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Just Picked Up A '73 Traynor YGL-3 - What Should I Get Done?

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by JCMNelson, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. JCMNelson

    JCMNelson TDPRI Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I just picked up an old Traynor (pretty rare and unknown in the UK) that looks like it's never even had new tubes put in it! It fires up just fine, and has hardly any background noise, although I haven't cranked it yet. I'm pretty pleased with the tone too (can't wait to hear what new valves will turn it into!).

    I've replaced all the valves apart from the 4 EL84's which I still need to order. I was pretty set on replacing all the electrolytic caps (starting with the filter caps), but read somewhere that if they're operating ok I needn't bother.

    So, what would you do to this amp if it were yours, to keep it as original as possible (for now) and safe and reliable too? At this stage it's not going to be worked hard, it'll probably be played at 25% for less than 10hrs a month...

    Pics here for those interested.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Ben Harmless

    Ben Harmless Friend of Leo's

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    Honestly, I'd go ahead and replace those electrolytics anyway. Sure, they might sound fine, and they might be working great, but the fact is, they are 36 years old, which is well beyond their life expectancy, and if they go, they can take other, less replaceable parts with them. Keep the originals in a safe place along with the original glass for posterity.

    Otherwise, all I'd do would be to find a place to play it louder more often! :lol:

    I'm pretty sure that post zombie apocalypse, Traynor amps will be a form of currency, being that they're the only thing that the surviving humans won't have to service.
     
  3. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    Don't those run EL34's?

    Definitely have the filter caps replaced. They may work now, and even sound fine, but its important maintenance.
     
  4. Tim Swartz

    Tim Swartz Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, 4 EL34s. Traynors of that era came stock with Philips UK tubes (Mullard), they may be better than any new tubes you could buy. Check the bias and change the electrolytics first and see if you like it. BTW, the build quality of those amps is typically better just about anything in that era aside from maybe Sunn and Hiwatt.
     
  5. absurdplanet

    absurdplanet Tele-Meister

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    Nice amp--lots of power and lots of head room.

    They have great transformers!
    As noted above--get the caps etc
    That amp is a beast!
    If I had one and money to burn, I might have Fuchs do the "Dumble" thingy to it!
    I wouldn't spend $1,500 for that right now--just an idea!
    It's the perfect platform for that mod . . .
     
  6. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    On the other hand I have had two local techs tell me if the amp is quiet and the bass and treble sound good and they amp sounds robust you can hold off on a cap job for a while. I am going to do my Fender eventually but for now I am going to get the caps and just have them on hand as I can afford them. Even some here have said if the amp works fine just keep an eye on it.
     
  7. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    Both "techs" should never be visited again. Of course, they'll make more dough fixing an amp that fails... especially since repair guys are hard to find in even most metropolitan areas.

    An amp older than 30 years and they told you that?! What does "for a while" mean? If its new to you, how can you describe bass and treble sounding "good?" It could've sounded fantastic before and now is on its way out, but that was 10 years ago before you even owned it.

    Let a filter cap fail and you might have killed an excellent OT, maybe a pair/quad of cool old power tubes. The title "tech" is thrown around too loosely and too often.

    JCMNelson, have a repair man replace all of the electrolytic filter caps. 2 prong AC cords need to be 3 prong. That's all you need to do... its not too expensive (not as expensive as a dead OT, that's for sure).
     
  8. JCMNelson

    JCMNelson TDPRI Member

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    Thanks everyone!!

    All electrolytic caps are already on order and the amp is in 'quarantine' until they've been fitted. My dad-in-law knows what he's doing, so as soon as they arrive they'll be fitted.

    Out of interest can anyone explain why electrolytics need to be replaced but normal caps don't?

    Oh, and it's already got a three-prong power lead, can't tell for sure, but looks like it could be original?

    For now that's it, although I'm gonna keep an eye out for some decent used speakers to replace the marslands. I'm not looking for anything too niche, just a decent starting place.

    Thanks for all the advice, the more I learn, the more I realise I don't know!! :D
     
  9. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    Electrolytic caps need to be replaced because they use an electrlyte liquid to function. Over time this fluid dries out.

    Its not just a matter of temperature, but also time and use.

    Seeing as how they're used in the high voltage filtering stages it can mean bad news when one fails.
     
