Suggestions for topics

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Suggestions for topics

Postby Don Butler » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:54 pm

Although I'm not, or don't consider myself all knowing about guitars an amps, I'd gladly share what I do know with all of you. After all, what we all seek is great tone, or at least what sounds good to our own ears. Each persons perception of tone is as individual as our fingerprints.
Feel free to ask me anything you'd like and if I can help or offer positive suggestions, I'll be more than happy to do so!
Thanks to everyone here for the wonderfully warm regards to joining this cool forum!! It's really heart warming!!
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby patlaw » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:58 pm

Don, why don't you tell us a little bit about your business. I've been to your web site, and I've endured bassbob's endless gushing over the rebuild you did on his amp, but tell us what your specialties are. What do you enjoy doing most? Are there any amps or guitars that you love to rebuild? Are there any you hate? This is your forum. Shameless self promotion is encouraged.
The problem with the election was, Romney said, "I'll put the country back to work!", but 51% of the voters said, "Hell no!"
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby bassbob » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:18 pm

Pretty much everybody I know who has had Don work on their amp gushes over it Mike. I was damn near strong-armed into sending my amp to him by Shayne. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Epidrake » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:23 pm

Thanks Don, OK, I'll start. Should I have my 71 Ampeg V4 head modified to take "normal" tubes, or should I just use NOS as long as I can. I know they make new 7027's but I can't imagine them being able to take the plate voltage on that amp. That amp can't be biased, I think.
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes. (Prov. 26:4–5).
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby patlaw » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:41 pm

Epi, I'm not the pro that Don is, but I can tell you that any amp can be biased. It may have to be done manually, but it can be done. The mistake that a lot of people make is that they try to bias the tubes based on how red they glow. In the transmitter days, we balanced tubes by measuring plate current. In audio amps, we balanced them with plate current and with a distortion analyzer. Now Don can set me straight. I've been out of engineering for a LONG time.
The problem with the election was, Romney said, "I'll put the country back to work!", but 51% of the voters said, "Hell no!"
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Don Butler » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:15 pm

Great suggestions guys! I'll be on this tomorrow. Thanks again! I did start with a little info on Les Pauls. This will also include Gretsch, Rickenbacker and Fenders soon!
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby nowhereman » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:53 pm

This a good move for this place.
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Dr WOG » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:56 pm

hmmm
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Epidrake » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:21 am

Easy boys, let's not swamp Don. :D

Thanks for the info Mike. The plate voltages on he ampegs are insanely high. I wouldn't even try to work on this amp myself. Way too dangerous for a amateur.
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes. (Prov. 26:4–5).
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby gypsymoth » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:17 am

adding a bias circuit is a good thing = hiwatt guys do it when they tire of manual adjustment.
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Paladin » Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:52 pm

Hi Don, you've got a virtual pallet of stuff to work with as far as topics go.
Replacement speakers, tube preferences, replacement pick up choices for anything and everything, you da man that has mixed & matched and tried a little bit of everything. Your reviews have always been helpful. ;)
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Don Butler » Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:09 pm

