Lane's Corner - One Tech's Blog

Discussion in 'The Workbench' started by Lane Sparber, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. lez57

    lez57 New Member

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    Re: Lane's Corner - Rangemaster kit assembly

    Hi Lane, that's a great looking kit. I was about to start making one when I came acrooss this. Do you know if they are still around. Their Facebook page is inactive and their website doesn't work. Cheers, Les
     
  2. Lane Sparber

    Lane Sparber Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Hey, Les!

    Welcome!

    I've recently noticed that their website and Facebook account seem to be inactive as well. I wish I had more info to offer you on their current state of affairs, but alas I do not.

    The GOOD news is that with about $20 in parts (not counting whatever enclosure you decide to use), you could build the whole thing into a pedal if you like. There are plenty of folks currently offering OC44 repros and NOS transistors as well on eBay. This circuit would work well in a pedal like that, and many manufacturers already offer such a thing. :)

    -Lane
     
  3. Lane Sparber

    Lane Sparber Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Repairing My Own 1974 Super Lead

    Hey, folks!

    By request, here are some pics of the recent restoration I did to my own personal 1974 Super Lead. This amp was a 40th birthday present, and it was obtained at a KILLER price due to the fact that the seller NEEDED to sell and the amp had been modded. No worries, I was happy to have it, since it's the same vintage as me (1974)! As most of you already know, I enjoy the challenge of putting vintage amps back to stock, so no worries there. Here's what she looked like on the inside when I got her:

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    Now, I wasn't looking for a museum piece, and this sure wasn't ever going to be one. I prefer to own beaten-to-death, abused road warriors rather than mint examples of an amp. That way, I'm more likely to gig and record with them, since I'm not super-concerned with maintaining their beauty. Not only was THIS old gal road tested to my satisfaction, there were no extra holes drilled in the chassis other than for a replacement PT someone had installed in the early 90s. SCORE!

    My objective was to remove all of the mods and restore it to stock using ONLY vintage components. What I found most surprising and uplifting about this project was the fact that as soon as I put out the word that I was looking for vintage '74 Super Lead parts, a LOT of my well-connected friends opened up their cherished stashes to help me out. Most notably from the Marshall Forum were Damien (DemonUFO) and "rtcook." I can't thank ALL of you guys enough for the extremely rare parts I needed to put this thing back together.

    What was modded? Well, as you can see, there was a PPIMV installed, as well as extensive preamp modifications done - including (but not limited to) cascading the channels at the V1 socket, replacing cathode r/c values for the first three triodes, and a conversion to the "MK1" presence control. Also, those Sprague orange drops had to go. Almost all modding was done in the above the board "chop off the old component and solder the new one to the remaining leads of the old one" method that I HATE! Speaking of the board, an additional challenge was the board itself. These first-run Marshall PC boards from mid 1973-late 1974 were really poorly made. The traces were so delicate that if you even BREATHED on them they'd crumble. Thus, most techs (myself included) will replace components using new ones with extra long leads, and solder them directly to where the existing trace went. It might not be pretty, but the results of doing it this way are rock-solid, and more reliable than the original board was, IMHO. Here's a pick of what the underside of the board looked like mid-repair and cleanup:

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    Once all of the parts trickled in to my shop, here's what the finished product looks like now. Spot the differences!!

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    I had some vintage 50s and 60s Mullard preamp tubes in my stash, and those went into the V1-V3 positions, with a REALLY sweet 1959 Blackburn in V1. The power tubes are my favorite current production EL34s for Marshalls, JJ EL34Ls.

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    Now all I need is to hit the hardware store for a back panel and chassis screw and I'm done. This is now easily the best sounding amp I own…and my wife said she thinks so too! Well, actually what she SAID was that she could hear it from inside the car a block or two away, but I'll take that as a complement!

    In addition to this being quite possibly the last amp I'll ever buy (my favorite Marshall model of all time from my birth year), it means all the more to me because of my friends from around the globe who hooked me up with rare, vintage parts when I needed them most. Therefore, this amp means the world to me…on several levels!

    Cheers!

    -Lane
     
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  4. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Awesome job! Incredible to have you back here to show this beast off!
     
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  5. solarburnDSL50

    solarburnDSL50 Well-Known Member

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    Fun to watch the progression Lane. You gave it some sugar baby!

    Thanks for sharing and awesome job on a killer Marshall. Man that thing looks like it's been around the block a few times.LOL
     
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  6. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you found the parts you were looking for.
     
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  7. Lane Sparber

    Lane Sparber Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Hey, Gang!

    I've recently re-tooled the incoming AC rig that I use to test and "burn-in" amplifiers on my workbench. I've synthesized ideas from several other techs that I mention in the video, and so far this new rig has proved to be INCREDIBLY helpful to me when diagnosing problems. Please check it out, and I hope you find it useful.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeMuZqqkMTU

    Since this video was made, I've upgraded the Tripp Lite isolation transformer to the "ISO 1000" 9 amp model, but other than that this rig remains as it is in the video. You don't NEED an isolation transformer (they're pricey), but I use one for an added measure of safety.

    SAFETY NOTE!!!! If you want to follow my lead and use a commercially available isolation transformer, I humbly suggest that you perform the slight modification to it that's outlined in THIS video for safety:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11Yve2ijWyk

    As usual, I wish all the best to my friends in Marshall Forum land. Happy repairing, everyone! :D

    -Lane
     

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