112 episodes

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons fields your questions on vintage tube amp repair, restoration and collecting. Often hilarious and always insightful, it's like no other guitar podcast out there.

The Truth About Vintage Amps with Skip Simmons Fretboard Journal

    • Music
    • 4.8 • 393 Ratings

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons fields your questions on vintage tube amp repair, restoration and collecting. Often hilarious and always insightful, it's like no other guitar podcast out there.

    "Put a Pot Under It"

    "Put a Pot Under It"

    Episode 108: It's like a best-of episode, but totally new! Pre-amps, typewriters, too many kitchen hacks, transformer talk, Jason reads the tubes wrong, and we even get a little artsy! 
    Some of the topics discussed this week: 
    2:53 Does Skip want to see your amps right now? See Skip at the January 14-15, 2023 Amigo Bay Area Guitar Show
    4:59 A Tweed Pro with a variable inverse feedback control knob 
    5:45 Lee Jeffriess in the Fretboard Journal's 51st issue (link); check out Jeffriess and John Munnerlyn performing "Blues for Earl"
    11:22 The December 31 TAVA Seattle meetup (thanks for organizing, @liquidnyo); YouTube's jgflyback shows off his tube-powered clock (shaky Instagram Live footage)
    13:50 This week's sponsors: Grez Guitars has a new long-scale bass!; Amplified Parts (Hammond products are currently on sale!); Iztotope (use Fret10!); AND Stringjoy Strings. Plus...Josh Scott (JHS) is coming to TAVA, the TAVA El Pato-Tone Practice amp (Reverb link), and our Patreon page
    20:56 The resonance of a fully loaded turret board; mounting components in a head vs. combo; goop
    28:25 Microphonics in a tube amp (the good kind); David Lindley (support him via t-shirt sales here)
    30:04 Why were so many power transformers changed in the '70s and '80s?; Spokane, Washington; Jason's favorite noodle place in Spokane, Washington (link); a very-modified Gibson Les Paul Junior with a cooling fan
    36:03 Typewriter keyboards; '80s Scottish cop show, 'Taggart'
    39:58 Should I change the transformer on my Bruce Zinky Fender Prosonic head? the effect of an output transformer on tone
    45:46 What's the deal with the Fender Bantam bass amp?; the oven instead of the range; ham and bacon end pieces
    50:39 Reincarnating a dead Peavey Deuce II; putting a Vox-style preamp circuit on an amp with 6L6s; cheese quesadilla hacks
    54:06 Fixing the uneven distortion on my Dad's Gibson GA-9
    56:53 Why isn't my 1967 Fender Twin Reverb as loud as my other Twin Reverb?
    1:00:05 Arts & Humanities corner: The Albert Barnes collection of post-modern art, 'Art of the Steal,' (link); Skip goes to Harvard, again; RIP poet Charles Simic (read "Stub of a Red Pencil" here)  
    1:04:06 Chopped onion, chickpeas, and black beans sauteed in a pan
    1:06:18 What would you do with my Bogen CHA-33 PA head? coffee-roasted carrots (link)
    1:12:13 Changing the pre-amp tube (and speaker) in an Epiphone Model 101 
    1:19:47 What to do with this 1953 Revere T-100 reel-to-reel? 
    1:31:48 Skip likes the new Fretboard Journal (issue 51, link) 
    Recorded January 10, 2023. 
    Support us on Patreon.com for added content and the occasional surprise and don't forget to get a subscription to the Fretboard Journal (link). Digital subscriptions start at just $30.
    There's a giant index page with nearly all the former topics we've discussed in our first 107 episodes found here. 
    Submit your amp questions, recipes and life hacks to the podcast via podcast@fretboardjournal.com and don't forget to share the show with friends on social media. 

