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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Tube amp warmup

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Ira7, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    There is no 20 minute warm up here. At home I turn it on and play it when it is ready. Live... I turn on my amp with more than enough time (2 - 3 minutes) to be ready when the stage is handed over to the band. Does my amp sound warmer about half way through a show? Maybe... but I'm more inclined to believe it's my ears getting acclimated to the surroundings.

    IMO - if an amp is changing drastically (something more than a slight nuance) over a 20 minute period... something is failing under stress and needs to be replaced!
     

  2. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2015
    Idaho
    Just turn on and play. It'll be fine. The early tweed Fenders and original Voxes didn't even have a standby.

    There is reason to turn the controls to 0 at power down, though. It exercises the pots to keep them clean and lubed, and helps prevent dead spots.
     
    asnarski and Chicago Matt like this.

  3. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 23, 2014
    Woodstock
    +1 on keeping those pots exercised, guitar and amp.
     
    Richie-string likes this.

  4. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    I totally get the turn the pots thing, makes perfect sense. But I seldom mess with the pots on my amps, however when I do they work fine.
     

  5. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    No - and no re 20 minutes.

    All "amp warmup" does is heat tube filaments and cathodes. One minute is fine. Anything over that simply wastes electricity and serves no useful function. And a standby switch is a feature that is not needed - just turn everything on (and even if you wanted to pay attention to the standby switch it has NO function during shutoff.). You may read that standby switches prevent "cathode stripping", such a minuscule and rare phenomenon that it can be ignored.

    Pots don't need to be turned during warmup or before the amp is used - other than up from "0" (see the following). The more they are turned the more the elements wear. The most important things with pots are:

    1) keep them cleaned/lubed (never use contact cleaner - only cleaner/lubricant) and

    2) always turn all pots to "0" when the amp is not in use. When pots are left somewhere in the travel they form tiny carbon deposits. When these deposits become serious enough they cause of scratchiness and popping - and clean/lube at that point is only a temporary fix.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
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  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    I leave the standby switch on, the guitar plugged in, and the guitar vol down when I turn on my amps, after turning on my boards power supply.
    When the amp comes up to full noise volume I turn up the guitar and play.
    I agree that amps often sound better when warmed up, but then, so do I.

    @Silverface , do you mean to turn down all pots on amps you're not using much?
    Or do you turn down all the pots every time you shut off an amp?
     

  7. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Glad you asked, because it's actually both. Don't put them in the area of travel unless needed - it keeps them from forming those carbon deposits. Do that, keep them cleaned/lubed and you'll rarely have any pot noises.
     
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  8. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    Maybe all the amps I've fooled around with had owners that turned the pots to zero when not in use? I own close to 20 with the newest being from 1996,97 and the rest, save 3, pre 1970.
    Out of all those pots only three pots aren't original. One broken on the 2555 Marshall and the off/loud volume pots on the 74 1987 I replaced with pots out of a trashed 67 Bandmaster.
    What about bias pots? Should thay be returned to zero too, when not in use?
     
    Bill Moore likes this.

  9. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    When did zeroing of pots became a thing? I have never heard of this. What kinds of pots are affected by carbon deposits? Newer, older, guitar, amp?
     
    AAT65 and BobbyZ like this.

  10. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    MI
    Hm. I've never heard of the carbon deposit thing, so I can't really comment one way or the other.

    As far as warming up the amp goes, I usually just turn it on, and by the time I get myself situated it's ready to go (maybe a minute or two).
     

  11. jtcnj

    jtcnj Tele-Meister

    Age:
    53
    353
    Feb 2, 2015
    Brick, N.J. USA
    I started zeroing my amp and guitar pots after playing recently as SOP after reading it here by silverface on another thread. Have not done it with pedals for some lazy reason.
    It's not an extensive, time consuming, or expensive ritual.
    Cant hurt.

    I set my amp(s) up and let them warm up a little while plugging in my cables, etc.
    Cant hurt.
     
    Mr Green Genes likes this.

  12. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    europe
    Or you can plug in your Les Paul and let it sustain:
     

  13. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Well, considering they're not audio pots and don't make noise - what do YOU think?
    o_O

    Many. many players have been doing it it and likewise many techs have recommended it for decades. It's normal operating procedure around here among gigging players and techs. If you read the post again it's specific to audio pots and this thread is an amp thread - os it's pretty obvious. But yes, guitar pots are affected as well.

    Audio pots can build carbon deposits, which are what cause the pops and scratchiness often heard - and why pots are often cleaned/lubed. Turning them to zero is a recommendation - feel free to ignore it if you think it's a waste of time.

    However, it can make a difference. Most newer pots used in guitar, amps and available as replacements are not nearly as robust as vintage ones and are more touchy. Also, zeroing is very highly recommended for anyone in marine (salt air) and/or very humid environments - and in all cases where gear is going to be stored for some time.
     
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  14. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    That part about newer pots not being as robust as vintage ones makes since. All my stuff is old. Also humidity and salt air isn't an issue around here. Well there's the winter road salt but fortunately my cars act as sacrificial anoids, saving my amplifiers. ;)
     

  15. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    MI
    Yup. Doesn't take any effort to do, so even if it turned out that there's little or no benefit to doing it, you're not out anything.

    On the other hand, the reasoning makes sense, and if there is benefit to doing it, large or small, you're that much ahead of the game.

    What's the harm?
     

  16. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    MI
    One more reason to stick with using linear pots...

    [​IMG]
     

  17. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2014
    Behind my beard.
    Standby for a minute or two before playing - no longer.

    I zero the volume pots (one on each channel) before switching on or off - just for the speaker's benefit - there's no 'POP!' hitting the coil that way.

    The other pots are usually left where they sound best (IMO).
     

  18. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Not "audio taper" - ALL audio pots. Taper is irrelevant. Meaning used in the audio part of a circuit - tone pots, volume pots, reverb. With amps I just run my hand down thew line and roll 'em all off. Doesn't hurt to turn the trem ones down with the others - better than missing one.
     

  19. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    MI

    Lol it was a weak attempt at humor...
     
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  20. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Holic

    644
    Jan 17, 2014
    Bucks Co. PA
    Much to do about nothing. I usually let the amp sit in the air for a while ( in the winter) ... trying to get it to reach room temp. Then with or with out a SB switch I turn it on around 10 min before show time and it stays on all night. Sometimes I use the SB switch sometimes not. Turn the volume down on your axe.
    It is important to turn the amp off 10 or 15 min before you move it..... probably more important than warm up

    On a few of my tube amps I run a 6 or 9" fan in the back.

    The tubes that they make today are so bad that I don't think any of this makes a difference.
     

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