Repaired Plexi died in 10 mins

Spanngitter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
268
Reaction score
276
Location
Upper Palatinate / Bavaria
96U$/hr is quite steep for here (I usually charge 40€ Bench fee and have the prices for parts calculated including the work unless it’s a pure checkup) but if the area you live is that high in cost of living it might be reasonable. However, charging 10 bucks for an Octal and 90$ for a set of caps of which each cost <2$ plus 3.5h of work make me call this a rip off…
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2021
Messages
41
Reaction score
59
Location
Virginia USA
So I drove the amp over to the shop and confronted the tech in person …

I pointed out that he returned an amp that sounded weak, had a nonfunctional indicator light and a 10-amp fuse in the 1.5-amp H.T. spot. I had planned not to lose my cool but I couldn’t help getting angry. Why is this fuse in there, I asked? He said he’s been doing this type of amp repair for 40 years, has lots of amps coming through the shop each week and has NEVER checked fuses unless they’re blown. I said WHY NOT?!

He had also told me that the ‘67 Super Bass sounded “anemic” by design and was probably best used just as a pedal platform, so I explained what it’s supposed to sound like. I told him the amp obviously still had a major tone issue when he returned it. I told him I was really disappointed with the work and that we should probably part ways — and I should get at least a partial refund. He flatly refused the refund but asked me to please give him a chance to make it right. He would look at the amp again and find the issue at no charge. He called me back an hour or so later and said he found the problem with the tone, that the amp sounds right now. I thought, wow, that was fast. But he also said he can’t be 100% sure he solved the issue that caused the mains fuse to blow after 10 mins of play time. OK. He’s ordered the vintage style square indicator light and will install it.

The problem is I don’t have many other good options. My first choice was the great vintage guitar/amp shop here. But all the techs they work with — people with true expertise and talent with vintage Marshalls — have at least a 3-month waiting list to even look at an amp. That shop said it still had amps that came in in August. It’s really crazy. I suppose I could ship it somewhere? Otherwise I may not be playing it until next fall. Ugh.
 

PelliX

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
2,634
Reaction score
5,221
So I drove the amp over to the shop and confronted the tech in person …

I pointed out that he returned an amp that sounded weak, had a nonfunctional indicator light and a 10-amp fuse in the 1.5-amp H.T. spot. I had planned not to lose my cool but I couldn’t help getting angry. Why is this fuse in there, I asked? He said he’s been doing this type of amp repair for 40 years, has lots of amps coming through the shop each week and has NEVER checked fuses unless they’re blown. I said WHY NOT?!

Golden. You didn't get arrested so your 'angry' is at least legally acceptable. :applause:

I don't even plug unknown kit in on the bench before checking the fuses generally and perhaps having a little peak inside.

He had also told me that the ‘67 Super Bass sounded “anemic” by design and was probably best used just as a pedal platform, so I explained what it’s supposed to sound like. I told him the amp obviously still had a major tone issue when he returned it. I told him I was really disappointed with the work and that we should probably part ways — and I should get at least a partial refund. He flatly refused the refund but asked me to please give him a chance to make it right. He would look at the amp again and find the issue at no charge.

Opinions differ, but it doesn't sound like he knows about using (these) amps either. Not a great surprise. I suppose his offer is acceptable, though my condition would have been that I am present during the repair. I'm not sure where you stand legally... ah well, the past is the past.

He called me back an hour or so later and said he found the problem with the tone, that the amp sounds right now. I thought, wow, that was fast. But he also said he can’t be 100% sure he solved the issue that caused the mains fuse to blow after 10 mins of play time. OK. He’s ordered the vintage style square indicator light and will install it.

I recommend you get an exact overview of what he's done to remedy the tone problem. In fact of anything he changes, replaces or modifies. This may come in handy down the line for the next tech if it comes to it. Fingers crossed it doesn't, of course.

The problem is I don’t have many other good options. My first choice was the great vintage guitar/amp shop here. But all the techs they work with — people with true expertise and talent with vintage Marshalls — have at least a 3-month waiting list to even look at an amp. That shop said it still had amps that came in in August. It’s really crazy. I suppose I could ship it somewhere? Otherwise I may not be playing it until next fall. Ugh.