    • 1 hr 33 min
    "Nip It In the Bud"

    "Nip It In the Bud"

    Episode 107: The genius of Garnet founder "Gar Gillies," Fender reverb controls, fixing Magnatones, and more. 
    **Want to meet Skip? He'll be at the January 14-15, 2023 Amigo Bay Area Guitar Show with stuff to sell (and also picking up amps that need to be serviced).** 
    Some of the topics discussed this week: 
    3:00 Deluxe Amplification's El Pato Tone Amp (Reverb link) 
    7:19 El Pato, cottage cheese with salsa, Sacramento's music instrument lending library "MusicLandria" (link)
    11:09 Silverface Champs: Change just the tone stock or also increase the value of the plate resistors, the Garnet book (link)
    17:23 Speaker load revisited
    21:25 A 12AU7 instead of a 12AT7 in a Princeton Reverb; gochujang Korean pepper paste, kimchi
    26:45 Fender reverb unit controls, explained; hybrid Vox 7-series amps; the Aclam Dr. Robert pedal (link); impedance redux; the life of a vacuum tube
    34:45 What's oozing out of Magnatone M-9's wires?
    42:29 Why does my Pepco (Garnet! Canada!) amp use two 6AV6 tubes and only half a 12AX7, instead of a whole 12AX7 and a 6AV6?
    46:18 Vintage bass amps for actual bass players?
    56:01 16 or 18-gauge zip cord for speaker wire? heat shrink for splicing 
    This week's episode is sponsored by Calton Cases, Amplified Parts and Grez Guitars. You can also use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% off your Izotope purchase.
    Support us on Patreon.com for added content and the occasional surprise and don't forget to get a subscription to the Fretboard Journal (link). Digital subscriptions start at just $30.
    There's a giant index page for nearly all the former topics we've discussed in our first 100 episodes found here. 
    Submit your amp questions, recipes and life hacks to the podcast via podcast@fretboardjournal.com and don't forget to share the show with friends on social media. 

    • 58 min
    "That's When You Know You're Doomed"

    "That's When You Know You're Doomed"

    Episode 106: No special guests, but plenty of amp questions answered and some recipes! 
    Some of the topics discussed: 
    1:01 It's good to be anxious
    3:59 Our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/vintageamps
    4:18 Any interest in a Seattle amp swap meet / hang on December 31? Message me at podcast@fretboardjournal.com.
    4:49 Deluxe's TAVA-tribute El Pato-Tone 9-volt practice amp: Now available in the green El Pato can! (Reverb link)
    7:51 Music recommendation: Thee Sinseers (NPR Tiny Desk concert link); The "5" Royales (YouTube link)

    9:23 How is amp output affected by adding speakers?
    12:39 Impedance vs resistance, revisited; phaser analysis; chicken curry
    17:27 The Soursound transformers episode (link); when does the speaker deep dive happen?; amps with hybrid circuits; harpist Emily Hopkins (YouTube link), 8417 tubes
    27:38 Netflix's new documentary, 'Travelin' Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall'
    30:45 Harp player Paul Oscher; Jontavious Willis' interview with Oscher on the Diddie Wah Diddie podcast (link)
    33:34 Tips on extending wiring; a Western Electric Slice
    37:06 Safe long-term storage of vintage amps; a Falcon discovered in the trunk of a car
    40:23 What's the simplest tube reverb circuit? the Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb pedal, vintage Premier 90 Reverb tanks
    45:38 'The How & Why of Guitar Tube Amps' by Gar Gillies (order: http://www.garnetamps.com/order_b.htm)
    50:57 Now you have a third salad dressing
    51:31 Is the speaker switch I made safe to use? Grits with smoked gouda
    1:00:07 Buying a second-hand Mesa Boogie amp
    1:04:02 What's the CSA Thermal Protector on a Fender Musicmaster Bass amp?
    1:06:52 An Australian Philips PA conversion that won't stop popping and crackling; cathode resistors and plate load resistors
    1:09:17 Three Marshall Super Lead heads, one that has ghosting; filter capacitance
    1:18:35 Soup with kale and white beans
    1:21:01 Yank magazine; a fancy tube tester (and a Heathkit signal generator) still available at Skip's; Rabbit Hole bourbon (link); Sherwood (British TV show); see Skip at the Marin Guitar Show (January 2023, link)
    This week's episode is sponsored by Calton Cases, Amplified Parts and Grez Guitars. You can also use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% off your Izotope purchase.
    Support us on Patreon.com for added content and the occasional surprise and don't forget to get a subscription to the Fretboard Journal (link). Digital subscriptions start at just $30.
    There's a giant index page for nearly all the former topics we've discussed in our first 100 episodes found here. 
    Submit your amp questions, recipes and life hacks to the podcast via podcast@fretboardjournal.com and don't forget to share the show with friends on social media. 

