Sold Your Vintage Amp For Fear Of A Crash?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by keithb7, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. keithb7

    keithb7 Friend of Leo's

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    Reading a post in another thread I got to wondering. I'm curious if there are others here who invested a pretty hefty dollar on a dream vintage amp? Finally getting that amp everyone talks about wanting. You develop gas after years of reading about a certain amp, that for some reason has captured your attention. You've finally pulled it off. Maybe you sold some gear, picked up pop bottles and now you own it! Its so exciting to play it and see it in your music room.

    You spend a few hundred on a bare minimum service. You've now taken it to a couple of gigs maybe. It's pretty valuable so you think twice about taking it to a bar full of drunk patrons. A couple years go by. Maybe less time, and you still sound like you always do. The crazy excitement of owning it weans a bit. You plug into other amps and think, ya my vintage amp is better. Then you start wondering if it's thousands of dollars better? You see price swings in the market. Sluggish sales and prices slowly declining. You read about all the potential things that could go wrong with your dream amp. A transformer might hurt your value bad. You already pulled the original speaker and shelved it months ago. A flood? A thief? A beer dumped on it. That little doubt in your mind about it starts to develop further.

    You start thinking it over more. Then you let it go. You had it. You loved it. You know it brought you great joy. Now you're done worrying about it. Maybe you did alright and got your investment back. Maybe you lost a little money. Maybe if you're lucky you made a profit. Now you're off to chase a good tone that won't have you double guessing your big cash investment.

    Which amp was it for you? Do you miss it? Do you regret letting it go.

    For me it was a 1966 Deluxe Reverb. A year later I let it go. I had a fair bit of cash in it. I had other amps that sound similar yet have 1/5th of the cash invested.
    I did not sell it for fear of a price crash. However as great as it was, to me it wasn't xxx-thousands better.

    Great amp. But....I let 'er go.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  2. troy2003

    troy2003 Friend of Leo's

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    No. Never had anything vintage, or something I couldn't go into a major music store and replace. I don't think I would want anything vintage to tell the truth. I buy stuff to play, not worry endlessly about it. Just my opinion
     
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  3. Big Steve

    Big Steve Tele-Holic

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    I have. I worry about vintage stuff in a heavy gigging situation. So I found a local amp tech who is really good at cloning amps. So I have had him clone a couple of my vintage amps and I gig the clones.
     
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  4. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    This won't count on the financial scale that I think you're focusing on but I bought a mid 70's Vibro Champ from a good small shop in Milwaukee. It looked beautiful and sounded beautiful. I had a 76 when I was 13 years old.

    The vintage Vibro stopped working 4 times in 10 weeks and it went back and back and back. It's a 50 minute drive to the shop. Taking the amp there and dropping it off and then going to fetch it after a repair was 200 minutes of driving (each time it malfunctioned). I finally took it back and asked for a $500 in store credit which was the purchase price. The shop owner was happy to oblige.

    Months later I applied the $500 toward a new Martin 00015M. I have a 69 Champ now and it works very well. I do wish that I had a Vibro......I love real tremolo.

    It was just a cute little Champ but the time invested was remarkable and depressing. Yikes. I'm buying brand new Dr. Z amps now and I feel fine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
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  5. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I work on amps and enjoy that just as much as playing. That's my main reason to appreciating vintage amps, besides their tone.

    Someday truly collector grade amps will crash due to a die out of collectors which are largely getting up their in age. Player grade amps will likely stay about where they are now, and will keep up with inflation. 80's and 90's amps will see their value rise as they get "nostalgic" to players.

    The death of amps will be the day tubes go out of production or lose quality due to environmental regulations. That may be 15 years. It may be 50 years. Who knows. For now I can't appreciate the value of collector grade amps when there are good clones out there. Example is my Dr. Z. Maz 38. I've been thinking of offering it up in trade for a 1963 AC30 head with a modern C2X cab and stand, but who needs to worry about maintaining that.
     