My business: I started back in mid 1997 after leaving SWR Eng. I'd been there 9 years. The founder Steve Rabe and his wife Linda and I had been roomates back in the early `70's. I saw Steve lose interest over the whole business aspect and tire of running a company. It was a good time to leave..
Anyway, Toneman, Inc: I started repairing amps and guitars and most of my work was by word of mouth referral. A number of years before that I had bought from my friends @ Korg and Marshall Bluesbreaker reissue made in `89. It was a NAMM show Demo. So thru that and a JTM-45 and as well owning a 1969 50 watt head I got into figuring out why the new amps sounded nothing like the originals. As well, soon after that I traded a 1983 Honda Accord for a Matchless HC-30 and wondered why it didn't sound like my friend and bandmate's Mark Karan's old Vox AC-30.. more research. Circuit's pretty similar, but the sound was much stiffer and and didn't have that sparkle or harmonics the AC-30's have. After I sussed out what was going on the the Matchless a friend of mine in U.K. asked me if I was interested in trading it to him for a nice charcoal grey/copper panel `64 AC-30 combo. I still have that amp!
Thru friends at Guitar Center Vintage and Mike Fuller @ Fulltone I started servicing amps and upgrading the reissues with parts that were as close as I could get in those days to what Marshall, Vox, Fender, ect. had used in the `50's & `60's. Nowadays we have the amazing Sozo Caps and Mercury transformers. I use to have to take the reissue transformer out and have it rewound to original specs and parts I use to buy at this amazing old electronics surplus house in No.Hollywood called Apex.
Almost everyone used Polyester caps and carbon comp resistors way back when. Alot of what I was able to gather about Marshall's Ted Breaux decided to claim as his own info and put his name on what it takes to mod a new JTM-45 into an original sounding one.
Most Vox amps used Polystyrene Wima Tropyfol caps which sound similar to polyester. By the mid sixties though Vox was using the Iskra made, Phillips imported "mustard caps" like all the other U.K. amp manufactures. The Sozo's are recreations of these. .
Anyway, What I do.. I take reissue Vox, Marshall, Fender's, etc. and turn them into what the original ones are by replacing all signal path components and the output tranny and choke.The output tranny alone is 40% of your amps sound and tone! Some amps have the circuit alterd from what the originals are, so I put them to original specs. I also service older amps. Usually it's nothing more than going thru them and replacing the filter caps and checking to see if any of the resistors or signal caps are out of spec. If so they get replaced. I've taken old Fender's that someone else has been in and installed those horrible sounding Orange Drop caps and replaced them with what would have been in them back when they were made.
I've also assembled kits and done mods on the little mini amps that folks buy now(Epi Valve Jr's, etc.). I build PTP boards for installing in reissue Marshalls as well as the normal "My amp stopped working, can you fix it" repairs. I mod Vox Valve Tones, TS-9's, Fuzz Faces, Tone Benders and Wah Wah's to sound like they should. Then there's guitars and basses which I started working on in the mid `70's at West L.A. Music. with the way the music business can be, I decided way back when to learn how to work on stuff to tide me over between bands. I've made great money playing music over the last 38 years, but I've also been able to take care of things between times. Luckily these days I get to do both. I can get on a plane, go play a great show(s), get paid very well and come home and work on equipment.
Anyway, sorry to ramble on here.. must be the pain meds from my knee operation last Wed...(LOL).
Please feel free to ask any questions about any amp you may want to know about. I do not, however, work on transistor amps. They're not a platform I enjoy...
You can checkk out my site by going to: http://www.tone-man.com
Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Greggman » Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:29 pm

DB,Glad you took my invite to FF :!:
See you later~

WOG...
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Jorgedebasso » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:59 pm

GOod to have you here~

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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Epidrake » Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:36 pm

What a great story!! Thanks for sharing it with us.
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes. (Prov. 26:4–5).
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby bassbob » Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:54 am

Greggman wrote:DB,Glad you took my invite to FF :!:
See you later~


I'm glad too.

Thanks for the story Don. It's fantastic that you have graciously offered your time and wisdom to our membership. Thanks a lot. :D
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Greggman » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:45 am

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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby pungo » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:16 pm

I have always wanted to know more about the early tube Standell Amps. As I understand it Chet Atkins always returned to his Standell while Recording, even when he was under Contract with Gretsch.
A search revealed a Standell being produced supposedly to original Specs, with a high price tag. I have never heard one of these but would consider it if indeed it captured what I consider the ultimate tube tone.
I also have always wondered if another way to the deep clean tube tone of the ear;y Standell can be reached affordably.