    • 1 hr 26 min
    "You Started a Chainsaw" (Special guest: jdflyback)

    "You Started a Chainsaw" (Special guest: jdflyback)

    ** We are doing another run of Truth About Vintage Amps t-shirts. Pre-order your shirt now by clicking here: https://silkshopstores.com/tavamerch/shop/home **
    Just in time for the holidays: A bonus Truth About Vintage Amps episode!

    This week, no listener-submitted questions. Instead, we introduce you to Joshua Dejaen, a.k.a. jdflyback on YouTube.
    This young, Pacific Northwest-based electrical engineer has taken YouTube by storm with a viral video where he not only built a tube amp from scratch, he even built the tubes!

    Watch Joshua's video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UEfqAWb3fE&t=439s
    During our chat, we hear how Joshua got his start building vacuum tubes at home, learn about some of the grassroots tube builders / electrical engineers who have inspired him along the way, and hear about Joshua's build process. We also learn about the perils of microwave oven transformers and so much more.

    Joshua has included a schematic for the spot welder he used in his tube-making video. See the show notes on fretboardjournal.com or check our Instagram/Patreon pages.

    Other references mentioned by Joshua:
    'Saga of the Vacuum Tube,' by Gerald F.J. Tyne (Amplified Parts order link)
    https://simplifier.neocities.org

    https://www.youtube.com/@glasslinger/
    'Materials Technology for Electron Tubes' by Walter H. Kohl  (Tubebooks.org link)
    This week's episode is sponsored by Calton Cases, Amplified Parts and Grez Guitars. You can also use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% off your Izotope purchase.
    Support us on Patreon.com for added content and the occasional surprise and don't forget to get a subscription to the Fretboard Journal (link). Digital subscriptions start at just $30.
    In early December, we'll celebrate the third anniversary of TAVA with Ep. 106. Submit your amp questions, recipes and life hacks to the show via podcast@fretboardjournal.com, and don’t forget to share the show with friends on social media.

    The Truth About Vintage Amps is hosted by amp tech Skip Simmons. Co-hosted and produced by the Fretboard Journal‘s Jason Verlinde.

    • 36 min
    "I Bought a Headache"

    "I Bought a Headache"

    Episode 104: No special guests, but plenty of amp questions answered, plus lots of schematic talk, A/B/Y boxes, a recipe or two, and a parenting tip!
    Some of the topics discussed: 

    1:03 A 1954 Fender extension cabinet (tweed, but spray painted black); Fender Amps: The First 50 Years (Amazon link); asbestos in amps
    7:04  Why are the PA amps I'm restoring so noisy? Masco MA-25; Stromberg-Carlson AU42
    12:49 Resistance versus impedance; the functions of a choke in an amp
    18:37 What happened to the quick & easy recipes? Canned soup hacks; replacing a broken terminal strip
    23:13 Putting a three-prong plug on an old Variac; movie recommendation: Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (link)
    27:08 A one-tube reverb circuit (link); Kodak projectors; a voltage doubler
    30:15 Getting your kids interested in electronics; paper airplanes; candle powered boats (Amazon link)
    Amplified Parts pedal kits (link)
    35:21 Working on early Carvin tube amplifiers
    39:09 Jack's Darr's Fender schematics
    40:48 A 6G3 clone with a tube rattle; tube rings; goats
    46:59 A Vega Commander Fidelity Amp Model No. 51; 1273 tubes
    52:57 A "pop" whenever you turn your pedal on
    57:15 Why don't more players use an A/B/Y and play multiple amps at once?
    1:00:02 The bass control on a Gibson EH-185 schematic, amps that don't use the Baxandall tone control
    1:03:03 What is the amp that came with my lap steel, what's with the 80 tube, how do I find a schematic for it, and what do I do with it?  
     
