Genz Benz Black Pearl Pirate's Den

Les Paul lover

Tele-Holic
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Posts
753
Age
45
Location
England
I'm having some issues with this amp. The master volume is scratchy and and fluctuates between a weak signal and full volume unless I fiddle with the knob and get it to the "spot" , similar to an iffy radio station. Also, boost foot switch and effects loop don't work. Are these fixable issues?

This is a fine amp, and has been killer at my shows. At worst I could salvage it for the speakers, but I'd really like to get it working again


The scratchy jumpy volume sounds like a potentiometer that needs to be replaced, easy fix for a tech.

As for the fx loop, it is line level, not instrument level, meaning it was designed to work with Pro rack gear (+10db) rather than traditional stomp boxes(-4db).

I'm not sure what is your issue with the
boost/fx loop exactly, but in theory all fixable regardless of the issue.

Did they use to work?
Have you had the switch set to footswitch rather than normal or boost on the front panel?

Have you tried replacing the relevant preamp valves for boost and fx loop?
 

patriotplayer90

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Posts
85
Location
Memphis
The scratchy jumpy volume sounds like a potentiometer that needs to be replaced, easy fix for a tech.

As for the fx loop, it is line level, not instrument level, meaning it was designed to work with Pro rack gear (+10db) rather than traditional stomp boxes(-4db).

I'm not sure what is your issue with the
boost/fx loop exactly, but in theory all fixable regardless of the issue.

Did they use to work?
Have you had the switch set to footswitch rather than normal or boost on the front panel?

Have you tried replacing the relevant preamp valves for boost and fx loop?
Thanks for the response. I took it to a tech (through a local gear store, not one whom I know personally), and they told me he couldn't fix it. Which I found strange. I will try to locate a second in the area. I would be satisfied with just the MV working, though the boost would be great
 

Moose212

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Posts
13
Age
36
Location
Pennsylvania
Thanks for the response. I took it to a tech (through a local gear store, not one whom I know personally), and they told me he couldn't fix it. Which I found strange. I will try to locate a second in the area. I would be satisfied with just the MV working, though the boost would be great

Yeah I agree with the others - that stuff should be fixable. The pots are a known issue (link). The boost switch is really basic (just shorts tip to sleeve on the cable) and I can't imagine can't be fixed. And while I'm not sure about the fx loop, I imagine it should be fixable as well. Best of luck!
 

ViksMold021

NEW MEMBER!
Joined
Dec 21, 2021
Posts
2
Age
43
Location
Ireland
I'm having some issues with this amp. The master volume is scratchy and and fluctuates between a weak signal and full volume unless I fiddle with the knob and get it to the "spot" , similar to an iffy radio station. Also, boost foot switch and effects loop don't work. Are these fixable issues?

This is a fine amp, and has been killer at my shows. At worst I could salvage it for the speakers, but I'd really like to get it working again

Hi,
Scratchy pot perhaps can be cleaned with contact cleaning spray (not WD40). If not - it must be replaced.

Boost switch not working could be 3 things:
1. Dirty footswitch input jack - spray contact spray to some jack and have it connected/disconnected a couple times
2. Footswitch is broken (broken switch, broken cable or bad soldering joint on connector jack) - take any guitar jack, connect it to footswitch input and shorten tip and sleeve. If it works you will know that the amp is good and footswitch is broken. If it doesn't work then - >
3. Input jack is broken (small chance) or switching opto-coupler is broken (I had one on the bench with that problem).

Send/return problem:
I'd take some overdrive or dist pedal, connect guitar to pedal input and connect pedal output to Return connector (master volume at zero). Then put master to 1 or 2 and start increasing output level of the pedal. If you're not getting anything at the output, it is faulty tube for send/return loop. If you are getting some output then the problem is at loop input. In order to test this (without proper equipment) I'd connect my phone with some 440Hz signal generator app to amp input and I'd connect send to the input or return of another amp (careful with volume). If you get output on the second amp, your Black Pearl is cursed and you need someone to remove voodoo from it. Or your send/return cables and/or external effect unit is faulty :)
 

ViksMold021

NEW MEMBER!
Joined
Dec 21, 2021
Posts
2
Age
43
Location
Ireland
Hi,
Scratchy pot perhaps can be cleaned with contact cleaning spray (not WD40). If not - it must be replaced.

Boost switch not working could be 3 things:
1. Dirty footswitch input jack - spray contact spray to some jack and have it connected/disconnected a couple times
2. Footswitch is broken (broken switch, broken cable or bad soldering joint on connector jack) - take any guitar jack, connect it to footswitch input and shorten tip and sleeve. If it works you will know that the amp is good and footswitch is broken. If it doesn't work then - >
3. Input jack is broken (small chance) or switching opto-coupler is broken (I had one on the bench with that problem).

