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.