    Colors likes this.
  6. Colors

    Colors Tele-Holic

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    I've got a '65 Bassman Piggyback. It's been recapped, ceramic tube sockets, plexi'ed the bass channel, and reconed one of the Chicago Jensen's. It's my favorite piece of gear. I gig it when I gig which is rare these days. It's too freekin cool not to. No point in collecting for the sake of collecting. I'll keep it running as long as I can but everything turns to ash in the end. Get the goodie out of your gear while you have it. Vintage stuff ain't gunna be around forever no matter how well you take care of it, unless of course you vacuum seal it or something. No one is going to be able to hear how sweet it is if you do that.

    I try not to own the coolest gear no one will ever hear. Even if it is just my neighbors that hear it.
     
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  7. Cjl77

    Cjl77 Tele-Meister

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    I never sell anything and I gig everything.
    Once I buy it, I figure as long as I don't have to feed it, it doesn't really cost me anything to sit there.
    However, last year I sold a tweed pro that I'd bought in the 90's. I have no idea why I sold it. I didn't really even think much about it at the time but now I regret it and find myself thinking about the amp a lot. I own 2 guitars both bought when I was a teenager. They were on the road for 10 yrs with me and are like family members. I love old amps and have picked up some jewels over the yrs and have never even considered selling any of them. But for some reason I sold that pro and since the day it left my studio I have regretted it.
    Lesson learned!!
    Never again!!
     
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  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I only gig with "tool" amps and guitars.
    I have used dozens of BF Fender amps in my youth, when they were just common used amps.
    Luckily, they are largely bullet-proof.
    Tweed stuff is another matter, pricey and often problematic and expensive to maintain.
     
  9. Tarnisher

    Tarnisher Friend of Leo's

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    I sometimes think about selling my '55 Tremolux since I live in a town where every venue provides an amp and I don't have a car, which makes gigging it a nonstarter.

    But if I sell it now and regret it and can't afford to buy another, I'll be much more bummed than if I sell it at a loss in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  10. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't even look at vintage gear. Guess I'm saving myself a lot of stress. lol
     
  11. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have a bunch of old amps... they are mine and they don't cost much to keep. I didn't pay a lot for most of them, some I found at a decent bargain and a few were cheap needing repairs and I fixed them up. Sometimes I think about selling most of them off and probably will eventually as I am getting older ... but not yet... I just picked up another 51 Pro project.
     
  12. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, I let all of mine go too. Unfortunately about 30 years too early. :(
     
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  13. Gary Mitchell

    Gary Mitchell Former Member

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    I am 65yrs old started buying good stuff maybe late 60s, I was 18 in 69 so I have own a lot of stuff. I've played Fender in the 60s and 70s, Marshall's, Musicmans a bunch, I had a Hiwatt 212 in the early 90s I really like. As far as vintage amps, makes me wonder if you heard those same dudes in their youth playing todays amps, if you would be just as excited. With that same feel on the same drugs in some cases. If I like a amp I like it old new are what. My Rivera Clubster Royale 112 and this is from a guy who played some of those vintage amps, I wouldn't trade it for none of them as far as sound or built. In some cases vintage means old amp and a lot of upkeep. I rather spend the money some want for those vintage amp, and have a tech build me one to my specs. Don't get me wrong I am not knocking them, some of them made a lot of history. But most of that was the dudes playing them. I had a 62 Fender strat guess what it was made of wood like a new one. I stood behind a curtain one time and played a 2008 strat and then my 62. same song same amp. Know one could tell the different, maybe Eric Clapton could. I do believe one thing, a lot of stuff and amps were made better. And to get that quality now you got to pay out the butt.
     
  14. Ham and Eggs

    Ham and Eggs Tele-Meister

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    My Princeton II (not amazingly old) exploded right before a gig....sad day. I found someone who could repair it, but it was more than I payed for the amp. :(
     
  15. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've got 62 Deluxe, early 65 DR, and a Silverface DR. I lucked into all of them, for not much money. I can do my own maintenance, so never have to spend much on them.
    I enjoy them. I know they aren't worth as much as they were 10 years ago, but even if they lose half their value again, I'm still good for what I have in them.

    I wouldn't even consider selling. Nobody will love them as much as I do.
     
