Unlucky ,or is fender amp quality rubbish

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by PeterVV, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. Johnny Cache

    Johnny Cache Former Member

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    It's not just Fender all the big amp companies are having trouble. Some of it is build quality, which can be a hit or miss, some internal parts quality and some tube quality. I have a DRRI and really like it but it had a noticeable hum coming from the PT and telegraphing through the speaker. First thought it was a tube, nope checked that out. Then I replaced the cheap(crappy) Illinois filter caps, with better quality F&T caps. Didn't fix the problem, but it was worth the effort. I could feel a vibration in the PT and thought why not up grade it to a Hammond PT, that did the trick. Now this amp is as quiet as a mouse and sounds great. No other issues.
     
  2. jwayne

    jwayne Tele-Holic

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    DRRI / TRRI - Rattle and roll

    Around 2005 I purchased a DRRI and a TRRI from Guitar Center. They both sounded great to me at bedroom playing levels. Once I brought the volume up they rattled and made annoying overtones. After research it appeared many folks experienced this phenomenon. I ended up returning the TRRI as it was too much for my needs and sent the DRRI to Tube Tone and they rewired it supposedly PTP. Regardless when I got the amp back it was solid with no unexpected noises. From what I gather it is difficult to keep the reissues from rattling around on the inside when played at stage volumes.
     
  3. old goat

    old goat Tele-Holic

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    Isn't point to point the only option for small builders? Which would certainly give them an incentive to talk it up. It's more convincing to say I wire PTP and Fender uses PCb's, than it is to say I solder better, run wires more carefully, etc, etc.

    As far as manufacturing in China--it is the American company that orders the amps or whatever to do the QC. If construction is shoddy it's because the company wasn't willing to pay to have it done right. Remember that Apple went to China for iPhones in part because it couldn't find an American company that was able to make the screens. It is not uncommon to find Chinese factories that make power tools for different labels with different levels of quality coming out of the same factory, depending on what the American"manufacturer" specifies.
     
  4. NiceTele

    NiceTele Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been doing a lot of gigs over the last 15-20 years and bought various Fender reissue amps new and used to gig with over that time. The only amp that went bad on a gig was a CVR, which I disliked anyway- it was just a faulty speaker cable that failed, a very flimsy cheap cable with a cheap connector. If I was looking for reliability, I would use reissue Fenders still, as they have proven themselves on the road for me, and that's all that counts. Everyone has stories of faulty gear- it's just hit and miss no matter what brand.
     
  5. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    That's been my suspicion. :neutral:

    Warm hello and blessings to your Donner Lake community.
    Good memories from long ago.
     
  6. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    I've seen the same thing said for boutique amps and the usual response is "the speakers need to be broken in." :lol:
     
  7. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Turret board construction is more common than point-to-point.
     
  8. blues bondsman

    blues bondsman Tele-Afflicted

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    As one gentleman mentioned earlier, the ROHS compliance has been a major contributor to failing solder joints since it was mandated.
    I have owned a couple early DRRI's that were excellent amps and the only thing I ever did to them was to change the bright caps to silver mica and play with different values.

    I found the boards both easy to work and remove for that purpose.

    Having been a part of the Fender forum community since it's beginning, I can say with certainty that complaints have increased significantly since the ROHS mandate

    My current personal #1 is a 1974 Silverface Non Master Volume Super reverb !:cool:
     
  9. PeterVV

    PeterVV Tele-Afflicted

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    A complaint to fender resulted in a box of 12 sets of strings arriving. The retailer advised that fender only tests on or two amps per batch these days..? . Wtf?
     
  10. ItchyFingers

    ItchyFingers Tele-Afflicted

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    When I was trying to decide whether to buy a Peavey or a Fender amp from my local, small town, music store, I entered into a discussion with the great staff there. I was told that they had far more returns on Fenders than Peaveys. I've been dealing with those guys for many years. I trust their opinion. That trust has been earned and proven many times.
     
  11. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    How are you supposed to install the strings to make the amp work?

