December 14th, 2007, 07:45 AM
I have a early '90s '63 Vibroverb reissue that I would like to start using on gigs but I am a bit worried that the PCB construction might not be up to the abuse. It is a nice sounding amp and just the right size but between the vibrations from volume and the knocks bumps and scrapes that amps normally encounter playing out I don't really want to have to worry about a failure. I would like to hear from anyone who has used one of these, or any of the PCB reissues for heavy gigging, and their experiences. I appreciate it!
December 14th, 2007, 09:23 AM
Often it's not the PCB that fails, but other parts may be an issue.
Tubes simply don't like being bumped around. A retainer clip helps, and some tubes (usually military) are built tougher than others.
The plastic in the pots and faceplate does get brittle with age.
The best protection I've seen is a head that fits in a heavy duty road case.
You might want to consider a vintage replica made with good parts (metal).
December 14th, 2007, 09:56 AM
the vintage reissues (twin, deluxe, vibroverb, bassman) seem to be pretty solid. pots/tube sockets are hard-wired...had the 65 twin ri in the 90's and it was a solid amp...i'd probably still have it if i didn't already have an old original bf twin that i LOVE and use all the time.
the only amp i ever had that didn't live up to MY gigging situations was a blues deluxe that got buzzy/rattley/funky...mysterious little gremlin sounds that re-tubing didn't fix...but then again i've seen some of those amps still around, working flawlessly...ymmv
December 14th, 2007, 11:15 AM
I played one of the 59' bassman RIs from the 90s for years, playing 3-4 shows a week and the only problem I ever had was when the rectifier tube short circuited on me (it was a bad tube and that problem could have happened to any amp - regardless of whether it was handwired, PCB or whatever). The PCB never had a single problem... however, that short circuit fried a few components the expense of that repair was pretty staggering! It blew out quite a few caps and things... Can't say it would have been much less to repair if it had been handwired though.
December 14th, 2007, 12:38 PM
Maybe I'm different but I actually prefer a PCB amp at least for gigging and and otherwise daily use. PTP amps are nice, sound nice and I have a couple of them. However playing in bars can be a free for all and you never know what idiot is gonna be stumbling around with a beer or other generalized nonsense.
I pulled a dumb one about 15 years ago and this is why I am cool with PCB. I was about 19 at the time and I was playing through a PCB 1984 PV RockMaster 120 watt tube amp and I was drinking a can of orange soda so you can only guess I was using the amp head as an end table then the can slipped out of my hand and I dumped the whole can of soda into the amp. I immediately turned the amp off thinking it was a gone-r. I tore it apart and cleaned the soda up and let it dry good. I put it back together with my fingers crossed and it worked just fine, still does actually. Now had that been my PTP '66 Fender Bassman head I think it would have totally fried that amp. Just my opinion anyway.
December 14th, 2007, 01:51 PM
Over the past 13 years I've owned a reissue Vibroverb, Twin Reverb, Bassman, and Super Reverb. I gig a few times a month and had no function problems with any of them. I thought the Twin was a little on the bland side.
December 14th, 2007, 02:03 PM
I have to laugh--the only amps I've ever needed to have repaired (and more than once, to boot) were my PTP silverface TR and a blackface DR.
My advice: invest in a roadcase. They pay for themselves.
The Radium King
December 14th, 2007, 03:06 PM
here's a link to some discussion on pcb vs ptp ...
December 14th, 2007, 05:23 PM
December 14th, 2007, 06:24 PM
It's that repair that causes the headaches on PCBs
This is the most important point that's been made here. Tube amps do have problems, both PTP and PCB. Sooner or later something's going to go wrong and when it does, servicing PCB amps can be a *****.
Fender usually designs it's amps to be easy to make: that makes sense for people wanting a lower price, and a company looking for big profits. They usually don't take the time (or expense) to make them easy to service.
I know Boogie amps, (and others) though PCB, are usually designed to be easier to service: but you do pay a premium for this.
I had a Bassman reissue that lost a tube, and took a screen resitor out with it. Said screen resistor was on the BOTTOM of the PCB. You had to disconnect the pots and the jacks and sundry other stuff that I can't remember to remove the circuit boad to get at the resistor. I had a friend who is familiar with PCB's and works on them regularly solder the new resistor in.
I was amazed at this. On a hand wired amp, this is the type of repair that I can do myself, and the parts are usualy easy to get at.
I sold the Bassman and vowed never to get another amp like that.
I also had one of the infamous Red-knob twins that was exremely costly to fix when it broke, which it did three times in the 3 years I owned it. The other thing is when it broke under warranty, I was without it for nearly a month while it was getting repaired.
If you do gigs, you're lucky if you haven't had problems with your equipment, but sooner or later it is likely to happen. Handwired tube amps are kind of like 1950's automobiles; if they break, the average guy has a decent chance of fixing the problem with simple tools. Unlike old cars VS new ones, handwired amps are likely to be more reliable than modern Fender PCB gear.
Anyone who gigs should always have a backup amp of some sort. But it's still better to be able to fix an amp that DOES go down quickly, inexpensively, and without a lot of hassle.
December 15th, 2007, 12:24 AM
Its like I tell all my customers, if you drop a PCB or PTP out of a window, what happens, they BOTH break.... Play your PCB out, buy a road case, and dare anyone to get near it on stage.
December 15th, 2007, 12:59 AM
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your input. I realize it is always a good idea to have a backup but I was trying to get away with not having to shlep two amps around but in the end it might have to come to that. For the investment I have in this amp ($400) I suppose I can go with a road case and just play it until it fails and deal with any PCB issues at that time, or perhaps get a Torres PTP rebuild.
December 15th, 2007, 11:51 AM
""""I realize it is always a good idea to have a backup but I was trying to get away with not having to shlep two amps around but in the end it might have to come to that.""""
I carry a Zoom multi-effects pedals around as my back up amp. It has several amp models on it and doesn't sound half bad through the PA. I've never had to use it at a gig but it's cheap and beats carrying around another amp. Those Line 6 POD things are pretty popular too.
December 15th, 2007, 01:35 PM
Boy, it'd have to be a high-paying gig for me to bring a spare amp. I've never brought a spare in thousands of gigs, and I've yet to have my amp fail. If it did, I'd borrow one from another band.