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  16. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    I use my vintage amps the way they were intended to be used. Buying amps for a long term investment isn't a wise investment.
    When I cash it in and the girls sell them hopefully they'll get decent money out of them. But they might just toss them in the nearest dumpster. At that point I wouldn't care.
     
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  17. TheRumRunner

    TheRumRunner Tele-Afflicted

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    I would add to the conversation that great sounding vintage amps don't need to cost a lot. When you remove the financial "worry" it makes owning, collecting and playing them so much less stressful.

    DW
     
  18. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    "Let the clones do the dirty work!"

    That's what I always say.

    I wouldn't have any problem gigging a '60s amp although some of the old Marshalls are getting pricy. If I spent a zillion dollars for a minty old tweed it would get a repro cabinet, play through a repro speaker and travel in a road case. That's belt and suspenders. That covers most of the possibilities short of the amp getting stolen. Amps don't need to get played to get stolen so there's one more thing to be paranoid about.

    "Let the clones do the dirty work!"

    .



    .
    A Vibro Champ is only a little more complicated than a paper clip. There is absolutely no reason a properly serviced Vibro shouldn't go 40- 50 more years. After all, there are originals out there that have gone that long without service.

    There are a very few changes in the reliaility package:

    Doesn't matter what year you have, the supply voltage in every Vibro Champ is literally off the charts. Way too high. When you deviate to the high side on design center values you pay a price in tube life. The life of the 6V6 tube is cut in half. That didn't matter in 1965 when you could buy high quality "NOS" tubes at the corner drug store, or from The Man With The Van And The Plan TV repair... not that you had to. Those old RCAs that Fender used tolerate the high voltage and last for decades. I think the thing that ultimately kills them is it's relatively easy to run a Vibro Champ with its speaker disconnected. I think that's the coffin nail right there... the one that makes the 6V6 tube and / or the bias network go udders skywards.

    If your original PT is in a baggie somewhere you're not going to blow it.

    If the supply voltage is closer to design center you can get away with hot bias without problems.

    Almost every Champ or Vibro Champ has a serious wiring error, stock. The 470 ohm bias resistor is in direct contact with the adjacent 25uf/25V cap. That means if the elevated supply voltage and / or running the amp without a speaker connected finally shorts the original 6V6 tube the resistor gets hot and melts the cap. I've measured 15 ohms DCR through the melted cap. If the bias wasn't hot before you bet it's hot in failure mode. The usual sequence of events is to swap in a new imported 6V6 without looking inside the amp. The zorched bias network is gonna eat / short the fresh 6V6 pretty quick. Trick is to use a 5 watt bias resistor and give it a good air gap between the board and adjacent components.

    The further sequence of events before these things see a tech is the dreaded "Fuse blew so use a bigger fuse!" trick. If whatever hot smoking mess inside the amp hasn't blown the PT yet a big fat oversized fuse will make the PT act as a fuse.

    A properly serviced vintage amp should be "good as new" if not better. We have the advantage of hindsight. We know what blows up. Trick is to beef up the weak parts. While we're at it a properly serviced vintage amp should be better than a "reissue".

    .


    .
    Like I said,

    "Let the clones do the dirty work!"

    Boo- teek amps cost big bucks because they're built with premium and NOS parts. A proper clone is a hot rod incorporating the best features of the original amp and the best parts the aftermarket has to offer.
     
  19. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

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    Sounds like some people buy amps that they can't really afford.... Maybe those same amps will become more affordable someday....

    In the meantime, there are some pretty great sounding amps and speakers for $1200 or less. Even the $300-800 combos sound good if you get one that suits your style and guitars.
     
  20. DeVilleDude

    DeVilleDude Tele-Holic

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    Sold my only real vintage piece a couple years ago. A '79 ES 335. Many wouldn't really consider THAT vintage.

    But my early '90's SRV strat and first year tweed DeVille have been my main rig since aquiring them, both brand new.

    Perfect for someone as obsessive as me. Both easily replaceable, amps been modded, but never needed service or repair. And a strat is as bulletproof as they come. When the occasional fill-in gig or jam comes along, I'm stress free about my gear hitting the street. I'm way more concerned somebody will scratch my mint '08 Miata in the parking lot.
     
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