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.
I bought this cool 1960s breakout tube amp/two-way speaker combo on eBay a few weeks ago for about $65. I serviced it, cleaned it up, and made a few modifications to make it a little more versatile for shop use.
This 1996 Fender Hot Rod Deluxe came in complaining of a soar throat. The output was quiet, but would crack loudly at the attack of a heavy strum. Dirty tube sockets? Broken solder joints? Dusty pots? Probably.
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.