Carl’s Custom Amps Reverb Unit

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by dinomike77, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. dinomike77

    dinomike77 Tele-Meister

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    So, like many of you, I got the Stew-Mac email flyer this week about the outboard spring reverb kit. Looking at the cost of the kit, I looked up similar units that are already assembled. One that interested me was from Carl’s Custom Amps. That site has a nice looking unit that can be upgraded with a bias trem.

    Two years ago I bought a Gries 5 amp and it’s been the amp I was looking for as a home/hobbyist player. At the time, I was shopping for a nice, hand-wired amp at a reasonable price. I chose the Gries for the good reviews of his work, the versatility of his feature set an the reasonable price. I elected to forego reverb and trem to keep the amp simple, as well as the cost down. The amp is fantastic and Mr. Gries has been excellent to deal with!

    I later bought a Strymon Flint to give me the trem and verb I’d been missing. It’s a great pedal, but maybe more than I need. I keep it on the bias trem setting and the spring reverb pretty much exclusively.

    While the CCA reverb with trem is pricey, I could sell the Flint and maybe a couple other things to offset the cost and have a genuine reverb tank with the bias vary trem. I still like the idea of that amp being an amp and the reverb tank being separate, rather than getting a different amp with the trem and reverb built in. That idea might seem silly, but hey, we all have our issues!

    Anyway, does anyone have experience with the Carl’s Custom Amps reverb unit or his amps in general.? Am I chasing after diminished returns by going from the Flint to a unit that has less versatility for 3x the cost? I’ve tried not to be snobby against digital and the Flint sounds great, but that Stew-Mac email just triggered a bit of GAS.

    Comments, questions or smacks to the back of the head welcome!
     
  2. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

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    Browsing Reverb, it still looks like Carl uses illegal safety grounds (mains ground fastened to a transformer bolt is a code violation) and hasn't run out of wire nuts yet. They're not bad looking other than that, but I can't recommend an amp with a safety violation like that.
     
  3. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Holic

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    Wire nuts?
     
  4. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

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    Wire nuts. Browse pics of the internals, they're often being used to join the neutral to one of the PT leads. Fine in junction boxes inside walls, but amps live to get carried, tipped, dropped, transported in back seats and trunks, and otherwise abused. It takes just a couple of minutes to splice, solder, and heat shrink a joint so that it will never come loose. 220px-Wire_nuts.jpeg
     
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  5. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

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  6. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Holic

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    I one hundred percent agree that they have no place in an amp.
     
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  7. JazzboxBlues

    JazzboxBlues Tele-Afflicted

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    Not a sign of someone who takes pride in what they do. A Reverb unit is my next purchase(I say that now). My choices are LilDawg, An original Fender unit or a Strymon Flint. If I wanted a tank that offered a tremolo circuit it’d be a Victoria Reverberato.
     
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  8. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like wire nuts myself if you loose the cap off your glue bootle there great
     
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  9. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    Where should the ground be placed for safety factors? It seems using a lug on the PT is common, mine are like that. BTW I'm always looking for a better/correct way to do things Thanks
     
  10. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

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    Dedicated locking fastener not shared with other hardware. I solder on a ring terminal then bolt it to the chassis with a bolt and keps nut.
     
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  11. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Holic

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    It's not likely that bolting to a pt bolt will ever cause a problem if you first use a keps Nut, then use another nut on top plus threadlocker. But transformers do vibrate when in operation, so it's preferred to put the safety ground on its own separate fastener
     
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  12. Mr Ridesglide

    Mr Ridesglide Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    ClintJ - thank you for bringing up the wire nuts. What do you do with unused leads from transformers ? I have used wire nuts and then fold them and tape them, and now you have me thinking even this, besides not being so tidy looking, may fail at some point.
     
  13. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Shrink tubing...
     
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  14. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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  15. dinomike77

    dinomike77 Tele-Meister

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    Thank you all for the feedback. I like the idea of the the bias trem in the unit like on the Carl’s. The Victoria and another unit I looked at seem to have the Harmonic Vibrato built in, which is the least useful to me on the Flint. I don’t know that it’s exactly the same effect, but playing it always makes me think of Love Hurts by Nazareth. Once that’s in my head, I gotta switch back to to the bias trem mode on the Flint!
     
  16. whoanelly15

    whoanelly15 Tele-Holic

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    4C9CE2D2-2542-4646-B148-C6A6E6866910.jpeg 61A3F6E6-6596-452C-8749-415CC5388A88.jpeg 7594D1B8-0E5E-462F-9A14-62D726184ED1.jpeg 81FFA33F-DE97-4C6C-9F7D-50A028F51121.jpeg
    I don’t mean to hijack the thread, but I have a Double Deluxe, built by Carl, that I opened up after reading this. I didn’t remember seeing a wire nut when I first put in in the cab, in fact, I recall being struck at the quality on first look, but I’m an idiot. Anyways, I found one.

    Here’s some gut shots. Would appreciate some feedback and suggestions for a remedy.

    On one hand, I don’t care at all. It sounds awesome, and I doubt that guys like Leo, Les and even Eddie Van Halen cares about the wiring as much as we do. I’m not transporting or gigging it. So, what’s the difference to a guy like me?

    On the other hand, I would kind of like to learn to solder, and it seems like a worthy application. Would appreciate any help or insight. Thanks in advance.
     
  17. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Brownface Princeton clone that Carl built a few years ago and was negoitiating plans to build a completely custom amplifier than anything on the market, but funds dried up when my job closed its doors. That said, Carl builds some great amplifiers and his wiring skills are top shelf. I looked towards his outboard reverb unit myself just last month and was seriously going to go with it when I stumbled upon my Santa Cruz unit for half the price.

    What you would be getting from Carl is not over-priced in my mind at all. A Fender RI unit costs about that much used and they are not the same quality in components. Carl hand-wires his amps with quality parts....Fender RI, well, let's just say it doesn't. I believe you can also add Tremelo to the unit if desired which is another thing Fender units aren't coming with. Still, if you are like me (limited funds) paying 8 bills for an effect probably seems crazy, but I will say that I have been playing with a whole new inspiration since adding that outboard reverb unit. Not only did it give me a fantastic reverb, but it added some snap to my amps and just infused life into my sound.

    I would absolutely suggest Carl's outboard unit over any of the Fender RI units. If you can find that same hand-wired quality from another builder for half the price like I was blessed with, then that would be the other option. You really would not go wrong with his builds by the way my Princeton performs, I would stack it up against any boutique builder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
  18. Cantbreak100guy

    Cantbreak100guy Tele-Meister

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    Uh,oh. Is this what you are talking about as far as code violation? This is my first build. A 5e3. I'll take the wire nut critique, since it came with the kit. That's easy to fix. I didn't know if I can use the post as a ground or not. So being a newbie, I did. 15457752921034033915636678746218.jpg
     
  19. sds1

    sds1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not ClintJ but I wanted to let you know my preference is to solder them to an unused lug on a terminal strip.
     
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  20. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    In other parts of the world a 2-pole AC switch is required.
     
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