    1:09:20 Metal tubes versus glass tubes 
     
    1:11:50 The history of Rogers hi-fi's; beer bread pizza   
     
    1:14:58 Recommended: The Computer Clinic of Chico, California  
    This week's episode is sponsored by Calton Cases, Amplified Parts and Grez Guitars. You can also use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% off your Izotope purchase.
    Support us on Patreon.com for added content and the occasional surprise and don't forget to get a subscription to the Fretboard Journal (link). Digital subscriptions start at just $30.
    Submit your amp questions, recipes and life hacks to the podcast via podcast@fretboardjournal.com and don't forget to share the show with friends on social media. 

    • 1 hr 18 min
    "If You Want Something, You Have to Do Something"

    "If You Want Something, You Have to Do Something"

    The 103rd Truth About Vintage Amps Podcast. Special guest Mason Stoops (Jackson Browne, Marcus Mumford) walks us through his crazy Marcus Mumford live rig! Plus: Dutch potatoes, shorting jacks, vintage road cases, and more.

    **Get a glimpse of what Mason is talking about by watching this video:  https://youtu.be/TH-bixpr-EQ and then listen to his explanation on our show (starts at 1:03:28).**

    :47 What's on Skip's bench: a Mesa Boogie Mark I

    2:21 Kevin in Ohio has joined the Rustic Kegger in the Woods (Facebook link), nasty old pine trees

    7:53 Eric Daw's Solid Sound book (order link); Daniel Petrzelka's replacement pilot light washers for SF Fenders (contact him via Instagram)
    18:42 Easiest way to date a Fender amp; Portland, Oregon's Cast Iron Revival (Instagram link)
    22:55 Music recommendation: Sonny Burgess
    27:22 A Blonde Fender Bandmaster with failing volume; Nic Grabien
    31:09 Gain vs volume, redux; Hotchpotch / hutspot potatoes with kale
    38:14 Alternatives to a Fender Champ 12
    42:39 Shorting jacks to reduce hum in amps? Mexican gumbo soup
    50:32 A 1968 Fender Bassman head with two chokes and a non-original power transformer
    54:25 A 1959 Gibson GA-9 with an erratic distortion once the volume is turned up
    57:00 Taming the boost on 1979 Fender Princeton Reverb with the pull-boost; original Fender-branded tubes
    1:01:34 Alternatives to a Music Man RD-50?
    1:03:28 Special guest: Mason Stoops! Stoops' live rig touring with Marcus Mumford, Austen Hooks-modified Filmosounds + "Space Heater" amps, Kalamazoo Model 2s, a Peavey Studio Chorus, LED lights, playing with Jackson Browne, and so much more.
    Watch our video here to see what Mason is talking about (and his guitar and pedal setup): https://youtu.be/TH-bixpr-EQ (Thanks, Duncan!)
    This week's episode is sponsored by Calton Cases, Jupiter Condenser Co., Amplified Parts and Grez Guitars. You can also use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% off your Izotope purchase.
    Support us on Patreon.com for added content and the occasional surprise and don't forget to get a subscription to the Fretboard Journal (link). Digital subscriptions start at just $30.
    Submit your amp questions, recipes and life hacks to the podcast via podcast@fretboardjournal.com and don't forget to share the show with friends on social media. 

    • 1 hr 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
393 Ratings

393 Ratings

Whiskey-a-go-go ,

So Niche, So Fantastic

Such a wealth of knowledge is discussed in this podcast. Even if you are a casual player, an amp aficionado, or just a six pack, dad, wanting to know more about music. This is a podcast for you.

Bucky900021 ,

Used to be better

In the early episodes the focus was on vintage amps. Now that usually is just one of the topics. A lot of food talk and other “homespun” campfire talk. Too bad they lost focus. Still useful podcast when they don’t drift off topic. The worst part is the rambling voicemails. Sprinkled throughout the many podcast is awesome and valuable amp info as promised. This cast has become more like the old Whole Earth Review which might bring a larger audience b

jklereko ,

Skip is the man!!

Do you want to learn about fixing old guitar amps and ideas on what to cook for dinner? Look no further. It’s really a treat to be able to learn from one of the best. A fun and informative listen.

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