  10. Beatbx

    Beatbx Tele-Meister

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    I don't know that I would replace the preamp tubes outright. They take far less abuse than power tubes and can be viable for a lot longer. Definitely experiment with swapping the preamp tubes between the old ones and your new ones.
     
  11. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    Johnny I have had some here tell me too that while the caps should be replaced if the amp is working fine keep an eye on it. I do plan on getting the caps and replace them when I get the caps and the amp starts to get noisy right now there is NO HUM and it is working fine. If nothing else I may replace the filter caps anyway when I get them.
     
  12. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    Johnny both these techs have been in business for years and both have a good reputation. I called both as to get more than one opinion. Plus a member here who I will not name told me that while the caps should be replaced if the amp is not misbehaving I could get by for a while though a cap job probably will make a difference. I will say this back before the internet guys used their amps until there was an issue as there was not all this information out there for all to see. Many of them amps never did fail. Only thing I ever did to my SuperReverb is put new output tubes in it and that was well over 20 years of steady gigging.
     
  13. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

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    I'd compare the old tubes to the new ones and use whichever sound best, because those old tubes might not have a ton of hours on them, and are very possibly great ones!

    I have a YGM-3 with a single 12" speaker, and the original speaker was a dog, but it had a much smaller magnet than the ones in your pictures. I replaced mine with a Eminence that Paul Honeycutt had sitting around, and the improvement was startling! A few months later, I got a deal on a Celestion G12H-80 (alas, discontinued) that was even better.

    Enjoy!

    Tim
     
  14. Ben Harmless

    Ben Harmless Friend of Leo's

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    I'll put my opinion somewhere between Johnny's and those of the techs.

    When filter caps wear out, they start to make the amp sound crappy. My Marshall was 20 years old when I got it, and had a very loose low end response. Replacing all the electrolytics (including those in the bias supply) fixed that right up.

    Now, if an amp does indeed sound fine, the likelihood of a cap failure out of the blue is low, but I have to imagine that it's not as unlikely when the caps are 30 years old than it would be if the caps were new.

    So yeah, I would still replace the caps, but I wouldn't necessarily quarantine the amp. If it's not exhibiting any obvious problems, it's not that much more of a ticking time bomb than a new amp - but I'd still consider it to be pushing your luck if you started cranking the thing regularly.
     
  15. JCMNelson

    JCMNelson TDPRI Member

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    I think I'll take the safest route, and I've just put my 5E3 build into a custom cab and I'm looking to give that some 'airplay'.

    The caps are on the way and there's no urgency, so the Traynor will wait patiently in the corner for its time.

    For anyone that might be interested, I've found a great guy in the UK for Tweed cabs. Very reasonable pricing, and I love my cab (looks and sound). PM me for details...
     
  16. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    Ben that is pretty much what I am thinking. I already talked to the tech about getting the caps ordered at least the caps under the metal cover the filter caps fo a start. When I get them I will replace them. Right now the amp sounds fine the bass sounds good but when I get the caps I will replace them.
     
  17. Quintin

    Quintin Tele-Meister

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    :lol:
     
  18. JCMNelson

    JCMNelson TDPRI Member

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    Sorry to revive the thread, but I figured it was better than starting a new one?

    I've now replaced all the electrolytics, changing one at a time and then testing the amp to make sure I haven't done something stupid! The amp definately sounds better now , like it's more 'solid' and 'there' if that makes any sense?

    Next step is to change the power tubes and to set the bias. I've noticed that it has a trimpot which I assume is there for setting the bias. If that's the case, should I set it according to calculations etc, or just use my ears to set it where I like it? (I assume it's a bit of both really...)

    Thanks for the advice!!
     
  19. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    If the power tubes are original, they may be better than much of what can be found today (as a previous poster said). While I agree that the electrolytics should be replaced as a precaution, do the power tubes really need to be replaced if they're still good? I may need to know this in case I find a Traynor to get me through the zombie apocalypse.
     
  20. JCMNelson

    JCMNelson TDPRI Member

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    Power Tubes don't seem to be great to me, and the guy that I bought it from said that they needed to be replaced. I didn't pay much attention to what he said, but to me it sounds like they need to be changed...
     
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