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When it comes to fixing amps, I must be nuts....
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Author:  Thorny [ Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:14 pm ]
Post subject:  When it comes to fixing amps, I must be nuts....

I got the silvertone really cheap, I traded a friend a transformer I didn't need. But this thing was in really sorry shape. Just a chassis (no cab), and was missing some tubes, and I was told "it had worked but it does not now". You know me, I am optimistic. Well, I replaced the tubes, I cleaned it all up, and I recapped it, but it still didn't work. It did not blow a fuse or anything, but it turned out to be the output transformer. Bummer, but I bought a new one from Weber (luckily he makes one that is a spot on replica that isn't too expensive). But even inexpensive is yet another $50-70 or so (shipping transformers is expensive). I get it going - well, I get closer. It still isn't working right. I trace out several open resistors, and replace them (leaving the other carbon comps intact). I get it working. Oh yeah, I put an output jack on it (these didn't have one). It still is ugly, rusted, but it ROCKS. I wiggled the tremolo and it works great once it kicked in. Well did I mention this did not have the reverb tank? It doesn't. And you can't get one anywhere - it isn't manufactured. Well I found out that it has the same tubes used in some ampegs and magnatones, so It was just a matter of figuring out how they did it. So I rewired it to be more like an Ampeg, and bought an ampeg compatible tank that in a small size (a mod brand). I put in jumper wires from a set of RCA connecting cables used on stereos. I matched the colors (red and white) to the jacks in the tank. After some experimentation I have Ampeg reverb in a Silvertone, and hey this sounds a LOT BETTER THAN ANY SILVERTONE reverb ever thought about sounding. But we are not finished yet. I had to make a cabinet. Luckily my friend used his tools and we knocked one out, I bought all the hardware, and after lots of drilling, shaping, gluing, sanding, and in this case I painted it, but hey I used this rustoleum textured brown paint - looked cool but I had to make two trips because it took two cans (and every bit of the second one). So - I have a Zillion dollars (relatively) in this, but now it has a nice pine shell that is much better than the particle board stock one, oh yeah, and I had to go to multiple hardware stores to get 4" bolts that would fit it to mount the chassis (Ace hardware had it, Lowes didn't!). Wow, it does sound big and fat (clean but with some dirt on top, not a marshall crunch but good fat semi-distorted tones - great for blues). But I have more in to it than anyone would want to pay. So I'll probably wind up keeping it. Someone will come over and hear it and have to have it though. It is really original except for minor cosmetic stuff and the modified (and greatly improved) reverb circuit.

Here is the MONEY PIT in all its glory!



Author:  yyzrondo [ Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: When it comes to fixing amps, I must be nuts....

Was that a 1482? I had a spell before I was married that I was thinking about finding an old Silvertone. I used to have the schematic for one somewhere on a disc. Hope it rocks for you for a while.

Author:  Workingman [ Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: When it comes to fixing amps, I must be nuts....

Nice save and nice story.

Author:  Thorny [ Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: When it comes to fixing amps, I must be nuts....

yyzrondo wrote:
Was that a 1482?

It is a 1484 so a couple sizes larger. Still similar except this was a head and can and twice the power.

Author:  ultra sonic [ Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: When it comes to fixing amps, I must be nuts....

Once you get a little way into the project, you've got to commit to finishing it! Cool sounding amps, quirky design, shoddy construction.

I've got a great 1484 with original cabinet.

One thing I love is the tremolo. With the amp at least moderately cranked (12:00+), you can play hard and drown out the trem effect. Play softly and the trem sounds normal. You can use this to dynamic effect, and I think it adds something unique to the character of the amp.

My reverb worked at one point, but eventually died. Not a huge loss, as those old piezo/spring units don't sound very good even on their best days. I didn't want to rewire the reverb circuit to either Fender or Ampeg style circuits. One reason is these amps are kind of a rats nest inside. Very chaotic point to point construction. I just didn't want to get that deep into it. And there's very little room in the head cabinet to put a spring reverb pan anyway.

So I devised a modification that converts the existing reverb circuit to a parallel effects loop. I've used an E-H Holy Grail with the Slivertone and it works great. The amp's reverb knob still works, and I rewired the foot switch to kill the send to the reverb, so the tail isn't cut off when you hit the switch. I switched Channel 1/Input 2 jack to a send/return TRS jack for the external pedal. You can also just use that jack as a send, and use the Channel 1 input for the return so you get the input knob and tone controls on the effect return signal. This also puts the effect signal in phase with Channel 2, so you have more gain and tone adjustment options. It really works well, and is a good solution for the Silvertones with dead or junk sounding reverb.

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