Well, maybe there's a reason they have a huge backlog and the other bloke doesn't - no idea. Personally, I don't like shipping and that waiting period is awful, but I think I'd prefer to have it done locally, even if it meant using another amp in the meantime. Let's see what the Fusemeister comes back with, first... :)
 

paul-e-mann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
19,242
Reaction score
20,771
So I drove the amp over to the shop and confronted the tech in person …

I pointed out that he returned an amp that sounded weak, had a nonfunctional indicator light and a 10-amp fuse in the 1.5-amp H.T. spot. I had planned not to lose my cool but I couldn’t help getting angry. Why is this fuse in there, I asked? He said he’s been doing this type of amp repair for 40 years, has lots of amps coming through the shop each week and has NEVER checked fuses unless they’re blown. I said WHY NOT?!

He had also told me that the ‘67 Super Bass sounded “anemic” by design and was probably best used just as a pedal platform, so I explained what it’s supposed to sound like. I told him the amp obviously still had a major tone issue when he returned it. I told him I was really disappointed with the work and that we should probably part ways — and I should get at least a partial refund. He flatly refused the refund but asked me to please give him a chance to make it right. He would look at the amp again and find the issue at no charge. He called me back an hour or so later and said he found the problem with the tone, that the amp sounds right now. I thought, wow, that was fast. But he also said he can’t be 100% sure he solved the issue that caused the mains fuse to blow after 10 mins of play time. OK. He’s ordered the vintage style square indicator light and will install it.

The problem is I don’t have many other good options. My first choice was the great vintage guitar/amp shop here. But all the techs they work with — people with true expertise and talent with vintage Marshalls — have at least a 3-month waiting list to even look at an amp. That shop said it still had amps that came in in August. It’s really crazy. I suppose I could ship it somewhere? Otherwise I may not be playing it until next fall. Ugh.
How far of a drive are you from Baltimore, I can hook you up with an honest and knowledgeable tech who charges an honest fee. Jeff Bober 443-568-0891
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2021
Messages
41
Reaction score
59
Location
Virginia USA
How far of a drive are you from Baltimore, I can hook you up with an honest and knowledgeable tech who charges an honest fee. Jeff Bober 443-568-0891
Not too far! And Jeff Bober’s name actually came up yesterday when I was asking around for a competent trusted tech. But I didn’t have his number. Great backup plan — thanks!
 

Gunner64

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
Messages
7,984
Reaction score
12,216
Location
Midwest, USA
Why did the mains fuse blow? There should be definite indicators as to why. I'd insist he run the amp with a signal, at the volume you were running when it blew and make certain there still isn't a problem.

This kind of shit is why I learned how to repair my own amps.

Some guys here will chastise us for working on our own amps, but in some instances, like in my case we had no choice. The professional (paid) school trained techs around here proved to be slow, and hacks. Taking an amp back after service would be met with attitude, and another 2 months without your amp.

I had a few very competent old ham friends that would repair things for us from time to time, and school me in the process. All have passed now, but I am very grateful to have had the guidance. Everytime I open an amplifier, or touch my solder station I think of them.

Learning the basics, and basic tube amp maintenance imo is a must if your going to run tube amplifiers... at the very least with knowledge, even if you still let someone else do the work, you'll know when your "tech" is feeding you a line of horseshit.

Good job standing up for yourself. Not easy to do with some of them guys with god complexes..which it seems alot of the tech guys do have unfortunately.

Hope it turns out well, and I'm glad to hear the power trans isn't roasted!
 

AndyD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Messages
577
Reaction score
610
Location
UK
Not too far! And Jeff Bober’s name actually came up yesterday when I was asking around for a competent trusted tech. But I didn’t have his number. Great backup plan — thanks!
Right now this looks like your best bet. It’s really annoying if you feel you’ve been ripped off, but in the long run getting your amp sorted by someone recommended to you is going to be golden. I really hope you manage to get this amp sorted.
 

XTRXTR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
Messages
914
Reaction score
1,047
Location
Some City, USA
I had a few very competent old ham friends that would repair things for us from time to time, and school me in the process. All have passed now, but I am very grateful to have had the guidance. Everytime I open an amplifier, or touch my solder station I think of them.
I feel that way about how I got started too. Lord Valve always worked on my amps and other equipment until after I had some engineering background. Then he helped me understand what to do and not to do, advised on my first scratch build. He is still around but doesn't have his shop open to public. But same, I think of all the steps He gave me every time I open a chassis. Reminds me I want to purchase some tubes from him.
 

myersbw

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
1,354
Reaction score
863
Location
SW Ohio
Well, the solid core wire sticking out, the bill showing the tech name (off to the side, blacked out) meaning possibly this is an outfit with a few techs and maybe this is the new hire with no experience...? In any event, you've taken an expensive amp to a quite inexperienced tech. But, in a brick & mortar shop...there are expenses of operating driving a high labor cost. You also spoke of the good seasoned shop with a 3 month backlog. There's a reason there's backlogged...they're good and competition for the area is minimal so they get swamped.

