I have to rant. Vintage parts and new builds...just stop it.

Discussion in 'The Workbench' started by Matthews Guitars, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    I know I'm probably preaching to the choir, mostly, but here's my rant.

    If you build new amps, don't use up the vintage correct Mustard caps, Iskra and Piher resistors, and other parts that are no longer being made and are in short supply!

    It's a new build, use new parts. SoZo caps are as good as vintage Mustard caps ever were, and you can't get better resistors than Dale/Vishay metal film or metal oxide resistors. Today parts quality is superb, and WELL above the level of parts quality in 1970.

    The only reason to use NOS vintage correct parts in a new build is to butter up your ego. They DON'T increase the value of your amp OR make it sound better. But every one you use is one more that can't be used for a restoration.

    Leave those parts to those of us who restore those amps to their original state, as much as is possible. They're scarce enough already.

    Besides...don't limit your amp's performance by installing parts made half a century ago. Modern parts can be BETTER. More reliable, 50 years newer and thus not suffering from any age effects, and quite possible, if you pick the right ones, they'll have the same sonic qualities we value in the vintage parts, or even better.

    I posted this in response to having been browsing the internet this morning and encountered an ad from some yahoo who wants to seel his new built Marshall clone and it's chock full of NOS parts. What a waste!
     
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  2. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, good point but probably a waste of a post and your time to be honest!
     
  3. Im247frogs

    Im247frogs Well-Known Member

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    Yup. Just as soon as you stop hogging and “restoring” all the old Superleads to satisfy your ego, buddy.
     
  4. StingRay85

    StingRay85 Well-Known Member

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    I have about 800 mustard caps for all my new builds
     
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  5. Im247frogs

    Im247frogs Well-Known Member

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    Brooklyn, Joey!
    I should PM you, I have a couple ab763/marshall hybrids i want to build in old console radio cabinets.
     
  6. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    I threw out two 30s console radio cabinets last year. Because actually they were termite colonies in the shape of console radios, covered in walnut veneer.
     
  7. thetragichero

    thetragichero Well-Known Member

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    new parts are generally cheaper and better anyway, but many guitarists "hear tone" with their eyes and will pay a premium for old parts with beautiful flowery descriptions. i think it's dumb as I'd rather have factory fresh components anyway. but it's not like we can expect the guitar electronics industry to be technically/intellectually honest for the most part
     
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  8. StingRay85

    StingRay85 Well-Known Member

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    I buy NOS cheaper than new. But you have to know where to look
     
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  9. DaDoc

    DaDoc Well-Known Member

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    I get what you're saying, and totally agree!

    By the time I can afford to get a nice old vintage Marshall that may need a restoration the original parts will probably be used up..:sad:
     
  10. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    I mean no disrespect to those who build great amps with vintage parts...but don't you think that restoring a vintage '67 Black Flag plexi is more of a noble usage of the last Mustard cap than using it in your clone of that amp?

    And since I have your attention, I do want to buy SMALL quantities of those vintage NOS parts for the specific purpose of future restorations of vintage Marshalls,
    and I'm willing to pay a REASONABLE price to do so.

    So if any of you would like to offer me a small part of your stash of mustard caps, Piher and Iskra resistors, please do feel free to drop me a message.

    I'm also looking for a few of the correct International Rectifier bridge rectifier blocks. I forget the whole part number but it has 256 in it. It has solder turret connections.

    I found some similar ones but the voltage rating is too low. I'm going to gut them out, lay in new diodes, and rebuild them.
     
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  11. Ivan H

    Ivan H Member

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    Should we not fit NOS/NIB valves to our builds either, just in case someone may want them to re-tube their old Marshall/Fender/Vox etc etc etc (or be scooped up by audiophools etc)???
    I was hesitant to answer this thread, but being someone who has built a few amps using NOS Iskras, Pihers, Philips C296 mustards, RS Silver mica's etc, & also someone who now owns a Plexi Marshall (JMP50), I think I've paid the admission.
    On the one hand, I am in agreeance with you regarding the building of NOS component clone amps purely as a money making endeavour, to be sold to some completely unknown highest bidder.
    However, I respectfully differ with your opinion when it comes to building these NOS component type amps for personal use & pleasure.
    I understand that you want to score butchered amps & restore them using period correct NOS components, which in itself is a good thing, however I am interested to know, are you doing this to keep the restored amps for personal use, or to be sold in a money making endeavour??
    The way I see it, I went to (& continue to go to) antique electronics fairs & swap meets etc & put in the effort in various other ways to search for/find & purchase these NOS components & as such have every right to build amps for my own personal use with them.
    It's akin to the guy, who after years of looking, finds an old '32 Ford roadster body, or Vincent Black Shadow motor/transmission assy sitting in someone's barn & purchases it.
    Is this guy not within his rights to then use his purchase in building his dream hot rod, rat rod, or road/track weapon, sidecar outfit or whatever, just because there may be someone, somewhere who want to use it in a restoration & feels that as such, they have more right to it, without even having freeking well found or purchased it.
    Since getting my JMP50 plexi, I have already obtained a good many of the circuit components as NOS "spare parts" should they ever be needed (they aren't all "that" rare yet). If it ever arose that I needed a component for my Plexi that I didn't have except in one of my clone builds, of course I'll be pulling it out to use.
    Just my opinion, rant over. Cheers
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  12. william vogel

    william vogel Well-Known Member

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    I disagree. And for your point, should we never put old tubes in the new amps. I quite a collection of vintage parts and vintage tubes and while new parts can be manufactured to tighter tolerance, the sound of Piher resistors and mustard caps with Heyboer vintage spec of Merren transformers and old 60’s Mullard Blackburn tubes make a new built plexi clone sound like a vintage amp. I understand your point but I splurge for the parts so I can enjoy my amps and I don’t wreck a vintage amp.
     
