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Myles - Blueprinting amps?


Philip OKeefe

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Wow, I have never heard of someone referring to tweaking out an amp as "blueprinting" - other than myself. I have a 1983 Princeton II that I've done a lot of work to - I have been telling people I "blueprinted it" since I did the work - about four years ago. I pulled all the resistors, hand tested them and replaced them to get them to 1% tolerance. Replaced the caps. I put in a bridge rectifier and converted the AC heaters to DC to lower noise. Yes, you lose a Watt or two, but for studio use, it makes a big difference! I put in a switch to kill the negative feedback at will. Added a three position switch in place of the stock on / off and put a standby in the middle position. Went with NOS GE / GT 6V6's and new GT preamp firebottles. Ordered some cream tolex and oxblood grillecloth from Fender and reskinned it, and capped everything off with a greeen jewel lamp. :)

 

That's nothing compared to what I did to my old Super Champ... Vox AC15 front end, and a Class A power amp section with EL34's. Tone controls are completely sick... think wah wah for a clue as to what I used in there... It's a fun amp, and the way I did it can be easily converted back to stock Fender - those Super Champs have a loyal following. ;)

 

Anyway, I just saw your site for the first time and I thought it was really cool and thought I'd share a few of my personal amp projects! :wave:

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Originally posted by Philip O'Keefe:

Wow, I have never heard of someone referring to tweaking out an amp as "blueprinting" - other than myself. I have a 1983 Princeton II that I've done a lot of work to - I have been telling people I "blueprinted it" since I did the work - about four years ago. I pulled all the resistors, hand tested them and replaced them to get them to 1% tolerance. Replaced the caps. I put in a bridge rectifier and converted the AC heaters to DC to lower noise. Yes, you lose a Watt or two, but for studio use, it makes a big difference! I put in a switch to kill the negative feedback at will. Added a three position switch in place of the stock on / off and put a standby in the middle position. Went with NOS GE / GT 6V6's and new GT preamp firebottles. Ordered some cream tolex and oxblood grillecloth from Fender and reskinned it, and capped everything off with a greeen jewel lamp. :)

 

That's nothing compared to what I did to my old Super Champ... Vox AC15 front end, and a Class A power amp section with EL34's. Tone controls are completely sick... think wah wah for a clue as to what I used in there... It's a fun amp, and the way I did it can be easily converted back to stock Fender - those Super Champs have a loyal following. ;)

 

Anyway, I just saw your site for the first time and I thought it was really cool and thought I'd share a few of my personal amp projects! :wave:

Philip .....

 

I have been doing this for a number of years. I don't mod the amps, just bring them into tolerance as the first step, and then tune them to a specific player and their style by tube tuning (using tubes with specific characteristics such as gain, output, transconductance, and especially rise time and response curves.

 

You bet it makes a big difference as you stated. Take five of the same amps and they all sound different and play different, even when totally "stock".

 

Once an amp is blueprinted, it has it's stats recorded, and the owner can call me at any time if there is any problem. They will be met at gigs, shows, or recording sessions, where the amp will be set up specifically for that session or job, so it can get a bit busy.

 

If you look in the back of some amps, you will see either a gold sticker or a white SAG GT sticker with a number, date, and my name or initials. This is a blueprinted amp. At any time the owner can call and say they want "more of this" or "less of that", and having the amp all documented makes this easier and faster. When I meet them at the sound check, I have at least 50 tubes on hand, all traced and rated, so a change is fast and they can get on with business.

 

If you see an amp for sale with one of my stickers in it, just give me a call, and give me the number, and I will be able to tell you every detail of that amp.

 

Some of the amps that have gone thru this process are in our F&R list at:

 

http://www.groovetubes.com/f-n-r.cfm

 

.... although some of my favorite folks to work with are the working non-pros on a budget. It is easier to make an amp sound good when backed by a great house system, such as the Universal Amphetheater, and fed by clean AC, than an amp in a dive bar running off 90 VAC off a extension chord from the kitchen! Touring groups also play the same songs and sets night after night, so I learn more from the real working guys on their way up.

 

The disadvange of doing things in this way is, it takes a LOT of time. That is why I have no blueprinting opening for the next six months at least, as I have to keep time for the existing client base I have now.

 

In any case, thanks, and keep doing this on your own amps, as you found out, it makes a average amp or good amp into one of those "magic" amps.

Myles S. Rose

www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com

www.la-economy.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/mylesr

www.twitter.com/myles111us

 

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