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The Truth About Vintage Amps with Skip Simmons

May 16, 2019

Twice a month, guitar amp guru Skip Simmons fields your questions on tube amp buying, restoration and repair. Co-hosted by the Fretboard Journal’s Jason Verlinde. This is our eleventh (and possibly most philosophical) episode to date.

Submit your guitar amp questions to Skip here: or by leaving us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848.

Some of the topics discussed on this episode:

4:00 The Fretboard Journal silverface Fender Champ mods (it’s awesome, btw)

13:17 Skip’s four amp switcher / mixer / pre-amp

19:48 Looking at the Fender 5F1 Champ schematic, part two

31:37 This podcast now has an Instagram page  

32:30 The problem with Skip’s Ep. 10 Baffler (on Fender tremolo circuits)

34:00 This week’s Baffler: A recently-serviced Fender Princeton Reverb with noisy pots

37:08 The smell of vintage tube amps

40:42 Gibson Falcon mods

45:00 Skip’s preferred NOS tubes

51:02 Loose tubes on a Gibson GA-6 Lancer

56:38 Thoughts on vintage Magnatones and the Magnatone pitch-shifting vibrato

1:02:36 A listener with a rare Hohner Contessa CA-300 amp asks for tips on keeping terminal strip/point-to-point wiring repair tidy

1:09:44 Why the 5E3 tweed Fender Deluxe is so loud, even with the volume turned down… plus the perils of replacing vintage pots

1:13:06 More Snufferstick talk and a Fender 6G15 reverb tank that hates high humidity

1:16:38 Tips on finding a good amp tech

1:26:45 A battery-powered(!) Gretsch Safari owned by a member of the Blue Man Group

1:29:15 Finding tube amp treasures through Ham radio enthusiasts

1:33:54 Sleuthing on the origin of a Venice-branded amplifier

1:36:06 A repaired 1966 Ampeg Reverberocket 2 with some quirks

1:43:18 A hissing 1967 Fender Vibrolux Reverb and a great Danny Gatton tale

Plus: Travis Wammack’s "Scratchy;" a cardiologist chimes in; Skip’s disappointing beer of choice; why you should befriend your dentist; the novels of Patrick O’Brien and much more.

This episode is sponsored by Grez Guitars and Mono Cases.