  13. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Putting NOS/vintage tubes in ANY amp is a good use of them if you appreciate the tonal benefits. But tubes are made to last only so long and wear out. They are consumables. Putting cheap Chinese tubes into your vintage '65 original Bluesbreaker doesn't alter the valuation of the vintage amp itself. Although if a shoddy tube
    should short out and destroy the output transformer, that'd be bad.

    But new tubes are being made, and arguably the best of them sound as good as the "holy grail" Blackburn Mullards or really close to them. (The difference in tone, if there is any, is not great enough that people listening to your playing will know the difference.)

    Let's say I've just finished restoring an original '67 Black Flag JTM45/100...one with provenance, one documented and verified as having been owned and played on some recordings you know by a player we all know and revere...except it needs one specific original Mustard cap to be absolutely back to original build specs....and somebody just put the last one in a clone amp. That was...frankly...a waste of that capacitor. You could have used a SoZo and it'd have been fine.

    That's my point. Save vintage parts for vintage amps. No true collector is going to be happy when he buys a '69 Plexi and when he opens it up he sees....THIS:



    DSC_6738_sm.jpg


    This nightmare is (was) real. It's an actual '69 Superlead that was made as a true "Plexi" with plexiglas front and rear panels, and it's mine. I bought this sad thing for all of 600 dollars a bit over a year ago.


    Today it's been brought back to this condition:

    DSC_8494_sm.jpg



    It's not the ultimate restoration but now it has a correct PT, original choke, Merren OT, and greater than 90 percent of its components are type correct.

    Wire dress might be a bit neater...but that's a skill that takes practice and I'm still learning it. Plus the wiring style was subject to interpretation of a bunch of photographs I found online, none of which were precisely identical to this amp as it was originally made. Close, yes...but I had to guess at some details of construction, and fortunately at least I made no wiring errors that caused any damage or even any blown fuses. In fact it ran, and made sound, on first powerup. It wasn't right but it was kind of close. Over the next few days I figured out the wiring errors (with help) that came from confusion brought about by photographs made of SIMILAR amps but with significant wiring differences that were not apparent to me.

    It'd be a shame if I could not do this again because someone used up all the vintage parts on a new build amp. What a shame it'd be if I'd had to use Orange Drop caps for all the caps, and NTE or Chinesium resistors.

    The added blank board on the input side is there for future planned mods that will make use of the fourth preamp tube socket, the punch for which was already there all along, this being a transitional era chassis that came from the factory with it. This amp will never be utterly original so I have no issue with doing certain mods to it, but nothing so drastic as the horrors it has seen before it came into my care.



    As for my plans...I restore for fun. I play for fun. And at some point the amps will change hands. Whether I run low on money and need to sell one due to who knows what emergency, or I just decide to sell one because I have more amps than I play, or some day like everybody else I'm going to die and when that happens, my collection must eventually suffer the fate of all collections, to be redistributed to others....what happens, happens. I'm not planning to take any amp to my grave with me. But I'm not looking to sell or trade them off today, either. However if the right offer comes along....sure.

    My objective when I pick up a Marshall in poor condition is to restore it to a better state. Not all of them need me to do anything to them. But some are in such poor shape that they have to get work done just to make them reliable, good sounding player's amps.

    The worse it is to start, the more free I feel to put more effort into them. But it takes more than effort, it takes the right parts.
     
  14. Wildeman

    Wildeman Well-Known Member

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  15. Seanxk

    Seanxk Well-Known Member

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    We buy Piher' on ebay and they're not so badly priced, you will be fueling the fire though.
    I don't buy Mustards there though, that fire is already way too hot.
     
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  16. StingRay85

    StingRay85 Well-Known Member

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    Supply and demand.

    The mustards are not so difficult to find, almost any old radio hobbyist has them in his parts drawer. Here in Belgium they mostly used M.B.L.E./Philips resistors, which are higher quality than Piher/Iskra but less sought after :)
     
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  17. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a pile of old 12ax7's that are gonna get tossed in the dumpster here real quick. RCA's. GE's, Phillips, Raytheon, ect. They are past their prime IMO.
     
  18. StingRay85

    StingRay85 Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a decent tube tester?
     
  19. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes i do.
     
  20. StingRay85

    StingRay85 Well-Known Member

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    Didn't you have a Maxi Preamp? Anything below 1.5 mA/V transconductance I consider as strongly used, although some specs say that you should only replace at 0.9 or 1.
     

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