yard with "Missy Black Dog", and she had a blast running around the
yard with folks in better shape than I am ... gave her more of a run for the money than I can.
The Z Maz SR was played by Roby, and he seemed to like this amp of mine. The KT-45 was also played to show
the difference between the amps.
We ran a lot of the amps throught the Z-Best cabinet, and this was a good test for many of these amps, using the
same cab for all the amps. I personally prefer this cab to the Marshall 4x12 that I used in the past.
I think we all had a great time. To all of you .... if you need anything, you know my home phone number, my work
phone number, so feel free to call.