    :lol:
     
  12. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    I trust their opinion too. Even though they sold out to China for manufacturing...not all amps, but many...I still think they're going to have tight quality control, while still under the care of Hartley Peavey.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  13. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    Do you know what the complaint was?
     
  14. corliss1

    corliss1 Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    So I'm working on a Marshall Haze 40. Yeah, yeah, not directly related to this thread, but it'll get the idea across. I need to replace one of the flyback diodes that connects to the output transformer. To do this I needed to do the following:

    -pull 10 knobs, 10 nuts, 10 washers
    -remove the input jack
    -undo both primary and secondary of the OT
    -pull 4 separate multi-pin connectors
    -remove 7 or 8 screws from the board
    -remove the screws holding down the power tube tube sockets
    -cut the zip ties on all the bundles of wires so I could get everything unplugged and have enough clearance to move the main board
    -rotate the main board in just the right way to get access

    On any vintage Fender amp (assuming they had this part, which they didn't if they are stock - some people do add them for protection later on) it would have been the following:

    -remove the back panel
    -remove the screw that holds the power cable to the side of the cabinet
    -remove the chassis bolts

    Now, I will say, this board has been slightly better to work on than any Hot Rod series I've seen. Those board traces seem to fall off just by looking at them the wrong way. There have also been *tons* of issues with recent batches of Blues Juniors for whatever reason - they are too new for them to come across my bench but a lot of get returned to Fender before they even leave the store.

    The bottom line is this, and it's really unfortunate - any Fender amp made today is eventually going to be thrown away. You can only wrench on the boards of a Hot Rod so many times before it can't take it. The reissues used to be better, but aren't so much now. Yeah, you could gut the chassis and replace the trannies and board with better stuff, but that point you're not really *repairing* the existing amp. No one is gonna be playing a Hot Rod series amp from 2015 in 2065 and we know there are lots of vintage fenders in daily service older than 50 years. Any Fender from 1946-1980whatever-year-you-wanna-pick can get rebuilt an infinite number of times at a fairly minimal cost.

    Now, the whole PCB debate. Are PCB amps better? In theory, this should be a resounding yes!!! The capacitance of the board and interaction between parts can be controlled in a way that is reproducible in every.single.amp.every.single.time. However, in practice the boards get made too thin with traces too small with parts that can't take the heat or are engineered to sacrifice space or cut costs. The *engineering* on a lot of the modern amps is remarkable - some of them are basically computers. The application of the circuit and how it gets manufactured is where we run into trouble.

    Now that I'm officially rambling on, look at it this way. In 1967 a Deluxe Reverb was $249.50. The first inflation calculator I pulled shows that would be $1745.31 in 2014 dollars - approaching twice the US price of the DRRI. $1700 today gets you into the cool kids club for sure. Dr Z, Tone King, *most* vintage Fender, a lot of "boutique" builders, yadda yadda. But you really do get what you pay for with that stuff.

    So, with *all* that in mind (man, I used a ton of words) and you have the choice between $1k for a DRRI or $1200 for a silverface that's been *properly* serviced, get the one that'll last a lifetime.
     
  15. PeterVV

    PeterVV Tele-Afflicted

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    The complaint was that it has taken 3 amps before I had one fit for purpose....quality issue
     
  16. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    I wonder how it was decided that the stress and waste of valuable time equated to 12 sets of guitar strings. .... I hope they were at least a usable gauge........did they even bother to ask? They were probably embarrassed to.

    I sure hope they get back on track again soon.
     
  17. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for sharing this from your experienced perspective. My understanding is that the Marshall Haze (made in India and now discontinued) amps had a high percentage of major failures due to poor quality parts, just as you described with the newer Fender amps.
     
  18. PeterVV

    PeterVV Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes they asked what gauge I used.
     
  19. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    I had a 2006 HRD... Never an issue that wasn't operator error. Sold it to down size since I decided on what "my" tone was. It rarely got played.
     
  20. corliss1

    corliss1 Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Sure. Just like anything else that gets mass produced there will be a bell curve of reliability/failure rates. I'm not saying every amp current builders make are cursed.
     
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