I'm currently a tech and would've taken it to that shop if my amp. Might take a while, but well worth it.

All that said, here's my scenario. I just retired my "day job" after 35 years at December's end. I've been repairing for 8 years regarding tube amps, but my background spans 35 years to include camcorder, vcr, data projectors at component level and some SMT work, too. I only mention all that to say...I'm not new to repair. So, here's my part-time repair business as I work it...

In SW Ohio, I have a consistent level of incoming work that I spend three 1/2 days a week doing. (After all, I am retired!) :) I don't have a bench fee. I'll look at a potential repair and, if I don't repair it (either not worth repairing or schematics not available, or ?) I don't charge. I also don't have an 'hourly charge', per se, but I do target my time at about $50/hour. And, in doing so, it works really well as this work is out of my home workshop and I can give folks a great break and still make a nice side benefit for time spent. Plus, not much real overhead means I won't be closing my doors til the Lord takes me home or I just tire of it.

So, with the freedom I have, once I determine what parts are needed (if any), I determine what I believe a fair labor charge for the job. No one has ever, to date, balked on my estimates. Some don't like it, but they know they'll pay more elsewhere. Typically shoot for 2-3 weeks tops turnaround to include parts ordering if need be.

OP, the invoice posted is my big pet peeve with brick and mortar shops. Yes, you do need to make a living and pay the bills, rent, etc., but putting inexperience on a big dollar amp is just not wise at all. From what you've posted, I'd this 'tech' is not the owner of a startup business...I'd have a long conversation with whoever the owner is and work out either the owner rectifying this in some manner. You do have new caps...that's worthy of some labor, parts cost, etc., as is a tube socket install.

If I owned a shop with employees working, I'd be personally overseeing a junior or starting tech...start to finish...on an amp such as the one you brought. Can't afford NOT to oversee that!

All the best in your resolve. If owner or other tech aren't deemed competent....cut your losses and settle for some work done then scramble out. They won't be in that business long with repairs like that. Yep, it could be a power tube issue, but those photos (along with that outrageous fuse!) tell quite another story.

Good luck on the resolve...hope it's to your satisfaction.

Brad

EDIT!!! Ooops, I just saw the '40 years of experience claim'...that's just pure laziness at it's worst...and now it's turned into incompetence if there's any truth to 40 years...???
 
Last edited:

playloud

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2020
Messages
817
Reaction score
969
Sounds like you know who to call now!

That original tech sounds like his perceptions of the various Marshall models come from the 80s. '67 Super Bass "anemic"? Here's hoping he sells one in the future and someone gets a good deal!
 

XTRXTR

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
Messages
914
Reaction score
1,047
Location
Some City, USA
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I recently read otherwise https://ampgarage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=436850#p436850
Well that is sad news. I tried to find an obituary but couldn't, I called him and there was no answer, I emailed him... The preponderance of evidence is he is gone. The old aga forum is filled with hate speech and propaganda, I tried several searches and found a hater saying he died of COVID.

Its weird because I have a bunch of components I purchased from him for the project I am on now.
Here's to LV:pops:into the great infinitode
 

bulldozer1984

Everybody's Favorite Member
VIP Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2010
Messages
7,827
Reaction score
4,733
Location
Sydney..
If I were you, I would let this tech handle it for now. Maybe you calling him out, was a much needed injection of motivation for him. He could be competent, but lazy. Good luck with it all.
 

myersbw

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
1,354
Reaction score
863
Location
SW Ohio
If I were you, I would let this tech handle it for now. Maybe you calling him out, was a much needed injection of motivation for him. He could be competent, but lazy. Good luck with it all.

...not a bad thing? But, I'd certainly be interested if this is his own shop or, if not, talk to the owner.
 

bulldozer1984

Everybody's Favorite Member
VIP Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2010
Messages
7,827
Reaction score
4,733
Location
Sydney..
...not a bad thing? But, I'd certainly be interested if this is his own shop or, if not, talk to the owner.

He might be an imposter ! He could have snuck in, tied the owner up and locked him in the storeroom. Meanwhile, he moonlights as an amp tech, getting hints from his captee through the door.
 

myersbw

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
1,354
Reaction score
863
Location
SW Ohio
He might be an imposter ! He could have snuck in, tied the owner up and locked him in the storeroom. Meanwhile, he moonlights as an amp tech, getting hints from his captee through the door.

It's possible! They might've stole that idea from me! :shock:
 

Latest posts



Top