Amp Tech Tips

Tube amp maintenance
Learn amplifier and general maintenance tips you can do yourself to improve your sound

Here you will find advice on simple maintenance you can do yourself to keep your amp working in its best shape.

Don’t risk your life based on what I’ve said. Remember what the Ancient Greek philosopher (that’s me) once said:

“One man’s 50v kick is another man’s Cardiac Arrest”.

Be aware that the voltages in an amplifier, even when turned off and unplugged. It has enough electrical energy stored in those big capacitors to kill you extremely DEAD.

How to service leads and sockets

Tech Tip#1

Can you imagine what your poor leads go through? They are trodden into beer-soaked carpets, handled with your fingers still covered in Gyro juice and then shoved into your guitar, pedals and amp sockets. All of that s**t is transferred into your sockets and adds to corrosion and the general green/grey goo that I clean out of your sockets that deteriorates your tone. 

Tech Tip #1 is great job to do while watching TV. Grab a clean cloth, some isopropyl alcohol (methylated spirits will do) and get to wiping the ends of your leads. If you are game, grab a few strong cotton buds and clean your input sockets…but just the part you can easily access. I mean the sockets in your guitar, pedals and amp. Don’t probe too deep and snap off the end of your cotton bud inside your amp or guitar….especially if you own a modern amp (eg Blues Junior) with the plastic fully enclosed socket. It may be best if you have black plastic input jacks to leave it to me during your next service.

Tech Tip #2

What’s the difference between a “tube” and a “valve”?

None. The Brits call a valve a “valve” because it acts like a valve…just like a tap. You turn the tap handle and more water comes out. With a valve, you increase the tiny voltage on the “control” connection and more current will flow. Smart, right?

On the other hand, Americans call a valve a “tube”, because all the valve guts fits inside a glass tube. Its sort of like calling a tap … a “brass”.

So why do I (an Aussie) often refer to a valve as a tube? Well, there are more Americans than Brits and Aussies and I lazily slip into the common vernacular. 😊

Tube amp service tips

Tech Tip #3

The secret of patience is to do something else in the meantime.