I too am glad you have this Forum available. I will read anything you feel worthy to write about.
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Don Butler » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:29 pm

Standell: the first big amp I had was a hybrid Standell I bought in 1970. An Artist XII. Was a piggyback. Had 2-12" Jensen's, FET frontend and a Tube output section. Had a really great warm clean sound. I had a 1 in to 3 out box that Neal Moser made for me. He had made one for Neil Young and I asked him if he would make me one. I would use the Standell for clean and then hit the switch to add my brown Fender Princeton to the mix for overdrive. Both amps use to interact with each other. I had blown the original 10" speaker in my Princeton a few years before and installed some strange alnico 12" in-place of the 10". My Mom bought me the 12" from Radio Shack. It was their 12" Guitar Speaker. Radio Shack use to carry a number of guitar speakers in those days. I remember the frame was a dark red.
I had a back Fender Reverb Unit. I would plug my guitar into the Reverb, then to the 1 to 3 splitter box and then to the amps. I had a `61 Gibson Melody Maker that Neal Moser installed a couple of Pat.# T-Top Gibson humbuckings in, a `58 Fender Duo-Sonic, a `65 Gretsch Tenny and a `58 Gretsch single Anniversary. Was alot to carry, but sounded good to me. A couple years later I put a Pre-Amp out on the Princeton and ran that to a 100 Vox power amp into a Cerwin-Vega G32 cabinet. Used the speaker and output section of the Princeton too.
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Epidrake » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:38 pm

It's a wonder that any of us can walk anymore from all the stuff we had to carry.
How are you feeling Don?
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes. (Prov. 26:4–5).
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby pungo » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:19 pm

Thanks for the info! Around that time Standell got the bright idea to encase all of their circuits in an Epoxy- like glop( I understand it was to protect their Design).
I recently turned down an offer to purchase one of these big Hybrid Standells for that very reason.
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby bassbob » Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:04 am

The big ass PA speaker cabs we are using are Standells. I never heard of them before.
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby gypsymoth » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:23 am

John Cipollina's rig ( in the RRHoF) was a combination of Standel, Fender & Wurlitzer.
coolest thing ever on a stage.
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Don Butler » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:52 pm

Standell's basically started out as a nice, clean sounding amp for Jazz and Country player. Standell was Chet Atkins favourite amp. In about `65/`66 they went to an all solid state design. They were very loud and very clean. A friend of mine who I grew up with and lived across the street, worked all summer for his uncle doing landscaping to earn enough money to buy a Standell Imperial with 2 big 15" JBL's. I bought his old brown `62 Princeton. That Standell amp rattled everything in his house!! I'd like to find one today just to hear if they sound like I remember them sounding. I've seen Cipollena's rig. I would have hated to been his roadie. That thing is massive!
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Epidrake » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:01 pm

Around that time Standell got the bright idea to encase all of their circuits in an Epoxy- like glop( I understand it was to protect their Design).
I recently turned down an offer to purchase one of these big Hybrid Standells for that very reason.


I think Alexander Dumble does the same thing, or so I have heard. :roll:
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes. (Prov. 26:4–5).
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Don Butler » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:18 pm

Epidrake wrote:
Around that time Standell got the bright idea to encase all of their circuits in an Epoxy- like glop( I understand it was to protect their Design).
I recently turned down an offer to purchase one of these big Hybrid Standells for that very reason.


I think Alexander Dumble does the same thing, or so I have heard. :roll:


Did the Standell work? If so, how much was he asking?
thanks!!
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby pungo » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:31 pm

Sorry to get back to you so late. A Woman where I work brought photos of a 66 Country Gent and the Standell to me to be appraised. I told her I couldn't give anything but a Ballpark figure, the Gent especially should be looked at by a Pro. I did warn her about getting ripped off by the wrong person.
To be honest she was a lonely older lady who kept trying to get me to her house, I got bad vibes and let it drop. I probably could have taken advantage of her and own a good Chet setup right now.
I also couldn't rip the old guy who wanted to sell me his 61 Ludwig set, complete with a master set of vintage cymbals. He died shortly thereafter and the Drums went for a fire sale.
I guess I'm too honest for the Gear Business.
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Re: Suggestions for topics

Postby Don Butler » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:27 pm

I wish more folks in the musical buy, sell, swap biz were like you! I sleep good at night knowing I've treated people fairly and charge them a reasonable price. I know too many others who don't.. :o
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