Send/return problem:
I'd take some overdrive or dist pedal, connect guitar to pedal input and connect pedal output to Return connector (master volume at zero). Then put master to 1 or 2 and start increasing output level of the pedal. If you're not getting anything at the output, it is faulty tube for send/return loop. If you are getting some output then the problem is at loop input. In order to test this (without proper equipment) I'd connect my phone with some 440Hz signal generator app to amp input and I'd connect send to the input or return of another amp (careful with volume). If you get output on the second amp, your Black Pearl is cursed and you need someone to remove voodoo from it. Or your send/return cables and/or external effect unit is faulty :)

And in addition in order for footswitch to work, you need to put "Mode" knob on the amp to Footswitch position.

Also you can rule out foot switch problem by disconnecting it from the amp, and switching modes using the knob on the amp. If you can hear the sound difference between Normal and Boost position, switching inside the amp is OK (opto coupler I have mentioned before) and footswitch is the problem. If switching on the amp alone is not working the problem is with switching circuit (probably that opto coupler, but there could be other things, from bad soldering joints to opto coupler control circuit).
 

PaulStrattele

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Posts
792
Location
WNC
Thanks. I actually gut it working again but I need to source one for the inevitable.
Any suggestions on replacement brand tubes?

Can't tell from the pic I have, but if you take the chassis out, it looks like the model is clearly written on it.

That should point you to a similar replacement unit.

0pSEnfj.jpeg


Sounds like you need new EL84 too.

Mine were pretty shot when I bought my black pearl a few years back.
 

Les Paul lover

Tele-Holic
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Posts
753
Age
45
Location
England
Thanks. I actually gut it working again but I need to source one for the inevitable.
Any suggestions on replacement brand tubes?

That's brilliant!!!
What was wrong with it? It wasn't just switched off, was it?

As for valves, I replaced the power val es with Russian NOS 6P14P EV, and have been very happy with those.

EV denotes Military grade 6P14P, they are rated for 5000 to 10000h life, 10 to 20 times longer than regular EL84.

They sound great to me too.

Otherwise, I have NOS RFT ECC83 in V1 and V2, NOS Tungsram ECC83 everywhere else.

I was quite impressed with the original sovtek ECC83 though, best modern production valve I've gotten to try to date.
 

PaulStrattele

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Posts
792
Location
WNC
I forgot to add, I went with RFT ECC83 in V1 and V2 to help get more overdrive and a harder break up out of the Black Pearl.
Sounds like the sound I'm looking for. The fan was seized up. I had tried before my original post to flip it with a pen pr screw driver. Later I spent more time with compressed air and it started working. I tried it last night just to make sure it was still functioning. It was but as I said, it's failure is inevitable. I'll see if I can locate a replacement this weekend.
 

Gunnar Holmstad

NEW MEMBER!
Joined
Jan 26, 2022
Posts
1
Age
52
Location
Gratangen, Troms, Norway.
I recently bought a Black Pearl 212 for about 550€. It had some problems. A buzz turned out to be a bad rectifier tube. Fixed, and sounds glorious! Other issue was the reverb tank. In my amp it lays at the bottom inside the cabinet in a bag. The tank has the open side facing down, which means the code should end with the letter B (the last digit specifies mounting direction). Code should look like (x-es can be varied as far as I can understand) xFBxC1B. First x is type of spring configuration, second x is decay time.

What I dont understand is why the recommended reverb tanks for this unit; Accutronics 9FB1C1D, Ruby RRVL3FB1C1D, amprepairparts.com part # 4FB2C1D, all are meant to be wall mounted with connectors facing downwards...

Anyways, I ended up ordering this tank: https://www.amplifiedparts.com/products/reverb-tank-mod-8fb2c1b-medium-decay-3-spring
I hope it works out nicely, even though its a shorter one…
 

CirrusBand

TDPRI Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2022
Posts
9
Age
37
Location
Birmingham, UK
Great thread! I just signed up to say, it was me who bought the one in Birmingham a few weeks back. I was out shopping at the time, bored waiting for the wife and browsing a forum on my phone. Saw it listed and was like... "£350? hmmm... 20 minutes from my house? Ok, it's going to be mine."

I've owned two before - a head in 2012 when they were being blown out at low price, and a 1x12 2015-2018. Both times I sold them to help pay for the next big thing - first an AC30 handwired, then a line 6 Helix Rack. Very happy to have one again, they're cool amps. The thing that gets me with them is that they're not as simple to dial in as AC30s, which are my first love - you just turn up the volume and the sound is there. With the Black Pearl, there's more to tweak. No bad thing, but... more involved choices. It's also got a different gain structure - I've never quite found a clear sweet spot of preamp gain to master volume like I find in most amps. Same with the EQ controls. Most amps, I have a clear sense that there's one setting that works best to me because anything else is too bright/dull/middy/scooped etc etc. The BP30 has such a wide useful range on every knob that it's hard to work out favourite settings.

At the moment I've replaced one of the Red Fangs with a Heritage G12H 30watt 75hz, but I'll likely be putting it back to stock. Those Red Fangs are genuinely fantastic speakers, it's like they take the best bits from Celestion Blues and Greenbacks and none of the downsides/ foibles of either.
 

