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The Truth About Vintage Amps with Skip Simmons

Apr 17, 2020

Amp tech Skip Simmons is once again fielding guitar tube amp questions from around the world. 

Submit your question to Skip here: or, better yet, leave us a voicemail or text at 509-557-0848. 

(Apologies for the Skype noise/buffering at the start of the podcast... our small town internet needs some WD-40.)

21:39 This week’s sponsor: Grez Guitars (link)
22:33 A Musicmaster Bass amp in a Vibro Champ cabinet (and vice versa)
25:19 The crest on a Gibson Crestline-era Skylark / the Gibson amp book (link)
27:49 A resistor to bias a tweed Vibrolux; power transformers in a 5F2A  
38:51 Using the speaker of a Deluxe Reverb with a Quilter head
42:34 A Silverface Vibro Champ with a weak tremolo; the Capacitor Wizard
47:55 This week’s quote: "The mind that is not baffled, is not employed" -Wendell Berry
49:19 The popping Fender Tonemaster update
55:01 A gridleak bias mindworm
1:02:06 In defense of Lodge cast iron; crisper potatoes
1:07:37 Pickups and how they interact with tube amps
1:11:59 Music recommendation: Skip James' Today!
1:13:01 Free video time killers for the DIY set: Camel Finds Water (link), Resurrection: Rescue of a 1955 VW panelvan (link), The Beast of Turin (link)
1:16:56 Rogue Hoe gardening tools (link); symptoms of a bad bias circuit
1:23:46 Dialing in your tone on a Mesa Boogie Mark IV
1:30:58 Tubes for a Fender reverb tank
1:34:33 "Chitlins Con Carne" rhythm revisited: Timmy Thomas’ "Why Can’t We Live Together," the Police's "Deathwish;" Gibson Falcon mods
1:39:12 Modifying a '60s hi-fi home kit amp, plus Vinnie’s mashed potato recipe (see below)
1:48:17 Movie pick: 'Pow Wow Highway'

Keep the questions coming and please leave us a review over on Apple Podcasts or share the podcast with friends.

Vinnie's Mash Potato Recipe

500gm Floury potatoes (in New Zealand I'd use Agria)
300ml single cream
200gm butter
butter to finish

  1. peel and cut the potato in 3cm dice
  2. bring to the boil (just covered) in heavily salted water (slightly less than the sea)
  3. strain as soon as you can easily poke a sharp knife through them 

(if they over cook and take on water they will be too salty)

  1. once fully drained put them back in the pot on a low heat until the outside is fluffy and dry
  2. meanwhile in another pot start reducing the cream and butter until it takes on the consistency of thermal mudpools bubbling. In NZ it would be quite yellow at this stage but our cows are grass feed.
  3. while this is happening, force the potato through a sieve or ricer, working the potato as little as possible
  4. Now whip the potato's in to the cream mixture, this should almost immediately come cleanly away from the sides of the pot and be ready to serve.
  5. Spin the pot to make a ball, tip into a bowl, sprinkle with nutmeg and stick a 1cm knob of butter in the middle 

Maybe mash potato seems like a lame recipe, but this method produces the best results, I think.

p.s. water is the enemy of mash potato. Water out--Fat in