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How To: install an 'overlay' on a Fender Blues / Pro Junior chassis panel

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Wharfcreek, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. Wharfcreek

    Wharfcreek Tele-Meister

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    This subject seems not to be covered for these two amps, and the process differs some from any other 'HotRod' series amp in that these two have a different pilot light assembly. While the other amps have the old 'conventional' bulb and screw-in Jewel type pilot light, the Blues/Pro Jr amps use an LED pilot lamp that has no visible means to remove or reinstall. So, that's really the purpose of this thread; to discuss what to do about that, and how to accomplish the task!

    To begin, I'm going to assume that if you plan to tackle this project, you're capable of pulling the chassis out of your cabinet. Unfortunately, that's the easy part! It's also easy to pull up and remove the knobs, unscrew the input jack and on/off switch nuts and remove those along with the washers. BUT...then you're stuck with the pilot lamp which is still holding the 'factory' control panel on to the chassis. I believe the Blues Jr may be a bit easier to do than the Pro, as the pilot light assembly is somewhat hidden on the underside of the chassis behind the small metal RF shield that goes over the two controls in the Pro. But, to facilitate the process in either amp, it may be necessary to do this to either one of them.

    First, you have to actually pull the on-off switch out of the underside of the chassis on the Pro. Then you have to loosen up the PC board by pulling the 4 screws that hold it in place.....and CAREFULLY pull it down until you get the control shafts to clear the holes. That also means pulling the input jack, which is soldered to the PC board, also out of position along with the two control shafts. Once you get the control shafts and input jack below the chassis, you can shift it off to the side (right side as you look down on it) and this will now give you a clear path to the LED pilot light assembly body.

    With an 'average' size needle nose pliers, carefully grip the LED body from underneath the chassis, and with a gentile pull, slightly tip the assembly to one side. DO THIS CAREFULLY! It takes very little pressure, and as it begins to tip you'll hear a 'snap'...which is the lens unit separating from the LED body. Once this happens, just pull the LED body back and out of the way, and then just push the lens unit out of the top. When you do this, the factory 'chrome' control panel will now be free and separated from the main chassis. Note that on the control panel is a small 1/4" strip of black foam sealer going along the front edge of the chassis. Carefully pull this up and set it aside as it will be re-used when reinstalling the panel back into the amp.

    So, once the chrome panel is separated, the sealer strip removed, and you've got a clean place to work, it's time to 'prep' the panel for installation of the overlay. As I'm a huge believe in doing this as carefully as possible, I recommend you use some XXXX steel wool and polish off all the old lettering, as well as any pits that may be in the surface. If your panel is REALLY BAD (as some are that I've seen), then I'd consider maybe using some automotive glazing paste to fill the pits, then sand it all smooth and maybe hit it with a coat of sealer. But, proceed at your own pace. Just know that the devil is in the details.

    Once the panel is ready for the overlay, make sure you 'dry-fit' the overlay by setting it in position and confirming the locations of all the holes. As some deviation may be present, make sure you find the best location in which to compensate for any deviation. My recommendation is to pull the backing off about half way from the overlay and cut off, then remove about a 1" section of the backing from the middle of the overlay, and then set the backing in place on the overlay again. This will allow you to start in the middle of the panel with the overlay, fit it into position EXACTLY where you want it, then work out to either side. If you start at one end, and slight deviation will translate into a significantly greater deviation by the time you get to the other end......and this is hard to fix! Peeling one of these off to 'start over' can result in stretching the vinyl which essentially destroys the thing! So, do this carefully! Once you have the overlay fitted to your satisfaction, replace the strip-seal along the front edge.

    Now comes the process of reinstalling this thing back in your amp. You simply reverse the process stated above, starting with reinstalling the pilot light assembly. To do this, you simply place the new trim panel back over the chassis, then hold the LED portion of the pilot light body in position while you 'snap' the lens in from the top! Then reposition the PC board, screw it down, and install the washer and nut on the input jack and the knobs. Then do the same for the ON/OFF switch. Then simply reinstall the chassis in the cabinet, replace the back, and you're done!!

    I've attached a pic of my Pro Jr completed this afternoon. The only other thing I'll mention is that where the overlay rolls over the back side of the chassis there is a screw-hole for holding the cabinet back in place where it threads into the metal chassis. The overlay partially covers this screw.....so, I took and exacto knife and cut this out to permit the screw to go through easily. You could probably just cram it through, but that's bad form!! So...that's it!! Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you have any questions. By the way, my overlay was an ebay purchase for all of about $22. Well worth it!! They may be available elsewhere, but of that I am not sure. I have one coming for my B Jr. That'll be next weekend!!

    Tom D.
     

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  2. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    So... what is the "overlay" you speak of? What's it made of? is it custom? etc?
    I did this type of thing differently on a Mono 15 I changed to be a Princeton recently.
     
  3. Wharfcreek

    Wharfcreek Tele-Meister

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    These 'overlays' are like a bumper sticker for your car. They're a piece of thin vinyl, opaque matt black, and printed with white lettering. Then they are punched and cut so as to be layed over the top of the original chrome control panel and cosmetically restore the faceplate by covering pitted chrome or damaged and missing lettering. They're commercially available on ebay and probably elsewhere as well.
     
  4. MuddyWolf

    MuddyWolf Tele-Meister

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    Or you could use a sharpie to write bass treble ect on the chrome. It would come off with dawn soap and a towel.
    Btw I've not done either .
     
  5. Wharfcreek

    Wharfcreek Tele-Meister

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    Or, you could opt to simply do nothing........ I mean how hard is it to remember which one is Volume and which one is 'tone'? Or, for that matter, buy a Champ and only deal with 1 control.......

    Wait......am I forgetting the point of this thread.....or just getting pushed off course?

    Just think, if no one cared, the poor guy making a living selling overlays would be out of a job.........
     
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