Les Paul lover

Tele-Holic
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Posts
753
Age
45
Location
England
Great thread! I just signed up to say, it was me who bought the one in Birmingham a few weeks back. I was out shopping at the time, bored waiting for the wife and browsing a forum on my phone. Saw it listed and was like... "£350? hmmm... 20 minutes from my house? Ok, it's going to be mine."

I've owned two before - a head in 2012 when they were being blown out at low price, and a 1x12 2015-2018. Both times I sold them to help pay for the next big thing - first an AC30 handwired, then a line 6 Helix Rack. Very happy to have one again, they're cool amps. The thing that gets me with them is that they're not as simple to dial in as AC30s, which are my first love - you just turn up the volume and the sound is there. With the Black Pearl, there's more to tweak. No bad thing, but... more involved choices. It's also got a different gain structure - I've never quite found a clear sweet spot of preamp gain to master volume like I find in most amps. Same with the EQ controls. Most amps, I have a clear sense that there's one setting that works best to me because anything else is too bright/dull/middy/scooped etc etc. The BP30 has such a wide useful range on every knob that it's hard to work out favourite settings.

At the moment I've replaced one of the Red Fangs with a Heritage G12H 30watt 75hz, but I'll likely be putting it back to stock. Those Red Fangs are genuinely fantastic speakers, it's like they take the best bits from Celestion Blues and Greenbacks and none of the downsides/ foibles of either.

Congrats on getting your 3rd Black Pearl!!!!


I bought a 112 combo from someone in Birmingham in 2018...... was it yours?? It was sold with a keyboard footswitch as original footswitch was missing?

Great amp, I love mine.
 

CirrusBand

TDPRI Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2022
Posts
9
Age
37
Location
Birmingham, UK
Not mine... actually now I think about it, must have been 2019 I sold the 112 - anyone else been thrown out a bit by the last 2 years of madness?

Anyways, used it exclusively at practice because I've taken my AC30cc 1x12 back home to do some circuit tweaks, and yeah - thoroughly cool amp. I think AC30s, which they're most commonly compared to, are faster/ more immediate sounding - they're in your face with upper mids and I think more punchy down low even if the black pearl has more bass on tap - the BP30 is more compressed, particularly in the lows, so it seems a bit more controlled and relaxed. I think it comes into its own once the gain's up over 1/3 - it's the touch response in how it overdrives that makes it special.

Also, really good point about the master volume however many pages back - to me the whole amp sounds most accomplished when the master's around noon-1pm. Above that and it gets brighter+ the power section compression gets in the way of the excellent preamp voicing, I think. That said... I might dime the master and just see what I can do with re-balancing the preamp sound to compensate, just for kicks.
 

Les Paul lover

Tele-Holic
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Posts
753
Age
45
Location
England
Congrats on getting your 3rd Black Pearl!!!!


I bought a 112 combo from someone in Birmingham in 2018...... was it yours?? It was sold with a keyboard footswitch as original footswitch was missing?

Great amp, I love mine.

I'm not an expert when it comes to AC30 (and their many variations), but the Black Pearl does so much, so well and in its own way.

It does get compared to AC30s and Matchless DC30, and the design team has been open mentioning those as the inspiration for the Black Pearl, but it's just a cracking amp in its own right.

Between the EQ, the voice switch, and the presence knob, there really is a lot of tones there.

I've found myself using setting in band practice (like the thick setting) that I don't particularly like when practicing alone. It's nice to have such a wide tonal palette at hand when playing.
 

twangydave

TDPRI Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2011
Posts
66
Location
portsmouth
Sounds like the sound I'm looking for. The fan was seized up. I had tried before my original post to flip it with a pen pr screw driver. Later I spent more time with compressed air and it started working. I tried it last night just to make sure it was still functioning. It was but as I said, it's failure is inevitable. I'll see if I can locate a replacement this weekend.
My fan stopped working same as yours, I could still get it spinning by rotating the blades with a wooden chopstick, after I'd powered the amp on, but it would not start-up when flicking the power switch. I took it off the chassis and unscrewed everything, and gave every surface a good clean and a lube up, and it works as normal now. I also blasted some penetrating fluid into the shaft area by pulling the fan forward, and that did release some gunk. My guess is that the shaft was lubricated from the factory, but the fans were not intended to be used in high heat environments, so over the years that lubricant has 'baked' and seized up the shaft. It's working great now, but I agree it would be beneficial to have a spare, just in case it does crap out for good.
 

rze99

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Posts
10,359
Location
South London UK
Hi all I just finished doing an album and The Black Pearl 30 was one of the amps I used, especially for edge of break up and crunch tones with the Tele and P90 guitars. I used an SM57 in front of it and the line out combined which was nice a rich.

It made we wonder, do we owners know any albums recorded with it?

I know from the advert on You Tube that John Hiatt used on in his studio around the time it came out.

Any more fore sure? I know Brent Mason recommended and used them, but don't have an specifics.

 

ruger9

Poster Extraordinaire
Ad Free Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Posts
7,060
Location
Hackettstown, NJ
I miss mine. I've been through alot of amps since, and I'd love to "circle back around" and try one again, against what I currently have- Hot Cat, Swart, Fender Supersonic....
 




Top