My main amp for the past 20 years has been a Mesa WalkAbout Scout 1x15 combo. It’s a very versatile amp. The three band perimetric EQ is great for dialing out feedback for double bass. I’ve only had to have it serviced once about ten years ago when it started making a cracking sound. Well, it started cracking again last week.
I’ve been studying the art of tube amplifier design for about ten years now, and actually repairing them for about five. I love analizing schematics, pouring over the inside of an amp chassis, and studying the layout choices made by the designer. It was only a matter of time before I took a crack at it myself. That time finally came.
I’ve written before about my love/hate relationship with my K&K Bass Master Rockabilly Plus. In short, the sound is phenomenal, but the execution is awful. After suffering with its flaws for the past 15 years, I finally decided I’d had enough and modded it.
My buddy Ivan uses this combo-ified 1963 Band-Master as his backup. It suffered from a phantom crackle that would only appear after being warmed up for an hour or two. It had been in and out of another shop for over a year, and the problem was never successfully addressed.
Somewhere around a decade ago, the Bottom Dwellers’ PA head took a flaming shit. It started smoking. It was out of warranty, and rather than deal with repairs and not having a PA for a while, we replaced it with a Mackie PPM1008. Ever since then, the Carvin PA has functioned as my amp stand.
About three or four years ago, I found myself falling down a rabbit hole of tube amp repair videos. It started innocently enough with the humble idea of building a custom foot-switchable preamp/mixer for my double bass. That lead to me building a few guitar stomp boxes. Before I knew it, I was watching hours and hours of tube amp repair videos every week.
The Upright Bass Players Union is one of the few reasons I keep a Facebook account. It’s an awesome group of working class rockabilly and honky tonk players who share tips and talk a lot of shit. Amplifying the double bass isn’t easy, so it is incredibly helpful to see such a diverse range of rigs and setups. I think I have some pretty unique things going on in my rig, so I thought I should share it with the group. I like to own my mojo, though, so I’m posting it here as well.